UALR's D'Andre Williams named first team all-Sun Belt Conference

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UALR has another first team all-Sun Belt Conference selection.
Senior point guard D’Andre Williams was selected first team all-Sun Belt on Wednesday after a poll of media members and coaches conducted on Monday. In addition, sophomore forward Will Neighbour was named to the second team.
Williams averaged 13 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4 assists. While Williams’ statistics aren’t overwhelming in any one area, he was clutch at the end of games this season. His driving layup beat Florida Atlantic late. And another driving layup tied the Arkansas State game late.

Neighbour, who separated his shoulder on Dec. 31 and has played in considerable pain throughout Sun Belt play, averaged 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds. He also shot 42 percent from the three-point line and 82 percent from the free throw line.
Last year, UALR's Solomon Bozeman was named player of the year. In recent years both Shane Edwards and Rashad Jones-Jennings were named first team all-Sun Belt.
We’d stop short of calling it a travesty, but Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis was named Coach of the Year. No doubt he was worthy after his team compiled a 14-2 Sun Belt record, East Division championship and No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament.
But UALR Coach Steve Shields was also worthy. Shields’ Trojans were picked fifth in the preseason West Division poll before finishing 12-4 in the Sun Belt and wining the West Division championship. It’s hard to believe Shields hasn’t won the coach of the year award since his first year as the UALR head coach. He’s been deserving two other times.
Middle Tennessee’s LaRon Dendy beat out North Texas’ Tony Mitchell for player of the year. Honestly, this one could have gone either way. Mitchell has better numbers while Dendy is the best player on the best team. It sort of reminds of the year Western Kentucky’s Courtney Lee and New Orleans’ Bo McCalebb were the top two for the award. Denver’s Chris Udofia was the defensive player of the year. And Mitchell was the freshman of the year.
The first team was:
  • LaRon Dendy, Middle Tennessee
  • Tony Mitchell, North Texas
  • Chris Udofia, Denver
  • Augustine Rubit, South Alabama
  • D’Andre Williams, UALR

Louisiana-Lafayette's Sun Belt hopes take a major hit with suspensions

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It appears Louisiana-Lafayette Coach Bob Marlin has suspended Raymone Andrews and J.J. Thomas for the Sun Belt Tournament. Neither will accompany the team to Hot Springs. ULL's opening game is Sunday against North Texas.

http://www.sportsnola.com/sports/local-sports-news/ull-news/581589-mens-basketball-andrews-and-thomas-suspended-from-cajuns.html

D'Andre Wiliams doesn't make College Hoop Net's All-Sun Belt team

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The official Sun Belt Conference teams are released tomorrow. Here's the first we've seen. It comes from CollegeHoopNet's John Teitel and he doesn't include UALR's D'Andre Williams.
  • G DeJuan Wright (FIU)
  • G Brian Stafford (Denver)
  • F Tony Mitchell (North Texas)
  • C LaRon Dendy (Middle Tennessee)
  • C Augustine Rubit (South Alabama)
He also selects Mitchell as player of the year.

http://www.collegehoopsnet.com/jon-teitels-all-conference-teams-part-one-169812

UALR a "weak West Div. champ"? This writer thinks so

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A Little Rock newspaper employee, and WKU grad, thinks his Hilltoppers got a "great draw." On Twitter, David Harten calls UALR "a weak West Div. champ."

UALR only slightly more experienced in tournament play than potential opponents

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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.

UALR will have to overcome history to advance to Sun Belt semifinals

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If Western Kentucky beats Florida International on Saturday and advances to meet UALR on Sunday, this is the tradition and history the Trojans will be up against.
That's an impressive statistic.

UALR's Sutherland earns redemption at free throw line in final seconds

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Just seven days earlier, UALR senior Tramar Sutherland stepped to the free throw line at Troy’s Sartain Hall. UALR led 56-54 and Sutherland had a 1-and-1 with a chance to put the game out of reach.

He missed the first and UALR fouled Troy on the rebound. Two Troy free throws later and UALR found itself in overtime.
UALR went on to win that game but that moment had to be on the mind of Sutherland as he stepped to the free throw line on Saturday night against Arkansas State. ASU Coach John Brady called a timeout to try and ice Sutherland with 0.8 seconds left and the score tied.
Sutherland stepped to the line and the official bounced him the ball.
Bounce, bounce, bounce and straight up.
Swish!!
Bounce, bounce, bounce and straight up.
Swish!!
And UALR clinched the outright Sun Belt West Division championship.
Not a bad way to wrap up senior night for Sutherland.

UALR's quarterfinal opponent will already have game in Summit Arena

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FIU/WKU
vs. UALR
8:30 p.m. Sunday
Summit Arena, Hot Springs
An advantage normally afforded teams with byes in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament will not apply to the UALR men.

The Sun Belt Conference officially set the times and locations for the tournament games on Sunday. The UALR men will play next Sunday at 8:30 p.m. in Summit Arena against the winner of Western Kentucky and Florida International.

