Games in the American loom after UTSA routs Prairie View A&M

Jordan Ivy-Curry had 22 points and eight assists off the bench for UTSA in a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry had 22 points and eight assists off the bench Thursday night as UTSA downed Prairie View A&M, 103-89. UTSA hosts UAB next Tuesday to open a new era in the American Athletic Conference. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Generally speaking, the UTSA Roadrunners were feeling pretty good about themselves Thursday night.

After all, they executed on both ends of the court, shot a season-high 55.4 percent from the field and romped past the Prairie View A&M Panthers, 103-89, at the Convocation Center.

Steve Henson. UTSA recorded a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners focused on ball security and defense and came away with a 14-point victory over the Prairie View A&M Panthers. Henson said ‘it’s going to be tough every single night’ when his team starts play in the American next week. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Clearly, it was one of the team’s better performances of the season.

But at the same time, as much as the Roadrunners enjoyed the winning feeling, they were also feeling a bit antsy. Why? Just as they built a 28-point lead early in the second half, they frittered most of it away during an eight-minute stretch with a frustrating series of mistakes.

At one point, the Panthers rallied to within 10 with 5:44 remaining before they were slowed by the Roadrunners, who snapped a troublesome three-game losing streak.

UTSA coach Steve Henson didn’t spend much time at all during his post-game interview session dwelling on the lost lead.

For the most part, he lauded his team’s execution of the offense (with only 13 turnovers) and praised its defensive effort, especially in the first half.

But what he said about losing the lead seemed significant.

“When they were in their run, it was way too big (of) a run,” Henson said. “It snowballed on us. (We) turned it over four times in five possessions. They scored on all of those. (It) got their confidence up a little bit.”

One of the bright spots for UTSA was, as the coach said, a first half that ended with the Roadrunners leading, 52-32. Specifically, Henson liked his team’s brand of defense that limited the Panthers to 34 percent shooting from the field.

Another positive before the intermission centered on UTSA’s offensive execution. The pace was fast, and the Roadrunners handled it well, turning it over only six times — all while scoring at the rim and from the three-point arc.

Trey Edmonds. UTSA recorded a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Trey Edmonds scored 12 points for his second straight game in double figures for the Roadrunners. Edmonds has hit 8 of 11 from the field in his last two games.- Photo by Joe Alexander

“I liked the way the guys opened the first half,” the coach said.

Then again, the 8-minute and 21-second stretch in the second half when Prairie View outscored UTSA 28-10 did not sit well with the coach. Late in the run, Henson had to start making changes. First, he put Christian Tucker back in the ball game.

Later, he stopped play again to send both Jordan Ivy-Curry and Carlton Linguard Jr. back onto the floor. Finally, UTSA stifled the uprising when Tucker drove to the basket, drew a foul and knocked down two free throws.

Later, Tucker answered the call again when he buried a three from the wing off an assist from Ivy-Curry, boosting the Roadrunners back into a 15-point lead with 4:57 remaining. It was a pivotal moment, as the Panthers never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

Henson said it was important for UTSA to win the ball game, period, to bring an end to the team’s second three-game skid of the season.

Within a span of nine days, the Roadrunners had lost by nine points in Arkansas to the Little Rock Trojans, by one in Oregon to the Oregon State Beavers and then by 10 at home to the Army Black Knights.

The last one may have hurt the most, because the Black Knights had not won a game on the road all season, and yet they held the Roadrunners to 31 percent shooting and 53 points on Dec. 21.

“We felt like we did some good things at Oregon State,” Henson said. “Obviously (we were) very disappointed with the result (and) the way we played against Army … We needed to make sure it didn’t bleed into the next game.”

Next up for UTSA is play in the American Athletic Conference. For its inaugural game in the AAC after 10 seasons in Conference USA, UTSA (6-7) hosts UAB (7-5) next Tuesday night at the Convocation Center.

“It’s going to be really tough every single night,” Henson said. “We know that. We don’t like our record right now, but the mindset is good. Our confidence is high enough. The chemistry is terrific. We think we can build the next three or four days and be ready to play good basketball against UAB.”

