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New playoff format makes Sun Belt Tournament even harder

Posted at 10:04 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 23:58:33-05

LAFAYETTE (KATC) — If the Sun Belt tournament began today the Ragin’ Cajun men and women would face very different battles.

New in 2019 is the introduction of campus sites in the tournament format. In 2020, all but the semifinal and final rounds will be played on the road. Until then, it’s just the opening round and both Cajun basketball teams would be in action.

Currently the seventh seed, the Louisiana men would host Little Rock. The women would go on the road to play at Coastal Carolina.

The campus match-ups add an interesting twist in part because of college basketball’s long history of having a distinct home-court advantage. In 2017, Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis wrote a piece that analyzed home-court advantage in college basketball. While his report showed a decline in winning percentage for home teams, the 10-year averaged showed men’s basketball teams winning nearly 70-percent of home games. That’s good for Bob Marlin’s team.

How does that apply for the Cajun women? Obviously, not favorable. In the Sun Belt, as of this piece, home teams are 82-47, winning nearly 65 percent of games.

“To me It’s going to be different,” said women’s coach Garry Brodhead. “It’s going to be more difficult if you finish ninth or tenth. We’re still fighting for that. It’d be great to get up to sixth. I don’t know. We have some winnable games coming up that will be important.”

Louisiana basketball plays UL-Monroe on Saturday. The men host a Warhawks team it lost 99-95 to in January, while the women travel to Monroe. The Cajuns won the first match-up 52-45.