Texas Southern, the media preseason favorite to win the SWAC championship, is 0-2 in its traditionally strong nonconference schedule that the Tigers generally play on the road.
They have the opportunity to host a Power Five program when Arizona State (2-0) visits Houston for the Tigers’ home opener Sunday.
It is the first time Texas Southern will host a Pac-12 opponent since California and Jason Kidd visited in 1993-94.
The Tigers will play four nonconference home games this season, the most since the 2002-03 season.
“We couldn’t be more excited about that,” said Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones, whose program uses the road games against Power Five opponents as a way to fund the HBCU program.
The Tigers became the second HBCU school to win three NCAA tournament games in its program history with its 76-67 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the First Four last year. Alcorn State was the first program to achieve the feat, winning three tournament games from 1980-84.
Three of their four leading scorers return from last year, including PJ Henry, Karl Nicholas and John Walker III.
Henry did not play in the 78-54 loss at Texas Tech on Thursday because of an undisclosed injury. He scored 21 points in the Tigers’ 90-77 loss at San Francisco Monday to open the season.
Walker, a transfer from Texas A&M, is averaging 13 points and six rebounds.
Arizona State defeated Northern Arizona 84-68 on Thursday at Tempe, Ariz., after struggling in a 62-59 win over Tarleton State at home Monday.
The Sun Devils shot 26 of 48 (54.2 percent) from the field and 9 for 17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range in the win over Northern Arizona.
DJ Horne led Arizona State with 25 points, the most he has scored as a Sun Devil in the past two years since transferring from Illinois State.
He shot 7 of 11 from the field, 4 of 6 from 3-point range and was 7 of 9 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, two steals and three assists.
“Even though we won (against Tarleton State), I felt like we lost,” Horne said. “I felt like we’re a better team than what we showed out there. (Beating Northern Arizona) definitely was for me a lot of a better feeling leaving the gym. Build from it from here.”
–Field Level Media