The Big South tourney starts on Thursday! The quick preview I did this fall did not do justice to the elite teams in this league and I wish I could've dug a little deeper. Alas.
Here's how we did:
And the revised All-Conference selections (note: these are the actual picks for the Big South this season):
Best Calls(s): Well I got the top three right and NAILED Presbyterian in the 10th spot! Other than that there's not too much to write home about. John Brown was the beast everyone thought he would be this year, as was Nwogbo and Keon Johnson.
Worst Call(s): I missed the boat completely on UNC Asheville and Liberty. Asheville led the Big South conference for most of the season thanks to stud freshmen Dwayne Sutton and Dylan Smith. These two 6'5'' D.S.'s make for a bright future in Asheville. Liberty I picked to finish dead last and instead the Flames came on strong at the end of the year winning 8 of their last 11, finishing 5th in the Big South.
Who I want to win: High Point. The Panthers have yet to make an NCAA tournament since joining D1 in 1999-2000 and I would love to see John Brown and company try to take down a giant. We've seen Winthrop; we don't want Winthrop.
Who I think will win: I think High Point gets it done but wow this league is a toss up. Aside from the Panthers, Winthrop, Coastal Carolina, and UNC Asheville all have legitimate title hopes (they all won over 12 conference games). After this tier, the competition severely drops off, though 7-seeded Radford did knock off Georgetown and a good UNC Wilmington team this year.
Chance to make a run: My pre-season pick Coastal Carolina has a great shot at making a run in the Big South tourney. The Chanticleers represented the Big South in last year's tournament only to be thwarted by eventual runner-up Wisconsin. Badou Diagne has really disappointed this season, but All-Conference guards Shivaughn Wiggins and Elijah Wilson give the 'Cleers a shot to win any game. As far as the NCAA Tourney goes, the winner of this conference likely gets a 16-seed, the exception of which could be High Point who I can see earning a 15. Either way, the prospects of winning a first round contest are bleak.
How it plays out: Here's how I see it:
(8) Longwood defeats (9) Charleston Southern
(7) Radford defeats (10) Presbyterian
(6) Gardner-Webb defeats (11) Campbell
(1) High Point defeats (8) Longwood
(4) UNC Asheville defeats (5) Liberty
(7) Radford defeats (2) Winthrop (uh oh!)
(3) Coastal Carolina defeats (6) Gardner-Webb
(1) High Point defeats (4) UNC Asheville (this is a close one)
(3) Coastal Carolina defeats (7) Radford
(1) High Point defeats (3) Coastal Carolina
High Point earns a 15 seed in the Tourney where they cover the spread against a sleepy 2-seed but ultimately fall out of the Dance, Ky counts his money after betting on John Brown and the Panthers in Vega$.