Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
5E Georgia Southern def. 4W Arkansas State
3E South Alabama def. 6W Louisiana Monroe
3W Texas Arlington def. 6E Troy
5W Little Rock def. 4E Appalachian State
1E Georgia State def. 5E Georgia Southern
3E South Alabama def. 2W Louisiana
2E Coastal Carolina def. 3W Texas Arlington
1W Texas State def. 5W Little Rock
1E Georgia State def. 3E South Alabama
2E Coastal Carolina def. 1W Texas State
2E Coastal Carolina def. 1E Georgia State
Format Note: The Sun Belt Conference used a two-division split to play their season. Teams were apportioned in the conference tournament based on their finish in either the East or West division.
Football season treated the Chanticleers well with their best season ever. Their basketball team hasn’t felt quite the same glory but is also having a memorable season. Junior guard DeVante’ Jones excels in many statistical categories. Among Sun Belt players, he is 1st in steals, 2nd in points per game, 3rd in field goal percentage, 8th in rebounds per game, and 11th in assists per game. As a team, Coastal Carolina is the only group with Top 3 offensive and defensive points per game in conference play. They are also the best rebounding team. Some schools have been bogged down by COVID breaks but after two weeks off, the Chanticleers bounced back winning three straight to close the season. This conference is wide open but dynamic players on strong teams typically show up when it matters most.
The Jaguars offer as much flash as the rest of the conference but have experience against the top teams that could come in handy. At the start of February, South Alabama won seven straight games including three straight against Coastal Carolina and Georgia State. They have the leading scorer in the conference in Michael Flowers who also has the third best three-point percentage. Fortunately, their expected draw in the second round is the worst scoring defense in the conference in Louisiana. With unfamiliarity against half of the field, the Sun Belt feels wide open and South Alabama has the three-point firepower and winning experience to make a run.
Matchup to Watch
Texas State vs Little Rock
The watchability of the Sun Belt is high because of parity but not intriguing because very few of these teams pose any March Madness danger. If you are going to watch an early round game, look for some sort of spectacle. Little Rock’s Ruot Monyyong is a 6’10” forward averaging a double double on the season. Texas State enters the conference tournament on a seven-game winning streak. Fans of “old school” basketball may enjoy that these two teams averaged a combined 11 three-pointers made per game with the two lowest marks in the conference. Sadly, the Sun Belt doesn’t offer too much high octane entertainment so try and find the team to follow in the early rounds.
Featured Image courtesy of goccusports.com
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