Grambling St., Prairie View meet in SWAC semis
No. 4 seed Grambling State (17-15, 11-8) vs. No. 1 seed Prairie View (20-12, 18-1)
Southwestern Athletic Conference Tourney Semifinals, Bill Harris Arena, Birmingham, Alabama; Friday, 2:30 p.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: Grambling State is set to take on Prairie View with a spot in the SWAC championship game up for grabs. Prairie View won both of the regular season matchups earlier this season. The teams last played on Feb. 18, when the Panthers created 24 Grambling State turnovers and turned the ball over just 10 times en route to the five-point victory.
SENIOR STUDS: Prairie View has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Gary Blackston, Devonte Patterson, Dennis Jones and Taishaun Johnson have combined to account for 56 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 62 percent of all Panthers points over the last five games.
SOLID SMITH JR.: Ivy Smith Jr. has connected on 31.9 percent of the 72 3-pointers he’s attempted and has gone 5 for 11 over his last three games. He’s also made 80.7 percent of his foul shots this season.
SCORING THRESHOLDS: Prairie View is 8-0 when it limits opposing offenses to 64 or fewer points, and 12-12 when opponents exceed 64 points. Grambling State is 11-0 when holding opponents to 63 points or fewer, and 6-15 on the year when teams score any more than 63.
ASSIST RATIOS: The Panthers have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Tigers. Prairie View has an assist on 46 of 85 field goals (54.1 percent) over its past three games while Grambling State has assists on 22 of 74 field goals (29.7 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: The Prairie View defense has forced opponents into turnovers on an impressive 25.3 percent of all possessions, which is the second-highest rate in the country. The Grambling State offense has turned the ball over on 22.2 percent of its possessions (ranked 326th among Division I teams).