Arkansas State earns 1st-round bye in Sun Belt Men's Tournament

NEW ORLEANS ( - The Georgia State Panthers claimed the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball regular season crown and have earned the top seed in next week's Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships presented by First Bank and Trust at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La.
Tournament action runs Thursday, March 13 through Sunday, March 16, culminating with Sunday's championship game scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
The Panthers (24-7, 17-1 SBC) have won 17 of their 18 conference games and are led by R.J. Hunter who is averaging 18.5 points on the season. GSU is one of two teams to earn double-byes in the tournament as the league moved to an eight-team format this year.
WKU (20-11, 12-6 SBC) earned the league's No. 2 seed in the tournament and also received one of the coveted double-byes.
GSU will first see action on Saturday, March 15 at 2 p.m. CT as the Panthers will take on the winner of game three of the tournament. WKU hits the floor at 4:30 p.m. CT and will face the winner of game five.
The tournament gets underway on Thursday, March 13 with fifth-seeded UALR (14-16, 9-9 SBC) taking on eighth-seeded Troy (11-19, 6-12 SBC) at 6:00 p.m. CT. Game two features sixth-seeded UT Arlington (14-16, 9-9 SBC) against seventh-seeded UL Monroe (10-16, 7-11 SBC) at 8:30 p.m. CT.
Action continues on Friday, March 14 as fourth-seeded Arkansas State (20-11, 10-8 SBC) takes on the winner of Thursday night's opening round game at 6:00 p.m. CT. Third-seeded UL Lafayette (20-11, 11-7 SBC) follows as they will take on the winner of game two.
All men's games leading up to the championship will be televised on the Sun Belt Network and WatchESPN. Local blackout rules apply.  Sunday's championship game at 12:00 p.m. CT will air on ESPN2.
In addition, the tournament will be streamed live via webcast and fans can also follow along via Twitter (@The_Sun_Belt) or Facebook ( Game Results, photos and more can be found on our Championship Central page for men's basketball at
Sun Belt Championship Seeds (conference record in parenthesis)
1. Georgia State (17-1)
2. WKU (12-6)
3. UL Lafayette (11-7)
4. Arkansas State (10-8)
5. UALR (9-9) *
6. UT Arlington (9-9) *
7. UL Monroe (7-11)
8. Troy (6-12)
UALR and UT Arlington tied in the Sun Belt standings as they both had 9-9 records.  To break the tie, first the head-to-head records are considered; however the two teams spilt their regular season series.  The next step of the tie breaking process is to review how each team did against the No. 1 seed, in this case both teams lost to Georgia State.  Moving on, both teams split with No. 2 seed WKU.  Against the No. 3 seed UL Lafayette, UALR split the series and UT Arlington lost both games.  Therefore UALR wins the tiebreaker against UT Arlington.
2014 Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Championship presented by First Bank and Trust
March 13-16 - Lakefront Arena - New Orleans, LA
Thursday, March 13 - Opening Round
G1 - No. 5 UALR vs. No. 8 Troy - 6:00 p.m. (CT) - Sun Belt Network
G2 - No. 6 UT Arlington vs. No. 7 UL Monroe - 8:30 p.m. (CT) - Sun Belt Network
Friday, March 14 - Quarterfinals
G3 - Winner G1 vs. No. 4 Arkansas State - 6:00 p.m. (CT) - Sun Belt Network
G4 - Winner G2 vs. No. 3 UL Lafayette - 8:30 p.m. (CT) - Sun Belt Network
Saturday, March 15 - Semifinals
G5 - Winner G3 vs. No. 1 Georgia State - 2:00 p.m. (CT) - Sun Belt Network
G6 - Winner G4 vs. No. 2 WKU - 4:30 p.m. (CT) - Sun Belt Network
Sunday, March 16 - Championship Game
G7 - Winner G5 vs. Winner G6 - 12:00 p.m. (CT) - ESPN2