LAFAYETTE — Bob Marlin joked Monday that he got dizzy reading all the Sun Belt Tournament scenarios on the team's ride back from Little Rock. After all, there is only one that really matters.
If Louisiana ends the season Tuesday night with a win, they are guaranteed to host an opening round Sun Belt Tournament game. It would be played at 11:00 a.m. as the Cajundome is booked for a 2:00 p.m. women's basketball game, and a 7:00 p.m. show from the Harlam Globetrotters.
Louisiana enters its season finale against Coastal Carolina tied for ninth in the Sun Belt, effectively tenth because the Cajuns lose the tie-break with Arkansas State. Coastal Carolina ranks eight in the Sun Belt. If Louisiana beats Coastal on Tuesday night, the Cajuns would move to 8-12 in conference play. Coastal would fall to 8-12 and Louisiana owns the head-to-head record and would rank eighth, hosting a game Saturday. Even if Arkansas State were to win, and also have an 8-12 record, the Cajuns would own the head-to-head among the three tied teams.
If Coastal beats Louisiana, the Cajuns will finish tenth based on losing a the head-to-head with the Red Wolves, regardless of their result with Georgia Southern.
Who would the Cajuns face? That's where things can get a little messy. Below is the full verbiage provided by the Sun Belt with all the playoff scenarios.
*Provided by Sun Belt Conference
Texas State (20-10, 13-6) controls its own destiny in its final game but faces a tough road challenge at South Alabama (19-11, 12-7). The Bobcats can take the No. 2 seed and a bye to the tournament semifinals with a win on the Jaguars' home court. South Alabama sits tied for third with Georgia Southern (18-12, 12-7), which hosts Arkansas State (15-15, 7-12).
South Alabama takes the No. 2 seed either in a two-way tie with Texas State or three-way tie with Texas State and Georgia Southern. With a loss, the Jaguars could fall to as low as the No. 5 seed. South Alabama enters its regular-season finale on a league-leading seven-game winning streak.
Georgia Southern and Georgia State (18-12, 11-8) can finish no higher than the No. 3 seed and no lower than the No. 5 seed as both teams have secured the right to host their respective first Sun Belt Tournament game.
Appalachian State (16-14, 10-9) has clinched the right to host its first game, whether it is a first-round or second-round game. The Mountaineers can finish as the No. 6 or 7 seed based on their result at ULM (9-19, 5-14) and the outcome of UTA (13-17, 9-10) at Troy (9-21, 5-14).
UTA is in a similar position, earned the right to host but could be as high as the No. 6 seed. The Mavericks hold the tiebreaker over Appalachian State but could fall to as low as the No. 8 seed with a loss.
Coastal Carolina (15-15, 8-11) is sandwiched between one game behind UTA and one game ahead of Arkansas State and Louisiana. This cause for several scenarios involving the Chanticleers finishing as high as the No. 7 seed and as low as the No. 10 seed.
Arkansas State holds the tiebreaker over Louisiana in two-team or three-team scenarios. The Ragin' Cajuns need to grab the win at Coastal Carolina and hope for a Red Wolves' loss to move to as high at the No. 8 seed and host a first-round game.
NEW TOURNAMENT FORMAT
*Provided by Sun Belt
The 2020 Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship is set to feature a 10-team bracket with first-round games on Saturday, March 7, second-round games on Monday, March 9 and quarterfinal games on Wednesday, March 11 hosted by the higher seeds on campus sites. The four men's teams that advance from the quarterfinals will then converge on New Orleans and the Smoothie King Center, home of the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, for semifinals games on Saturday, March 14 and championship game on Sunday, March 15. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receive byes directly to the semifinals. First-round, second-round, quarterfinal and semifinal games are set for live coverage on ESPN+. The championship game is set for Sunday, March 15 at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Tuesday, March 3
*Little Rock at Georgia State (ESPN+), 6 p.m.
*Arkansas State at Georgia Southern (ESPN+), 6 p.m.
*UTA at Troy (ESPN+), 6 p.m.
*Appalachian State at ULM (ESPN+), 7 p.m.
*Coastal Carolina at Louisiana (ESPN+), 7 p.m.
*Texas State at South Alabama (ESPN+), 7 p.m.