It’s now a seven game sprint to the Sun Belt Tournament.
The Red Wolves are tied for first with Georgia State and Georgia Southern, all at 9-2 and UT Arlington is chasing at 7-3.
The Red Wolves will be on the road for four of the remaining seven games.
Road swing number one has AState at UTA followed by a trip to Texas State. UTA has to win to stay in the hunt for the regular season title, for AState it is the last chance in regular season to play a top 100 RPI team. On Monday AState will face Texas State. The Bobcats are at 230 in the RPI and are two games back of AState and the other leaders at 6-4.
AState will then have a three game home stand.
That will start with UALR 4-7 Sun Belt 258 RPI on a Friday night and then the Red Wolves take a break. AState then draws the current co-leaders.
Georgia Southern 9-2 and 107 RPI on a Saturday and Georgia State 9-2 106 RPI on Monday.
AState closes the regular season with the Alabama trip.
First stop will be Troy. The Trojans are currently 4-6 with an RPI of 201. The regular season ends in Mobile against 4-6 South Alabama, 198 RPI.
What’s at stake
AState won’t be able to make up enough ground to get into NCAA at-large territory. The Red Wolves at least needed to take two of the trips to Alabama, App, and Coastal and probably needed all three to stay in the hunt.
NCAA Tournament is resting on the conference tournament.
The NIT since moving under the NCAA umbrella is more subjective in selection. AState can clinch an NIT bid by taking the regular season conference title. If AState comes up short, chances are the Red Wolves will miss the NIT as well.
The last in to the NIT (at-large) based on RPI since 2012 have been Iowa 125, Washington 96, West Virginia 92, Alabama 80, Long Beach State 84.
AState is in that range but failing to win the regular season and failing to win the conference tournament likely means losing to a lower RPI team that will push AState onto the bubble. You really want to be in the 65 range than the 76 where AState is now.
The Red Wolves are still in the hunt for NIT at-large but there isn’t a lot of room for error.
After that you have the two so-called pay to play tournaments.
The College Basketball Invitational tends to fill its field with available P5 and higher regarded mid-majors. If AState misses the NCAA and NIT this is the best chance to draw a recognized name. The tournament features the best of three championship series for the final. ESPNU carries the best of three final.
The other event is the College Insider Tournament and they deliberately target mid-majors and low-majors for the event. Early round games are streamed by CBS and the finals and semi-finals are shown on CBSSN.