Odds are Georgia State Basketball wins the Sun Belt Conference again. On another hand, the Panthers may lose the Sun Belt Conference. It’s also unlikely the world ends tomorrow, so it’s better to go with the former rather than the latter in this situation.
Last year’s basketball season was weird, to say the least. It was abnormal and didn’t flow like any other season in Georgia State history has. COVID-19 was still raging in cases around the country and the world. The men’s program had five games canceled that were completely taken off of the schedule during the 2021-22 season. Four out of five of those games came within 16 days of each other. Between the games that were played and the couple of contests they competed in thereafter the cancellations, the team went on a five-game losing streak. It seemed the season was lost.
On Feb. 5th, everything changed. The team went on to win seven regular season games in a row and continued that success in the SBC tournament in which they became conference champions.
All that to say, it’s a new season so let’s take a look at the true statistics and votes.
Every year coaches do different polls based on different teams in different conferences. This year, Georgia State didn’t crack the top four. Coaches who voted believe the Panthers are the fifth-best team in the conference. One can assume this is due to the influx at the coaching position and a young roster. Ranking out at number one on the list is Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns’. They averaged a conference-best 71.1 points per game (PPG) and had two all-conference players on the roster last year.
Speaking of all-conference awards – not a single Georgia State player made a preseason All-Sun Belt Team. There are three teams to choose from, yet nobody on the committee found any Panther worthy of any position on the three teams. Seems like the voters and the conference doesn’t have much confidence or many expectations for this team. Great way to ignite a fire in the defending conference champions.
Think about it – Georgia State Basketball returns to the floor with an entirely new coaching staff. Not just any staff, but one that’s experienced and has been around the game at each level longer than some of the freshmen at GSU have lived. The new Convocation Center was built for both the men’s and women’s programs. The new arena comes with parquet floors and is more than enough motivation for any player. The program earned this so they deserve to relish in their good fortune.
No matter what the opposing players, coaches or teams think, Georgia State is coming this year for what’s rightfully theirs. The reigning conference champion is often ranked at the top of the conference’s preseason poll the following year, but most don’t see it that way for the program and that may be something the Pathers can use to their advantage.
The Panthers kick off their 2022-2023 season in an exhibition match against Atlanta neighbor Morehouse College. The game will be at the Convocation Center on Oct. 31, at 7:00 p.m. Fans not in attendance can also catch the game on WRAS-FM 88.5.