Friday, March 4, 2005

Sun Belt Conference Tournament Preview

The regular season went down to the final weeks, and Denver ended up with a one game lead over UL-Lafayette, and a two-game lead over Arkansas Little-Rock. They were the only three teams with 10 wins or more, but overall, the league was a very underrated conference in which several teams had a chance to win on any given night.
Favorites: Denver has the most balanced team in the league, with Yemi Nicholson and Antonio Porch on the interior, and Rodney Billups and and Erik Benzel producing from the perimeter. UL-Lafayette has great size on the wings, and are lead by a great combo in Tiras Wade and Brian Hamilton. Arkansas Little-Rock has one of the best scorers in the league in Brandon Freeman. Richard Hardman is a solid rebounder on the inside.
Sleepers: Western Kentucky finished fourth in the leauge, but are not really an underdog. They have perhaps the best all-around performer in the conference in Anthony Winchester, who combines with Courtney Lee and Antonio Haynes to form a great trio on the outside. Middle Tennessee State was up and down all season, but are the best defensive team in the conference, and have several potent weapons on offense.
Prediction: The Sun Belt has many teams capable of making a run and winning the championship, but two teams stand out--Denver and UL-Lafayette. They match-up well with each other, and should face each other in the title game. Denver beat Lafayette twice during the season, so I'm going to go with them because of their variety of options on offense.

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