2024 SWAC Conference Basketball Tournament

The 2024 SWAC Conference Tournament will decide the lone bid in this league, as the winner heads to Dayton to play one of the First Four games on either Tuesday or Wednesday of March Madness week.

Texas Southern has played in the title game every season since 2016 and has won each of the last three, five of the last six, and seven of the last nine. They are the No. 3 seed this season, as eight of the 12 teams in the league qualified for the conference tournament.


The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds get a benefit by playing their quarterfinal action on Wednesday as opposed to Thursday, when seeds 3 through 6 take the floor.

How to Watch the SWAC Conference Tournament

When: March 13-16

Where: Bartow Arena in Birmingham, AL

Format: No. 1, No. 2 seeds play Quarterfinals on Wednesday; No. 3 through No. 6 play on Thursday

Watch: ESPN+, ESPNU; Championship Game on ESPNU on Mar. 16 at 9:30 p.m. ET

College Basketball Odds | College Basketball Betting Splits | Greg Peterson’s Daily Lines | Steve Makinen’s Power Ratings

SWAC Conference Tournament Bracket

SWAC Conference Tournament Seeds, Teams and Odds

1. Grambling State (+350)

2. Alcorn State (+280)

3. Texas Southern (+475)

4. Southern (+300)

5. Bethune-Cookman (+2000)

6. Jackson State (+800)

7. Alabama A&M (+6000)

8. Alabama State (+2000)

(odds from DraftKings Sportsbook accurate at time of publish)

Favorite To Win SWAC Conference Tournament

Alcorn State enters as the favorite because the Braves have far and away the best offensive numbers in the league. They’ve also won nine games in a row. They led the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency, ORB%, and 2P%, while also finishing second in TO%. However, on defense, the Braves were only better than Mississippi Valley State in the adjusted defensive efficiency department. For reference, MVSU won one of their 31 games.

Jackson State was a distant second in AdjOE and you see that they are +800, despite being the No. 6 seed under former NBA point guard Mo Williams. Grambling is the most balanced team in the field, ranking fifth in AdjOE and fourth in AdjDE, but they are a vulnerable No. 1 seed.

No. 4 Southern is actually the top dog on defense here, due in large part to a 22.3% TO% and the second-best 2P% against.

I don’t know what it is, but Johnny Jones always gets his Texas Southern Tigers going at the right time. Their three best offensive performances in the last couple of months were each of their last three games in league play, including a close home loss to Alcorn State.

SWAC Conference Tournament Darkhorse

I find Bethune-Cookman an interesting long shot here. They’re not getting much respect in the odds, mostly because they play Southern out of the gate, but the Wildcats beat Southern twice during the regular season. They did lose to Alcorn State and Grambling State twice, but they did beat Texas Southern at home.

The problem here is that Zion Harmon missed the last two games and was in a walking boot. I don’t know his status for the tournament, despite looking around as much as I could. He’s averaged 17.5 PPG and 4.0 APG over his last 11 games. He’s a true game-changer and BC has no shot if he’s not out there.

Players to Watch in SWAC Conference Tournament

Only one of the top four scorers in the conference is on a team that qualified for the tournament. That is Jackson State’s Ken Evans Jr., who led the league with 18.9 PPG. Jordan O’Neil provides supplemental support with 12.7 PPG and 6.1 RPG.

Jeremiah Kendall leads the Alcorn State attack with 16 PPG and he’s also a solid rebounder with 6.7 RPG. He’s also doing that in just 24.4 minutes per game, so it does make you wonder how he’ll fare with the tighter schedule of the tourney.

If Harmon is healthy, Bethune-Cookman is very dangerous. Dhashon Dyson has averaged 14.2 PPG and Jakobi Heady had 15.4 PPG to go along with all of Harmon’s aforementioned contributions.

Texas Southern was led by PJ Henry with 15.3 PPG, but he’s only a 40.1% shooter and the same can be said of Jonathan Cisse with 12.8 PPG, but he’s only a 40.3% shooter.

Betting Pick to Win The SWAC Conference Tournament

Obviously it’s tough to bet against Johnny Jones and Texas Southern, given what they’ve accomplished with teams that have been similarly-flawed on the numbers side. I do think the price here is indicative of where things stand with this team. The +475 odds are sure to entice a lot of people, but I don’t think it’s for me.

I’d take that Bethune-Cookman shot if I knew Harmon was healthy enough to be somewhere near his best. I think Alcorn State is the pick for me here. They’re been the most consistent offensive team and the gap between them and the other offenses is so staggering. They’re also the best rebounding team in the field, which matters more to me in a neutral setting.

Pick: Alcorn State +280

Steve Makinen SWAC Power Ratings