Sun Belt tourney serves as Big Dance teaser

Dakota Ratley

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The regular season is over, and the final eight in the Sun Belt are left. Things are about to get real interesting.

Everyone in the Sun Belt knows the deal. Virtually the only chance of making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament is to win the conference tournament.

So who’s going to step up?

ULM is in the third seed. The loss against Georgia State Thursday really hurt. However, there’s hope for the Warhawks because defense and guard play is huge in the postseason.

The Warhawks ranked in the top-15 in the country going into Saturday’s game in both defensive field goal percentage and defensive three-point field goal percentage. The team is second in the Sun Belt in scoring defense, holding opponents to 60.5 points per game.

Sophomore point guard Nick Coppola has stepped up this season. The Virginia native has looked poised, leading the Sun Belt in assist to turnover ratio with 2.2 assists per turnover. He is third in assists per game.

The forward duo of Tylor Ongwae and Majok Deng help out by delivering spacing because of their ability to stretch the floor.

The Warhawks will have their work cut out for them, however. Georgia State has a dynamic set of guards that are tough to play defense against. They defeated the Warhawks in both matchups this year.

The Sun Belt is even from top to bottom. ULM’s six conference losses came to five different teams.

Anyone can beat anyone in the Sun Belt and that’s why this tournament looks to be so fun. The tournament is seeded, but anyone can win it. It’s like a smaller NCAA Tournament, with the prize being going to the Big Dance. So enjoy the Small Dance, also known as the Sun Belt Tournament.