#142 Texas Southern Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Texas Southern Tigers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #142
Conference Rank: #1 SWAC

Texas Southern Team Page#142 Texas Southern Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Texas Southern Basketball Tickets

Texas Southern put together a superb 2014-2015 campaign for a SWAC team. The RPI was solid and they had two huge non-conference victories. On December 20th, Coach Mike Davis and company traveled to East Lansing and came away with a 71-64 overtime win over Michigan State. Eight days later, Texas Southern’s epic road trip went to Kansas State, where they knocked off the Wildcats 58-46. After that Texas Southern cruised through the SWAC, easily winning the regular season title with a 16-2 record. All of that success led to a SWAC team earning a rare 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are still the team to beat in the conference race, but a trip to the NCAA Tournament this time will likely start in Dayton at the First Four.

2014-15 Record: 22-13, 16-2
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Davis
Coach Record: 54-42 at Texas Southern, 291-193 overall

Who’s Out:
Texas Southern must replace their best player in Madarious Gibbs. During his senior season he averaged a team high 14.2 points and 4.2 assists. There was rarely any time when Gibbs was not on the floor and replacing his leadership will not be easy. The backcourt also will move on without Deverell Biggs, who was a double-digit scorer and a solid perimeter defender. Nick Shepherd was a regular starter for Coach Davis as well. The 6-9 forward was never much of a scorer, but he was far and away the most dangerous shot blocker. Jason Carter and Nevin Johnson were regulars in the rotation that usually went nine deep a year ago. Both were relatively inconsistent shooters off of the bench, but Carter did average 5.4 points per game.

Who’s In:
Jose Rodriguez is back after missing last season and that will help Texas Southern have one of the most dominating frontcourts in the conference. Two years ago Rodriguez teamed up with Aaric Murray and they were impossible for anybody to stop. During that season, Rodriguez averaged 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds even though Murray was taking most of the shots and grabbing most of the rebounds. Murray of course is long gone, but Rodriguez is a tough player who can step outside and knock down some shots too. Coach Davis still has some options and possibilities as far as bringing in new players, but one to watch out for is Brian Carey. Carey will help replace Gibbs, both as a scorer and a ball handler.

Who to Watch:
What makes Texas Southern so dangerous this year is that they have five very experienced seniors returning, including Rodriguez, and that five will likely make up their day one starting lineup. Chris Thomas and Malcolm Riley figure to be the team’s top scorers this year. Thomas, a 6-5 forward, averaged 12.6 points per game last year. He shot just 25.3 percent from beyond the arc, but later in the season Thomas started staying inside the arc more often. He should be much more efficient if he can play smart like he did in February and March for an entire season. Riley averaged 10.2 points and a team high 6.4 rebounds during his junior season. Another 6-5 forward, Riley is heading into the 2015-2016 campaign on a roll. He averaged nearly 21 points per game during the SWAC Tournament and recorded a double-double in all three contests. Riley is already a smart shooter. He can knock down the long ball and easily led the team with a 43.1 percent three-point field goal percentage, but will pick his spots and not force much. Tonnie Collier is the bigger forward at 6-8 and 210 pounds. But like the rest of the forwards, Collier can shoot. He connected on 33.9 percent of his team high 109 three-point attempts. That offensive spark is nice, but Texas Southern will also need Collier to use his size and be a little tougher on the other end of the floor. David Blanks will step into a full-time starting role on the perimeter. He started just ten games last year, but is a decent shooter and ball handler.

Final Projection:
If the size does not come from the yet to be determined newcomers, it will need to come from Christian McCoggle. The 6-8, 220 pound junior has only played in 17 games during his two years at Texas Southern though. Tyree Bynum has been around for a couple years too, but has failed to make much of an impact. The starting five is solid and Carey should be able to provide some quality depth as a freshman while he develops into a starter down the road, but depth could be an issue. In any event, this is the most talented team in the SWAC and they have proven time and time again that they can replace a few starters and continue to dominate the conference.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
David Blanks, Senior, Guard,
Chris Thomas, Senior, Forward,
Malcolm Riley, Senior, Forward,
Jose Rodriguez, Senior, Forward,
Tonnie Collier, Senior, Forward,

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.3 (146th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.2 (222, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (109, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.5 (253, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (273, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.2 (261, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (275, 2)
Rebound Margin: 0.0 (192, 3)
Assists Per Game: 10.7 (292, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (220, 2)


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