On Wednesday night, both Mercer and Florida Gulf-Coast, the top seeds within the Atlantic Sun Tournament, advanced through the quarterfinal round with victories.
On Thursday night, both Stetson and USC-Upstate joined them with wins of their own to complete the four team semifinal round of the bracket.
Aided by a 17-point effort from Torrey Craig, the Spartans of USC-Upstate built up a double-digit lead on fourth-seeded Jacksonville and never looked back. USC-Upstate cruised to a 76-62 victory, advancing through to the semifinal round where they will now look to top the conference’s biggest NCAA Tournament threat. That of course being, top-seeded Mercer.
On the flip side of the bracket, third-seeded Stetson had no real troubles against East Tennessee State. The Hatters played a terrific game defensively, limiting the Buccaneers to only 46 points as a team. Stetson actually trailed 24-21 at the halftime break in this one, but a 25-point advantage in the second half really opened things up. Stetson will advance to play Florida-Gulf Coast in the semifinal round on Friday night.
The advantage of the staggered semifinal round gives the top two seeds an extra day to gear up for the semifinal round and we will see if that bonus day helps or hurts both Mercer and Florida Gulf-Coast.
Take a look below at the times and match-ups for the semifinal round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament:
Mar. 8, 5:30pm (EST): Mercer vs. USC-Upstate
Mar. 8, 8:00pm (EST): Stetson vs. Florida-Gulf Coast
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS