NEW ORLEANS – The seeds and matchups for next week’s 2017 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, presented by First Bank and Trust and hosted at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La., have been determined following the conclusion of the conference’s regular season on Saturday evening.
The tournament begins on Wednesday, March 8, and ends with the championship game on Selection Sunday, March 12. All games of the tournament will be available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Sunday’s championship game slated for a national broadcast at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
The UTA Mavericks (24-7, 14-4) clinched the outright regular-season title, the No. 1 seed and a first round bye to the tournament’s quarterfinals earlier this week with back-to-back wins against Troy and at ULM. The Mavericks’ outright Sun Belt men’s basketball title is their first in school history.
Entering Saturday, only UTA’s spot as the No. 1 seed had been determined, which meant the remaining 11 seeds all came down to the final day of the regular season. Three teams were tied for second entering Saturday, with two more just a game behind, which put six teams in position to claim the three remaining first round byes. Just two games separated the second place teams from the eighth place teams prior to Saturday.
For the third time in the last four seasons, Georgia State (19-11, 12-6) earned one of the top two seeds in the tournament after it defeated rival Georgia Southern 72-67 on the final day of the regular season to lock up the No. 2 seed. The No. 3 seed Georgia Southern (18-13, 11-7) earned one of the top four seeds in the tournament for the second time in three seasons. Texas State, which will play in its third consecutive tournament but first with a first round bye, earned the No. 4 seed after a 70-65 win at ULM in the regular season finale.
The top four seeds all earned byes to the quarterfinal round on Friday, March 10.
The tournament tips off on Wednesday, March 8 with four first round games. No. 8 seed Coastal Carolina (15-16, 10-8) vs. No. 9 seed South Alabama (14-17, 7-11) begins the day at 11:30 a.m. CT with No. 5 Arkansas State (20-11, 11-7) vs. No. 12 ULM (8-23, 2-16) to follow at 2 p.m. CT. The night session will pit No. 7 seed Louisiana (20-11, 10-8) vs. No. 10 seed Little Rock (15-16, 6-12) at 5 p.m. CT and No. 6 seed Troy (18-14, 10-8) vs. No. 11 seed Appalachian State (9-20, 4-14) at 7:30 p.m. CT.
The winners of Wednesday’s opening round games advance to Friday’s quarterfinals with games slated for 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. CT. Saturday’s semifinals will tip at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. CT and the championship game is set for a 1 p.m. CT tip on Sunday, March 15. The title game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
2017 Championship Schedule
Wednesday, March 8 (First Round)
G1: No. 8 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 9 South Alabama (ESPN3), 11:30 a.m. CT (ESPN3)
G2: No. 5 Arkansas State vs. No. 12 ULM, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
G3: No. 7 Louisiana vs. No. 10 Little Rock, 5 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
G4: No. 6 Troy vs. No. 11 Appalachian State, 7:30 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
Friday, March 10 (Quarterfinals)
G5: No. 1 UTA vs. Winner G1, 11:30 a.m. CT (ESPN3)
G6: No. 4 Texas State vs. Winner G2, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
G7: No. 2 Georgia State vs. Winner G3, 5 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
G8: No. 3 Georgia Southern vs. Winner G4, 7:30 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
Saturday, March 11 (Semifinals)
G9: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN3)
G10: Winner G7 vs. Winner G8, 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Sunday, March 12 (Championship Game)
G11: Winner G9 vs. Winner G10, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
* – All times C T and subject to change
2017 Tournament Seeds and Sun Belt Records
1. UTA (14-4)
2. Georgia State (12-6)
3. Georgia Southern (11-7)*
4. Texas State (11-7)**
5. Arkansas State (11-7)
6. Troy (10-8)***
7. Louisiana (10-8)****
8. Coastal Carolina (10-8)
9. South Alabama (7-11)
10. Little Rock (6-12)
11. Appalachian State (4-14)
12. ULM (2-16)
* – Arkansas State, Georgia Southern and Texas State ended the season with 11-7 conference records. Georgia Southern wins the multiple-team tiebreaker based on a 1.000 winning percentage vs. all of the tied teams (1-0 vs. Arkansas State, 1-0 vs. Texas State).
** – Arkansas State and Texas State ended the season with 11-7 conference records. Upon using the multiple-team tiebreaker to award Georgia Southern the No. 3 seed, Texas State wins the two-team tiebreaker vs. Arkansas State based on a 1.000 winning percentage in head-to-head matchups.
*** – Coastal Carolina, Louisiana and Troy ended the season with 10-8 conference records. Troy wins the multiple-team tiebreaker based on a 1.000 winning percentage vs. all of the tied teams (1-0 vs. Coastal Carolina, 1-0 vs. Louisiana).
**** – Coastal Carolina and Louisiana ended the season with 10-8 conference records. Louisiana wins the two-team tiebreaker vs. Coastal Carolina based on a head-to-head win.