Combine the lovely setting of Conway, South Carolina and multiple teams who could take the title and you have an intriguing Big South conference tournament. Last year’s champion UNC Asheville nearly knocked off Syracuse in a 1-16 matchup so you know the team that comes out of this will be a threat to their first opponent.
High Point finished the year at 12-4 in the conference and will be the one seed from the Northern division. The Panthers have won eight of ten entering the festivities. They feature John Brown who puts up over 16 points per game and Allan Chaney, who comes to the school from Virginia Tech after a heart ailment kept him off the court. Chaney’s story is a great follow and makes them a threat with so few post players of note in the league. They have two losses against Radford to go with losses to UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern.
The one seed in the Southern division is Charleston Southern who also went 12-4 in conference. They are led by Saah Nimley who scores 16 points per game. The Buccaneers have three other scorers who put up 10 points or more per game so they are a deep team. This squad has two losses to Gardner-Webb along with Coastal Carolina and Winthrop.
The Runnin Bulldogs have the most wins overall in the league going 20-11, but five of those losses came against Big South opponents. They own a road win at DePaul and a one point loss at Illinois. Gardner Webb has won seven straight and 10 of their last 11. The problem with them is inconsistency as they sport losses to woeful Presbyterian and Winthrop.
We haven’t even gotten to those Bulldogs who took the Orange to the limit last year. They have wins against Northeastern and St. John’s. They have lost five of their last six games. VMI is another intriguing team considering their offensive style and Stan Okoye who is capable of scoring 30 on any night. The Keydets don’t play a lot of defense, but they have star power. Finally, we have Coastal Carolina who is the home team for the event which means they are always a threat considering they will have the backing of the most fans.
The pick for this one is Gardner Webb. They’ll benefit from the Chanticleers taking out High Point and will make it to the title game defeating Charleston Southern for the championship.