Sun Belt Conference Basketball Coaches Select Red Wolves 3rd, Trojans 6th


Sun Belt Conference Basketball TV Schedule Announced

NEW ORLEANS – Western Kentucky, winners of the last two Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament championships, has been picked to win the league while South Alabama senior forward Augustine Rubit earned distinction as the 2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year, the conference office announced on Wednesday. The Arkansas State Red Wolves were picked 3rd and the UALR Trojans are the preseason No. 6 team.

Voting for the Preseason Sun Belt All-Conference Team and Poll was conducted by the league’s 10 head coaches.

The Hilltoppers return four starters from last year’s team and are led by third-year head coach Ray Harper.  WKU returns 73.8 percent of its scoring including seven of its top eight scorers.

Leading the Hilltoppers on the court will be two returning juniors, forward George Fant and guard T.J. Price. Fant, an All-Sun Belt Conference Third Team honoree a season ago, averaged 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Those numbers were good for second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding. Price was the Most Outstanding Player at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championship and led WKU in scoring at 15.2 points per game. He finished seventh in the conference in scoring, and even improved his production to 18.0 points per game during WKU’s run to the conference title.

South Alabama’s Rubit finished second in the Sun Belt in scoring (19.4) and double-doubles (16) last season and paced all players with 10.5 rebounds per game, which ranked 10th in the country. The 2012-13 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Rubit became the first player to lead the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding for three straight years. He needs 120 rebounds to become the conference’s all-time leader. He was one of two players in the nation to rank in the top 25 in both scoring and rebounding last season. He also ranked second in the NCAA in free throws made (6.8) and free throws attempted (8.3) per game.

South Alabama earned two first-place votes and was picked to finish second in the league. The Jaguars enter the 2013-14 season under new leadership in head coach Matthew Graves. Graves was hired on March 25 and left Butler University after spending the last 10 seasons as an assistant on the staff. South Alabama went 17-13 last season and 14-6 in conference play to finish second in the Eastern Division.

Arkansas State was picked third in the conference following a 19-12 (12-8 SBC) season in 2012-13. The Red Wolves, led by sixth-year head coach John Brady, return two starters in seniors Ed Townsel and Kendrick Washington. Townsel averaged a team-high 13.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season. Washington scored 6.8 points and grabbed a team third-best 4.6 rebounds a contest in the 2012-13 campaign. He also blocked 15 shots, second most on the team.

UL-Lafayette and Sun Belt Conference newcomer Georgia State tied for fourth in the preseason poll.

The Ragin’ Cajuns earned one first-place vote and return following a 13-20 (8-12) campaign. UL-Lafayette returns all five starters including junior guard Elfrid Payton. Payton is coming off of a record-setting season that saw him become the only player in the nation to average 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals per game.  He averaged a team-high 15.9 points and 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game, ranking second with 5.6 rebounds. Sophomore forward Shawn Long, a Preseason All-Conference First Team honoree this year, returns after he averaged 15.5 points 10.2 rebounds per game last year.

Georgia State received two first-place votes after finishing last season 13-16 overall while competing in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Panthers, led by third-year head coach Ron Hunter, boast one of the top young scorers in the nation in sophomore RJ Hunter who was one of three freshmen in the country to average at least 17 points and five rebounds per game last year. The Panthers added University of Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow, who averaged 9.9 points per game with the Wildcats in the 2012-13 season.

The UALR Trojans went 17-15 last year with an 11-9 conference record to finish second in the Western Division. 10th-year head coach Steve Shields returns four starters to his squad heading into the 2013-14 campaign picked to finish sixth in the conference. The Trojans tackle a tough non-conference slate with road trips to 2013 NCAA Tournament participants Florida, Middle Tennessee, Southern, Oklahoma and Memphis on the schedule. Senior Will Neighbour leads the Trojans into this season (10.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg in 2012-13) as he tries to become the first three-time all-conference player in school history.

The two newcomers from the state of Texas come in at Nos. 7 and 8 in the preseason poll, beginning with UT Arlington. The Mavericks enter their first year of Sun Belt play following a 19-14 season. Leading the Mavericks is Brandon Edwards, the team’s returning leading scorer, who averaged 7.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Texas State, eighth in the preseason poll, also joins the Sun Belt this season. The Bobcats will be in their first year of Sun Belt play and their first year under new head coach Danny Kaspar, who joined Texas State following a 13-year run as the head coach at Stephen F. Austin. Senior forward Joel Wright leads the Bobcats after he averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season.

Rounding out the preseason coaches’ poll are Troy and UL-Monroe. Head coach Phil Cunningham steps into his first season leading the Trojans.

