Written by Gabe Burns, Sports Editor
VSU men’s basketball wraps up its regular season at West Florida this Saturday with a home game on the line.
Fortunately, a matchup with the Argonauts is just what the Blazers need.
West Florida is the worst team in the Gulf South Conference with a 5-16 record (6-18 overall) before Wednesday’s game versus Spring Hill. Though there will not be tournament play this season for the Argonauts, the team will attempt to play spoiler against VSU.
The Blazers (16-10, 12-9) took a hit when they lost to the West Georgia Wolves last Saturday. A win would have almost locked VSU into hosting a tournament game, but all-in-all, a five-point road loss to the second best team in the conference is not dooming.
That defeat, however, makes this weekend even more important. VSU sits a game behind Union, Delta State and North Alabama in the standings. The Blazers split the season series with each team.
VSU needs a top four spot to host a rival in the GSC tournament. The top two seeds are already locked in for Alabama-Huntsville and the Wolves, so two of the aforementioned four teams will have to take the road in their tournament opener.
Union is in the driver’s seat at the third slot. The Bulldogs take on seventh-seeded Christian Brothers facing the opportunity to secure a home game with a win. Delta State has a favorable contest with bottom-feeding Mississippi College. North Alabama takes on AHU, a game in which the Chargers will be heavily favored.
The Blazers will need a win on top of at least two losses by the teams ahead of them. Home court advantage is critical to VSU, which is 11-4 at The Complex this season. The only teams carrying better home records are the very ones that the Blazers are chasing in the standings.
In the event the Blazers cannot earn a home game, the school is likely to be the fifth or sixth seed. Even with a loss, the worst the team can finish is sixth given that Christian Brothers is several games back.
The Blazers’ first tournament game, regardless of location, will be held