Generally, the Sun Belt Conference has tried to prevent teams from playing both their opening round and quarterfinal games in the same venue. And that is the case this year for all four women’s first-round games and two of the three men’s first-round games. The only exception is the WKU-FIU game, which will also be played in Summit Arena.

For example, UALR opened last year’s tournament at Convention Center Court before moving to the quarterfinals at Summit Arena.

The change came about because Louisiana-Monroe is not eligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions. It meant there was one fewer first-round game. And the WKU-FIU game was chosen as the late game, the only game being played at that time.

Florida Atlantic will play Arkansas State on Convention Center Court on Saturday and then the winner moves to Summit Arena to take on Middle Tennessee. Likewise, South Alabama and Troy will play in Summit Arena on Saturday with the winner moving to Convention Center Court on Sunday to face Denver.

UALR’s games will all be televised. Sunday’s game is on the Sun Belt Network, along with the Middle Tennessee vs. ASU-FAU game. Monday’s semifinals are on the Sun Belt Network with Tuesday’s championship being televised on ESPN2.

The UALR women will play at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Summit Arena against the winner of Arkansas State and South Alabama. The Trojan women will also be televised by the Sun Belt Network on Sunday. Both semifinals are televised on Monday by the Sun Belt Network and Tuesday’s championship is televised by ESPNU.

UALR Coach Steve Shields has won a Sun Belt trophy in 6 of 9 seasons

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UALR wrapped up the Sun Belt Conference's West Division Championship on Saturday by beating Arkansas State. It's the fifth division title in nine seasons as UALR's head coach.

But UALR, who won the East Division twice and now the West Division three times, also won the Sun Belt Conference championship last year, one in which the Trojans didn't win a division title.

This one makes six trophies in nine seasons for Shields.

UALR Rewind: Seniors step up in victory over Arkansas State

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BTH UALR Rewind
Pondering what it will take to get D’AndreWilliams a first-team all-Sun Belt Conference selection while compiling theBurn The Horse UALR Rewind.

Williams proved his worth againon Saturday, scoring 18 points to lead UALR to a 62-60 victory over ArkansasState. Williams driving layup in the final minute tied the score and gave UALRits ultimate opportunity to win.

I have no idea how the Sun BeltCoach of the Year voting will go. But it seems Middle Tennessee’s loss and UALR’svictory on Saturday night opened the door for UALR Coach Steve Shields to winthe award.

You couldn’t argue with MiddleTennessee’s Kermit Davis winning COY after the Blue Raiders went 14-2 in SunBelt play. But UALR was picked fifth in the West Division and led wire-to-wire.

We’re biased, but we’ll takeShields for COY.

BTH Keys to Victory
SHOT SELECTION: ASU clamped downon UALR’s offense but the Trojans remained patient. We didn’t see nearly thesame number of bad shots as in Thursday’s loss to North Texas. As a result,UALR shot 54 percent in the second half and 48 percent for the game. Grade: A.

CLAMP DOWN: Arkansas State struggleswhen it doesn’t get to 70 points. UALR held the Red Wolves to 60 on Saturday.Grade: A+.

OFF THE BENCH: UALR didn’t get atremendous amount off the bench, but Tramar Sutherland did give 9 points in 10minutes. And Ben Dillard had 5 points. Grade: B-.

FREE TIME: UALR didn’t get tothe line enough and didn’t make them enough. Well, at least not until the finalsecond of the game when Tramar Sutherland made a pair. ASU was 17 of 20 at thefree throw line compared to UALR’s 10 of 17. That shouldn’t have been goodenough. Grade: D.

Vegas, baby
UALR won the game but didn’tcover the Las Vegas spread of 3.5 points.

Predictions
All five predictors went withUALR and earned victories on Saturday.

Stat of the game
54.2: UALR’s field-goalpercentage in the second half as the Trojans shot 13 of 24.

Always negative
8-15: UALR’s free throw shootingfor the first 39 minutes and 59 seconds on Saturday. Tramar Sutherland madethat irrelevant by sinking two in the final second for the victory.

Keep it positive
167: Arkansas State went thefinal 167 seconds (2:47) without a field goal as UALR rallied for the victory.

Player of the game
UALR seniors D’Andre Williams,Courtney Jackson and Tramar Sutherland share the award. Williams led UALR with18 points and hit the game-tying shot in the final minute. Jackson finishedwith 12 points and 8 rebounds and made some of the slickest scoring moves inthe history of the Stephens Center. And Sutherland hit two free throws with 0.8seconds left for the victory.

Up next
UALR plays in the quarterfinals of theSun Belt Tournament at 8:30 p.m. next Sunday in Hot Springs. UALR will play thewinner of Western Kentucky and Florida International.

UALR to play WKU-FIU winner; final seeding decided on Sunday

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The final Sun Belt Conference game will decide seeds 3, 4 and 5 at next week’s Sun Belt Tournament. Sunday's game has Denver hosting North Texas.

If Denver beats North Texas then Denver is the 3 seed, Louisiana-Lafayette the 4 seed and North Texas the 5 seed.

