March madness in Hot Springs
Men’s and women’s basketball to compete in SBC Championships this weekend
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 16:03
March is here; let the madness begin.
After wrapping up the regular season on Saturday, the Arkansas State men’s and women’s basketball teams are looking to make a run at the Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Championships this weekend in Hot Springs.
The tournaments kick off on Friday, but both teams were awarded first round byes and will not play until Saturday.
The Lady Red Wolves (15-14, 12-8) will enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed and will take on Florida International at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Convention Center Court.
After winning the Western Division of the Sun Belt Conference, the ASU men’s basketball team (18-11, 12-8) were awarded with the No. 2 seed in their tournament and will face the winner of Troy and Florida Atlantic at 9 p.m. on Saturday in Summit Arena.
The women are currently coming off of two straight losses but were able to sweep FIU during the regular season. The two wins over FIU were decided by a total margin of nine points.
“Both games were very close and could’ve gone either way,” head coach Brian Boyer said. “The whole bracket is very balanced and it’s going to be a challenge. We were fortunate to beat FIU twice but it’s not the regular season anymore.”
Boyer added that the week off will definitely benefit his team and they have to take advantage of the bye.
“It’s that time of year where everybody is just beat and tired. I think the whole conference is on the same page as far as that goes, but we have to use this week off to our advantage and come out fresh and sharp,” Boyer said.
Like the Lady Red Wolves, the ASU men’s basketball team has lost their last two games, but head coach John Brady thinks the week off will help his team get back on track.
“This break has really allowed us to focus on some of the little things that we haven’t had a chance to cover since October,” Brady said.
During the regular season, the Red Wolves split their series with both FAU and Troy at winning one game apiece. But, Brady believes the bracket fell in the favor of the Red Wolves this year.
“I like the way the bracket fell. I think we’re in a good position but obviously nothing is a given. I think if we come in and play our game to the best of our abilities we’ll have a chance to win some games,” Brady said. “All we have to do is go over there and take care of business and get back to the way we were playing when we won seven out of eight.”
This year marks the last year that the tournaments will be held in Hot Springs as it will be moving to New Orleans in March 2014.
Brady said that though winning the tournament here in Arkansas would make for a great story for both teams, in reality it’s just another tournament.
“I’d love for our teams to win the championships here in the state. It’s an opportunity for our basketball teams to do something special and it’d be a great way to end the run in Hot Springs,” Brady said. “But we would put just as much emphasis on it as if it were being played elsewhere.”
The Lady Red Wolves’ game on Saturday can be watched through a live stream online at the Sun Belt Conference website. The men’s game will be televised Saturday night and will air on the Sun Belt Network.