Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sun Belt Conference tournament preview

This is part 28 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
Texas-Arlington 14-4
Georgia St 12-6
Georgia Southern 11-7
Texas St 11-7
Arkansas St 11-7
Troy 10-8
Louisiana-Lafayette 10-8
Coastal Carolina 10-8
South Alabama 7-11
Arkansas-Little Rock 6-12
Appalachian St 4-14
Louisiana-Monroe 2-16

Tournament format:
New Orleans is the city.  Wednesday March 8 to Sunday March 12.  There's actually an off day on Thursday, who knew.

The matchups:
1) Texas-Arlington vs. 8/9) Coastal Carolina/South Alabama
4) Texas St vs. 5/12) Arkansas St/Louisiana-Monroe
3) Georgia Southern vs. 6/11) Troy/Appalachian St
2) Georgia St vs. 7/10) Louisiana-Lafayette/Arkansas-Little Rock

The stakes:
Up until the very death, I thought UTA had a legit chance at the bubble.  But St Mary's remains its only RPI Top 99 win (ok ok Arkansas St is a Top 100 win for them, but not a Top 99 win).  And they have 4 sub-100 losses, which are too many to have when you don't have depth of wins.  A loss in this conference tourney would likely be the 5th such loss, and that's too many body blows.

Actually a great year for the Fun Belt; RPI 13.  I thought that would mean an extra team in the NIT, but it turns out everyone beat each other up.  No one else buy Arky State could crack the RPI Top 100, and ASU barely at that.  Ga State beat MTSU.  ASU beat G'town.  But as a whole, the conference couldn't keep the wheels on the road often enough.  They were 13th best in the country in a year there was a 12-conference breakaway at the top.

As such, Georgia St, Georgia Southern, and Arkansas St will settle for the CBI/CIT.    Also eligible are Texas St, ULL, and Troy, but the tournaments could be a bit too crowded to fit them all.

1 comment:

HenryMuto said...

Go Texas Arlington!!!!!!!!!