The Teams to Watch Out For

March Madness is near and the Sun Belt Conference championship is here. Let’s take a look at the top five teams heading into the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

University of South Alabama (USA) – behind leading scorers Demetric Bennett 15.3ppg and Daon Merritt 13.1ppg are the number one ranked team in the Sun Belt Conference. The Jaguars are ranked in the top five in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, steals and turnover margin. To be successful in this tournament USA will have to take the ball down the lane, shoot better free throws and block more shots. Let’s take a look at a team who doesn’t have a problem with blocking shots, Arkansas State University.

Arkansas State University (ASU) – the dynamic duo of Adrien Banks 21.1ppg. and Issac Wells 15.4ppg give the Indians the scoring ability to make some noise in this year’s conference tournament. Offensively, the Indians were ranked 1st in field goal percentage and 2nd in 3-point shooting. Defensively, the Indians need to pound the boards and use a “get-in-your-face” style of play. The boys of ASU can bring in the long distance shooting, but they will need to improve their defense to win games in this tournament.

This brings us to one of the hottest teams going into the Sun Belt Conference tournament, Western Kentucky University.

Western Kentucky University (WKU) – going into tournament with a 3-game winning streak and momentum on their side, the Hilltoppers are ranked number one in scoring which should make defenses worried. Behind leading scorers Courtney Lee, 17.3ppg,s and Tyron Brazelton, 13.8ppg, WKU brings good shooting from inside and out. To succeed, the Hilltoppers will need to handle the rock with care, less turnovers, and hit the boards with good defensive rebounds. Though WKU can score, they lack turnovers and defensive rebounds. Together these two categories could cause the Hilltoppers an early exit from tournament play.

Louisiana-Monroe (ULM)- first in the West Conference and the best wining percentage for non-division champs, the War Hawks are ranked in the top five (conference play) in scoring margin, free throw percentage, 3-point field goal percentage mades and offensive rebounds. Behind leading scorers Brown Jonas, 12.6ppg, and Payne Jordan, 12.2ppg, the War Hawks will have to shoot for a higher percentage. Short range shooting will make this team more dangerous than most think. Defensively, they will need to focus on block shots and more rebounds. Rebounds win championships, and if the War Hawks want to win, they will have to provide more of it. Speaking of good rebounding, North Texas University was ranked in top 5 in defensive categories: offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding and block shots.

North Texas University (UNT) – the Mean Green have one of the best defenses in the conference, but they also have the number 2 ranked offense in the conference. Behind Calvin Watson, 14.7ppg, and Kendrick Davis, 13.4ppg, the team lacks supportive help offensively. If they can establish good movement without the ball and good distribution of the rock, the Mean Green can be as dangerous as anyone in the conference. North Texas should use its defensive presence effectivel, and should provide a hard-knocks style of defense.

Other teams to watch for in this tournament are the New Orleans Privateers and FAU. Both teams bring good 3-point percentage shooting and assists to the table. New Orleans and Sun Belt Conference leading scorer Bo McCalebb brings leadership and flash to the tournament, making him one of the most important player to watch. Another player to watch is FAU’s Carlos Monroe. Monroe is 3rd in the conference in points scoring and 1st in the conference in rebounds. Another player to watch out for is the Owls DeAndre Rice. Rice’s outstanding 3-point shooting makes him and Monroe an inside and outside threat. With these two and their supporting cast, FAU is the most dangerous team to watch out for.