Q & A with Georgia State’s Sports Editor

Robert George

This time last year, this matchup was a battle between No. 1 and No. 2 in the Sun Belt. This year, it’s a battle between No. 5 and No. 6. We caught up with The Signal’s sports editor and talked about the big game tonight

Q: What were the expectations coming into the season following the Panthers winning the Sun Belt Championship in 2015?

Ha, well overall expectation was a minimal drop off from last year, losing three professional players (Curtis Washington, Ryan Harrow, R.J. Hunter). They were either picked to finish first or second in most preseason polls and I personally expected them to repeat for a third consecutive year. I certainly didn’t see the year turning out as it has for us so far.

Q: What’s the outlook for the Panthers in the Sun Belt Tournament?

First goal in the Sun Belt Tournament is to actually make the tournament. If they do make it, it’ll be due to us ending the regular year with some monumental, in-conference wins that should have us ready to play spoiler come tourney time. If you ask the team, they’ll tell you they’re just looking at Southern and one opponent at a time, but really this season has turned into us playing the underdog and spoiler.

Q: Who’s been that “go-to-guy” for the Panthers this season?

That’s one of the problems with this team. Last season, Kevin Ware really stepped up when Harrow and R.J. struggled, but this year he hasn’t shown he can constantly be that guy for us in clutch moments. Jeremy Hollowell has shown flashes of being a big time scorer, he also struggles with consistency.

Q: What’s your big matchup to watch tonight?

Mike Hughes vs. Kevin Ware. Hughes had a decent showing in Atlanta, he hit four 3’s, which felt like they all came at the biggest moments for the Eagles. Hughes’ also coming into this game after missing the final shot for Southern in regulation of that Jan. 19 match up. In order for State to win on the road down south, Ware has to show with at least 17 points.

Q: Which player on the Eagles poses the biggest threat tonight?

Other than Hughes, Jake Allsmiller’s shooting gives us problems, not necessarily statistically, but the spacing he provides for the Eagles offense and when he knocks down his jumpers, they’ve come in big moments.

Q: Fill in the blank. The Panthers will win tonight if _______.

Someone scores 20 points.

Q: Fill in the blank. The Panthers will lose tonight if _________.

They get off to a slow start and underestimate Georgia Southern because of the three game winning streak we have against them now.