On February 28th the Georgia State Panthers fell to the Georgia Southern Eagles 79-70 in the Georgia State Sports Arena. The Panthers fell to the Eagles at home for the first time in 28 years. Not only did the Panthers lose to their rival at home, but their most recent loss also hurt their conference tournament seeding. Before the game Georgia State sat in a three way tie with Georgia Southern and South Alabama for the third spot in the conference.
Now with the loss to Georgia Southern, the Panthers are down to fifth in the conference. If the Panthers remain at this spot they will host a conference tournament game, and will also have to travel to play the number four seed on their home court before punching their ticket to the Smoothie King center in New Orleans for the semi-final and championship games. The good news for the Panthers is while they cannot be any lower than a five seed, they can be as high as the number three seed in the tournament if Georgia Southern and South Alabama both lose their regular season finales.
Despite the latest loss to their rivals in Georgia Southern, the Panthers have the tiebreaker over both the Eagles and the South Alabama Jaguars. Georgia Southern plays Arkansas State, who they have not played yet this season, but it looks like a probable win for the Eagles as Texas State is ninth in the conference with a record of 15-15, 7-12 in conference play. Meanwhile South Alabama plays the number two team in the conference in Texas State, who they have not played yet this season either. A couple of scenarios are as follows: If Georgia State and Georgia Southern both win and South Alabama loses the Eagles would be the three seed, Georgia State would be the four seed and South Alabama would move down to the five seed. If Georgia State and South Alabama win and Georgia Southern loses then the Jaguars would be the three seed, the Panthers would be the four seed, and the Eagles would drop down to the five seed. As I mentioned earlier if both Georgia Southern and South Alabama lose then Georgia State would be the three seed, and if all teams win or lose then the standings will stay status quo.
A lot is on the line in the Sun Belt Conference, and the Panthers have a lot to play for tonight. The first thing they have to focus on is beating the number one team in the conference in Arkansas Little Rock. This will be a very tall task for the Panthers as they have not seen the Trojans yet this season, but the two time defending Sun Belt Conference Champs are more than capable of getting the job done. With it being senior night as well a win will be the perfect way to end the final regular season game for the seniors. Tip-Off is set for 7pm tomorrow at the Georgia State Sports Arena. The game can be seen on ESPN+, and heard on WRAS-FM 88.5.