Sun Belt Tournament Preview
The Fun Belt has certainly lived up to its name this season, we have a jumble at the top of the league and just a few games separating the teams between 5th and 10th. Georgia State and coach Ron Hunter are the defending champs and look to have another good team this year, but we have plenty of challengers looking to win the automatic bid.
2018 Champion: Georgia State
1-seed Georgia State Panthers 22-9 (13-5)
This team can score. They have five guys who average double figures and four of them shoot 40%+ from 3. The problem is their highest scorer, D’Marcus Simonds, is a volume shooter who shoots it just 29% from beyond the arc. If Simonds can be efficient this team will roll through, any defense they get is gravy.
2-seed UT-Arlington Mavericks 16-15 (12-6)
Brian Warren and Edric Dennis are the two best players and it’s not really that close. The Mavericks rely on the two for all their offense and they don’t get much overall offense. The defense is strong for UT-Arlington. The Mavs also shoot the 3 poorly, so they need to turn teams over to get easier baskets.
3-seed Georgia Southern Eagles 20-11 (12-6)
The home of the real Adrian Peterson, Georgia Southern runs a high tempo offense and score it pretty well. One of the best names in all of college basketball, Tookie Brown leads the team in scoring and this team shoots over 50% from the field. They force turnovers well and average 8 steals a game. The 3-point line has not been good to the Eagles, if they can find their shot when they need it they’re going to dance.
4-seed Texas State Bobcats 23-8 (12-6)
The Bobcats are a solid defensive team. The offense isn’t the best and they need to get some easy buckets and run outs to really runaway with the league. Nijal Pearson has had a great season and shoots the ball really well. He will be their key on the offensive end and if they find a 2nd fiddle to him they will be tough to beat.
5-seed Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 19-12 (10-8)
Living up to their name, the Rajun Cajuns love to run. JaKeenan Gant is a baller who has 20+ points, 8 rebounds, and nearly 3 blocks a game. Huge numbers. The key for Louisiana is Marcus Stroman, no not the pitcher, the senior guard from South Carolina. He needs to limit his turnovers and distribute the ball well.
6-seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 15-15 (9-9)
This team is very average in terms of the league. They can score and they play solid defense, but it isn’t consistent. Zac Cuthbertson is easily the best player on this team and they need him to be at his best. They need to cut down their turnovers as well.
7-seed UL Monroe Warhawks 16-14 (9-9)
A great nickname and a great offense, the Warhawks have four players scoring over 12 points a game. Their defense is not good at all though. Daishon Smith needs to continue to play as well as he has in the regular season if they want to make a run.
8-seed South Alabama Jaguars 15-16 (8-10)
A very short rotation is run by the Jaguars and they like to get the ball inside to their forwards. Josh Ajayi shoots the ball very well from all over the floor (56% from the field and 46.7% from 3). Outside of Ajayi the Jaguars are lacking.
9-seed Arkansas State Red Wolves 13-18 (7-11)
Ty Cockfield is one of the conference’s best scorers, he doesn’t shoot it as well as he could, but he scores. This Arkansas State team rebounds the ball well, but they have turnover issues. Get Cockfield going early and he needs to get his teammates involved.
10-seed Appalachian State Mountaineers 11-20 (6-12)
App State scores a ton but they also give up a ton of points. One of those will have to outwork the other if they want to make run at the automatic bid.
South Alabama over Arkansas State
UL Monroe over Appalachian State
Louisiana over South Alabama
UL Monroe over Coastal Carolina
Louisiana over Texas State
Georgia Southern over UL Monroe
Georgia State over Louisiana
Georgia Southern over UT Arlington
Georgia State over Georgia Southern