PARROTT’S SBC POWER RANKINGS
1. Georgia Southern (19-6, 12-4) / PREVIOUS: 2 / SKINNY: Last week the Eagles lost at home to Troy before rebounding to beat South Alabama as they shot 61 percent in the second half and Jelani Hewitt had 22 points. They’re on the road this week against Appalachian State (Thursday) and Louisiana (Saturday).
2. Georgia State (19-8, 12-4) / PREVIOUS: 3 / SKINNY: The Panthers extended their winning streak to four in a row with home wins over South Alabama and Appalachian State as R.J. Hunter averaged 25 points and eight assists last week. Their next three games are on the road, with a Thursday contest at UALR before going to Troy on Saturday.
3. ULM (18-9, 12-4 SBC) / PREVIOUS: 1 / SKINNY: The Warhawks entered last week with a half-game lead in the league standings and a six-game winning streak before falling on a last-second shot at Arkansas State. This week they’re on the road against South Alabama (Thursday) and Appalachian State (Saturday).
4. Louisiana (16-12, 10-7) / PREVIOUS: 5 / SKINNY: The Ragin’ Cajuns have won three in a row after beating Texas State and UT Arlington last week, and Shawn Long now has 49 career double-doubles (the most among active Division I players). Their only game this week is against Georgia Southern, which beat them in Statesboro on Jan. 15.
5. UT Arlington (15-11, 9-7) / PREVIOUS: 4 / SKINNY: After beating Appalachian State last week to match last season’s win total, the Mavericks lost to Louisiana. UTA, at Arkansas State on Thursday and home Saturday against UALR, hopes to continue getting strong point production from guard Lonnie McClanahan (16.3 PPG in last four games).
6. South Alabama (9-19, 7-10) / PREVIOUS: 6 / SKINNY: Coming off a 2-0 week, the Jaguars lost on the road to Georgia State and Georgia Southern (despite Ken Williams’ 18 points and Abdul Lewis’ 17 points and 13 rebounds) after struggling again in the second half. On Thursday they’re home against ULM in their only game of the week.
7. UALR (12-15, 7-10) / PREVIOUS: 9 / SKINNY: Following a Feb. 14 overtime loss to Georgia Southern, the Trojans beat Arkansas State and Troy last week to sweep both season series and win for the fourth time in five games. This week they’re home against Georgia State on Thursday, then go to UT Arlington on Saturday.
8. Appalachian State (9-16, 6-10) / PREVIOUS: 7 / SKINNY: The Mountaineers have lost four in a row with last week’s losses at UT Arlington and Georgia State (44-point loss was program’s worst since 1995). Their final four regular season games are at home, starting Thursday against Georgia Southern and Saturday vs. ULM.
9. Arkansas State (10-15, 5-11) / PREVIOUS: 11 / SKINNY: After losing at UALR for their fifth straight loss, the Red Wolves bounced back last week to stun first-place ULM as guard Frederic Dure had a career-high 22 points and the winning hoop in the final seconds. This week they’re home Thursday against UT Arlington and on the road Saturday at Texas State.
10. Texas State (11-14, 5-11) / PREVIOUS: 8 / SKINNY: The Bobcats have lost four straight games after last week’s 22-point loss at Louisiana when they shot 32.1 percent from the floor and missed all six of their 3-point attempts. They’re home this week against Troy on Thursday and Arkansas State on Saturday.
11. Troy (10-16, 5-12) / PREVIOUS: 10 / SKINNY: Last week the Trojans ended a three-game slide by winning at Georgia Southern after Musa Abdul-Aleem’s go-ahead bucket in the final minute but followed with a home loss to UALR. They go to Texas State on Thursday before returning home Saturday to face Georgia State.
CURRENT SBC TOURNAMENT SEEDINGS
1. Georgia Southern (double bye)
2. Georgia State (double bye)
3. ULM (bye)
4. Louisiana (bye)
5. UT Arlington
6. South Alabama
8. Arkansas State
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Georgia State: The Panthers bring a four-game winning streak into the week and have won eight of their last nine as they attempt to repeat as SBC regular season champs. They’ve held their last six opponents under 30 percent shooting, the longest such streak since the 1996-97 season when the number was first tracked. They’re sixth nationally in field goal percentage defense (.375) and now have senior guard Ryan Harrow (20 points Saturday vs. App State) back after a three-game absence.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Georgia State G R.J. Hunter: The junior averaged 25 points, eight assists, three rebounds and three steals as the Panthers went 2-0 last week. He had 28 points and eight assists against South Alabama and added 22 points and eight assists vs. Appalachian State.
GAME TO WATCH
Georgia Southern at Louisiana (Saturday, Feb. 28/7:15 p.m. CT): Two of the top four teams in the league will meet for the second time this season. Georgia Southern held the Cajuns to 38.6 percent shooting in a 78-70 win on Jan. 15 in Statesboro as guard Mike Hughes had a career-high 18 points. The game will feature two top-notch players in Georgia Southern guard Jelani Hewitt (18.7 PPG, 3.8 APG) and Cajuns forward Shawn Long (17.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG).