Rick Henderson of The Owl’s Nest is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference.
No Sweep for Trio
The talented trio of newcomer Head Coaches John Brady, Mike Jarvis, and Ken McDonald fared differently in first contests with thier programs. Mike Jarvis (Florida Atlantic) gained his first victory as the Owls defeated Monmouth to open the season, while John Brady (Arkansas State) and Ken McDonald (Western Kentucky) dropped contests to Houston and Ole Miss, respectively.
UNO Happy to be Back “Home”
New Orleans will take the court this season in a quite impressive Lake Front Arena now that rennovations are complete from the heavy damage that was caused by Hurricane Katrina. “This is something that has us up to date with the rest of the top college basketball programs,” said Head Coach Joe Pasternack.
Middle Tennessee Pegged by SI.com
Sports Illustrated has the Blue Raiders ranked amongst the Top 10 mid-major powers in a recent article, where they enjoy the company of Gonzaga, Creighton, and Davidson. “Five returning starters have chances to make early statements with games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee,” said Bill Trocchi of The Mid Major Report.
Carlos Monroe, Steven Moore out Indefinitely
Mike Jarvis’ roster experienced a set back recently when Florida Atlantic announced that All-SBC and potential player of the year power foward Carlos Monroe would not be eligible to begin regular season play. The ruling stems from a spring semester academic issue. University administration is working diligently to restore his eligibility.
University of Arkansas-Little Rock sharpshooter Steven Moore has been suspended indefinitely due to conduct detrimental to the team. This is a blow for the Trojans given the fact that Smith drained 42 three pointers; an impressive 43.3%, and third best in the Sun Belt last season.
Busy Early Signing Period for The Belt
November 12th marked the first day of the early signing period, and SBC programs wasted no time landing some talented newcomers. Middle Tennessee inked five, Florida Atlantic three, and Western Kentucky, who is believed to have the top class, signed three as well. “The recent success of Sun Belt teams in the postseason is certainly helping the Conference as a whole in recruiting”, said said Jerry Myer, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com.
Sun Belt Conference teams are doing fairly well (11-10, .524%) so far against non-conference competition. Teams have taken on the likes of mid-major and major powers including Pepperdine, N.C. State, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Houston, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Preaseason All-SBC North Texas point guard Josh White had an impressive 23 points in an 100-88 loss at Oklahoma State on Monday, while Florida Atlantic guard Paul Graham scored a game high 23 in the Owls’ loss to Arizona.
Upcoming Games of Note
Middle Tennessee will host the Tennessee Volunteers, currently ranked 14th nationally, this Friday, November 21st, in Murfreesboro. The game is scheduled to air live on College Sports Southeast (CSS) beginning at 7:00 CST.
Florida Atlantic, just off two games in the desert against Arizona and Santa Clara, will take on Davidson and Stephen Curry on Monday, November 24th.
The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky will take on a very talented Louisville squad Sunday, November 30th at 2:00PM EST in Louisville.