|Sun Belt Conference Semifinals Preview|
Preview by Zach Van Hart
No. 1 Louisiana Lafayette verses No. 5 Middle Tennessee State
In light of Dean’s absence, Michael Cuffee, Bryan Smithson and Marcus Robinson all stepped up in Sunday’s win against Western Kentucky. Cuffee scored a season-high 22 points, Smithson’s sixteen points was his highest total in two months and Robinson’s thirteen points was his second highest total of the season. The Raiders will need similar performances Monday, but even more so they will need a monster game from Tommy Gunn. The team’s second leading scorer on the season, he averaged 16.0 points per game, but had six games with 20-plus points. The Cajuns played an all-out team effort Saturday, with six players scoring in double figures and no player breaking the seventeen-point barrier. Their defense forced the Jags to shoot less than 40 percent. Monday expect Lafayette to keep it going and advance to the tournament finals.
No. 2 Arkansas-Little Rock versus No. 3 New Orleans
Their first meeting of the year was a high-scoring affair as the Privateers won in New Orleans, 100-95. Expect another up-and-down game, although the score will probably not reach past the 80s. Saturday’s win was in atypical fashion, as Brandon Freeman took on a heavy scoring load, matching McCalebb’s number of 31 points. Usually the Trojans are very balanced on offense; look for this balance to return. This balance will also be the key for Arkansas-Little Rock. While it should be able to get points from many different people, New Orleans will likely try to rally around McCalebb. But the Trojans are excellent at stopping a high scorer, just ask Arkansas State’s Dewarick Spencer. Look for the favorite Trojans to advance to the finals.