Today marked the end of the regular season in the Sun Belt Conference.
If you’re an avid reader of the Daily Record, you already found out that the Texas State women’s basketball team beat Troy and earned the fourth seed in the upcoming conference tournament, while the men’s team suffered a 22-point loss and will be left home next week.
For those who haven’t caught up to speed, be sure to read our game recaps.
Women’s College Basketball: Ayriel Anderson’s career night secures Texas State victory over Troy
Men’s College Basketball: Season ends for Texas State with a 72-50 loss at Troy
Here is how the women’s bracket sets up for the Bobcats.
- No. 1 Arkansas State vs. No. 8 UL Monroe
- No. 4 Texas State vs. No. 5 Georgia State
- No. 3 UALR vs. No. 6 Troy
- No. 2 Western Kentucky vs. No. 7 UL Lafayette
If you’re curious, here is how the men’s bracket looks.
- No. 5 UALR vs. No. 8 Troy
- No. 4 Arkansas State vs. Winner 1
- No. 1 Georgia State vs. Winner 2
- No. 6 UT Arlington vs. No. 7 UL Monroe
- No. 3 UL Lafayette vs. Winner 3
- No. 2 Western Kentucky vs. Winner 4
We’ll have a lot more on both teams as the week progresses.
There are two weeks left in the regular season.
That means Texas State, a team that is 4-10 following its loss last Saturday at Arkansas State, has four games to either maintain its current position in the Sun Belt Conference standings (eighth) or improve on it as the conference tournament approaches.
When comparing the remaining games for each team fighting for the final two spots in the Sun Belt, it’s easy to see that the Bobcats have the toughest trek.
There was no understating the importance of Thursday’s game between Texas State and South Alabama.
If the Bobcats won, they’d move back into eighth place and put themselves in prime position for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
If Texas State lost, it would tumble all the way to 10th place and switch spots with the Jaguars.
Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar had a simple message for his team during a recent pep talk.
They need to look deep inside themselves and realize they have the ability and potential to win these games. They have to have that mindset that this is the most important thing in their lives at this point in time and whenever they step on that court, that’s all that matters. That’s the focus winning teams have. These next two weeks are big. We need to be focused on these games.
Including tonight’s game with South Alabama, the Bobcats have six games left in the regular season. Texas State is currently in ninth place in the Sun Belt Conference. The Top 8 teams in the league make the conference tournament next month in New Orleans.
If you’re a fan of Texas State athletics, then this weekend sure had it all.
From the Bobcat women’s basketball team winning their fifth consecutive game to the baseball team shutting out Air Force to cap the Texas State Baseball Invitational and everywhere in between, you’d be hard-pressed to find a three-day stretch with even more in it.
Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend was the Bobcat women extending their winning streak. Texas State broke away from UT Arlington in the final minutes and moved even closer to first place in the Sun Belt Conference. This is the Bobcats’ longest win streak since 2007-08, the same year they won the Southland Conference regular-season title.
Hot shooting by the Mavericks, especially in the second half, made a Texas State sweep impossible. UTA had its way with Danny Kaspar’s team in the second half en route to a 69-62 win at the College Park Center.
Let’s not forget what kind of season the Bobcat softball team is having thus far. Texas State went 3-2 at the Campbell Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif. and used a walk-off home run by Katie Doerre to beat No. 24 California last Saturday. Ricci Woodard’s team is now 7-3 and hosts UTSA on Wednesday.
Then we have the Bobcat baseball team — and Ty Harrington’s bunch knows how to make it interesting. Texas State went 2-1 in its own tournament after it beat Michigan in extra innings last Friday, wasted a gem by junior pitcher Taylor Black against Washington and bounced back versus the Falcons in a big way.
Texas State head coach Ty Harrington couldn’t believe his eyes Thursday afternoon when he looked out from behind the podium at his team’s media day.
“This is an indication of how times have changed at Texas State for baseball,” Harrington said. “The only other times we had media days weren’t more than Tyler (Mayforth) and a handful of people who show up to talk about regional tournaments or postseason play. I certainly think it indicates the expectations and growth of our program.”
Texas State couldn’t pull off a big sweep tonight on the same night the university retired Jeff Foster’s number.
After the women won their fourth consecutive game, the men struggled down the stretch and saw a 12-point lead with 6:43 left evaporate en route to a crushing loss.
You can read our game story about the women beating UL-Lafayette by CLICKING HERE.
You can read our game story about the men falling to the Ragin’ Cajuns by CLICKING HERE.
Jeff Foster flashes the ‘Heart of Texas’ hand sign at the crowd during the halftime ceremony (Photo by Gerald Castillo).
Here is an entry from Joe Vozzelli about yesterday’s signing day.
Texas State officially announced its 2014 recruiting class Wednesday morning, signing 27 players — 19 were high school players and eight were junior college transfers.
Bobcat head coach Dennis Franchione’s staff recruited over more than 17,500 miles to ink those players. Even with all that mileage, Texas State still kept the base of its recruiting in the home state, reeling in 17 players from the Lone Star State.
“The nucleus of this class will always come from this state,” Franchione said. “No doubt about that. “We made our deal here that we recruit California junior colleges because there are so many of them there. And we recruit the state of Texas.”
You know a season is close when a conference releases its respective preseason poll and preseason all-conference team.
Today was the Sun Belt Conference’s turn to release its softball variant.
Texas State landed fourth in the poll behind UL Lafayette, South Alabama and Western Kentucky. Georgia State, Troy, UT Arlington and UL Monroe followed close behind.
No Bobcats were named to the preseason all-conference team, which featured three Jaguars, three Hilltoppers, three Panthers, three Ragin’ Cajuns, two Mavericks and one Trojan.
Texas State opens the 2014 season Feb. 7 in the CenturyLink Classic.
Another doubleheader for Texas State
Another split result.
Early on in the afternoon, the Bobcat women took down Western Kentucky by a score of 72-63. It was Texas State’s second consecutive victory as Zenarae Antoine’s team improved to 5-3 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Then in the nightcap, the Bobcat men pushed the second-place Hilltoppers to the brink. Texas State and WKU were tied at 62-all with 1:22 left, but Danny Kaspar’s team couldn’t pull out a win. It was a 68-64 loss by the Bobcats and yet another setback in which they kept it close late.
Here is some of what Kaspar had to say after the loss.
Kaspar on the play of freshman point guard Naiel Smith — “I was really pleased with how well Naiel played in a tough atmosphere against a tough team. We asked a lot of him tonight with Phil (Hawkins) being sick and Naiel played 33 hard minutes for us.”
Kaspar on his team’s first half after which it led 30-27 at halftime — “We played a very good first half. We played just as good as we needed to do to be able to win at Western Kentucky. I thought we did a great job.”
Kaspar on what silver lining he is finding — “I’m not pleased with our record, but I have seen great improvement with our defense, teamwork and effort.”