Sun Belt Wrapup & Tourney PreviewPosted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2009
Rick Henderson of The Owl’s Nest is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference.
Final Results Are In
A couple things were expected. And a lot was not. WKU sitting out the first round is no shocker. UALR atop the West was expected as well. But MTSU was expected to do a lot better. Additionally, who would have “thunk” that head coaches Mike Jarvis and John Brady would finish at the bottom of their respective divisions and as 12th and 13th seeds? Wow. Lastly, how does Troy, a team that actually was picked to finish in the basement, obtain a first round bye and sit all alone in second in the East? Weird wild stuff! And, of course, why we all love the sport of basketball. Anything can happen on any given night. And especially over the course of a season. Troy has a decent shot at making it to the finals given they can get past UALR. But WKU will prove a tall order. The Trojans lost both regular season games to the Toppers.
All Sun Belt Team Announced
No surprises here. With a rash of injuries to key early season picks such as Carlos Monroe, Alex Galindo and Russell Hicks, there are a couple fresh faces on the final listing for the most prestigious 1st Team, and individual awards:
- Shane Edwards, UALR (SR, F)
- Nate Rohnert, Denver (JR, G/F)
- Desmond Yates, Middle Tennessee (JR, F)
- Brandon Hazzard, Troy (JR, G)
- Orlando Mendez-Valdez, WKU (SR, G)
Player of the Year: Orlando Mendez-Valdez, WKU
Coach of the Year: Don Maestri, Troy
Minus the eventual tournament winner, it is highly unlikely that a SBC Team, outside of possibly WKU, would be considered for an at-large. And even then, they would seemingly have to get to the finals and lose to the likes of UALR by 1 point. Regardless, most sources have them favored to win it. Although we picked UALR at the start of the season, that was before Steven Moore got the boot, leaving the Trojans without their top scorer when they make the short drive to Hot Springs on March 8th. Now it looks even to us that WKU is poised to take it all, and solely represent the SBC in The Big Dance.
It’s Tournament Time!
Action gets underway tonight with seeds 4 through 13 going head to head on the host team’s home courts. All times are time zone specific.
- 7:00 PM – No. 13 Florida Atlantic at No. 4 North Texas (Denton, TX)
- 7:00 PM – No. 12 Arkansas State at No. 5 Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro, TN)
- 7:30 PM – No. 9 Florida International at No. 8 Louisiana-Lafayette (Lafayette, LA)
- 7:30 PM – No. 11 New Orleans at No. 6 South Alabama (Mobile, AL)
- 8:00 PM – No. 10 Louisiana-Monroe at No. 7 Denver (Denver, CO)
From there, it’s on to Hot Springs, AR, for the final three rounds.