Against Prairie View, Ivy Curry led the UTSA attack with 22 points and eight assists. In all, six UTSA players finished in double figure scoring.

The others included Linguard Jr. and Tucker with 16 points apiece, Trey Edmonds with 12 and Isaiah Wyatt and Dre Fuller Jr. with 11 each. Chris Felix Jr. led the Panthers with 19 points. Linguard, who started next to Edmonds on the front line, enjoyed a solid overall game that included 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

For the Roadrunners, it was their first 100-point game since they defeated Dallas Christian at home, 101-48, on Jan. 3, 2022.


Prairie View A&M 5-7
UTSA 6-7

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Tuesday, 8 p.m. (American Athletic Conference opener)


In the wake of the victory, the UTSA Roadrunners improved 20 spots in the NET rankings, moving up to No. 292 out of 362 Division I teams nationally. UTSA remains as the lowest rated team in the 14-team AAC on the NET computer, trailing Rice (219), UAB (217) and East Carolina (207) in the league’s bottom four. Leading the conference are FAU (6), Memphis (38) and SMU (52). After losing at UTSA, Prairie View of the Southwestern Athletic Conference dropped 20 spots to No. 259.

Coming into the game against Prairie View A&M, one-time walk-on Christian Tucker led UTSA in scoring at 13.1 points per game. He also led both the American Athletic Conference and the team in assists at 5.5 … Other scoring leaders were Isaiah Wyatt (10.5), Dre Fuller Jr. (10.2), Adante’ Holiman (9.9), Carlton Linguard Jr. (9.8) and PJ Carter (8.3).

Trey Edmonds (7.8 points, 6.7 rebounds) also entered the game as one of the team’s primary contributors. Jordan Ivy-Curry came in averaging 6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Ivy-Curry has now played in three games since he became eligible based on a recent court-ordered injunction. A court in West Virginia ruled all players in the NCAA who had transferred twice or more in their careers were eligible immediately for the rest of the season.


The Roadrunners shot 55.9 percent from the field and raced to a 52-32 lead at halftime. The Panthers were within 22-17 on a Javontae Hopkins driving layup with 10:19 remaining. From there, it was all UTSA. The Roadrunners sprinted away on a 30-15 run to the intermission buzzer. Ivy-Curry, who struggled in his first home game of the season against Army, made amends with a strong performance. He had 13 points and five assists in 13 minutes. Linguard, another key player who struggled against Army, had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Carlton Linguard Jr. UTSA recorded a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Carlton Linguard Jr. posted his third double double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Linguard also had three blocked shots. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Medor and Buggs combine for 46 points as UTSA downs the Prairie View A&M Panthers, 82-75

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

As pages on the calendar flip to November, as the weather turns cooler and as the Thanksgiving holiday comes around, native Floridian Japhet Medor always thinks about the taste of his mother’s macaroni and cheese.

For John Buggs III, his thoughts sometimes take him home to Louisiana and a heaping plate of Cajun turkey.

This year, Medor and Buggs will spend their first turkey day in San Antonio with their new family — with their coaches and teammates in the UTSA basketball program. It promises to be a good day, with a morning practice, followed by lunch at the home of head coach Steve Henson.

John Buggs III. UTSA beat Prairie View A&M 82-75 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Shooting guard John Buggs III rises up to let one fly over a defender on the way to 18 points against the Prairie View A&M Panthers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The impending holiday was made all the more special Tuesday night when the surprising Roadrunners won their third straight game and their second straight against a solid, mid-major program in NCAA Division I.

Five days after UTSA downed the two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champion Texas State Bobcats, Medor and Buggs started to cook on high heat offensively in an impressive 82-75 victory over the Prairie View A&M Panthers.

Medor, playing in only his fifth game as a Division I player, followed a 16-point effort against the Bobcats with 28 against the Panthers of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Employing quick bursts into the paint and to the rim, he drew 14 fouls and hit 16 of 20 from the free throw line. On top of that, he added seven assists, for good measure.

