Much like the hire of Butch Jones earlier this year, the Bowen hire smacks of bottomline mentality. Under Bowen, Memphis radically transformed its football infrastructure while maintaining acceptable (if not championship caliber) results in basketball. It was Bowen who ushered Memphis from CUSA to the Big East (lol) to the AAC. It was Bowen who hired Mike Norvell…and Tubby Smith, which was quite the drama.

If you’re a Georgia State fan, you’re probably pointing to the 158 point NET gap between the conference’s highest ranked program (the Panthers) and the lowest ranked program (the Warhawks). But honestly, so what, Panthers? This season was so COVID stupid, that the Sun Belt West has yet to even play the Sun Belt East. Furthermore, added to this whack-season is that the Warhawks have played six more games than the Panthers. What do we know about the Sun Belt? Nothing.

The defense is more intense. Fewer passes are sailing into the stands. Fans are no longer enduring comically long scoreless streaks. Omier went from South of the Border novelty to a legit basketball phenom. Fields seems to be recharged by senior Marquis Eaton’s sterling example as a leader and scorer. Wesley appears to be a successful junior college transfer willing to pound out some minutes and highlights. The pieces have clicked into place, with experience the only ingredient lacking.

Mohajir has guided Arkansas State Athletics to 25 conference titles. In 2015 he hired Mike Hagen to lead the men’s golf team, which after decades of futility delivered a championship in 2019. During Mohajir’s tenure, we’ve seen growth in soccer, tennis, bowling and track & field – and the construction of facilities to amplify that growth.

Sun Belt hoops still grandly sucks, but the performance of Red Wolves men’s basketball in recent weeks has compelled me to write something more cheerful. It was only about a month ago when I pronounced A-State basketball an “endangered species.” It may well still be endangered. But something has happened to Arkansas State hoops since dropping two to ULM in Monroe: they’ve become hugely entertaining.