The Sun Belt Conference holds an annual men’s basketball tournament with the winner getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The conference features 12 teams, including Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Little Rock, Louisiana, Louisiana Monroe, South Alabama, Texas-Arlington, Texas State and Troy.
The 2021 men’s basketball conference tournament begins March 5 and runs through March 8.
The Sun Belt Conference started conference tournaments in 1977.
Read below for a list of past winners.
2020: NO CHAMPION
There was no champion in 2020 because the coronavirus pandemic canceled the tournament.
2019: GEORGIA STATE
In a rematch of 2018, Georgia State again took care of Texas-Arlington. The Panthers won, 73-64. Malik Benlevi was named MVP.
2018: GEORGIA STATE
Georgia State won its second title in 2018. The Panthers defeated Texas-Arlington, 74-61. D’Marcus Simonds was named MVP.
Troy won its first title in 2017. The Trojans defeated Texas State, 59-53. Wesley Person Jr. was named MVP of the tournament.
2016: LITTLE ROCK
Little Rock defeated Louisiana-Monroe, 70-50, to win in 2016. Roger Woods was named MVP of the tournament.
2015: GEORGIA STATE
George State narrowly defeated Georgia Southern in 2015. The Panthers won, 38-36. Kevin Ware was named MVP.
Louisiana-Lafayette won the title and didn’t have to vacate it in 2014. They defeated Georgia State, 82-81 in overtime. Bryant Mbamalu was named MVP.
2013: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky won its ninth championship in 2013. The Hilltoppers defeated FIU, 65-63. T.J. Price was named MVP of the tournament.
2012: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky defeated North Texas in 2012, 74-70. George Fant was named MVP of the tournament.
2011: LITTLE ROCK
Little Rock knocked off North Texas, 64-63. Solomon Bozeman was named the MVP.
2010: NORTH TEXAS
North Texas won its second title in 2010. The Mean Green beat Troy, 66-63. Eric Tramiel won the MVP of the tournament.
2009: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky repeated as champions in 2009. They defeated South Alabama, 64-55. A.J. Slaughter was named MVP.
2008: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky won the title in 2008. They defeated Middle Tennessee State, 67-57. Jeremy Evans was named MVP.
2007: NORTH TEXAS
North Texas won its first Sun Belt Conference in 2007. The Mean Green defeated Arkansas State, 83-75. Calvin Watson was named MVP.
2006: SOUTH ALABAMA
South Alabama defeated Western Kentucky, 95-70. Chey Christie was named MVP of the tournament.
Louisiana-Lafayette won the conference tournament but the title was later vacated.
Louisiana-Lafayette won the conference tournament but the title was later vacated. The Ragin’ Cajuns had their titles from 2004 and 2005 vacated as part of the penalty for major NCAA violations in the men’s basketball program.
2003: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky defeated Middle Tennessee State for its third straight title. Patrick Sparks was named MVP.
2002: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky repeated as champs in 2002. They defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 76-70. Derek Robinson was named MVP.
2001: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky started its short reign of the Sun Belt Conference in 2001. The Hilltoppers defeated South Alabama, 64-54. Chris Marcus was named MVP.
Louisiana-Lafayette defeated South Alabama, 51-50, in 2000. Virgil Stanescu was named MVP.
1999: ARKANSAS STATE
Arkansas State won the Sun Belt for the first time in 1999. They defeated Western Kentucky, 65-48. Chico Fletcher was named the MVP.
1998: SOUTH ALABAMA
South Alabama repeated as champions in 1998. The Jaguars defeated Southwestern Louisiana, 62-59. Toby Madison was named MVP.
1997: SOUTH ALABAMA
South Alabama got back to the winner’s podium in 1997. They defeated Louisiana Tech, 44-43. Rusty Yoder was named MVP of the tournament.
1996: NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans picked up another conference title win in 1996. The Privateers narrowly defeated Little Rock, 57-56. Lewis Sims was named MVP.
1995: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky edged out Little Rock, 82-79. Chris Robinson was named MVP.
1994: SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA
Southwestern Louisiana defeated Western Kentucky, 78-72. Michael Allen was named MVP.
1993: WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky won the conference tournament in 1993. The Hilltoppers defeated New Orleans, 72-63. Darnell Mee was named the MVP.
1992: SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA
Southwestern Louisiana came away with its first title in 1992. They defeated Louisiana Tech, 75-71. Todd Hill was named MVP.
1991: SOUTH ALABAMA
South Alabama won its second title in three seasons in 1991. The Jaguars defeated Old Dominion, 86-81. Chris Gatling, of Old Dominion, was named MVP.
1990: SOUTH FLORIDA
South Florida won its first Sun Belt title in 1990. The Bulls defeated Charlotte, 81-74. Radenko Dobras was named MVP.
1989: SOUTH ALABAMA
South Alabama won its first Sun Belt title in 1989. The Jaguars demolished Jacksonville, 105-59. Jeff Hodge was named MVP of the tournament.
Charlotte won its first since the start of the Sun Belt in ’77. The 49ers defeated VCU, 81-79. Byron Dinkins was named MVP.
UAB won its fourth championship in 1987. They defeated Western Kentucky, 72-60. Tracy Foster was named MVP.
Jacksonville won its first title since 1979. They defeated UAB, 70-69. Otis Smith was named MVP.
VCU won its third title in 1985. The Rams defeated Old Dominion, 87-82. Mike Schlegal was named MVP of the tournament.
UAB became the first team to three-peat in 1984. They defeated Old Dominion, 62-60. McKinley Singleton was named MVP.
UAB won back-to-back championships in 1983. They defeated South Florida, 64-57. Cliff Pruitt was named MVP.
UAB still maintained a big presence in the Sun Belt. They finally broke through in 1982 and won their first title over VCU, 94-83. Oliver Robinson was named MVP.
VCU knocked off UAB again in 1981. The Rams defeated the Blazers, 62-61. Kenny Stancil was named MVP.
VCU became the first team to score 100 or more points on the conference title game, defeating UAB 105-88. Edmund Sherod was named MVP.
Jacksonville defeated South Florida in 1979, 68-54. James Ray was named MVP.
1978: NEW ORLEANS
The New Orleans Privateers got back to the championship game the next season and won, 22-20, over South Alabama. Nate Mills was named the MVP.
The Charlotte 49ers won the first Sun Belt Conference tournament in 1977. They edged New Orleans, 71-70. Cedric Maxwell was named MVP.