Checking in on the… Sun BeltPosted by rtmsf on January 16th, 2009
Rick Henderson of The Owl’s Nest is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference.
Toppers Move into Two-way Tie for First
We pegged University of Arkansas-Little Rock and Middle Tennessee as the teams to beat this season, and thus far, that is the case. However, Middle Tennessee was defeated last night by the Hilltoppers in a nail biter 61-63. Steffphon Pettigrew’s offensive rebound and subsequent put back with four seconds remaining sealed it for WKU. Unbelievably, the Blue Raiders have not won at Diddle Arena since 1977.
Denver, who was red hot as of late, has recently become ice cold; dropping four of their last five. Most recently, Collin Dennis of North Texas scored 14 points and the Mean Green rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Denver 69-62. Just for the math challenged, that is a 28 point swing. Yikes!
Aspirilla Starting to Shine
Florida International rookie center Freddie Asprilla dominated the paint against two of the Sun Belt Conference’s top programs last week. First, he scored a career- and team-high 21 points when FIU snapped a six-game losing streak in an 81-79 upset victory over the Western Kentucky. But then Asprilla picked up his 7th double-double in points and rebounds, in the last nine games, with 10 points and 12 rebounds on the road at Florida Atlantic. Asprilla has a near double-double average of 13.0 points and 8.5 boards each time out, and leads the SBC in rebounding.
Owls Continue What Could be a Record Slide
FAU can’t buy a win lately. The Owls are on an 0-9 stretch going all the way back to their last win against Southeastern Louisiana on December 13th, 2008. FAU has played a ridiculous 12 games on the road; while only having 6 at home. If this keeps up, Mike Jarvis will enjoy his worst season as a Division I head basketball coach, since going 14-15 with St. John’s in 2000-2001.
Tidbits From Around the League
Middle Tennessee’s Brandon Davis scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead MTSU to a 90-57 rout of Louisiana-Monroe recently.
Kyndall Dykes scored 23 points to lead New Orleans in a 77-56 win over Loyola-New Orleans on Monday night. The Privateers lead the whole way, and a 23-9 first half run put the game out of reach. UNO has been a bit of a surprise story this year given the scoring losses they faced after last season with the departure of Bo McCalebb.
Junior guard Donald Boone led Arkansas State with a 25.5 points per game average in his last two starts, while shooting an impressive 62 percent (18-29) from the floor and 70 percent (7-10) from beyond the arc.