The 2013-14 season begins on Nov. 8 with five Sun Belt Conference teams scheduled to tip-off. This season the conference schedule will feature an 18-game, double round-robin slate culminating with the conference championship set for March 13-16 at the New Orleans Lakefront Arena. Eight of the 10 league teams will qualify for the tournament with the tournament champion advancing to the NCAA tournament.

Preseason Coaches Poll
(First place votes in parenthesis)


1. Western Kentucky

91 (5)

2. South Alabama

78 (2)

3. Arkansas State


T-4. Georgia State

73 (2)

T-4. UL-Lafayette

73 (1)



7. UT Arlington


8. Texas State


9. Troy


10. UL-Monroe


Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference
R.J. Hunter (Georgia State, So., G)
Shawn Long (UL-Lafayette, So., F)
Elfrid Payton (UL-Lafayette, Jr., G)
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Sr., F)
T.J. Price (WKU, Jr., G)

Preseason Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Will Neighbour (UALR, Sr., F)
Brandon Reed  (Arkansas State, Sr., G)
Ryan Harrow (Georgia State, r-Jr., G)
Joel Wright (Texas State, Sr., F)
George Fant (WKU, Jr., F)

Preseason Third Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Ed Townsel (Arkansas State, Sr., G)
Jayon James (UL-Monroe, Sr., F)
Mychal Ammons (South Alabama, Jr., F)
Brandon Edwards (UT Arlington, Sr., F)
Hunter Williams (Troy, Sr., G)

Preseason Player of the Year
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Sr., F)


Sun Belt Announces Composite Basketball Television Schedule

NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference today released its composite basketball television schedule for the 2013-14 season which is highlighted by the Sun Belt Network Schedule as well as the ESPN wildcard schedule.

The Sun Belt Network will air 15 total men’s games including six games from the Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championship which is being held in New Orleans this upcoming March.  The Sun Belt Network will also air two women’s games from the league’s basketball championship, while also airing four regular season women’s contests.

For the past several years the SBC has worked in conjunction with ESPN for wildcard games – the result is that the most intriguing matchup of that day will be nationally televised on ESPN or ESPN2.  The dates for this season’s wildcard games are January 25 and February 15.  The Sun Belt and ESPN previously released that the men’s championship game will be televised live at 12 p.m. (CT) on “Selection Sunday” – March 16.

In total, 44 games will be televised featuring men’s basketball teams from the Sun Belt this season.

About the Sun Belt Network
In May 2013 the Sun Belt Conference, Cox Sports Television (CST) and Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) announced a one year extension of the Sun Belt Network – a partnership of the league and the two regional sports networks that has been in place since 2008.

The agreement between the three parties results in the continuation of broadcasts for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball contests for the 2013-14 sports season.

Since its inception in 2009 and including the 2013-14 season, the Sun Belt Network will have aired over 150 Sun Belt contests.

About CSS
CSS is a 24-hour sports network carrying a full slate of college sports programming. The channel offers a comprehensive sports lineup throughout the year including over 40 live college football games. In addition, CSS broadcasts over 165 men’s and women’s live college basketball games and over 80 live baseball games, as well as a comprehensive mix of sports news and in-depth sports analysis geared toward fans in the south. For more information on CSS, or to find out how you can get CSS on your cable system, log on to

To find CSS in your area go to

About CST
The New Orleans-based sports network launched on October 28, 2002 in front of 450,000 Louisiana viewers. CST has grown over 400% to 2 million in the nearly 11 years since launch, making it one of the fastest growing regional sports networks in the south. The 24-hour regional sports network is currently carried in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri and Virginia. CST is owned and operated by Cox Communications Louisiana, LLC. Initially targeted to be a Louisiana sports network, CST has secured collegiate, professional and high school events that have expanded the networks reach throughout the south. CST boasts over 300 live events per year including the New Orleans Saints, LSU Tigers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Southeastern Conference, Sun Belt Conference, Tulane University, Louisiana high school events, Southern University in Baton Rouge, Big East, Big 12, WAC, Gulf South Conference, A-Sun Conference and the New Orleans Zephyrs.

To find CST in your area go to

2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Television Schedule

All times Central (CT) and subject to change

November 8, 2013           
UL-Monroe at Kansas (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.
Texas State at Houston (ESPN3) – 8 p.m.

November 12, 2013         
Western Kentucky at Wichita State (ESPN2) – 12 a.m.
South Alabama at Texas                (Longhorn Network) – 7 p.m.
McNeese State at UL-Lafayette (Ragin’ Cajun Network) – 7 p.m.

