Several years ago I was sitting in the office of Middle Tennessee Coach Kermit Davis and we were talking about conference standings. He told me he looked at standings a little different than just win-loss records.
|7 PM TONIGHT|
JACK STEPHENS CENTER
Instead of just wins and losses, he looked at it this way. You get one point for a road victory. You get -1 point for a home loss. And you get zero points for either losing on the road or winning at home. I’ve always thought that was a good way to look at it.
And it shows the importance of tonight’s game for both UALR and South Alabama when they meet at 7 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock. UALR is 7-7 overall and 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. South Alabama is 6-9 overall and 0-2 in Sun Belt play. But UALR’s victories came on the road while USA’s losses came at home.
Under that scenario, UALR is at +2 and USA at -2. If UALR wins tonight, their numbers stay the same. But a USA win tonight would drop UALR to +1 and up South Alabama to -1.
Doing it that way, the standings would look something like this: UALR +2; Arkansas State +2; Western Kentucky +2; Georgia State +1; Louisiana-Monroe 0; Louisiana-Lafayette 0; Troy -1; Texas State -2; Texas-Arlington -2; South Alabama -2.
It’s nothing more than a way to emphasize the importance of protecting your home court while winning some games on the road. And it shows why tonight is even more important for the Trojans.
Believe it or not, UALR is playing at home tonight. The Trojans have played only four home games all season and only the second in the past 39 days. UALR better enjoy it. The Trojans are at home again on Saturday vs. Troy but then play three of the next four on the road.
We haven’t heard any updates from UALR so we’ll assume J.T. Thomas remains the only player out for the Trojans.
KING PRIAM’S KEYS
Reel in Rubit: South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit might be the best player in the Sun Belt Conference. But his numbers have dropped a bit in the past two weeks. He’s still averaging nearly a double-double over those four games, but his offensive numbers haven’t been as strong as early in the season. UALR can’t afford to let Rubit go for 30 points and 15 rebounds tonight and expect to win.
Line time: UALR needs to get to the free throw line at least 15 times tonight. Why? South Alabama is just 1-5 this season when its opponent makes at least 15 free throws in a game.
In the sixties: UALR needs to control the pace. South Alabama is 0-7 this season when the Jags fail to score 70 points or more.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS?
UALR enters as a 2.5-point favorite tonight. Some games have been off the board, but this marks only the second time this season UALR has entered as a favorite. The other time was Dec. 20 when the Trojans were a three-point favorite over Jacksonville State and won 75-70.