SWAC West Race Headed for Photo Finish
While the SWAC East Division field is all but settled, the race in the wild wild West is going down to the wire as Grambling State, Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff battle for the final two spots in the postseason.
In the East, Mississippi Valley is only a win away from clinching the top spot, while barring disaster, Jackson State is a win away from finishing no worse than second. JSU can still finish first, but, MVSU would have to drop their last four games. MVSU travels to Montgomery this weekend to take on Alabama State, while JSU is at home against Alabama A&M.
Alabama State and Alabama A&M are a game apart, battling for third and fourth. Bama State can make things very interesting if they can sweep MVSU and JSU goes belly-up for three losses. With A&M only a game behind State, sweeps by the Hornets and Bulldogs would cause a massive traffic jam at the top of the East.
The only team in the East not in contention is Alcorn State. The Braves have been eliminated from the postseason with only a make-up game from the round-up remaining on the conference schedule against Texas Southern.
Speaking of Texas Southern, the Tigers are red-hot and have surged into first place in the East after sweeping former division leader Prairie View over the weekend. TSU is a full three games ahead of PVAM, needing a win to lock up the regular season title. PVAM can still finish first, but must win their final conference game, which is a round-up make game against Jackson State. Otherwise, PVAM can finish no worse than second place.
Then comes the three-team pile up between Grambling, Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Like musical chairs, there are only two spots left at the dance and three teams seeking an invitation.
Going into the coming weekend, Grambling is slightly ahead after taking 2-of-3 from Southern. At 4-9, the Tigers are a game ahead of Southern and UAPB who are both 3-10.
Several scenarios exist with a huge series looming between Southern and UAPB this weekend. UAPB already has the tiebreaker over GSU after taking 2-of-3 in their series earlier this season, while GSU has the advantage over Southern.
If Grambling can get a pair of wins against TSU, they would clinch one of the remaining spots. They can still slip in with a win and a Southern loss. One crazy twist could leave Grambling out in the cold. Another scenario even has all three teams finishing tied which would really be a cluttered mess. The picture should be clearer after Saturday, but it could likely come down to May 6 when Southern is slated to meet MVSU and UAPB is on tap to tangle with Alabama State. Grambling was scheduled to play Alabama A&M on the same day, but moved the game up to Sunday, April 29.
It should be fun...stay tuned!!!!