College sports fans took a trip down memory lane on Monday night as the men’s Elite Eight got underway. Of the four teams in action, three programs used to be members of the historic Southwest Conference, or SWC.
Houston, Arkansas and Baylor were all on the court in Indianapolis on Monday, with the latter two squaring off in the nightcap. All three were formerly members of the SWC at various times during the 20th century.
Baylor and Arkansas were both original members of the since disbanded conference at its inception in 1915. The Razorbacks left the SWC for the SEC in 1991, while the Bears lasted until 1996, when the group dissolved. Houston joined much later, participating for only 24 years, from 1972 to 1996.
All three schools drummed up excitement for the formerly beloved conference on Monday. Houston quickly punched its ticket to the Final Four with a 67-61 victory over Oregon State, while Baylor and Arkansas battled in a high-scoring first half for the chance to meet the Cougars in the National Semifinals next week.
Either way, two former SWC teams will play one another in the Final Four, guaranteeing a former Southwest Conference member a spot in the national title game.
The college sports world was thrilled once that revelation became clear.
Obscure rule you probably didn't know: if Houston beats Arkansas or Baylor in the Final Four, the SWC is required to get back together. pic.twitter.com/TlvEM1dwsN
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) March 30, 2021
-Houston is in the men's Final Four
-Baylor or Arkansas will be, too
-Rice won the WNIT
Bring back the Southwest Conference
— Chris Vannini 😷💉 (@ChrisVannini) March 30, 2021
Both @RazorbackMBB and @BaylorMBB have uncommon fight and toughness. I don’t expect either team will give an inch. If you are soft you cannot play in a game like this. 2 old SWC rivals gonna go at it for 40 minutes
— Jimmy Dykes (@CoachJimmyDykes) March 30, 2021
Nearly five minutes in the game and all Arkansas has is a 45-yard FG by Steve Little. Grant Teaff's squad came to play. It's 15-3 Baylor with 15:18 left in the half. #SWC
— Andrew Hutchinson (@NWAHutch) March 30, 2021
Overall, it’s been a solid showing for the SWC, with three teams in the Elite 8 and seven former members making the Big Dance. It’s possible that when all is said and done, a former Southwest Conference powerhouse could be the 2021 college basketball national champion.