Who has the edge in the Sun Belt race?

Ron Hunter will lead Georgia State against Louisiana -Lafayette on Thursday. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Ron Hunter and Georgia State likely need to win out to get one of the top two seeds in the Sun Belt tournament. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Three teams are within one game of each other atop the Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball standings.

Louisiana-Monroe (10-3) leads, with Georgia Southern (9-3) in second and Georgia State (9-4) in third.

The top two teams at the end of the regular season received byes all the way to the semifinals of the conference tournament, which will again be in lovely New Orleans.

Let’s take a look and see which two of the three teams are most likely to receive those byes.

Louisiana-Monroe’s remaining schedule, with opponent’s record in parenthesis:

Feb. 12 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-6):      Defeated the Cajuns 57-55 in their first meeting.

Feb. 14 vs. Appalachian State (6-6): Haven’t played yet.

Feb. 21 at Arkansas State (4-9): Defeated the Red Wolves 70-61 in their first meeting.

Feb. 26 at South Alabama (5-8): Defeated the Jaguars 67-61 in their first meeting.

Feb. 28 at Appalachian State (6-6): Haven’t played yet.

March 5 vs. Georgia State (9-4): Lost to the Panthers 65-45 in their first meeting.

March 7 vs. Texas State (5-8): Defeated Texas State 62-59 in their first meeting.

Overall opponent’s record: 42-47.

Record against remaining teams: 4-1.

Key games: vs. Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 12 and vs. Georgia State on March 5.

Prognosis: Going to be tough to knock them out of top spot.

 

Georgia Southern

Remaining schedule, with opponent’s record in parenthesis:

Feb. 12 vs. Arkansas State (4-9): Defeated the Red Wolves 73-61 in their first meeting.

Feb. 14 at Arkansas-Little Rock (4-9): Defeated UALR 76-61 in their first meeting.

Feb. 19 vs. Troy (4-9): Lost to the Trojans 75-71 in their first meeting.

Feb. 21 vs. South Alabama (5-8): Defeated the Jaguars 81-73 in their first meeting.

Feb. 26 at Appalachian State (6-6): Defeated the Mountaineers 83-46 in their first meeting.

Feb. 28 at Louisiana-Lafayette (7-6): Defeated the Cajuns 78-70 in their first meeting.

March 5 vs. Texas-Arlington (7-5): Lost to the Mavericks 62-61 in their first meeting.

March 7 at Georgia State (9-4): Defeated the Panthers 58-54 in their first meeting.

Overall opponent’s record: 42-56.

Record against remaining teams: 6-2.

Key games: March 5 vs. Texas-Arlington and March 7 at Georgia State.

Prognosis: The last three games will be critical.

 

Georgia State

Remaining schedule, with opponent’s record in parenthesis:

Feb. 14 at Texas State (5-8): Lost 77-74 in double overtime in their first meeting.

Feb. 19 vs. South Alabama (5-8): Defeated the Jaguars 65-54 in their first meeting.

Feb. 21 vs. Appalachian State (6-6): Lost 74-69 in their first meeting.

Feb. 26 at Arkansas-Little Rock (4-9): Defeated UALR 82-69 in their first meeting.

Feb. 28 at Troy (4-9): Defeated the Trojans 77-72 in their first meeting.

March 5 at Louisiana-Monroe (10-3): Defeated the Warhawks 65-45 in their first meeting.

March 7 vs. Georgia Southern (9-3): Lost 58-54 in their first meeting.

Overall opponent’s record: 43-46.

Record against remaining teams: 4-3.

Key games: March 5 vs. Louisiana-Monroe and March 7 vs. Georgia Southern.

If the Panthers can knock off Texas State and Appalachian State, games they inexplicably lost in their first meetings, it sets up for a final two-game showdown with ULM and Georgia Southern.


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