Back

Auditioning for Cinderella

Sophomore R.J. Hunter has led the Panthers to a 17-6 record with only a month left in the regular season.

Currently in the middle of a school record fourteen game win streak, is Georgia State University poised for a deep postseason run?

 

Yes. Short article.

 

Is anyone actually paying attention though?

 

No. Guess I’ll continue.

 

Both state insiders and outsiders would agree that the University of Georgia in Athens and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta are the two most popular universities in the state. Any agreement amongst these two schools will swiftly end there. Much of their popularity has to do with longevity, as their heated rivalry dates back to the 19th century when the two institutions fundamental differences began polarizing the state’s fan base. So naturally these two annually compete for the majority of the state’s collegiate media attention. Currently, the University of Georgia is 5-4 in the SEC while Georgia Tech sits at 3-7 in a much more competitive ACC. It’s surprising then that while these two battle for state headlines another Georgia school is still vying for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

 

Georgia State University founded in 1913 is a public research university in downtown Atlanta that boasts the second highest enrollment in the state. This is a fairly unknown fact. Not the booming popularity of the school, just its entire existence. At least it would seem that way if you were to pay attention to local and state media. I’m not proclaiming the same misguided hate at ESPN that many Atlanta fans love to declare throughout the year. After all, TV is a business and as long as Georgia State is in a mid major conference you can’t expect the national media to pay attention until postseason play. But for a team that’s ranked 27th nationally in scoring, led by potential NBA players R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow, Georgia State may very well be a team to keep an eye on in March.

 

At present the Panthers are 17-6 overall, 10-0 in conference play while currently riding a 14 game win-streak where they haven’t lost since December 7th. Their 10-0 conference record positions the Panthers comfortably atop the Sun Belt with five weeks left in the regular season. I’m not ready to proclaim the Panthers this season’s “Cinderella Story” just yet, as they could very well drop a handful of their eight games left to play and miss punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. But their remaining schedule is indeed favorable; having already beaten six of their remaining eight opponents the Panthers should finish the regular season with no more than three losses in conference play.

 

Should the Panthers finish the regular season with a #1 seed heading into the Sun Belt Tournament I would fully expect them to gain an automatic bid and make a third NCAA Tournament appearance.

 

There is no exact science behind the NCAA Tournament. The “Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge,” funded by Warren Buffett may as well be a trillion dollars. You really have as good of a chance at finding Bigfoot, although substantially less financial incentive according to Spike’s 10 Million-Dollar Bigfoot Bounty. Predicting the Tournament’s surprise story is just as difficult, but the Panthers ability to spread the floor, score in bunches, and shoot at high percentages should make them a nightmare matchup for many of the more talked about programs they may face. Most importantly, the Panthers are playing their best basketball at the right time and as the past has constantly demonstrated it’s not always the best, but the hottest team that wins. So while other universities may garner the headlines in February the Panthers should relish their solitude during the regular season because come March the eyes of college basketball may very well look upon them.