Not to be outdone, Buggs scored 18 and matched teammate Isaiah Addo-Ankrah with four 3-pointers. As a team, the Roadrunners knocked down 11 from long distance, including two from D.J. Richards and one from Josh Farmer, to keep the Panthers on their heels.

Outside of nine second-half turnovers, the UTSA offense was about as good as coaches could have asked for.

The Roadrunners shot 60 percent from the field in the second half and 52 percent for the game. Additionally, in notching 13 assists on 24 baskets, UTSA underscored once again its emphasis on sharing the ball.

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah. UTSA beat Prairie View A&M 82-75 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah snapped out of a shooting slump by making four of seven from 3-point distance.
He had 13 points, two rebounds and two assists. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Asked about the meaning of a victory over a group of veteran players like the Panthers, who defeated the Pac-12’s Washington State Cougars last week, Medor didn’t hesitate with a reply. “It means that the sky’s the limit for us,” he said. “We have room to improve, and we’re making it happen. So I feel like the sky’s the limit for our team, and we’re going to get better every day.”

Seemingly, as Medor and Buggs have gained confidence, the players around them also have taken a few positive mental steps forward, as well.

“That’s what we talk about,” Henson said. “With Japhet, he did (tonight) exactly what our coaches said he did when (they) went to recruit him (last spring in Florida). I saw him practice. Our coaches saw him play in games. They came back and said he just draws fouls, puts pressure on the defense.

“He showed signs of that here and there (early this month). He had some stretches in the exhibition game (against Schreiner University), just serving everybody up. I mean, in the second half against St. Mary’s, when he took over the game … He’s had stretches before, and then obviously he took over tonight.

“Drawing 14 fouls,” the coach said, looking again at the stat sheet, “I don’t know if I’ve seen that very often.”


UTSA 4-1
Prairie View A&M 3-2

Coming up

The Roadrunners host the 210 San Antonio Shootout this weekend. They’ll play Grambling State on Friday night (at 7:30), followed by games against Dartmouth on Sunday (7:30) and Incarnate Word on Monday (4:30).


Some in the program might be a bit surprised at the team’s record leading into Thanksgiving after a trip Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for the second game of the season ended with a 75-55 loss. UTSA took a beating in the second half on that Nov. 11 evening on the Gulf Coast, giving up 50 points.

DJ Richards. UTSA beat Prairie View A&M 82-75 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman DJ Richards scored eight points in 18 minutes off the bench. He made two of five 3-point shots, giving him nine of 21 for the season. His 42.3 percent on threes ranks second on the team to John Buggs’ 45.2. – Photo by Joe Alexander

In one stretch covering 17:30, the Islanders pounded the Roadrunners, 47-19. What has changed since then? In a sense, not much. But, then again, maybe the game opened some eyes about what can happen when not everyone on the roster is dialed in and ready to play.

“I think that loss at Corpus kind of lit a fire under us, making us not want to feel that feeling again,” Buggs said. “We’re just doing everything we can to power through games and just push through to get the win.”


Prairie View A&M — Guard Will Douglas had 19 points on six of 12 shooting. Douglas also hit seven of nine at the line. Guard Jeremiah Gambrell produced 18 points, seven of 18 from the field. He hit two of seven from long distance. Tekorian Smith had 10 points, three assists and three rebounds. Kortrijk Miles produced eight points and four steals off the bench.

UTSA — Japhet Medor had 28 points on six of 10 shooting from the floor. He made 16 of 20 at the free-throw line. In a dominant showing, the Roadrunners’ point guard made three fewer free throws than Prairie View made as a team. John Buggs III had a career-high 18 points and hit four of seven from three. Buggs has made 11 of 18 from distance in his last three games. Isaiah Addo-Ankrah also hit four of seven from distance. A long-distance specialist, he started the season three for 23 in his first four games.

Medor’s first half

UTSA unleashed Medor offensively in the first half, and the Florida native responded with a Jhivvan Jackson-like tour de force. Known mostly as a pass-first point guard at Hillsborough College in Tampa, he scored 18 points as the Roadrunners surged into a 36-32 lead.

