Ron Hunter is headed back to the NCAA tournament for the third time in five years.
Georgia State shook off a slow start, taking over in the second half and holding on for a 73-64 win over UT-Arlington.
CONFERENCE: Sun Belt
COACH: Ron Hunter
RECORD: 23-9, 13-5 (1st Sun Belt)
- KENPOM: 114
- NET: 121
PROJECTED SEED: The Panthers were a No. 14 seed in the most recent bracket projection from NBC Sports, and considering that came after the majority of the automatic bids had been determined, it should not change all that much.
NAMES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Georgia State’s star is D’Marcus Simonds. He’s a super athletic, 6-foot-3 guard with NBA potential and the ability to take over games. He had 29 points against Mississippi last season and 24 in the NCAA tournament loss to Cincinnati. He;s terrific, and one of five Panthers to average double-figures this season.
Oh, and he also called his shot in the Sun Belt tournament:
BIG WINS, BAD LOSSES: Georgia State actually has a pretty strong resume for a mid-major automatic bid. They won at Alabama (59) earlier this year, they beat East Tennessee State at home and they have a pair of Q2 road wins in league play — Georgia Southern (125) and Texas State (134). They also beat Saint Bonaventure and Georgia on neutral courts.
STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW: My favorite thing about this Georgia State team is that they just do not care one iota about rebounding. They rank outside the top 300 in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Part of it is by design and part of it is that they play a lot of zone and that’s notoriously hard to rebound out of. Ron Hunter has said that he believes rebounding is the most overrated stat in college basketball, which is baffling, totally outside the box and has worked for him. To each their own.
HOW DO I KNOW YOU?: Ron Hunter produced the single-most memorable sideline moment in the history of college basketball. Hunter was forced to sit on a stool while coaching his team in the 2015 NCAA tournament because he tore his achilles celebrating GSU’s win in the Sun Belt tournament, which resulted in this: