Here’s our updated Big South men’s basketball power rankings based on games played through February 23rd as we enter the final week of the regular season.
Note: National rankings are courtesy of KenPom.com. Arrows denote movement in power rankings since last ranking.
1. Winthrop 20-7, 12-4 #158
The Eagles are as hot as any team in the Big South, having won 11 of their last 12 games, with the only loss coming at Liberty. Winthrop has been the top scoring offense in the league all season and 2 of the top 5 and 3 of the top 8 individual scorers in the Big South led by Keon Johnson’s 19.6 points per game. Will Pat Kelsey be able to capture Winthrop’s Big South leading 11th Big South Tournament Championship next week?
This week: 2/25 @ High Point, 2/27 @ Campbell
2. High Point 18-9, 11-5 #154
After struggling though most of January and the first week of February, High Point has righted the ship with 4 straight wins, including 3 on the road. They have a huge showdown against Winthrop on Thursday with first place in the conference on the line.
This week: 2/25 vs Winthrop, 2/27 @ Presbyterian
3. UNC-Asheville 18-10, 11-5 #134
Asheville had the inside track to the regular season championship and #1 seed in next week’s tournament until they dropped 2 out of 3 games. The Bulldogs look to rebound as they conclude their regular season with 2 home games.
This week: 2/25 vs Liberty, 2/27 vs Coastal
4. Coastal Carolina 16-10, 10-6 #163
The two-time defending tournament champions lead the Big South in scoring defense, holding opponents to 67.1 points per game. Cliff Ellis hopes to lead the Chanticleers to a 3rd straight championship as they exit the league.
This week: 2/25 vs Charleston Southern, 2/27 @ UNCA
5. Gardner-Webb 15-14, 10-7 #225
The Runnin’ Bulldogs are the team fighting for a first-round bye that everyone seems to forget, but with just one game left they have a very good chance of getting a first-round bye. Granted they will have to beat Liberty in Lynchburg on the final day of the regular season to do so.
This week: 2/27 @ Liberty
6. Radford 15-13, 8-8 #201
The Highlanders continue to be an up and down team. Mike Jones’ squad has lost 4 of their last 6 games, but their 2 wins, both on the road, came against 2 of the hottest teams in the league (UNCA & Liberty). Radford’s season sweep of the Flames put them in position to steal a top 5 finish and first round bye provided they take care of business this week.
This week: 2/25 @ Campbell, 2/27 vs Longwood
7. Liberty 12-17, 9-7 #263
The scorching hot Flames were put out over the weekend with consecutive losses to Radford and Presbyterian, both at home. Regardless of how the final week of the regular season and next week’s tournament play out, Ritchie McKay has proved he will have Liberty as a contender in this league, sooner rather than later.
This week: 2/25 @ UNCA, 2/27 vs Gardner-Webb
8. Campbell 12-15, 5-11 #288
A 10 game losing streak has been put to pud, and the Camels have now strung together 4 straight victories as they begin to claw out of the basement. Since they are hosting the tournament and have begun winning some games, Campbell will be a dangerous team next week.
This week: 2/25 vs Radford, 2/27 vs Winthrop
9. Charleston Southern 9-19, 5-12 #295
The Buccaneers have lost 8 out of 9 with their only win coming against Presbyterian on February 11th. Unless they win at Coastal on Thursday, Charleston Southern will finish with their fewest wins in conference play since 2009.
This week: 2/25 @ Coastal Carolina
10. Presbyterian 9-18, 4-12 #336
The Blue Hose stopped an 8 game losing streak by knocking off Liberty in Lynchburg thanks to a stellar performance from DeSean Murray. Murray finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. How many votes will he get for Big South Player of the Year despite his team being near the bottom of the standings.
This week: 2/25 @ Longwood, 2/27 vs High Point
11. Longwood 8-21, 4-12 #300
Longwood is 1-11 against the top 7 teams in the Big South. Doesn’t give them much hope to do damage in the tournament next week.
This week: 2/25 vs Presbyterian, 2/27 @ Radford