The Sun Belt Basketball Tournament is only a day away. Which team will run through the rest of the field and punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament?
Over the past few years, the Sun Belt Basketball Tournament seemed to fall into the hands of the coach and team that cracked the conference’s code the most. That was Head Coach Ron Hunter and his Georgia State Panthers. Well, Ron Hunter left Georgia State at the conclusion of last season to take the Tulane job. That was great news for the rest of the league because it gave them less to worry about.
Since Hunter’s departure, Georgia State has not commanded the league; however, Head Coach Rob Lanier has done well at keeping them competitive in the Sun Belt in his first year. Despite the fact that the Panthers are not commanding the league, nobody has really stepped up to dominate the conference this year.
Now, nobody is dominating the league, but there is a clear favorite heading into the conference tournament. The Little Rock Trojans boast the league’s best conference record of 15-5 and are the #1 seed. The ability of the Trojans to step up this season and place themselves at the top of the Sun Belt Basketball standings has been quite a surprise. After all, in the Sun Belt Basketball preseason poll, Little Rock was not even voted to finish in the top four.
The surprises do not just end with Little Rock. UT Arlington was selected to finish second overall, yet, they are the #7 seed in the conference tournament. Georgia State has also surprised the Sun Belt voters. They were also not picked to finish in the top 4, but they currently hold the #4 seed.
South Alabama and Texas State have also played well in the Sun Belt this season. South Alabama was picked to win the league, and they are currently second behind Little Rock. Texas State has slightly exceeded the expectations of a fourth-place finish by earning the #3 seed.
It may seem a little crazy that the preseason poll was pretty far off from how things went in the regular season, but it all shows the unpredictable nature of this league. NCAA Basketball fans everywhere know that unpredictability is what makes this sport great. So, as unpredictable as this league is, some crazy and even more surprising things may occur in the Sun Belt Basketball Tournament.