However, if North Texas defeats Denver it creates a three-way tie at 10-6 between those teams. The tiebreaker is best winning percentage in games involving those teams. ULL would be 3-1, UNT 2-2 and Denver 1-3. That would make ULL the 3, North Texas the 4 and Denver the 5.

UALR’s first-round matchup is set. UALR will play at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night against the winner of Western Kentucky and Florida International. Those teams split this season with each winning on the other’s home court.

Here’s the seeding:

1.       Middle Tennessee
2.       UALR
3.       Denver or Louisiana-Lafayette
4.       Louisiana-Lafayette or North Texas
5.       North Texas or Denver
6.       South Alabama
7.       Western Kentucky
8.       Florida Atlantic
9.       Arkansas State
10.   Florida International
11.   Troy

Watch the UALR-ASU finish

Sorry for the low quality but here's a look at the final sequences of Saturday's UALR victory over Arkansas State.

UALR wins, Stephens Center nets remain

UALR clinched the Sun Belt West Division with a last-second victory over Arkansas State. UALR, just like its four previous division titles, did not cut down the nets. ASU cut down its nets after beating UALR last season.
More to come soon including video of the finish.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans host Arkansas State

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Live Tweetcast at 7 p.m.
UALR hosts Arkansas State at 7 p.m. tonight at the Jack Stephens Center. The Burn The Horse Live Tweetcast is up and running following those from both Little Rock and Jonesboro. We'll also have some updates from the UALR-ASU women's game beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Word from the Sun Belt is that UALR men have clinched No. 2 seed regardless of final games

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Official word from the Sun Belt Conference this morning is that UALR has clinched the No. 2 seed in next week's Sun Belt Tournament in Hot Springs.
We thought we had a scenario in which UALR could lose the No. 2 seed to Louisiana-Lafayette if the Trojans lose to Arkansas State, ULL beats ULM and North Texas beats Denver. But we're told that isn't how it works. Ties must be broken from the top down. And since North Texas and Denver would be tied in that scenario, it goes to the No. 6 spot, which has already been clinched by South Alabama. UALR beat USA while ULL lost to USA. That makes UALR the No. 2 seed.
Apologies for our interpretation and thanks to the Sun Belt for the clarification.

There's still much to play for today. The Trojans have already clinched a co-Sun Belt Conference West Division championship and need a victory to clinch that outright title.

Provided all of the above information is accurate, here's what we know about UALR in the Sun Belt Tournament:
  • UALR will play its first game at 8:30 p.m. next Sunday night
  • UALR will play the winner of the 7-10 game to be played next Saturday night
  • If FAU wins or WKU loses tonight then FAU is the 7 seed; if not, WKU is the 7.
  • If FIU wins or Troy loses tonight then FIU is the 10 seed; if not, Troy is the 10.

UALR Gameday: Trojans host ASU, need win to clinch outright title

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Arkansas State
at UALR
7 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: UALR by 4.5
Arkansas State really has nothing to play for today. Nothing except denying UALR an outright Sun Belt Conference West Division championship and possibly keeping the Trojans from a No. 2 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament.

That should be plenty to liven things up today as Arkansas State travels to UALR for a 7 p.m. game at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

Burn Notice
Arkansas State comes in with a losing record but the Red Wolves are 9-9 this season coming off a loss. And ASU lost at western Kentucky on Thursday night…. UALR doesn’t have a scholarship player from the state of Arkansas while Arkansas State has four Arkansans – Trey Finn, Rakeem Dickerson, Darion Griswold and Adam Sterrenberg – expected to play tonight. ... Both the UALR men and women need a victory tonight to clinch an outright West Division championship. the UALR-ASU women's game starts at 4 p.m.

BTH Keys to Victory
SHOT SELECTION: UALR shot a decent percentage from three-point range on Thursday against North Texas despite some horrible shot selection. Long, NBA-range three-point attempts with plenty of time on the shot clock won’t cut it tonight.
CLAMP DOWN: UALR clearly isn’t an offensive juggernaut and ASU hasn’t been successful when they don’t go on a scoring spree. The Red Wolves are 1-11 when scoring 59 or less points and 3-16 when scoring 69 or less.

OFF THE BENCH: UALR has gotten very little production from its bench of late. When Coach Steve Shields goes to the bench tonight, they’ve got to sustain the effort the starters have been giving.

FREE TIME: Arkansas State has been to the free throw line nearly 100 more times than their opponents in Sun Belt Conference play. That type of disparity will severely hurt UALR’s chances.

Vegas, baby
UALR is a 4.5-point favorite tonight in Las Vegas. The Trojans are 5-2 this season in games where they are Vegas-favored. That includes Thursday’s loss to North Texas.

