Arkansas-Little Rock made sure there were no questions about the Trojans come Sunday night, taking care of business in the Sun Belt Tournament finals. The Trojans will be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since they were a No. 16-seed in 2011.
It was transition offense and an impressive second half that helped lead Arkansas-Little Rock to the 70-50 win. The Trojans outscored the Warhawks 42-17 after the break, erasing a five-point ULM halftime advantage.
Robert Woods was pretty much unstoppable for Arkansas-Little Rock, missing just one shot from the floor and scoring 17 points in the win. He added eight rebounds and three steals to help the Trojans to victory.
Marcus Johnson added 14 points and seven rebounds, and Kemy Osse had two 3-pointers off the bench and scored 12 points overall.
Justin Roberson led the way for the Warhawks, shooting 7-for-15 from the floor, scoring 17 points and added six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
It is Chris Beard's first season as head coach, but the way that he was able to turn this team around, by bringing in 10 new players (KenPom rankings of 227, 225, and 223, before a 56 this season), has been unbelievable. Before the game was finished there was already talk that he could be lured away to a bigger opening this summer.
Little Rock closed the season with a record of 29-4, going 17-3 in conference. Entering Sunday, they had an RPI of 46 and a strength of schedule of 240. They hold a 1-1 record against the RPI top 50, beating San Diego State in the season opener, and losing to Texas Tech on the road. The Trojans went 5-1 against the rest of the top 100, including a win over Tulsa.
Based on 58 projections at the Bracket Matrix, the Trojans are expected to receive an 11-seed in the NCAA Tournament.