The latest round of Sun Belt games got off to a rough start for both the men’s and women’s teams of Georgia Southern.
For the second time this season, the GS ladies gave conference-leading Coastal Carolina all it wanted for three quarters, only to run out of gas as the Lady Chanticleers ran away with a win at Hanner Fieldhouse. Things were even worse for the men out in Texas as their trip to the Lone Star State began with a 70-55 loss to Texas State in which they trailed by as many as 25 points.
“We came out inconsistent,” GS coach Mark Byington said. “We didn’t make free throws. We didn’t make free throws. We didn’t finish around the rim. I saw about 8-10 minutes of a team I liked in the second half, but we’ve got to have more consistency.”
With just three league games remaining for the men and four for the ladies, neither is improving its potential position in the Sun Belt tournament. The GS women will qualify for the tournament, but will have to win four straight to cut down the nets. The team is currently in 8th place and the 3-10th ranked teams will play the first round and quarterfinals on March 10-11, with two of those teams advancing to New Orleans to take on the top two seeds in the semifinals and championship games.
The first two rounds will be hosted by the third and fourth place teams, meaning that today’s game against Appalachian State will be the final home game for Georgia Southern this season.
The men’s team has had the inside track at a top-2 seed and a free pass to the semifinals for much of the season, but consecutive losses to Appalachian State and Texas State have dropped the Eagles to fifth place.
The Sun Belt has significantly staggered the bracket setup for the men’s tournament. Teams finishing 7-10 will begin play on March 7, with winners traveling to the No. 5 and No. 6 schools on March 9. Those winners will head off to face No. 3 and No. 4 at their respective on-campus sites on March 11, with the winners of those matchups making it to New Orleans for the semifinals.
While the GS men are only a game out of second place in the standings, the team currently trails in potential tiebreakers to nearly every team ahead of it. With that in mind, it might take a clean sweep of their final three games just to make it into the top 4 and save themselves an additional play-in game during the tournament.
The Eagles will attempt to turn things around today at UT Arlington as they go for a season sweep over the Mavericks. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPN+.