Predictions
· Jeff Sagarin (18-10): UALR 75, ASU 69
· CBS Sportsline (18-10):
· Omni Rankings (14-9): UALR 65, ASU 60
· The Sports Network (17-11):
· Real Time RPI (15-13): UALR 71, ASU 60
· Combination: UALR 70, ASU 63

UALR can still be the 2 or 3 seed at Sun Belt Tournament

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As of Feb. 23
With one game date remaining in the regular season, there still isn't clarity in the standings of the top four teams in the Sun Belt Conference West Division standings.
This is an attempt to break it down from a UALR standpoint.
If UALR beats Arkansas State on Saturday, UALR is the outright West Division champion and the No. 2 seed. Assuming ULL beats ULM, then it comes down to Denver vs. North Texas. If Denver wins, Denver is the 3, ULL the 4 and NT the 5. If North Texas wins, ULL is the 3, NT the 4 and Denver the 5.

If UALR loses to Arkansas State on Saturday the Trojans will likely be co-West Division champions with Louisiana-Lafayette and/or Denver. If Denver beats North Texas then UALR is the 2, Denver the 3, ULL the 4 and North Texas the 5. If North Texas beats Denver, ULL is the 2, UALR the 3, NT the 4 and Denver the 5.

If UALR beats ASU and Denver beats North Texas, the bracket opposite UALR at the Sun Belt Tournament would include: Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas and Arkansas State. And if Middle Tennessee wins at WKU on Sunday, WKU would also go into the opposite bracket. That would make all the teams UALR lost to in the regular season in the opposite bracket.

What’s the likelihood of that happening? It’s unlikely at best. But the best-case scenario for UALR would be to win vs. ASU and have Denver beat NT on Sunday.

UALR Rewind: Trojans can't get MItchell off the court, lose in OT

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Pondering why it takes so long to get out of the Jack Stephens Center parking lot after games while compiling tonight’s Burn the Horse UALR Rewind.

BTH Keys to victory
ATTACK MITCHELL: UALR put a couple of fouls on Tony Mitchell and made him sit for a portion of the first half. But the Trojans couldn’t exploit that in the second half. Mitchell ended up playing 35 minutes and had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Grade: D.

GET IN LINE: UALR made more free throws (25) than North Texas attempted (16). But D’Andre Williams, who was 9 of 10, missed a crucial one late. And Michael Javes, who was 8 of 10, missed two crucial ones late Grade: A-.

SLOW AND STEADY: The pace was too hot early but ended up right where UALR needed it to be by the end of regulation (59-59). Grade: A-.

BE AWARE: Not only did UALR let Mitchell stay in the game, North Texas also got a big night from Alzee Williams (25 points) and Brandan Walton (16 points). Grade: F.

Vegas, baby
UALR was a three-point favorite at tip time. That makes the Trojans a loser for only the second time this season when entering the game as a favorite.

Stat of the game
5-5: North Texas went 5 for 5 from the field in overtime and never trailed.

Always negative
45-38: After holding a rebound edge at halftime, UALR got out rebounded 45-38 for the game. North Texas turned that into a 13-7 advantage in second-chance points.

Keep it positive
1: UALR had just one turnover in the second half after nine in the first half. Unfortunately, they also had two in overtime for a game total of 12.

Player of the game
Courtney Jackson more than held his own against Mitchell’s double-double. Jackson had 12 points and 14 rebounds (including six offensive).

Up next
UALR gets Arkansas State on Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Follow as the Trojans host North Texas tonight

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Live Tweetcast
at 7 p.m.
Follow the exclusive Burn The Horse Live Tweetcast as the UALR Trojans host the North Texas Mean Green at 7 p.m. tonight from the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

UALR is attempting to lock up the outright West Division championship with a victory. North Texas needs to win to have a shot at a first-round bye in the Sun Belt Tournament.

Tip time is 7 p.m. We're following those in green and those in maroon all afternoon and throughout the game.

UALR Gameday: Slowing Mitchell a priority as Trojans host UNT

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North Texas
at UALR
7 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: UALR by 3.5
It’s a pretty simple scenario for UALR. Win either tonight vs. North Texas or Saturday vs. Arkansas State and claim the outright Sun Belt Conference West Division championship and a No. 2 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament. Lose both and they’ll need some help.
It starts at 7 p.m. tonight as the Trojans host North Texas and NBA prospect Tony Mitchell at the Jack Stephens Center. North Texas can still claim a first-round bye but might have to win both games this week to do it (they play at Denver on Sunday).

TRIVIA
In Sun Belt Conference play, which UALR Trojan leads the team in three-point field goal percentage?
BURN NOTICE
In Sun Belt Conference play, North Texas’ Tony Mitchell leads the Mean Green in points, field goals, field goal attempts, field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, free throws, free-throw attempts, rebounds, offensive rebounds, blocked shots and steals. He also leads in turnovers and personal fouls.

