Understanding the Sun Belt’s groundbreaking plan

Kaitlin Sells

Earlier this week the Sun Belt Conference’s Presidents and Chancellors announced all of the changes being made to the non-conference and conference scheduling, along with the postseason conference tournament format, and the location of the tournament.

The first change—the men’s basketball non-conference scheduling alliance. This alliance entails two reserved dates in the non-conference part of scheduling to play against peer conference opponent with each team having one home and one away opponent.

The conference has established a “20-game smart schedule” which will split the conference into two divisions. The two divisions will be the East division consisting of Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama and Troy, while the West division will be Little Rock, Arkansas State, Louisiana, ULM, UT-Arlington and Texas State. Each team will play a 16-game schedule with five home and five away games played against divisional opponents and three home and three away games against non-divisional opponents.

Based on the results of those 16 games, the teams will then be placed in four pods- A (#1,2,3), B (#4,5,6), C (#7,8,9), and D (#10,11,12)- each team playing the other two pod members once at home and once away for the final four games of the 20-game schedule. The regular season conference champion will be decided based on the results of the 20-game conference schedule.

There have been changes made to the 2020 Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Tournament seeding as well, as teams will be seeded for the tournament based on the results within their pod range. Along with the seeding change, there has been a change of location of the postseason tournament being in the New Orleans Smoothie King Center.

Both tournaments will bracket 10 teams selected for the tournaments with the #1 and #2 seeds receiving byes into the semifinals, the #3 and #4 seeds hosting quarterfinal at home against the winners of the games from the first and second rounds. Quarterfinal winners will join the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in New Orleans for a “Final Four” experience.

Kaitlin Sells, The George-Anne Assistant Sports Editor, [email protected]