Solar Belt Event Bracket, Odds and Picks

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The sun belt holder 2021

The 2021 Sun Belt Conference tournament mount.

  • The Sun Belt Conference tournament begins on Friday March 5th in Pensacola and ends on Monday March 8th with the title game of Florida's Panhandle
  • Texas State was the regular season league champion, but Georgia State is entering the tournament as a favorite
  • See the seeds, bracket, and full tournament preview below

Editor's Note: No online sportsbooks published odds for the Horizon League conference tournament prior to the tournament. Please refer to the SDB College Basketball Odds page for information on individual odds.

The Sun Belt Conference has been one of the most competitive leagues in college basketball this season. That said, the medium-sized conference tournament should be a dandy. The opening round begins on Friday 5th March with the championship game on Monday 8th March. All games in Pensacola are played at either the Pensacola Bay Center or Pensacola State College.

As usual, no Sun Belt program will mark the NCAA tournament as a whole. That means winning the conference tournament is the only shot that leads to March Madness.

Texas State has won seven straight wins and the program’s first regular conference conference crown since 1999 when it was a member of Southland. Meanwhile, Georgia State has won six straight wins and a four overtime non-conference win against NCAA tournament bubble team Georgia Tech.

2021 Sun Belt Tournament Odds

Team (seeds) opportunities
Georgia State (E1) TBD
Carolina Coast (E2) TBD
Texas State (W1) TBD
Louisiana (W2) TBD
South Alabama (E3) TBD
UT-Arlington (W3) TBD
Little Rock (W5) TBD
Appalachian State (E4) TBD
State of Arkansas (W4) TBD
Georgia Southern (E5) TBD
UL-Monroe (W6) TBD
Troy (E6) TBD

Lurking panthers

Georgia State may have finished 2.5 games behind Texas State in the last regular season standings. But the Panthers are the best-rated Sun Belt team with 32 slots (No. 145 compared to Coastal Carolina at No. 177) and have the marathon victory at the season opener marathon 123-120 in four overtime over the Ramblin wreck.

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvRYriD0P_s (/ embed)

Rob Lanier's roster consists of four high school students in Corey Allen, Justin Roberts, Kane Williams, and Eliel Nsoseme, averaging between 14.9 and 11.7 points per game. Allen leads the way in shooting 46.4 percent from the field, while Nsoseme is a down force with averaging 9.9 rebounds per game and his nearly 12 points-per-game clip.

A couple of impressive underclassmen also contribute. Jalen Thomas averages double-digit points per game, while Evan Johnson lost just 28 points in 26 minutes in an 84-81 win over South Alabama this weekend when he won 6-9 from beyond the arc.

The Panthers have played in the last two NCAA tournaments and three of the last five. The program even knocked Baylor off as number 14 in Big Dance 2015. Lanier knows how to finish his team in March and is the deserved favorite.

2021 NCAA Men's Tournament Championship Odds Tracker

Beware the Bobcats

Winning the league's regular season title is an achievement in itself. This is also recovering from an embarrassing loss to NAIA's Our Lady of the Lake 61-58 program, Dec. 12. Terrence Johnson's squad could easily have thrown in the towel at this point.

Our Lady of the Lake Beats NCAA D1 Texas State !!! Let's go!!! https://t.co/C5ukjTEBzJ

– NAIA Hoops Report (@NAIAHoopsReport) December 13, 2020

Everything the Bobcats have done has been 15-3 since then, all with Interim Johnson leading the way. The head coach took over the helm of a program selected to rank fifth in the preseason media survey just before the 2020-21 campaign began after long-time coach Danny Kaspar closed the investigation.

Junior Guards Mason Harrell and Caleb Asberry were the front runners on the floor, averaging over 13 points per game each. Big man Isiah Small doesn't have staggering stats (10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game), but the 6-foot-8 senior from Jersey City is in the top 50 effective field goal percentages, actual shooting percentages and three point percentage in total college basketball.

This group may not have an impressive win over a power conference team like Georgia State (the Bobcats lost to both Mississippi State and Texas), but Johnson's group has been hot and talented.

Not just a football school

The Chanticleer soccer program was ranked 9th last season before eventually ending on an 11-1 record and finishing 14th in the final poll. But the little school in Conway, South Carolina has a pretty good basketball program too. Junior Guard Devante Jones is a big reason for that.

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6t5AMn8nKc (/ embed)

Jones has become one of the best mid-major players in the country with an average of 20.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. This makes him one of the top 100 of four KenPom categories nationwide and fights against Michael Flowers from South Alabama for Player of the Year.

In the meantime, JUCO-Transfer Deanthony Tipler averages an impressive 15.1 points per game. And at depth, the chants have the 6-foot-9 freshman center Essam Mostafa scoring 11.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The players give head coach Cliff Ellis a talented trio and legitimate candidates for conference player, newcomer and rookie of the year.

Teams like Louisiana (who lost to Baylor 112-82 on Nov. 28 and scored the most points the Bears have allowed an opponent this season), South Alabama (with the Flowers mentioned above – who can take over the games at full speed ) and Arkansas State (With newcomer Norchad Omier, who registered 13 doubles this season, everyone has a chance to run a Cinderella run, but I'm going with Georgia State to cut the nets and with the big boys to dance in Indy.

The choice: Georgia State

Blair Johnson

NFL NBA NHL golf NCAAF NCAAB Sports journalist

Sports journalist

Blair Johnson is a seasoned journalist and sports content developer. He has written and produced content for as long as he can remember, with names such as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo! Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.

NFL NBA NHL golf NCAAF NCAAB

Blair Johnson is a seasoned journalist and sports content developer. He has written and produced content for as long as he can remember, with names such as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo! Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.

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