BTH Keys to Victory
ATTACK MITCHELL: North Texas’ Tony Mitchell is really good. You have to get him off the court by getting him into foul trouble. The only way that’s happening is by attacking him on offense. He’s the Sun Belt’s best shot blocker, and he’s going to block some shots. But you have to take that chance. Mitchell averages 33.1 minutes and 2.38 fouls in North Texas’ Sun Belt wins. He averages 26.3 minutes and3.83 fouls in North Texas’ losses.
GET IN LINE: This goes along with the attack. North Texas allows opponents to shoot just 38.8 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three-point range. UALR has got to make up some of that difference at the free throw line.
SLOW AND STEADY: No, we’re not talking about walking the ball up the court. But UALR also can’t afford to play at breakneck speed. North Texas is 4-10 when scoring 69 or fewer points.
BE AWARE: North Texas is far from a one-man team. Alzee Williams has a 29-point game, Roger Franklin and Jacob Holman 20-point games and Brandan Walton a 19-point game. Add to it that Tyler Hall has been in double figures the past two games. UALR can’t let both Mitchell and somebody else post career numbers and expect to win.
Vegas, baby
UALR goes in as a 3.5-point favorite, basically the statistical home-court advantage. UALR was a 6.5-point underdog the last time the teams met in Denton, Texas. This marks the sixth time that UALR has been Vegas favored. The Trojans are 5-1 in those games.
Predictions
If it's close, CBS almost always picks against UALR. Jeff Sagarin now has the overall lead by percentage points over Omni Rankings:
  • Jeff Sagarin (18-9): UALR 75, North Texas 73
  • Omni Rankings (14-8): UALR 68, North Texas 62
  • The Sports Network (17-10): UALR 67, North Texas 62
  • CBS Sportsline (17-10): North Texas 68, UALR 67
  • Real Time RPI (15-12): UALR 69, North Texas 61
  • Combination: UALR 69, North Texas 66
Trivia answer
D’Andre Williams leads UALR at 45 percent (18 of 40) during Sun Belt Conference play. Will Neighbour is second at 24 of 54 for 44.4 percent.

Limiting Mitchell's minutes a key for UALR on Thursday

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North Texas
at UALR
7 p.m. Thursday
Jack Stephens Center
With good reason, North Texas’ Tony Mitchell has drawn a lot of attention this season. And the NBA prospect has pretty much lived up to the hype.
In Sun Belt play, he leads the league in scoring (16.6 points), rebounding (11.4 rebounds), blocked shots (3.3 blocks) and even three-point field goal percentage (50 percent).
He could be the Sun Belt’s player of the year with only Middle Tennessee’s LaRon Dendy appearing to have a shot to steal the award. The votes will be cast after Sunday's North Texas-Denver game.
A gaggle of NBA scouts will be on hand on Thursday night as Mitchell and North Texas take on UALR at 7 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center. UALR’s goal, just like every Sun Belt team, has to be to limit the minutes Mitchell plays. Typically, when Mitchell’s minutes go down, North Texas isn’t as successful.
Obviously, anything can happen. Mitchell did manage to play 46 minutes in a double overtime game at Florida Atlantic that the Mean Green lost. But, for the most part, getting Mitchell out of the game is a path to success for opponents.
In North Texas’ eight Sun Belt victories, Mitchell has had an average of 2.38 fouls and has played an average of 33.1 minutes.
In North Texas’ six Sun Belt losses, Mitchell has had an average of 3.83 fouls and played an average of 26.3 minutes. And if you take away the 46 minute, three-foul performance at FAU, Mitchell averages 4.0 fouls and 22.4 minutes in North Texas victories.
Two prime examples were UALR’s victory early in the season and Louisiana-Lafayette’s victory last Saturday. Against UALR, Mitchell fouled out and played only 13 minutes. Against ULL, Mitchell had 4 fouls and played only 26 minutes.

Willful Trojan: UALR's Neighbour stuck with commitment

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Here's the story on UALR forward Will Neighbour published on the Sun Belt Conference's Web site. They'll also run it in the Sun Belt Tournament program.

http://www.sunbeltsports.org/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=22326&SPID=1825&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205384539&DB_OEM_ID=4100

Sutherland posts team-best +15 mark in UALR's victory over Troy

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In recent games, UALR has struggled to get a lot of production out of its bench.  That changed during Saturday’s victory at Troy. Tramar Sutherland contributed 10 points and a team best +15 mark in UALR’s overtime victory. UALR outscored Troy 42-27 in Sutherland’s 20 minutes on the court.

Here’s the UALR starters’ totals:
  • Michael Javes: +13 (53-40)
  • Chuck Guy: +12 (68-56)
  • D’Andre Williams: +11 (67-58)
  • Will Neighbour: +10 (48-38)
  • Courtney Jackson: -3 (29-32)

Guy moved to the plus side for the season with his +12 while Williams is a team best +86 in Sun Belt Conference games. Taggart Lockhart also returned to the lineup and posted a +6 in his seven minutes of play.

UALR Rewind: Guy player of game as UALR beats Troy

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BTH Rewind
It was Tuesday night, December 20 and UALR had just lost to Illinois State to drop to 3-10 on the season. One UALR fan was upset with the team and we corresponded by email. I told him not to worry. UALR was going at least 10-6 in Sun Belt play. This UALR team was never as bad as its record showed. And they had some pretty strange circumstances that caused them to lose many of those games. And most were against teams that were equal to or better than most Sun Belt teams.

