With a month left in the regular season, everybody already has at least two losses in conference play in both the men’s and the women’s division.
On the men’s side, there is a tie for first place as the University of Alabama-Huntsville (15-3) and North Alabama (15-3) each have 8-2 records in the GSC. Those two teams have a lot of heat behind them as Shorter (13-5), a newcomer in the conference, is one game behind at 7-3, followed by Christian Brothers (11-6, 6-3 GSC), Valdosta State (13-5, 5-5 GSC) and West Georgia (7-11, 4-6 GSC).
One team that is ranked fairly low in the conference standings, but is capable of making a big move up is the Delta State University Statesmen. The Statesmen, in seventh place at 3-6 in the GSC, have been one of the most improved teams this season. After starting out 0-4 in the conference, DSU has won three of its last five conference games by defeating Alabama-Huntsville (59-53), West Georgia (64-57) and West Florida (60-54). The impressive thing about those victories is the fact that the wins over Alabama-Huntsville and West Florida came on the road. The Statesmen have been in most every game as nine of their 10 losses have been by 10 points or less. DSU’s seven wins this season, under first-year head coach Jim Boone, are already more than the six wins the team got all of last season.
Rounding out the bottom part of the GSC is West Florida (8-10, 3-7 GSC), West Alabama (7-10, 3-7 GSC) and Union (4-14, 2-8 GSC).
The race in the women’s division is just as wild. Union (13-5), a team that is in its first year in the conference, is currently in first place with an 8-2 conference mark. Union has plenty of teams on its heels though, as North Alabama (14-6, 7-3 GSC) is second and the Delta State University Lady Statesmen (11-6, 6-3 GSC) are close behind in third under first-year head coach David Midlick. The Lady Statesmen could easily be in first as two of their three conference losses have been by five points or less. DSU lost to North Alabama 59-58 and Alabama-Huntsville 69-64.
West Georgia (12-6, 6-4 GSC) and Shorter (11-7, 6-4 GSC) are tied for fourth, UA-Huntsville (8-12, 5-5 GSC) is sixth, West Alabama (9-9, 4-6 GSC) is seventh, Valdosta State (10-8, 3-7 GSC) is eighth, Christian Brothers (5-12, 2-7 GSC) is ninth and West Florida (5-13, 2-8 GSC) is in the cellar in 10th.
Union and Shorter are provisional members of the conference and won’t be eligible for the conference tournament or any postseason until the 2014-15 season.
All sports fans and experts say the last month or two of the year is when it gets really exciting. If that’s the case, the race for the conference title will leave us breathless.
Andy Collier is the sports editor at the Bolivar Commercial. He can be reached at (662)-843-4241 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.