First off, we will begin this week’s recap of the shocking upsets that occurred on the women’s side of the Sun Belt. The top 3 teams in the SBC all fell last week, closing the gaps in the standings. Georgia State fell at home to a winless in conference play UT-Arlington squad giving the Lady Mavs their first victory with a score of 67 to 51. Also second ranked Western Kentucky allowed the Texas State Lady Bobcats to storm into Bowling Green and hand them the loss as well, with a score of 72 to 63. Last but not least, number one ranked Lady Red Wolves visited the Lady Trojans of Troy. They wouldn’t be allowed to steal the win as Troy defend their home court, knock off A-State 83 to 65. All three of these teams will look for redemption this week as they seek to secure their spot atop the SBC standings.
Now we will shift to the Men’s side of things where the match ups were just as intense.
First off I’d like to talk about UT-Arlington’s two match ups this week as they have began to assert their physicality and impact here in the SBC. Thursday the Mavericks took on the Hilltoppers in BG, and gave WKU all they could handle. For most of the game it look as UTA could pull out the win, until the Top snuck in late to grab the win. That game ended with a final score of 77 to 72. The Mavericks also hosted Georgia State, and once again gave a top SBC team all that they could handle. UTA gave the Panthers quite the scare as things were all tied up at the end of regulation, however their fight would give out as GSU would continue their streak and hand them the loss in OT with a final score of 101 to 91. Although the Mavericks went 0-2 on the week, they only lost by a combined 15 points to two very good SBC teams. I look for this Maverick squad to only get better as they continue in conference play, and as I said last week in WKU’s post game article, I wouldn’t want to play this team come tournament time.
Next game I’d like to talk about is Arkansas State visiting the middle of the SBC Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, and although ULM is more towards the bottom of the Sun Belt, they didn’t let up as they knocked off third ranked Redwolves in a good fashion. The Warhawks led for most of the second half and wouldn’t let up as they cruised to a 72 to 65 victory. With the outcome of the game both teams go .500 in conference play at the end of that game, and the trend of an average Sun Belt field continues to get stronger and stronger.
The battle of the Pelican state went down as Louisiana-Monroe traveled to in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin Cajun’s would be relentless with the Warhawk squad and would stand their grand at home with a victory of 66 to 50. Both ULL and ULM would go 1-1 on the week, and like I said above, making the standings closer and a more average SBC. Practically, the SBC is the same, except for the few outliers of the group as standings go.
Now for the upcoming games this week, first on the slate is Georgia State and Arkansas-Little Rock. GSU has had some slip ups here of late and their 12 game win streak is definitely in jeopardy as the Trojans are a team that can go off at any given time. Things will commence at 7PM Thursday and are a definite watch!
Next up, if you aren’t tuning into the previous game check out the matchup of up and coming UT-Arlington hosting the Ragin Cajuns. The Mavericks are hungry and want the win after two close finishes this past week, and the ULL could be the perfect answer to feed the hunger. Make sure to keep an eye on this contest as all the action tips off Thursday at 7:30 PM.
Last but not least, your Saturday evening entertainment should definitely feature Western Kentucky traveling to Little Rock to take on the Trojans. This matchup featured a close one the first go-around with UALR capping off the win in OT. I look to see the same closeness and physical grudge match we saw last time in this contest as well. The Hilltoppers enter with a 5 game win streak and definitely want to add the number six to catch up with the Panthers from GSU. So don’t forget to grab a fellow sports fan and enjoy what is sure to be an awesome game! Things tip-off at 7PM!
Well that about does it for this weeks edition of the SBC Roundball Roundup! We hope you enjoy the Sun Belt’s hardwood match ups this week! Until next week, stay classy, SBC!