The Prairie View A&M Panthers beats Texas Southern, 92-86, to claim SWAC title and advance to NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. Less than 24 hours after claiming the SWAC Championship in Birmingham, PVAMU learned of its next opponent.
The Panthers will face Fairleigh Dickinson for a shot at the No. 16 seed—which would pit them against No. 1 seed Gonzaga—on Tuesday.
“Twenty-one years,” Prairie View A&M athletic director Fred Washington emphasized, as he stood at a translucent podium addressing the team and a room full of school staff and supporters Sunday evening.
His message was straight-forward.
For a team that swept the conference regular-season and tournament titles for the first time in school history, the Panthers have a chance to rewrite another page of history.
“It’s an exciting time here at Prairie View,” said head men’s basketball coach Byron Smith. “We have to be focused, well single minded focused, because going into this tournament it’s a one and done deal. We like how we are playing and we like the focus of the team and the direction we are going. We like how the team is playing together and being very unselfish.”
The Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson finished as the Northeast Conference (NEC) champions with a 20-13 overall record. The Panthers finished as the Southwestern Athletic Conference Champions with a 22-12 over record.
This will be the third time in the history of the two programs that these teams would have met. The first time was on November 15, 2001 with the Panthers defeating the Knights 77-66. The second meeting was on November 24, 2012 with Fairleigh Dickinson taking the win with an 84-70 victory.