Sun Belt Conference Tournament Preview and Predictions

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Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Photo Credit: South Alabama Athletics

March Madness is here! Today, a few of our writers will be giving their thoughts on the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Writers:

Aram Cannuscio

Pat McMahon

 

Full Bracket:

1st Round:

#8 Louisiana vs. #9 Arkansas State

#7 UT-Arlington vs. #10 Coastal Carolina

2nd Round:

#5 Georgia Southern vs. #8 Louisisana/#9 Arkansas State

#6 Appalachian State vs. #7 UT-Arlington/#10 Coastal Carolina

3rd Round:

#4 Georgia State vs. #5 Georgia Southern/#8 Louisisana/#9 Arkansas State

#3 Texas State vs. #6 Appalachian State/#7 UT-Arlington/#10 Coastal Carolina

4th Round:

#1 Little Rock vs. #4 Georgia State/#5 Georgia Southern/#8 Louisisana/#9 Arkansas State

#2 South Alabama vs. #3 Texas State/#6 Appalachian State/#7 UT-Arlington/#10 Coastal Carolina

 

Who will win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament?

Aram: #2 South Alabama (20-11, 13-7 in the Sun Belt)

South Alabama has won 8 straight games and is heading into this tournament with the 2nd seed and three straight byes straight until the Semifinals. They have a deep team and have four players averaging over 11 points per game. I like South Alabama to take home the title in this tight conference race.

Pat: #2 South Alabama (20-11, 13-7 in the Sun Belt)

Ever since watching them give Auburn all they could handle back in November, I’ve been a big fan of the Jaguars. They’re big, athletic, and deep and don’t really look like a mid major team. Senior big Josh Ajayi has led the way for South Alabama this year, but the Jaguars have several other scoring options in a very balanced offensive attack. On paper they have the best team in the conference, but looked like they weren’t focused in a few conference losses which cost them the one seed. However, I think they’ll be locked in all tournament with a ticket to the big dance on the line, and get the job done in New Orleans.

Which team is a Dark Horse Candidate to take home the title?

Aram: #8 Louisiana (13-18, 8-12 in the Sun Belt)

Louisiana has some great talent on their roster including Jalen Johnson. He’s averaging over 15 points per game on a team that can score with anyone. It’s a very long road for Louisiana, but if they can get hot and win their first game, there’s a chance they can shock some teams in the Sun Belt.

Pat: #4 Georgia State (19-12, 12-8 in the Sun Belt)

The Panthers ended the season with a win over regular season champ Arkansas-Little Rock, proving they can play with anyone in the league. What makes them an intriguing team is their ability to score the ball – they led the league in scoring in conference play and are 22nd in the nation in points per game overall. Getting stops will be the issue for Georgia State, but if they can figure it out on defense they’ll be dangerous.

Who is one player that NBA teams should keep an eye on?

Aram: Jalen Johnson, Junior F – Louisiana

I know I’ve just mentioned him, but Jalen Johnson is an intriguing player to keep an eye on. He’ll certainly stay one more year at Louisiana as he can really turn some heads if he gets that 3PT% up from the 28.4% that he currently sits at.

Pat: Trhae Mitchell, Senior F/G – South Alabama

Mitchell is an extremely athletic wing who can score and defend, and leads the conference in blocks at 2.1 per game despite only being 6’6. His versatile game is a big reason South Alabama is such a dangerous team, and if they get in the big dance don’t be surprised to see him playing lock down defense or dunking on a high major team.

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