In recent years, UALR has come across a similar scenario to today.
UALR (9-8, 4-1 Sun Belt Conference) travels to Georgia State (11-6, 4-0) in a showdown for the early lead in the Sun Belt Conference title race.
History tells us as Trojans fans not to get our hopes up. UALR has run across this scenario before and it typically hasn’t been pretty. The scenario is playing the team considered the best in the conference, on the road, with a chance to take control of the league title race.
- · In 2012, UALR went to Middle Tennessee under this setup, even playing on ESPN2. UALR lost 68-60.
- · The year before the Trojans went to Florida Atlantic under an almost identical setup. That game was also on ESPN2. And UALR lost 88-71.
- · In 2009 it was a little different because it was the conference opener for UALR. But the Trojans lost at Western Kentucky 79-47. Things got better for that group as that was the last road loss of the season. UALR still finished in a tie atop the overall Sun Belt standings with WKU.
- · And in 2006, fresh off clinching its first division title on a Zack Graber three-pointer at New Mexico State, UALR went to Louisiana-Lafayette and lost 69-59.
Much like those games, UALR is a heavy underdog to pull off the upset today at Georgia State.
No better matchup you’ll find in the Sun Belt Conference this year than what figures to take place when UALR’s top defender Leroy Isler matches up with Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter, who averages 18.7 points per game. Isler has had issues staying out of foul trouble. Hunter doesn’t come out of the game much so UALR will need Isler’s presence.
KING PRIAM’S KEYS
Rebound, Rebound, Rebound: Really this could have been Keys 1, 2 and 3. Georgia State gets outrebounded by more than 5 per game. It’s really the Panthers’ only weakness. UALR can’t get outrebounded today and expect to win.
Defend the three: Georgia State shoots the three-pointer at a blistering 37 percent. UALR doesn’t really defend the three-pointer very well. Somehow UALR has to buck this trend.
Hagins vs. Harrow: They won’t always be matched up together. But UALR tends to go as Josh Hagins goes. And he needs to be in step with whatever Ryan Harrow puts up for Georgia State.
Big Men Big: UALR’s Will Neighbour and James White have to be involved just like they were on Thursday vs. Western Kentucky.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS
Georgia State is an 11.5-point favorite to beat UALR. The biggest Vegas margin UALR has overcome this season was the 7.5 points vs. Western Kentucky on Thursday.