The San Antonio Spurs' Keldon Johnson. UTSA beat Prairie View A&M 82-75 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

San Antonio Spurs guard Keldon Johnson, seated courtside at the Convocation Center, shares a laugh with a friend at the Prairie View-UTSA game. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Playing man-to-man defense, the Panthers simply couldn’t stay in front of the 6-footer, who consistently drove past his man. When that happened, he usually would draw contact from someone else, the whistle usually would blow, and then he’d go to the free-throw line.

“I was told to be more aggressive, and my teammates helped me out a lot,” Medor said. “They closed out on Buggs a lot, and they were denying a lot, so it made it a lot easier.”

Another issue faced by the Panthers’ defense revolved around 6-foot-11 center Jacob Germany, the Roadrunners’ leading scorer from last year. The Panthers seemed reluctant to cheat off Germany, which gave Medor more room to operate.

Buggs and Medor have been in San Antonio working out together since June. In that regard, nothing that Medor does on the floor in a game will surprise Buggs.

“I see this every single day in practice,” he said. “One way or the other, if he’s not having 10 assists, hey, tonight, ya’ll saw 28 points. There’s nothing he really can’t do. So, it doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Prairie View’s rise

Under Coach Byron Smith, the Panthers forged records of 22-13, 19-13 and 16-5 in three seasons from 2018-19 through the 2020-21. In 2019, they won both the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular and postseason titles and qualified for the NCAA tournament. Last season, they fell off to 8-19. But coming into San Antonio, they had won three of their first four games, including a 70-59 victory last Tuesday at home against Washington State.

Japhet Medor. UTSA beat Prairie View A&M 82-75 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Japhet Medor sank 16 of 20 free throws and scored a career-high 28 points as the UTSA Roadrunners downed the Prairie View A&M Panthers at the Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Prairie View A&M and its big-guard tandem to challenge the UTSA Roadrunners

Jacob Germany celebrates as time runs out. UTSA beat Texas State 61-56 in men's basketball on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany and the UTSA Roadrunners will try to build on momentum as they host the Prairie View A&M Panthers tonight at the Convocation Center. UTSA had its best game of the season last Thursday night in downing the Texas State Bobcats. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Prairie View A&M Panthers will call on a couple of talented big guards to test the improving UTSA Roadrunners tonight.

Six-foot-five Will Douglas and 6-3 Jeremiah Gambrell will lead the Panthers (3-1) against the Roadrunners (3-1) at the UTSA Convocation Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

A week ago today, the two players with a combined 174 games of experience in NCAA Division I basketball paced Prairie View of the Southwestern Athletic Conference to a 70-59 victory on its home court over the Washington State Cougars.

Douglas, a Prairie View newcomer this season, exploded for 26 points and seven rebounds against the Cougars of the Pac-12. Gambrell scored 19.

Earlier, Washington State had downed the Texas State Bobcats, 83-61, on its home court in Pullman, Wash.

By extended comparison, UTSA played its best game of the season last Thursday in knocking off the Bobcats, 61-56, at the Convocation Center.

Against the Bobcats, the challenge for UTSA was to slow down 5-foot-9 Mason Harrell. Harrell scored 20 on the Roadrunners, but a 2-3 zone defense limited most of the rest of the Texas State offensive threats.

In the meantime, UTSA guards Japhet Medor and John Buggs combined for 29 points to lead the victory.

While Medor and Buggs aren’t the biggest guards in NCAA Division I and may not match up well in size compared to most players they’ll see this season — such as Douglas and Gambrell — they’re showing the ability to play at a high level.

In addition, 6-foot-5 UTSA freshman D.J. Richards is also coming along and gaining more confidence, giving the Roadrunners a chance to grow their offensive capabilities with three unique talents.

Medor is a slasher on the dribble, while Buggs and Richards are two quick-release, 3-point shooting threats.

Lately, Medor is the Roadrunners’ biggest problem for opponents. His quickness is hard to defend, even with help.

The Bobcats couldn’t stay in front of him at the end of a closely-contested game, and UTSA ended up winning by five.

UTSA coach Steve Henson applauded Medor for taking what the Bobcats’ defense was giving him. As the game progressed, Texas State’s defense kept extending, putting more pressure on the perimeter.

