Handicapping Georgia State’s Sun Belt tourney chances

Georgia State head basketball coach Ron Huner. (Doug Roberson / AJC)

Georgia State head basketball coach Ron Huner. (Doug Roberson / AJC)

Georgia State, the Sun Belt’s defending regular season and tournament champs, is in some danger of not finishing among the league’s top eight teams and therefore not being eligible to compete in the conference tournament in New Orleans.

The Panthers have lost six of seven, seven of nine and will host Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday in a pivotal game.

But the odd thing about the Sun Belt this season is the parity.

Mathematically, the Panthers still have an improbable shot at tying Arkansas-Little Rock for the regular season title.

Realistically, the Panthers could still finish anywhere from third to ninth.

Let’s take a look at the teams that I think are in play and analyze where Georgia State will likely finish.

Georgia State’s remaining schedule

Feb. 18 vs. league-leaders Arkansas-Little Rock (12-2), which it lost to 63-53 in their first meeting.

Feb. 20 vs. sixth-place Arkansas State (7-7), which it lost to 75-69 in overtime.

Feb. 23 at Georgia Southern (7-7), which it defeated 69-66 in overtime.

Feb. 27 vs. Appalachian State (4-9), which it lost to 76-67.

March 3 at second-place Louisiana-Lafayette (10-4), which it lost to 87-54.

March 5 at third-place Louisiana-Monroe (9-5), which it defeated 65-51.

Record against remaining teams: 2-4.

Record of remaining teams: 48-35.

Record in last five games: 1-4.

Texas-Arlington (8-5)

Feb. 18 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, which it lost to 90-75

Feb. 20 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, which it lost to 99-88

Feb. 25 at Arkansas-Little Rock, which it lost to 68-62

March 1 vs. Texas State, which it defeated 65-53

March 3 vs. South Alabama, which it lost to 88-85 in overtime

March 5 vs. Troy, which it defeated 90-63

Record against remaining teams: 2-4.

Record of remaining teams: 40-39.

Record in last five games: 3-2, including three consecutive wins.

Georgia Southern (7-7)

Feb. 18 vs. Arkansas State, which it defeated 71-66.

Feb. 20 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock, which it lost to 80-67.

Feb. 23 vs. Georgia State, which it lost to 69-66.

Feb. 25 vs. Appalachian State, which it defeated 101-100.

March 3 at Louisiana-Monroe, which it defeated 66-51.

March 5 at Louisiana-Lafayette, which it lost to 74-65.

Record against remaining teams: 3-3.

Record of remaining teams: 48-33.

Record in last five games: 4-1.

Arkansas State (7-7)

Feb. 18 at Georgia Southern, which it lost to 71-66.

Feb. 20 at Georgia State, which it defeated 75-69.

Feb. 25 vs. Texas State, which it lost to 78-68.

Feb. 27 vs. Texas-Arlington, which it lost 91-64.

March 1 at Arkansas-Little Rock, which it defeated 76-73.

March 5 at Appalachian State, which it lost to 86-72

Record against remaining teams: 2-4.

Record of remaining teams: 44-41.

Record in last five games: 1-4.

South Alabama (6-8)

Feb. 16 vs. Troy, which it defeated 66-58.

Feb. 18 at Appalachian State, which it defeated 73-60.

Feb. 25 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, which it lost to 100-68.

Feb. 27 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, which it lost to 92-82.

March 3 at Texas-Arlington, which it defeated 88-85 in overtime.

March 5 at Texas State, which it lost to 78-67.

Record against remaining teams: 3-3.

Record of remaining teams: 38-44.

Record in last five games: 3-2.

Texas State (4-9)

Feb. 18 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, which it lost to 72-59.

Feb. 20 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, which it lost to 80-54.

Feb. 25 at Arkansas State, which it defeated 78-68.

Feb. 27 at Arkansas-Little Rock, which it lost to 77-74.

March 1 at Texas-Arlington, which it lost 65-53.

March 3 vs. Troy, which it lost to 66-57.

March 5 vs. South Alabama, which it defeated 78-67.

Record against remaining teams: 2-5.

Record of remaining teams: 55-42.

Record in last five games: 1-4.

Appalachian State (4-10)

Feb. 18 vs. South Alabama, which it lost to 73-60.

Feb. 20 vs. Troy, which it defeated 75-71.

Feb. 25 at Georgia Southern, which it lost to 101-100.

Feb. 27 at Georgia State, which it defeated 76-67.

March 3 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock, which it lost to 81-55.

March 5 vs. Arkansas State, which it defeated 86-72.

Record against remaining teams: 3-3.

Record of remaining teams: 41-40.

Record in last five games: 0-5.

 

As you can see Georgia State has the second-toughest remaining schedule and has among the worst records against the remaining teams.

So, that’s not good.

But here are some of the things that are working in Georgia State’s favor.

Even though the Panthers are sputtering, so are Arkansas State, Texas State and Appalachian State. The Panthers have massive games against the Red Wolves and Mountaineers. The game against App could clinch a spot in the Sun Belt.

Also helping Georgia State is the fact that Texas State faces the most difficult schedule.

As badly as it is playing, it seems improbable that the Panthers won’t make it to New Orleans.


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