Here are the Latest Sun Belt Men’s Tournament Scenarios
With four games to go, virtually nothing has been decided as far as the Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Tournament is concerned.
It's a complicated format beginning on Saturday, March 7, when the #7 seed hosts #10 and the #8 seed hosts #9.
Meanwhile, the #5 and #6 seeds get a bye to the second round where they will play hosts. #5 plays the winner of 8-9, while #6 takes on the winner of 7-10. It's a quick turnaround, as that game will be played on Monday, March 9.
The #3 and #4 seeds get a double bye to the quarterfinals, and will host games on Wednesday, March 11.
Those winners make it to the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, where the top two seeds will be waiting for the semifinals Saturday, March 14 and the Championship game on Sunday, March 15.
Here's where the teams stand with four games to play.
LITTLE ROCK (12-4)--Remaining Games: @ Arkansas State, ULM, Louisiana, at Georgia State. The Trojans were in really good shape, but dropped both of their games in Texas last week. The remaining schedule isn't daunting, with the records of the remaining teams a combined 27-37. If they should stumble in any of the first three games, that last one in Atlanta will be very tough, as the Panthers have only lost once at home this year.
GEORGIA STATE (11-5)--Remaining Games: at UTA, at Texas State, Georgia Southern, Little Rock. The Panthers have the toughest schedule remaining. They swept the Texas schools at home, but both teams in the Lone Star State are playing well. They'll be favored in the final two games at home, but neither is a gimme. Record of the remaining teams: 40-24
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (10-6); Remaining Games: at Texas State, at UTA, at Georgia State, Arkansas State. Georgia Southern stubbed its toe at home vs. Appalachian State on Saturday and that makes their road a bit tougher. Will 2-2 be enough to stay in the top four? Perhaps. But I don't think 1-3 will. Record of remaining teams: 36-28.
TEXAS STATE (10-6) Remaining games: Georgia Southern, Georgia State, at UTA, at South Alabama. The Bobcats have rebounded from a 1-3 start in conference play, as Nijal Pearson continues to stake his claim to Player of the Year honors. Their toughest games are at home and a spot in the top two can still happen. Those two games against Georgia are crucial. Record of remaining teams: 38-26.
SOUTH ALABAMA (9-7) Remaining Games: at Appalachian State, at Coastal Carolina, Troy, Texas State. The Jaguars have gotten themselves in contention for a quarterfinal spot by winning their last four games, albeit very close contests. Their road swing won't be an easy task, and their finale against Texas State could be a must win if they want a chance for a double bye. Record of remaining teams: 30-34.
APPALACHIAN STATE (9-7): Remaining Games: USA, Troy, Coastal Carolina, at ULM. The Mountaineers got a big win against Georgia Southern on Saturday and their schedule is a favorable one, with only South Alabama having a winning conference record, and they get the Jags in Boone...and they already have a win over USA. Record of remaining teams: 23-41.
UTA (8-8): Remaining Games: Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Texas State, at Troy. The Mavs get three of their last four at home, but they are against the #2, 3 and 4 teams. And, Troy is dangerous when they shoot it. Those home games are huge if UTA wants a shot the top four...or wants to avoid the first round. Record of remaining teams: 36-28
ARKANSAS STATE (7-9) Remaining Games: Little Rock, at Louisiana, ULM, at Georgia Southern. The Red Wolves are staggering, having lost five straight. And, they've still got to play the top two teams. That game at Louisiana is going to be huge for Mike Balado's team if they don't want to travel in the first round. Record of remaining teams: 32-32.
LOUISIANA (6-10) Remaining Games: at ULM, Arkansas State, at Little Rock, Coastal Carolina. The Cajuns could avoid the first round by winning three of their last four. Their team is as healthy as it's going to be, but that's no guarantee. A ULM team bent on revenge is first up. Beating Troy was big as it gives the Cajuns a tiebreaker if it comes to that. Record of remaining teams: 28-36.
COASTAL CAROLINA (6-10) Remaining Games: Troy, South Alabama, at Appalachian State, at Louisiana. Coastal has already lost to Troy and that makes their next game a must win. Their other three games are going to be tough. That game against the Cajuns will probably be meaningful, one way or the other. Record of remaining teams: 29-35
TROY (5-11) Remaining Games: at Coastal Carolina, at App State, at South Alabama, UTA. Before you write off the Trojans, remember they've beaten Georgia State (twice), Texas State and Little Rock this season. A win against Coastal gives them the tiebreaker if it comes down to that. But they'll need to win at least one of the other games to have a chance to play in the tournament. Record of remaining teams: 32-32.
ULM (3-13) Remaining games: Louisiana, at Little Rock, at Arkansas State, Appalachian State. The Warhawks are realistically only have a chance to play spoiler. And, the games at home against the Cajuns and Mountaineers have ULM licking its chops. ULM has three home losses by a combined five points. Two of those losses are to the Arkansas schools. They are likely not making the conference tournament, but have a chance to break a couple of hearts. Record of remaining teams: 34-30.