Inexperience could be the biggest opponent for Trojans in Sun Belt Conference tourney
The UALR Trojan Men’s Basketball team will travel to Hot Springs for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament March 8-11, the final time the tournament will be played in Hot Springs, as the SBC has signed a new deal that will move the tournament to New Orleans beginning next season.
The Trojans look to avenge last season’s opening round loss to Western Kentucky. The team has had an up and down season so far, with great comebacks and disappointing losses, but they have been dominant at times in the confines of the Jack Stephens Center. They will attempt to take that level of play on the road and end the season with a strong showing, as they did in the 2011 with the team winning its first SBC Tournament title and earning an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 1990. Gus Leeper is the only player left from that team of only two seasons ago and Ted Crass is the only senior on the roster that the team can draw experience from. Instead, the Trojans will rely of a group of first and second-year players like Michael Javes and Will Neighbour, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding.
The Trojans are currently tied for first place in the West with Arkansas State with both teams sporting an 8-5 conference record. The East has been dominated by Middle Tennessee, which has only lost only one conference game so far (12-1) and are led by guard Marcos Knight and strong overall team play. South Alabama has an impressive conference record (9-4) and are bolstered by forward Augustine Rubit’s team-leading 19 ppg. Even North Texas, despite having a disappointing record (3-10), boasts a prospective future NBA player in forward Tony Mitchell along with talented guard Jordan Williams. Competition will be stiff this year and several teams have players fans will want to keep an eye on. The Trojans hope to leverage the fact that this is the last season they will play close to home before heading down to New Orleans to compete in the tournament next season.
The title game for the Sun Belt Conference will air live on ESPN2, Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m.