By Brant Daughtry
Texas Southern is an HBCU in Houston, and has built itself into something of a basketball powerhouse. The Tigers have quite a few NCAA tournament appearances, and an NAIA national championship from 1977. They’re also the first HBCU to beat a team that ended up playing in the Final Four, after getting a win over Michigan State in 2014. It’s a proud basketball history, and they always expect to make noise in the SWAC.
Their head coach is Johnny Jones, a name Auburn fast might recognize because of his time spent as a player and the head coach at LSU. This years’ TSU team is 1-3, having a few blowout losses to San Francisco, Texas Tech, and Oral Roberts. They don’t really shoot well, about 27% from deep, and 40% from inside the arc. They also don’t rotate frequently, as they have three players averaging over 30 minutes a game. They have decent size, but only two bigs that get regular minutes.
Players to Watch For:
Guard PJ Henry, #3- Henry is undersized, standing at a listed 5’10”. That’s really where the criticisms stop. He doesn’t turn the ball over often, and is able to handle a heavy workload with 31 minutes per game. The senior is the leader in points per game with 18, assists per game with 3.3, and steals per game with 2.7. He shoots well from three as well, having a 39% clip this season.
Forward John Walker, #24- The only guy who logs more minutes a game than Henry, and the only big man presence to really speak of for Texas Southern. The 6’9″ Texas A&M transfer is the team leader in minutes with an insane 36 per game. He’s second in points with 14 per game, and leads the team in rebounds by a wide margin. He’s also the only interior defensive presence to speak of, averaging 1.5 blocks per.
This should be fun. I’ll actually be at this game, my first basketball attendance since the start of the Bruce Pearl era. Look, Texas Southern isn’t the most exciting. According to the almighty Advance Metrics that I don’t really understand, Texas Southern is the weakest of the opponents Auburn will face in their run up to the Cancun Challenge. That doesn’t mean Auburn can take them lightly though. Look around college basketball. Teams are losing paycheck games left and right. This is Auburn’s last opportunity to clean things up in action that matters before the schedule gets tough. All I know is, I’ll be there, being as loud as I can be.