BTH Sun Belt update: UALR not out but ASU closing in on No. 2

UALR’s loss at Florida International didn’t completely eliminate the Trojans from the No. 2 seed. But it did eliminate the clearest route.

Still, there are scenarios that could put UALR in the No. 2 spot. The bottom line is that if Arkansas State wins on Saturday at home against Troy (which is likely) and UALR loses on Saturday at Florida Atlantic, ASU wins both the West Division and the No. 2 seed.

But if UALR wins on Saturday, it's still alive. Assuming an Arkansas State win at home on senior night, UALR’s best hope is to sweep its final three games (at FAU, vs. ULL, vs. ASU) and have ASU lose at North Texas next Thursday. That would put both teams in a tie at 12-8 and give UALR a share of the division title and a No. 2 seed by virtue of a better division record. It wouldn’t help UALR if ASU loses to Troy and beats North Texas because it would give the Trojans and Red Wolves the same division record. And ASU wins the next tiebreaker.

FIU overtook UALR for the fourth spot with its victory on Thursday. The other mover was Louisiana-Lafayette, who moved into the No. 7 spot and is now just one game behind Western Kentucky for sixth. Both are still alive for a shot at one of five first-round byes.

Saturday’s matchups include:    
  • Louisiana-Monroe at Middle Tennessee (5:30): Nothing to see here. Middle has wrapped up the overall championship, first-round bye and automatic NIT bid. ULM must win or they will be the 11 seed.
  • UALR at Florida Atlantic (6:00): UALR can eliminate FAU from bye consideration with a win. FAU is still hanging on despite an overtime loss at North Texas on Thursday.
  • Troy at Arkansas State (7:05): ASU can clinch at least a share of the West Division championship with a win. Troy is trying to hang on to the nine spot.
  • North Texas at South Alabama (7:05): North Texas may have its point guard back from injury. South Al is already locked into the No. 3 seed.
  • Western Kentucky at Louisiana-Lafayette (7:30): Game of the night. Loser is eliminated from bye consideration.