power

We are close to ending the Sun Belt Conference regular season, and that means teams are finally falling into place. The top teams are consistently staying in their spots, while the lower ranked teams are moving up maybe one or two spots.

There weren’t any huge changes this week, but we did see a little bit of movement in the middle of the men’s and women’s tables. As the conference tournament nears, we will see teams vying for position to get the highest seeds possible. That could have a big effect on these power rankings when the regular season draws to a close.

Here are my fifth Sun Belt power rankings for the 2019-20 season:

Men’s Basketball

Little Rock (19-9, 13-4)

Last week’s ranking: 2

Little Rock takes over the top spot again after Georgia State lost two games last week. This week, the Trojans face both Louisiana schools, and it looks like they can strengthen their hold on this spot with two wins there.

Texas State is coming up close behind Little Rock, so expect to see a tight race as we reach the home stretch of the regular season.

Texas State (19-10, 12-6)

Last week’s ranking: 3

Texas State is looking stronger every week, currently owning a four-game win streak. The Bobcats face two tough tests in the next two weeks in UTA and South Alabama, so things could go either way for Texas State.

If the Bobcats can win against UTA, they could take over the top spot, but they could fall to third with a loss against the Mavericks.

South Alabama (18-11, 11-7)

Last week’s ranking: 5

South Alabama moved up two spots because of its current six-game win streak. The Jaguars have picked up convincing wins against every opponent they have faced in the last few weeks.

The Jaguars — projected to finish first in the Sun Belt’s Preseason Poll — seem to be getting hot at the right time of the year. This team could also challenge for the top spot in this poll by the end of the week.

Georgia State (18-11, 11-7)

Last week’s ranking: 1

Georgia State didn’t survive its Texas road trip last week, coming away with two straight losses against UTA and Texas State. That made it easier to move the Panthers below the Bobcats and South Alabama, two teams that have had more positive momentum this late into the season.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Panthers as they face Georgia Southern and Little Rock in their last two games. Two more losses could see them fall at least two spots.

Georgia Southern (17-12, 11-7)

Last week’s ranking: 4

Georgia Southern fell one spot from No. 4 this week. The Eagles were beaten soundly by Texas State before bouncing back with a win against UTA.

I would have kept the Eagles in their original spot, but it felt easier to push them down a spot because of how Texas State and South Alabama have played recently.

Appalachian State (16-13, 10-8)

Last week’s ranking: 7

Ranking Appalachian State and UTA felt a little conflicting because both teams are so similar at this point in the season. I gave the Mountaineers an edge because their upcoming schedule looks more favorable than the Mavericks’ schedule.

If UTA can defeat Texas State this week, expect it to take this spot.

UTA (13-16, 9-9)

Last week’s ranking: 6

Last week, UTA picked up a big win against Georgia State for the first time since 2018. The Mavericks then followed that up with a 20-point loss to Georgia Southern two days later.

Placing the Mavericks in seventh felt right because they have a tougher upcoming schedule than Appalachian State does. Like I mentioned above, UTA can move up with a win over Texas State this week.

Coastal Carolina (14-15, 7-11)

Last week’s ranking: 9

Coastal Carolina moved up a spot this week despite losing its last game against South Alabama. The Chanticleers only lost to the Jaguars by three points. Earlier in these rankings, I mentioned that South Alabama is becoming a tougher team to beat, so the fact that Coastal Carolina only lost by three means a lot these days.

The Chanticleers have two straight road games against Appalachian State and Louisiana; those contests can help decide where Coastal Carolina will rank by the end of the regular season.

Arkansas State (15-14, 7-11)

Last week’s ranking: 8

Arkansas State only fell one spot this week but is in danger of falling lower if its seven-game losing streak grows longer.

The Red Wolves face tough tests in Louisiana and Georgia Southern as the regular season comes to a close. Two more losses there could see Arkansas State fall dramatically.

Louisiana (11-17, 6-11)

Last week’s ranking: 10

Louisiana stayed in the same spot it had last week because it picked up a solid win over Troy, then managed to lose to Louisiana-Monroe a week later.

If the Ragin’ Cajuns can win against Arkansas State, we might see them move up at least one spot. They might stay in this spot if Louisiana-Monroe can win more games.

Louisiana-Monroe (9-18, 5-13)

Last week’s ranking: 12

Finally, Louisiana-Monroe has gotten out of last place. Since I started doing these power rankings, the Warhawks have consistently been cellar dwellers until this week.

The Warhawks are on a two-game win streak, making it easier to rank them ahead of Troy. A big game against Little Rock looms; an upset win would do wonders for Louisiana-Monroe.

