South Alabama vs. Arkansas State Preview

The Jags return home to host the Arkansas State Indians Thursday night at the Mitchell Center . ASU enters the game at 9-13 on the season (4-7 in Sun Belt Conference play) after losses to Western Kentucky , Utah Valley State and Middle Tennessee State in their previous 3 outings. The Indians have struggled away from Jonesboro this season (1-9) with their only road win coming January 12 at ULM.

The Jags return home to host the Arkansas State Indians Thursday night at the Mitchell Center . ASU enters the game at 9-13 on the season (4-7 in Sun Belt Conference play) after losses to Western Kentucky , Utah Valley State and Middle Tennessee State in their previous 3 outings. The Indians have struggled away from Jonesboro this season (1-9) with their only road win coming January 12 at Louisiana-Monroe.

ASU is one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the conference but they're also one of the most banged up at this time. The Indians are led by the formidable backcourt duo of 6'3" senior Adrian Banks and 5'11" sophomore Ryan Wedel who are averaging a combined 34 points per game. Wedel leads the Sun Belt Conference with 3.1 3-pointers made per game. Banks has only played in 14 games this season because of a 6 game suspension associated with his December 2 arrest for discharging a firearm inside a nightclub (Banks claimed that he found the gun and emptied it by firing it into the air so that nobody would get hurt). Banks did not play in the losses to WKU and UVSU due to a nagging high ankle sprain but was back in the lineup in Monday night's OT loss to MTSU scoring 27 points off the bench. Wedel had stepped up his play in Banks' absence but is dealing with a knee injury himself. The Indians' other main offensive threat is 6'5" forward Yima Chia-Kur who is averaging 11.2 points per game.

The Indians depend largely on their perimeter game as they lack size in the frontcourt. They are among the league leaders in shooting percentage and average over 40% from behind the 3 point arc. ASU's main weakness this season has been defense. They are among the bottom dwellers in the conference in shooting defense allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the floor and 39% from downtown on them this season. 6'6" forward Shawn Morgan leads the conference in offensive rebounds per game but as a team ASU is one of the worst rebounding teams in the Sun Belt. Morgan has also battled an ankle injury this season. One thing the Indians do well is protect the basketball. Ifeayni Koggu leads the nation with a 3.67:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and they have turned the ball over the second fewest number of times among Sun Belt Conference teams this year.

A team like Arkansas State that shoots the 3 well, doesn't turn it over and has an All-Conference player who can take over a game is always dangerous, but the Jags' frontcourt has been dominant this season and USA 's offensive balance should be the difference in this one. If the Jaguar defense can hold ASU below 41% shooting it could be a long night for the Indians. Look for the home team to win this one and lock up at the very least a first round home game in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

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