With the completion of last weekend’s slate of conference games, both the men and women are about one-third of the way through their Sun Belt schedules. And if anything has been learned so far, it’s that neither side of the league can be sure who will emerge as champion at the end of the season.
For the Georgia Southern men, last weekend brought about the best possible scenario. The Eagles took care of business against UL Monroe on Thursday before erasing an early deficit against UL Lafayette on Saturday en route to a runaway victory. The wins came on the heels of two straight losses for the Eagles (11-7, 5-2 Sun Belt), but last week’s turnaround combined with a pair of losses by previously unbeaten Little Rock to put Georgia Southern in a three-way tie for first place with Little Rock and Georgia State.
In fact, there are three-way ties across the board on the men’s side. From the 5-2 marks at the top of the standings to a trio of 2-5 squads at the bottom every team is still one good - or bad - weekend away from having its season outlook drastically changed.
“We had a lot of guys who didn’t play their best in the first half (of the UL Lafayette game),” GS coach Mark Byington said. “I was impressed with how we bounced back because sometimes you can get stuck in those ruts that last a whole game.”
Most impressive for the Eagles’ defense in their latest performance has been their defense. The Cajuns were playing short-handed, but the GS defense was a brick wall down the stretch, allowing just one made field goal in the final 10 minutes of play.
If the Eagles want to retain their newfound spot atop the standings, they’ll have to do it on the road. Georgia Southern visits Troy on Thursday before heading to South Alabama on Saturday.
The Georgia Southern women are going in the opposite direction for the time being.
The Eagles were one of the league’s biggest surprises as they swept their first two conference games last weekend. Georgia Southern continued to play well on the road last weekend, but dropped games to both Little Rock and Arkansas State.
Contrary to the standings for the men, the women’s table shows some early haves and have-nots, as Texas State and UL Monroe remain winless while Appalachian State and Georgia State have just one league win.
Currently, there are six teams tied atop the women’s standings with a 3-1 conference mark, leaving the Eagles just one game off the pace.
The women’s team will face Troy and South Alabama on Thursday and Saturday just as the GS men’s team will, but the ladies will have the benefit of playing in front of their home fans at Hanner Fieldhouse.