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Get To Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: Southern Jaguars

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The matchup we’ve long awaited

NCAA Basketball: Southern at Baylor
Hey, look, it’s Southern guard Eddie Reese.
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll peel back the curtain for you fine folks before we learn about Southern. All the AE writers are in a GroupMe chat together. It’s nothing too fancy, but occasionally we’ll bring up who’s writing what article and it’ll be on a first come, first served basis. This preview was brought up and for the first time there was a dispute over who would write the preview.

Actually, dispute isn’t the right word. I just wanted to write this one even though Besay expressed interest first. It’s not for a lack of trust in his writing skills, as I think he’s enormously talented. I simply have a relationship with the Southern Jaguars that I wanted to put into words (this is what we in the industry call a “tease”), so I mentioned it and he let me have it without any argument. I would do the same if the situation were flipped. We get along quite well.

This probably isn’t interesting to you, but I found it funny that out of all the high profile games Marquette has had over the last year and a half, previewing a low-level SWAC team was the first time two of the writers here had to work out who would get to write the article.

Name: Southern University and A&M College, but we just call them Southern

What Does A&M Mean Again? I don’t know. No, really, their Wikipedia page does not explain it in the summary paragraph and I’m not trying harder than that to figure it out.

Can You Look It Up? No.

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Cue the Garth Brooks fiddling riff.

Best instrument solos to start a song:

3. Fiddle

2. Electric guitar

1. Saxophone. See the intro to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Run Away With Me for immediate proof.

Mascot: Jaguars. In my opinion, they should be the Belles.

Established: April 1, 1880. Pretend I came up with a clever joke connecting this school and April Fool’s Day.

The story of its founding is that PBS Pinchback, Theopile T Allain and Henry Demas (I swear to God these were their real names) founded the school for recently freed people of color.

Enrollment: 6,617

Notable Alumni: Lou Brock, who compiled the most stolen bases over an MLB career before having his record broken by Rickey Henderson; Avery Johnson, the current Alabama basketball coach; jazz musician Branford Marsalis; Randy Jackson, the American Idol judge that called everyone “dog;” and then a bunch of local politicians, including Kip Holden, the first black mayor of Baton Rouge.

Current KenPom Ranking: #336

Ew. Yeah, I know. Let’s talk about the good parts about Southern.

Like what? They were the first school to have a live mascot on campus. It was a jaguar named Lacumba, meaning “The Heart of Africa”. This is not to be mixed up with La Cumbia, which is a dance popular in the Caribbean region of Colombia

Southern also has the greatest band in the history of music. If you want to briefly strap on your Memory Hat, you’ll recall that Southern won the SWAC Tournament in 2013 and earned the right to play Kelly Olynyk’s Gonzaga team as a 16 seed. They played Gonzaga well, had the dang thing tied with four minutes to play and ended up only losing by 6. No one cared about that, though, because the Southern band became the highlight of the first weekend.

They’re called The Human Jukebox, which is cool as hell. They hyped up the crowd during every TV timeout and wore this. Seriously, click that link and check it out. That’s straight out of the year 2001 and brought right to 2013. It was amazing. I was captivated during the entire game. I wish they could’ve been the first 16 seed to beat a 1, because that band deserves every bit of recognition they get. Please go check out their YouTube channel, because they deserve twice as many views as they currently have, no matter what that total is right now.

Why Is The Band Of A 16 Seed From 5 Years Ago Worthy Enough To Take Up Part Of Your Brain’s Precious Capacity For Memory?: Because Southern’s first game after this performance was opening the 2013-2014 season against YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles at the recently deceased Bradley Center. It was also the first ever Marquette basketball game that I ever attended. It was my first semester as a student and I never went to a game during any of my visits, so that was my first in-person experience with the team.

My 4 years at the school overlapped with 4 massively disappointing years for the basketball team, by our own standards. They weren’t disappointing on that first Friday night, though. [Editor’s note: Mostly. Southern was still good the next year and MU won by 7.] The team was ranked and riding the wave of an Elite Eight run and I wanted to taste as much of that cool breeze as I could. I got to the stadium an hour and a half before tip and pondered the endless possibilities. Maybe I could travel to the Final Four. Maybe even witness a title. And it was all going to start with Southern.

That’s A Lot Memories Associated With A Random SWAC School: I know. They’re just one of those teams that exists in a special crevice of my heart. It’s a space that can’t be occupied by the teams I’m dedicated to. I’ll never know what type of offense they run, but this random collision of place and time inscribed their name on me forever. It’s not just Southern, either. I feel this way about New Mexico, UW-Green Bay, Manhattan, Iona, Southern Illinois, La Salle, and Stony Brook.

I’m curious about if this is a thing with other people. If you, the loyal reader, have this type of relationship with teams that don’t make logical sense, put them in the comments so I can share your joy when they succeed.

Are You Ever Going To Go In Depth About The Basketball Aspect Of This Game? Nah, they suck. They’re 1-11 this year, and the win is against a non-D1 team. They have two sub-300 losses on the year. They lost by 50 to Louisville. If Marquette is a team that has beaten three teams that were ranked in the top 15 at the time of the game in the month of December, they should be able to handle Southern with zero difficulty and we’re not going to spend time on the ins and outs of what to expect.

I’m also going to this game. I haven’t been to the Fiserv Forum yet, so I’m excited to see what it’s like. If you want to find me, I’ll be in the student section. There’s a 0% chance that I’ll be sober, and I’ll likely be more concerned with trying to find a way to ask Wojo why he subtweeted me, but I’ll happily sign autographs and tell your children to ditch school and steal cigarettes.