UALR only slightly more experienced in tournament play than potential opponents

Courtney Jackson guards ASU's
Brandon Peterson in the 2010
Sun Belt Tournament in
Hot Springs.
UALR has five players with Sun Belt Tournament experience going into Sunday’s quarterfinal game against either Western Kentucky or Florida International.

Guess the most experienced of the five? It’s not the player you might think.

The only four-year player of the group is Courtney Jackson, but he has just the fifth-most tournament experience on the roster. Jackson played in two games as a freshman and one as a sophomore, but didn’t play due to injury last year’s historic four-game run to the Sun Belt Championship.

The players in this year’s team that saw action in those four games last year are D’Andre Williams, Chuck Guy, Tramar Sutherland and Marlon Louzeiro.

In games played, UALR has only a slight advantage over Western Kentucky and FIU. And the winner of that first-round game will match or better UALR’s total. The Trojans have 15 games of Sun Belt Tournament experience to Western Kentucky’s 13 games and Florida International’s 12 games.

But UALR holds a much larger advantage in minutes returning to the tournament. UALR’s current roster has played 334 Sun Belt Tournament minutes, while FIU’s has played 198 and WKU’s has played 171.

UALR's numbers would have been significantly increased if they included Gus Leeper, who was a big part of last season's run but has missed this season with injury.

Here’s a quick look at all five returning UALR players:
  • Courtney Jackson has played 41 minutes over his three games. He also played in two epic games – the John Fowler three-pointers game vs. Denver and an overtime classic against Arkansas State – and a crushing defeat to South Alabama. He averaged 5.6 points and 3 rebounds in those games.
  • D’Andre Williams only played 102 minutes in the four games last year. It seems like more for two reasons. First, he had an amazing semifinal against Middle Tennessee, scoring 19 points. And he was clutch in the championship game against North Texas. In tournament play, Williams averages 8.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. He also has only three turnovers in four games.
  • Chuck Guy was still a role player last year and saw 71 minutes of tournament action. He averaged 5.5 points but had a couple of 9-point outings.
  • Marlon Louzeiro had a much bigger role in last season’s tournament, at least partially due to Jackson’s injury. He played 77 minutes in the tournament, averaging 4.3 points and 5.3 rebounds.
  • Tramar Sutherland, who made two clutch free throws to beat Arkansas State last Saturday, saw 43 minutes of tournament action last year. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.