I was wrong. I shot way too low. UALR notched its 11th victory in Sun Belt play on Saturday with an overtime victory at Troy.

BTH Keys to Victory
DON’T GET CAUGHT UP: For the most part, UALR didn’t get caught up. But they just couldn’t score. Then D’Andre, Chuck and Will started hitting threes and the Trojans pulled it out. Grade: B.

TURN, TURN, TURN: UALR had 14 turnovers in 45 minutes while Troy had 17 turnovers. But UALR outscored Troy 18-6 in points off turnovers. Grade: A+

TAKE ADVANTAGE: UALR struggled throughout the first half to get Courtney Jackson and Will Neighbour involved in the offense. But Jackson had a more than solid second half before fouling out. Grade: C

FINE AT THE LINE: UALR made 21 of 27 free throws to Troy’s 18 of 23. That’s a win. Grade: A

Vegas, baby
The line opened with UALR being favored by 2.5. It swelled to 4.5 by game time. Would be losers turned into winners with UALR’s big start to overtime.  UALR is now 5-1 this season in games when it is the favorite.

Predictions
Jeff Sagarin and The Sports Network are winners while Omni Rankings, CBS Sportsline and Real Time RPi are losers. Jeff Sagarin now has the best overall mark at 18-9 on the season.

Always negative
23.1: UALR’s shooting percentage in the first half.

Keep it positive
50: Chuck Guy’s shooting percentage from three-point range. He made 4 of 8 on Saturday.

Stat of the game
12 of 13: UALR made 12 of 13 shots in overtime, including 4 of 5 field goals and 8 of 8 free throws.

Player of the game
Chuck Guy finished with 16 points, including 4 of 8 three-pointers. That all came after halftime.

Up next                                                                                                                
NBA scouts have already starting requesting media credentials to watch North Texas’ NBA prospect Tony Mitchell. UALR hosts North Texas  at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Only one remaining scenario can keep UALR from Sun Belt 2 seed

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There is only one remaining scenario that would keep UALR from the No. 2 seed at next month’s Sun Belt Tournament in Hot Springs.

UALR leads the West Division with an 11-3 record with two games remaining. Denver and Louisiana-Lafayette are both 10-5 with one game remaining. And North Texas is 8-6 with two games remaining.

UALR will be seeded no worse than third at the Sun Belt Tournament. That means the Trojans will be in the opposite bracket from overall champion Middle Tennessee.

The scenarios are:
  • If UALR wins either at home against North Texas on Thursday or at home against Arkansas State on Saturday, the Trojans will win the division outright and claim the No. 2 seed.
  • If UALR loses both games, then Louisiana-Lafayette and Denver both have an opportunity to claim a share of the West Division championship. But only Louisiana-Lafayette can steal the No. 2 seed.
  • If UALR, ULL and Denver all finished tied at 11-5, UALR would be the 2 seed, Louisiana-Lafayette the 3 seed and Denver the 4 seed.
  • If UALR and Denver finished tied at 11-5, UALR gets the 2 seed and Denver the 3 seed because UALR swept the season series. But that scenario is unlikely with ULL finishing the season against struggling Louisiana-Monroe.
  • If UALR and Louisiana-Lafayette finish tied at 11-5 it takes three tiebreakers to decide it. The teams split the season series and both would have a 7-3 West Division record. The third tiebreaker is record vs. the 1st place team, 2nd place team, etc. Both UALR and ULL lost to Middle Tennessee. It would then come down to the fourth seed. UALR went 2-0 vs. Denver while ULL went 2-0 vs. North Texas. Therefore under this scenario, UALR would get the 2 seed if Denver beats North Texas on Sunday while ULL would get the 2 seed if North Texas beats Denver on Sunday. FYI, that game is being played in Denver.

Confused?

UALR needs to win one of two games this week. If that doesn’t happen, UALR needs Denver to beat North Texas on Sunday in Denver.

UALR gets hot late, defeats Troy in overtime

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74       62
UALR out-Troyed Troy and clinched at least a share of the Sun Belt Conference West Division championship.

UALR got hot from behind the three-point line late in regulation and in overtime in a 74-62 victory over Troy in the final game ever at Sartain Hall. The victory improves UALR to 14-14 overall and 11-3 in the Sun Belt Conference. UALR leads both Denver and Louisiana-Lafayette by 1.5 games in the West Division standings.

UALR trailed the entire game until D’Andre Williams’ long three-pointer with 2:55 left put UALR on top 50-47. An even longer three-pointer by Williams with 2:13 left made it 53-49.

But UALR trailed 54-53 after a three-pointer by Troy’s Alan Jones with 1:07 left. UALR didn’t fold. Chuck Guy dribbled behind his back and faded back for a three-pointer with 34 seconds left to give UALR a 56-54 lead.