“Late in the game, it was super-extended and taking away passes,” Henson said. “When Japhet did beat his own guy, there wasn’t much help (to slow him) from getting to the rim, and we needed that. I wish we had two or three guys who could do that.

“We put (Christian) Tucker in there a little in the first half, because he’s a guy that can give us a little penetration. That’s key. They took us out of our stuff. They manhandled us out on the perimeter.

“You just got to get by your guy, which is what Japhet did, and he converted.”

Defending against Douglas and Gambrell could pose problems for the Roadrunners.

Not only is Douglas talented, he’s also experienced. The Memphis native has played in 102 games in his career, including 72 at SMU over four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21. At Prairie View, he played in 26 last season and in four in this, his sixth season as a collegian. Douglas is averaging 19.8 points on 52 percent shooting from the field.

In addition, he’s one of the Panthers’ best rebounders, averaging 5.5. Gambrell, with 72 games of experience in Division I, also brings experience. The Houston native is a fifth-year player, having spent two years at Western Kentucky and the past three at Prairie View. He’s averaging 13 points, two rebounds and two assists.

Coming up

Prairie View A&M at UTSA, tonight at 7, at the UTSA Convocation Center. The Roadrunners host the 210 San Antonio Shootout this weekend. They’ll play Grambling State on Friday night (at 7:30), followed by games against Dartmouth on Sunday (7:30) and Incarnate Word on Monday (6:30).


UTSA (3-1)
Prairie View A&M (3-1)

Prairie View A&M strikes early, holds on late, to down UTSA

Jhivvan Jackson. Prarie View A&M beat UTSA 79-72 on Saturday night at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 30 points for UTSA against Prairie View A&M. It was Jackson’s second 30-point game in a row and his third of the season. — Photo, Joe Alexander

The Prairie View A&M Panthers on Saturday night raced off on a 19-0 streak early in the game and made it stand up late for a 79-72 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

Senior guard Gerard Andrus led the Panthers with 20 points and 10 rebounds to hand UTSA its sixth loss in seven games this season, and its first at home.

After Keaton Wallace scored on a drive to pull the Roadrunners to within three with 29 seconds remaining, Andrus hit four straight free throws to help the Panthers put it out of reach.


Prairie View 3-5
UTSA 1-6

‘A favorable match up’

Prairie View coach Byron Smith said his team brought momentum into the game after beating Central Arkansas in a neutral-site game in its last outing.

The Panthers knocked off the Bears 78-72 in overtime Saturday at Riverside, Calif., in the 2K Empire Classic.

“I think it just kind of pumped us up and we came out and got after it (tonight),” Smith said. “Obviously (UTSA is) a quality team. We felt like it was a favorable match up. UTSA is a good program and they’re going to be a really good team. They’re struggling a little bit.

“We thought our chances were good tonight, and we just got after them. We were ready to play from the opening tap.”

UTSA was hopeful that it had turned the corner after winning its last game, a 90-78 victory last Friday at home against NAIA Wiley College.

Prairie View had other ideas, shooting better than 50 percent from the field in both halves and finishing 30 of 54 for 55.6 percent.

On the other hand, UTSA couldn’t find the basket early against a Prairie View match up zone, allowing the Panthers to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 21-4 lead.

The Roadrunners misfired on eight straight shots during the Panthers’ run, including six 3-point attempts.

Frustration for UTSA

The Panthers, surprisingly, led for the rest of the game in front of an announced 888 fans at the Convocation Center.

“Frustrating,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Just haven’t put together any stretch of days all season where we felt real, real good about things. We were hoping we were taking some little steps this week …

“Hoped we had made enough progress to find a way to win this game. We didn’t.”

A team effort

Several Panthers played well, including Andrus, Darius Williams (15 points) and Lanell Henry (14).

Combined, the threesome hit 19 of 32 from the field.

But it was Andrus who put away the Roadrunners at the end with his free-throw shooting.

Asked if he liked Andrus at the line in tight situations, Smith laughed and said, “I like him anywhere. In an alley fight, he’s your guy. He’s going to step up. He’s going to make plays. He’s got a lot of toughness. He’s overcome a lot. He’s a great kid.”