Troy (9-20, 5-13)

Last week’s ranking: 11

Troy is now in last place because of its current five-game losing streak. The Trojans also have two tough games ahead of them as they face South Alabama and UTA to close out the regular season.

Two losses there would lock the Trojans into the 12th place spot.

Women’s Basketball

Coastal Carolina (23-3, 13-2)

Last week’s ranking: 1

Coastal Carolina enters these rankings in first place after winning eight straight games. The Chanticleers could lock this spot up by winning their last three regular season games against Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana and Appalachian State. All three of those games are at home.

Expect the Chanticleers to stay in this spot.

Troy (22-4, 13-2)

Last week’s ranking: 2

Troy is keeping up with Coastal Carolina at this point in the season. Unlike the Chanticleers, the Trojans play their last three regular season games on the road.

The Trojans need to win all three of those games to stay in this second place spot.

UTA (16-10, 10-4)

Last week’s ranking: 3

Since losing to Coastal Carolina on Feb. 8, the Lady Mavericks have won three games straight. UTA has a good chance to extend its winning streak with two home games against the Georgia schools this week.

If Troy slips up this week, we could see UTA swoop into second place.

Louisiana (15-10, 8-6)

Last week’s ranking: 5

Louisiana moved up one spot this week thanks to a two-game win streak. The Ragin’ Cajuns have to win their next two games if they want to move up or stay in this spot. The only problem with that is they have to face Coastal Carolina on Feb. 29 on the road.

Things are close between Louisiana and Little Rock, so one slip up could see the Trojans take over this spot again.

Little Rock (11-15, 9-6)

Last week’s ranking: 4

Little Rock fell one spot despite winning its last game. An 18-point loss to Troy early last week helped me place the Trojans in fifth.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Little Rock as the regular season winds down. Home games against Troy and South Alabama could help us see what kind of team Little Rock truly is this season.

South Alabama (13-14, 8-7)

Last week’s ranking: 6

South Alabama stayed in sixth place this week because it couldn’t build on a big win against Arkansas State early last week. A Saturday loss against Little Rock helped me give the Trojans the edge when it came to ranking these two teams.

The Jaguars face Troy and Little Rock in two of their next three games. Losses there could see South Alabama move down a spot or two.

Appalachian State (9-17, 6-9)

Last week’s ranking: 7

Appalachian State, like South Alabama, stayed in its original spot from last week because it couldn’t string together consecutive victories. After defeating Georgia State, the Mountaineers couldn’t pull out a win against Georgia Southern.

I placed Appalachian State above Georgia Southern because the Mountaineers have a higher chance than the Eagles of stringing together consecutive victories.

Georgia Southern (9-17, 6-9)

Last week’s ranking: 10

Despite defeating Appalachian State last week, I placed Georgia Southern one spot below the Mountaineers. The Eagles face a tough Texas road trip this week, and I can’t see Georgia Southern picking up a win over UTA.

The Eagles could stay in this spot with one win, but they could also fall a few spots if Arkansas State can win consecutive games.

Arkansas State (9-17, 6-9)

Last week’s ranking: 8

Arkansas State fell one spot this week because of its current six-game losing streak. Both Appalachian State and Georgia Southern seem to have easier upcoming schedules than the Red Wolves, making it easy to put them in this ninth place spot.

The Red Wolves host their last three regular season games, which is good. Those games are against Little Rock, South Alabama and Troy, which is not good. Arkansas State might fall a few spots by the end of this regular season.

Georgia State (8-18, 5-10)

Last week’s ranking: 9

Georgia State ended up in 10th place this week because it couldn’t build on a four-game win streak. Instead, the Panthers dropped two straight games against Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.

The Panthers have a road trip to Texas this week, and I can see them picking up a victory over Texas State but not UTA. Georgia State might stay in this spot until the regular season ends but only because the teams below it aren’t doing so well.

Texas State (10-15, 3-11)

Last week’s ranking: 11

Texas State stays in this spot because it couldn’t add to a two-game win streak. The Bobcats lost their last game against UTA by 20 points.

The Bobcats are still a better team than Louisiana-Monroe, making it easy to place them in 11th over the last place spot.

Louisiana-Monroe (3-22, 1-13)

Last week’s ranking: 12

Louisiana-Monroe has lost nine games straight. This team can’t seem to get it together. I would expect the Warhawks to stay in this spot until the regular season ends.

@c_amaya7

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

Like our work? Don’t steal it! Share the link or email us for information on how to get permission to use our content. Click here to report an accessibility issue or call (817) 272-3188.
Load comments