UALR had a chance to ice the game with 9 seconds left but Tramar Sutherland missed the front end of a 1-and-1. And even worse, UALR’s Michael Javes was called for a foul on the rebound and Troy’s Justin Wright made two free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.

UALR made its first three shots of overtime to take control of the game. Will Neighbour hit a three and then Chuck Guy made another three-pointer for a 62-56 lead. Then Sutherland cherry-picked a layup for a 64-56 lead with 3:31 left.

UALR then made enough free throws late to put Troy away.
Guy led UALR with 16 points, making 4 of 8 three-pointers. Williams had 13 and Ben Dillard, who made 10 of 10 free throws, 12.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans vs. Trojans in final game at Sartain Hall

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7:30 p.m.
It's the final game ever at Sartain Hall for the Troy Trojans as they host the UALR Trojans. Troy has several special events planned for the final game before they move into a new arena next year. UALR has much at stake in the West Division standings and can't afford a slip up in what is essentially a toss-up game.

The BTH Live Tweetcast is following the game tonight beginning at 7:30 p.m. Central.

UALR Gameday: Trojans can't get up in hoopla in visit to Troy

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UALR at Troy
7:30 tonight
Troy, Ala.
Vegas says: UALR by 2.5

It’s the final game at Troy’s Sartain Arena today as UALR travels to Troy in a matchup of Trojans.

UALR has already clinched a first-round bye in the Sun Belt Tournament and now sets its sights on a West Division championship. UALR is two games ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas and Denver in the loss column. UALR can’t clinch the outright West Division championship today but the Trojans can clinch a co-championship with a victory.

Burn Notice
UALR needs a victory tonight to get to .500 for the first time since mid-November.

BTH Keys to Victory
DON’T GET CAUGHT UP: Troy loves to shoot the three and ranks fifth nationally in making 9.0 three-pointers per game. Troy doesn’t shoot a great percentage (31 percent)  and UALR can’t get caught up in a three-point shooting contest. Troy is streaky and they made 11 in a row vs. Louisiana-Monroe earlier this year. Troy plays zone defense and UALR has to attack it.

TURN, TURN, TURN: Both UALR and Troy are good at limiting turnovers. Troy averages 12.8 per game while UALR averages 11.7. UALR is 9-6 when it has fewer turnovers than its opponent. Winning the turnover battle could be vital.

TAKE ADVANTAGE:  Depending on lineups, UALR has the potential for 6-10 Will Neighbour to be guarded by a 6-5 player and 6-6 Courtney Jackson to be guarded by a 6-4 player. The Trojans have to take advantage of those matchups.

FINE AT THE LINE: Free throws are always going to be important for this UALR team. Troy goes to the free throw line six fewer times than its opponents this season. UALR has to get to the line (and make them) more times than Troy.

Vegas, baby
UALR is a 2.5-point favorite over Troy. UALR is 4-1 this season when favored by Las Vegas.

Predictions
Three go with Troy and two with UALR. Only The Sports Network confident of a UALR victory.
  • Omni Rankings (14-7): Troy 71, UALR 70
  • Jeff Sagarin (17-9):  UALR 71, Troy 69
  • CBS Sportsline (17-9): Troy 71, UALR 70
  • The Sports Network (16-10): UALR 71, Troy 59
  • Real Time RPI (15-11): Troy 69, UALR 64
  • Combination: UALR 69, Troy 68

UALR's Guy, Neighbour, Williams turn in big numbers vs. FIU

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Considering UALR’s victory ended up being 14 points over Florida International, the plus/minus ratings of Chuck Guy, Will Neighbour and D’Andre Williams were amazing.

Guy had the best rating of the night at +25 with UALR outscoring Florida International 53-28 with him on the court. Neighbour came in at +21 and Williams at +20. Here’s the starters:
  • Chuck Guy: +25 (53-28)
  • Will Neighbour: +21 (71-50)
  • D’Andre Williams: +20 (71-51)
  • Michael Javes: +10 (37-27)
  • Courtney Jackson: +9 (64-55)

Neighbour’s numbers allowed him to get slightly on the plus side on the season for the first time in a long time. Taggart Lockhart, Marlon Louzeiro, Javes, Williams and Neighbour are all on the plus side for the season now. Guy and Fondren need a +7 on Saturday vs. Troy to reach that mark.

Williams +75 is the top mark in Sun Belt Conference play.

UALR gets additional challenge in final game at Troy's Sartain Hall

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UALR at Troy
7:30 p.m. Saturday
Troy, Ala.

Nothing’s been easy for UALR this season. And even a game against an opponent that has struggled this season has trap written all over it.

Add to that the fact that as UALR takes on Troy today it will be the final game in the history of the 50-year-old Sartain Hall. Troy is giving out commemorative t-shirts and tickets and former players will be honored at halftime.

Troy is moving into a new arena next season.

UALR leads the Sun Belt Conference's West Division by two games in the loss column and has already clinched a first-round bye in next month's Sun Belt Tournament.

Technical Difficulties

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FYI. We're having some technical difficulties updating stats and other items today. Hope to have it resolved soon.

