Panther basketball looking to follow football’s streak

Coach Hunter and Assistant Coach Pardue looks to motivate the team. They’ve won 2 of their last 10 games. Photo by Dayne Francis | Signal Archives
Coach Hunter and Assistant Coach Pardue looks to motivate the team. They’ve won 2 of their last 10 games. Photo by Dayne Francis | Signal Archives
Coach Hunter and Assistant Coach Pardue looks to motivate the team. They’ve won 2 of their last 10 games.
Photo by Dayne Francis | Signal Archives

March Madness approaches.

The Georgia State Men’s basketball team is no longer guaranteed an opportunity to create the magic that last year placed coach Ron Hunter, R.J. Hunter and the university in the national consciousness.

The Panthers are seventh in the conference, but have lost six of seven. Only the top eight teams are eligible to play in New Orleans. Winning it for the second consecutive year is the only way Georgia State will make it back to the NCAA tournament.

To make that happen,  the basketball team needs to do what the football team did: go on a winning streak. Trent Miles’ team won its last four games to clinch its first bowl berth.

The Panthers’ final six games will be difficult because they include league leaders Arkansas-Little Rock, second-place Louisiana-Lafayette and rival Georgia Southern

Here are three keys to stopping the losing streak and earning a higher seed in the tournament that the team can use to try to make it back to the NCAA tournament..

  1. Rebound the ball

The Panthers’ defense gives up 64.6 points and creates 14 turnovers a game. They force opponents to shoot 31 percent from the 3-point line and are third in the conference in scoring defense.

The only thing the Panthers need to fix on defense is their rebounding. The team is last in the conference in rebounding margin with a margin of negative four. Because they are not rebounding well, their opponents are getting second and third chances to score. For instance the team is last in the conference in offensive rebounds with 8.4.  

If the defense can improve its rebounding, it should improve its chances of winning.

  1. Get shooting confidence back

The Panthers are near the bottom in the conference in several offensive categories: (easier to just make a list of these)

  • Points (65.5)
  • 3-point field goals made (109)second to last now with updated stats
  • 3-point shooting percentage (32.8) 7th now
  • and assists (265) (9th)

Additionally,  the team is shooting an awful 68 percent from the free-throw line compared to last season’s 72 percent.

The Panthers have a winning record despite being outscored this season 818-775. This says a lot about how good their defense is and how the offense must match. The Panthers have to get their confidence back and it can start by making free throws.

Making free throws can offset the team’s poor 3-point shooting. One of the reasons the team has lost five of its last seven games is because its has made 25 3-pointers while its opponents have made 63.

If the Panthers can get their shooting confidence back and start making even three more 3-pointers it can go along way into getting a winning streak like the football team. The team must realize that their defense is keeping them in the game, and that they just have to play on offense with the same confidence and intensity as their defense does.

  1. Finish strong and win on the road

The Panthers have always started out better in the first half of their games, as they have outscored opponents 378-362. However the team has to finish strong, as they have been outscored by their opponents 427-371. This is just another factor that has contributed to the team losing eight out of its last nine. If they can finish the game with the same play as they begin, they should have no problem getting ahead in the conference.

Playing on the road in any conference isn’t easy. The Panthers are just 1-6 in those games. The Panthers must find a way to steal at least two of their last three road games in order to get a good seed in the conference tournament. The Panthers football team was able to finish on the road and finish strong in the fall going on a four game winning streak and winning two road games.  

The Panthers are capable of winning those road games as three of the five games are against opponents that are below .500. In addition the team has already beat four of the five teams they are facing on the road earlier in the season. They continue to dominate those teams one more time and they’ll have a comfortable spot in the conference tournament.

This recipe for success is by no means easy, as talking and doing are two completely different things. The Panthers just need to believe in themselves, as the football team did on their streak, that they are a great team and have the motivation to shock the world once again.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

  • Record against teams in remaining eight games of the season: 2-6
  • Outrebounded 811-719
  • 3-point shot attempts vs opponents 332-494
  • 3-point shots made this season, only made 109 this season.
  • 5-3 at home, 1-8on road in conference play
  • 41% shooting from the field, 34% from 3-point line
  • Defense Playing Great: Only giving up 64 points a game, 14 turnovers a game, second in field 3-pt field goal defense. Opponents only shooting 31% from 3.