November 16, 2013         
UALR at Florida (Sun Sports) – TBA

November 17, 2013
UL-Lafayette at Baylor (Fox Sports Southwest) – 3 p.m.

November 18, 2013         
Georgia State vs. McNeese State (ESPN3) – 4:30 p.m. (Preseason NIT)
UALR at Middle Tennessee (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.
Arkansas State at Colorado (PAC-12 Network) 8 p.m.

November 19, 2013
Georgia State vs. Alabama or Stillman (ESPN3) – 4:30 or 7:00 p.m. (Preseason NIT)
UT Arlington at Kentucky (CSS) – 6:30 p.m.

November 20, 2013
Texas State at SMU (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.

November 29, 2013
UALR at Oklahoma (Sooner Sports) – 2 p.m.
UT Arlington at Texas (Longhorn Network) – 7 p.m.

November 30, 2013 
South Alabama at Middle Tennessee (CSS) – 12 p.m.

December 7, 2013
UL-Lafayette at Louisville (ESPN3) – 12 p.m.

December 13, 2013
UALR at Memphis (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.

December 14, 2013
Western Kentucky at Louisville (ESPN2) – 11:00 a.m.
UL-Monroe at LSU (CST) – 7 p.m.
Texas State at Texas (Longhorn Network) – 7 p.m.
South Alabama vs. Gonzaga (Root Sports) – 9 p.m.

December 15, 2013
Troy at Kansas State (Fox Sports Midwest) – 5 p.m.

December 17, 2013
UT Arlington at Oklahoma (Sooner Sports) – 7 p.m.

December 18, 2013
UL-Monroe at Ole Miss (CSS) – 6 p.m.

December 19, 2013
Texas State at Utah (PAC-12 Network) – 8 p.m.

January 4, 2014 
Western Kentucky at Troy (Sun Belt Network) – 12 p.m.

January 11, 2014
South Alabama at Arkansas State (Sun Belt Network) – 7 p.m.

January 13, 2014
Texas State at UL-Lafayette (Sun Belt Network) – 6 p.m.

January 18, 2014 
UL-Monroe at South Alabama (Sun Belt Network) – 7:30 p.m.

January 23, 2014
Troy at UT Arlington (Sun Belt Network) – 8 p.m.

January 25, 2014               
ESPN Wildcard (ESPN/ESPN2) – 3 p.m.
UALR at Arkansas State, or Georgia State at UL-Monroe, or Western Kentucky at UL-Lafayette, or South Alabama at UT Arlington, or Troy at Texas State                                              

February 1, 2014
UT- Arlington at Georgia State (Sun Belt Network) – 7:30 p.m.

February 8, 2014
WKU at UALR (Sun Belt Network) – 5 p.m.

February 15, 2014
ESPN Wildcard (ESPN/ESPN2)
 – 5 p.m.
UALR at UL-Monroe, or Arkansas State at UL-Lafayette, or Georgia State at Troy, or South Alabama at Western Kentucky, or Texas State at UT Arlington                                  

February 22, 2014            
UL-Lafayette at Georgia State (Sun Belt Network) – 7:30 p.m.

March 2, 2014
South Alabama at UL-Lafayette (Sun Belt Network) – 3 p.m.

March 13, 2014 – Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship
Game 1 (Sun Belt Network) – 6 p.m.
Game 2 (Sun Belt Network) – 8:30 p.m.

March 14, 2014 – Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship
Game 3 (Sun Belt Network) – 6 p.m.
Game 4 (Sun Belt Network) – 8:30 p.m.

March 15, 2014 – Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship
Game 5 (Sun Belt Network) – 2 p.m.
Game 6 (Sun Belt Network) – 4:30 p.m.

March 16, 2014 – Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship
Championship Game (ESPN2) – 12 p.m.

2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Television Schedule

All times Central (CT) and subject to change

November 13, 2013
Texas State at Texas (Longhorn Network) – 7 p.m.

December 4, 2013 
UALR at Texas (Longhorn Network) – 7 p.m.

January 18, 2014 
UL-Monroe at South Alabama (Sun Belt Network) – 5 p.m.

February 1, 2014
UT- Arlington at Georgia State (Sun Belt Network) – 5 p.m.

February 22, 2014
UL-Lafayette at Georgia State (Sun Belt Network) – 5 p.m.

March 2, 2014
South Alabama at UL-Lafayette (Sun Belt Network) – 5:30 p.m.

March 14, 2014 – Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Championship
Game 5 (Sun Belt Network) – 12 p.m.
Game 6 (Sun Belt Network) – 2:30 p.m.

March 15, 2014 – Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Championship
Championship Game (ESPN3) – 8 p.m.

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