As hard as it is to believe, conference play begins Saturday. Here’s our updated Big South men’s basketball power rankings based on games played through January 9th.
Note: National rankings are courtesy of KenPom.com. Arrows denote movement in power rankings since last ranking.
1. Radford 11-6, 4-0 #156
After limping out of the gate to a 5-6 record, the Highlanders have hit a stride, winning 6 straight including their first 4 Big South games. Their 4-0 league mark includes two road wins and home triumphs against Winthrop and Asheville. Ed Polite is leading the way with 13.8 points and 8.1 rebounds.
This week: 1/12 @ Gardner-Webb, 1/15 vs Liberty
2. Liberty 12-5, 3-1 #153
The Flames dropped their conference opener in a nail-biter at Gardner-Webb, but have since won 3 straight including the program’s first win at Winthrop since 2004 which is also the last time Liberty won the regular season Big South championship.
This week: 1/12 vs Longwood, 1/15 @ Radford
3. UNC-Asheville 9-8, 2-2 #183
The Bulldogs continue to struggle away from Kimmel Arena, as they dropped the first two road games of their conference schedule, putting their away record for this season at 2-8, compared to a 7-0 home record. Nick McDevitt’s squad will try to end the poor play away from home with a game at PC Friday.
This week: 1/12 @ Presbyterian, 1/15 vs Charleston Southern
4. Gardner-Webb 8-9, 3-1 #248
After struggling through a difficult non-conference schedule, the Runnin’ Bulldogs made a statement with a win over Liberty, Campbell, and High Point in 3 of their first 4 Big South games. Gardner-Webb did lose in Farmville to Longwood in a bit of a head scratcher. Two big tests this week which will help determine if Coach Craft’s team is a legitimate contender this season.
This week: 1/12 vs Radford, 1/15 @ Winthrop
5. High Point 7-8, 2-2 #221
The Panthers have held serve at home in their first two Big South contests played at the Millis Center, defeating Asheville and CSU. High Point scored just 45 points in their previous outing at Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night.
This week: 1/12 @ Campbell, 1/15 vs Presbyterian
6. Campbell 8-8, 2-2 #231
After dropping their first two Big South games, the Camels have responded with two solid wins against Winthrop and at PC. Chris Clemons continues to play at an extremely high level offensively, averaging 26 points in his first 4 conference games.
This week: 1/12 vs High Point, 1/15 @ Longwood
7. Winthrop 7-8, 1-3 #186
Winthrop is having a difficult time taking everyone’s best shot as they attempt to defend their Big South crown. The Eagles have dropped 3 straight for the first time in over 2 years, they didn’t even lose consecutive games a season ago.
This week: 1/12 @ Charleston Southern, 1/15 vs Gardner-Webb
8. Presbyterian 8-9, 1-3 #326
The Blue Hose have proven to be a pesky bunch in league play, but is still having a difficult time getting over the hump and into the win column. Other than the win at Longwood, Presbyterian has losses to Radford, Liberty, and Campbell.
This week: 1/12 vs Asheville, 1/15 @ High Point
9. Charleston Southern 6-9, 1-3 #302
The Bucs nearly knocked Radford off from the ranks of the unbeaten as Christian Keeling’s 3 pointer missed at the buzzer. Like PC, Charleston Southern has proven to be a difficult out, but is still not having much success winning games.
This week: 1/12 vs Winthrop, 1/15 @ Asheville
10. Longwood 4-13, 1-3 #349
The Lancers lost by 41 points to Charleston Southern to open Big South play, and it looked like they might go winless. However, Longwood shocked the Big South with a win over Gardner-Webb. While they might not be a contender, Jayson Gee’s squad can attempt to play spoiler throughout the season.
This week: 1/12 @ Liberty, 1/15 vs Campbell