The Sun Belt

Turns out I like this league a lot more in the fall than I do in the spring. I watched the shit out of #FunBelt football, but I’m not sure I can count more than once or twice that I actually watched a Georgia Southern basketball game this season. This is a league that I didn’t touch very much with my models bets this spring, in fact only five times in total. It feels like this might be a league that will cost me money, but also teach me a valuable lesson in promising I’d write previews for every small conference. Onward.

When and Where: March 12th-17th at the Lake Front Arena in New Orleans.

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Defending Champ: Georgia State Panthers

Who’s Good: Georgia State

Who’s Sneaky: Texas State, UT-Arlington, Georgia Southern

Who Stinks Out Loud: Little Rock. Troy isn’t much better, but Little Rock has a six game losing streak.

Coolest Team Nickname: Ragin’ Cajuns. This isn’t much of a debate, plus it rhymes, and that’s good enough for me.

Seeding and rules: Top ten teams get in. This is the same set-up as the WCC, with the top two seeds getting triple-byed to the semi-finals, the next two getting double-byed to the quarters, and the five and six seed getting a single bye. The entire thing will be played from Tuesday to Sunday at a neutral arena in the Big Easy.

Multi-Bid League: Negative. If Georgia State were upset, the odds of them getting an at-large are incredibly low. Even lower now with Lipscomb and Belmont failing to nab auto-bids. The bubble is getting awfully damn crowded.

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Breakdown: The stupid “bracket” would appear to makes it awful hard for a long shot to do much of anything since they need to play multiple times before facing a rested top-seed. That said, I think some results I’ve seen so far have shown me to not fall into the biases that go along with automatically backing rested teams, especially in a league with a ton of parity. Just take a look at the WCC where seven and eight seeds Pepperdine and San Diego worked allllll the way from the prelims to the semi finals. Pepperdine is getting murdered as I write this and San Diego is a dog, but I think it’s fair to say that neither of the top seeds here is on the same level as the Gonzagas of the world, and a team could make a run here. Texas State screwing the pooch late in the year and dropping to the four seed adds some extra intrigue to the top half, where they could face the team that snatched the league title from them sooner rather than later.

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My Pick(s): Long story short, I didn’t follow this league all that closely, so I have to just trust my numbers. And they love Georgia State. I argued against it earlier, but the fact that they get to sit around until Saturday can’t hurt them. Not a great price, but all they need to do is win two games and I get to cash it. While they had a nice late season push to get the top seed and regular season championship on the last damn day, their presumptive semi-final opponent, Texas St has been floundering of late, losing three of their last five. Available at +200 at BetUS, taking my money there for a slightly better price.

On the other side, my numbers hate almost everything about the two seed, UT Arlington. A team they do like is the UL Monroe Warhawks. You can find them nestled deep in the prelims, needing only five quick wins, just waiting to strike. I think the fact that the other three teams in the first round range from 50/1 to 100/1 says a lot about the Monroe squad. I’ll tickle them and see what they can do. Another note about these two outrights: they rank #12 and #13 in the whole damn country in 3 point shooting %. *eyes emoji*

Georgia State +200 (0.5x)

UL Monroe (0.15x)