Jackson scores 30

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson scored 30 points on 11 of 26 from the field. He was 5 of 15 on 3-point attempts.

As a team, the Roadrunners 26 of 67 for 38.8 percent. From three, the Roadrunners struggled again, hitting only 7 of 30 for 23.3 percent.

The Roadrunners have struggled from three all season, making only 28.2 percent.

Wallace shot 4 of 14 from the floor and 0 of 8 from three.

Bynum’s return

In his return to the Convocation Center, former UTSA guard Tamir Bynum scored seven points off the bench for Prairie View.

He hit all three of his shots from the field, including a driving layup with 14:06 remaining that capped a 7-0 run. Prior to the run, the Roadrunners had pulled to within one and were threatening.

Last fall, the former Houston-area high school standout played in nine games for the Roadrunners before transferring to Prairie View at the semester break. He averaged 1.9 points at UTSA.

Bynum has played in eight games for the Panthers this fall, averaging 4.9 points and 1.3 assists.

“Normally you’ve got to sit (out) a year but his mother had been ill, so he got a waiver and he was able to play immediately,” Smith said.

Looking for a second straight victory, UTSA hosts Prairie View

As the UTSA Roadrunners prepare to host the Prairie View A&M Panthers Saturday night at the Convocation Center, they know what needs to happen as they continue efforts to dig out of a 1-5 hole to start to the season.

They need to keep making the defensive stops that turned up the tempo in the second half last Friday night against Wiley College.

They need to run the floor in the open court, move the ball around and let the shots fly with some confidence.

Against Wiley, they did that successfully after the halftime break, scoring 51 points on the NAIA program en route to a 90-68 victory.

Now it’s on to Prairie View, and a chance for UTSA to notch its first victory of the season against an NCAA Division I team.

“I feel like we still haven’t found our identity yet,” UTSA guard Keaton Wallace said. “You know, it’s still fairly early. We still got a lot more games to play. We’re not even close to conference yet.

“But I feel like we still got a lot of work to do. I feel like we haven’t reached our peak. We still got a lot of potential to bring out of this team.

“Throughout these next few practices, these next few games, we’re just going to keep getting better.”


Prairie View A&M 2-5
UTSA 1-5

As many as seven teams from Texas could land NCAA bids

The 11th-ranked University of Houston Cougars and the UT Arlington Mavericks on Sunday will try to join two other programs in the state of Texas as automatic qualifiers in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Prairie View A&M and Abilene Christian qualified Saturday with victories in their respective conference tournament finals.

For Prairie View, it will be the school’s first NCAA appearance in 21 years. Abilene Christian has never made the Division I national tournament.

When the bracket is revealed later today, three Texas-based Big 12 squads likely will make the field.

Texas Tech and Baylor are considered locks, while TCU is probably in, as well, according to bracket projection analysts.

UT Arlington, under first-year coach Chris Ogden, plays Georgia State today in New Orleans for the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic bid.

The Mavericks will not make the NCAA field unless they win, meaning that they have much more riding on their game today than the Cougars.

The Cougars, regular-season champions in the American Athletic Conference, are expected to make the Big Dance as an at-large entry even if they lose today.

Houston is playing in Memphis against 24th-ranked Cincinnati.

Saturday’s highlights

Prairie View rallied from a 13-point, first-half deficit to stun the Texas Southern Tigers, 92-86, in the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game at Birmingham, Ala. Both the Panthers and Tigers shot 55 percent in the second half. Guard Gary Blackston had 17 points and six steals for Prairie View. The Panthers secured the school’s second NCAA bid and its first since 1998.

Abilene Christian routed New Orleans 77-60 at Katy for the Southland Conference crown behind Jaren Lewis, who had 20 points, six rebounds and three steals. The Wildcats moved from NCAA Division II to Division I six years ago. Under terms of the transition, they were ineligible to play in the SLC tournament for the first four years.

Conference USA

Regular-season champion Old Dominion earned the NCAA automatic bid with a 62-56 victory over former San Antonio prep standout Charles Bassey and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.