Sun Belt, Georgia Southern to adopt SMART schedule

Bethany-Grace Bowers

There is a new 20-game SMART schedule coming to Sun Belt Conference Men’s basketball in the 2019-20 season and it will not only affect GS but the NCAA standings as a whole.

The 20-game “SMART schedule” will match up the top teams in the conference so that they are able to match up more than one time, working in the way of a bracket, or “pods” as they call them.

This system is being put in place in order to boost NET rankings and will help select and field out teams for the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship.

“Our new scheduling model will improve the seed of the conference’s automatic qualifier while also improving the résumés of the best conference teams in order to receive additional bids to the NCAA Tournament,” Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said.

Here’s how the format will break down:

The Eastern Division will hold Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama and Troy.

The Western Division will be Little Rock, Arkansas State, Louisiana, University of Louisiana – Monroe, University of Texas – Arlington and Texas State.

The season will start with a 16-game schedule for each team and it will be sectioned off so that each team plays five home and five away divisional opponents and three home and three away non-divisional opponents.

After the 16 games are played, the teams will be ranked from top to bottom in the conference and will be split into four “pods”. Pod A: numbers one, two and three, Pod B: numbers four, five and six, Pod C: numbers seven, eight and nine, and Pod D: numbers 10, 11 and 12.

The final four games of the schedule will complete the 20-game season with each team playing the other members of their pod once at home and then once away.

After the final four games, teams will be seeded for the 2020 Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship based on pod results.

Bethany-Grace Bowers, The George-Anne Assistant Sports Editor,