Update: Things getting progressively worse. Now the BTH laptop has died. Still hope to make some updates tonight, one way or another.

Update 2: Will have to improvise.

UALR widens Sun Belt West lead with victory over FIU

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64      78

UALR widened its lead in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division with a 78-64 victory over Florida International at the Jack Stephens Center.

In what turned out to be a tough, physical game with several hard fouls, Will Neighbour led UALR with 21 points.  Courtney Jackson had 13, D’Andre Williams 11 and Michael Javes 10.

UALR is now 10-3 in Sun Belt play. With three games remaining, UALR is two games ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette, Denver and North Texas. UALR plays its final road game of the season on Saturday at Troy.

On Thursday, Florida International stayed close by making 20 of 24 free throws to offset 30.5 percent shooting from the floor. UALR offset its 52 percent shooting by making just 22 of 36 free throws.

FIU led 32-31 at halftime but the Trojans took the lead for good on an end-to-end play by Javes. He blocked a shot at one end and then scored after a pass from Chuck Guy at the other end for a 35-34 lead with 17:50 left.

UALR led 42-38 when Florida International Coach Isiah Thomas, making his first Stephens Center appearance, got two technical fouls and was ejected. Neighbour made two free throws and Jackson hit a jumper for a 46-38 lead with 12:41 left. A Neighbour three-pointer with 11:04 left gave UALR a 53-40 lead.

The lead ballooned to 58-40 minutes later and took some of the tension out of the Stephens Center, at least from a UALR standpoint.

Former UALR student manager turned walk-on Ted Crass even got a couple of minutes, missing his first college shot – a three-pointer.

UALR Live Tweetcast: Trojans host Florida International at 6 p.m.

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6 p.m. tonight, CSS
Earlier this week, Isiah Thomas was making random music tweets. We don't expect more of those today but you never know what well happen.

We're following those as well as others on both sides of the UALR-Florida International game tonight. Check back here throughout the day and at game time tonight.

Don't forget that tonight's UALR game starts at 6 p.m.

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UALR has done a nice job this week of trying to inform its fans about the 6 p.m. start time for tonight's game against Florida International.

The start time was moved from the traditional 7 p.m. to accomodate Comcast Sports Southeast's broadcast window.

UALR sent out emails to season ticket holders, took out ads and made several announcements during last night's women's game. In today's state paper, the advance box is correct but the story still lists 7 p.m.
Hopefully, that won't throw too many folks off.

Nice story on UALR's Will Neighbour by Fox 16

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Nice feature on UALR's Will Neighbour by Fox 16 in Little Rock.

UALR Gameday: Trojans finally get Isiah Thomas in the Rock

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FIU at UALR
6 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: UALR by 5.5
For thefirst time in a long time UALR isn’t playing any games in Florida this season.And for the first time since 2007, Florida International is playing in LittleRock.

That meansas UALR hosts Florida International at 6 p.m. tonight at the Jack StephensCenter, Isiah Thomas will make his first appearance here.

FloridaInternational is a scary team. They’re ultra-talented with high-level recruitsall over the court. And they’re way better on the road than they are at home.

In Sun BeltConference play, FIU is 0-6 at home and 4-2 on the road. That alone makes themultra-dangerous going into tonight’s game.

Burn Notice
FIU’sstarting center Gilles Dierickx is a 7-footer from Ghent, Belgium, which is thesame town where former UALR sharpshooter Brandon Freeman starred.

BTH Keys tovictory
FREE TIME:One of UALR’s stated goals is always to make more free throws than opponentsshoot. FIU is a pretty good free throw shooting team at 71 percent, but theGolden Panthers get to the line four fewer times per game than their opponents.UALR doesn’t get to the line much more often than FIU, but the Trojans need totonight.
TURN, TURNTURN: It’s pretty simple. When UALR doesn’t turn the ball over, they’re reallygood. When UALR’s turnovers get to 15, 16, 17, it’s difficult for them to win.

GET INTO THEBENCH: Florida International played 11 in last Saturday’s loss to Denver. Butfour of the five starters are doing most of the damage. After DeJuan Wright(15.9 ppg), Phil Taylor (13.7 ppg), Jeremy Allen (14.0 ppg) and DominiqueFerguson (9.5 ppg), the next highest scorer is at 4.1 points per game. Thefurther UALR gets into the FIU bench the better.

NIFTY SIXTY:UALR is 7-0 this season when scoring at least 60 points. FIU is 1-8 whenscoring less than 60 points. First team to 60 wins.

Vegas, baby
UALR is a5.5-point favorite, making this only the fourth time this season the Trojanshave been favored. UALR is 3-1 in those games.

Predictions
  • Omnirankings (13-7): UALR 67, FIU 60
  • Jeff Sagarin(16-9): UALR 75, FIU 69
  • CBSSportsline (16-9):
  • The SportsNetwork (15-10):
  • Real TimeRPI (14-11): UALR 72, FIU 60
  • Combination:UALR 71, FIU 63