March Madness is a thrilling time for most of the country, but it can be absolutely brutal for several mid-major conferences, who typically send just one team to the NCAA Tournament. This is a challenge many HBCU basketball programs who reside in these one-bid leagues regularly face.

SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland addressed the factors that have prevented substantial growth.

“We have a long way to go,” McClelland said in an interview with Alcorn State broadcaster Charles Edmond, via HBCU Sports' Kendrick Marshall. “A lot of it has to do with the schedule. We’re not going to get there playing eight, nine, 10, 11 game guarantees. We’re certainly not unless you go out and win those games. It’s mathematically impossible for you to go on the road for 11 games in a row and think that you’re gonna win eight or nine of those games.”

The conference has recently expanded and there is more parity nationwide than possibly ever before, but the issues McClelland touch on are likely to persist in the SWAC. Texas Southern represented the conference in the NCAA Tournament seven times since 2014, but have failed to make any headway as a No. 16 seed. They lost 61-84 to Fairliegh Dickinson in the First Four, the team who would ultimately stun Purdue two days later.

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Texas Southern had a rigorous non-conference road schedule, which the smaller programs often commit to for financial purposes. The Tigers played five games against teams who earned an at-large bid in the Tournament, but only boasted an overtime victory over Arizona State.

The others were blowouts. More upset wins will be needed by them and the rest of the SWAC, or the whole season will continue to rest solely on the outcomes of the conference tournament. Texas Southern was the No. 8 seed in this year's, but still punched their ticket to the Dance by running the gauntlet. It might just be a cruel fact of college sports that can never be remedied.

Nevertheless, McClelland will keep trying to elevate the SWAC and all the HBCU basketball teams within it.