One week remaining in the Big South, and the conference race is wide open. As many as 9 teams could claim the ability to win the conference tournament next week in Conway. Should be an exciting close to the season.
Note: Division ranking in parenthesis. National rankings are courtesy of KenPom.com. Arrows denote movement in overall Power Rankings. since previous power rankings.
1. (1st North) VMI 17-10, 10-4 #246 1
VMI jumps back to the top of our power rankings after a week away. The Keydets picked up a pair of home victories over Campbell and Radford this week. You could flip a coin for the top spot between VMI and High Point, we gave the edge to the Keydets based on their head-to-head victory over the Panthers in January (granted the game was played in Lexington and decided in overtime). Big showdown Wednesday night between the top 2 North Division teams which will likely decide the North Division race.
2. (2nd N) High Point 14-13, 10-4 #237 1
High Point continues their tear through conference play having won 4 straight and 8 of their past 9. Scott Cherry’s team swept their 3 games this week with home wins over Charleston Southern, Liberty, and a road demolition of Longwood. John Brown, favorite for Big South Player of the Year, averaged a measly 16 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists this week.
3. (1st South) Coastal Carolina 16-12, 9-5 #249 2
The Chanticleers dropped both of their road contests this week against Winthrop and UNC-Asheville to fall into a 3-way tie for 1st place atop the South Division Standings with Asheville and Gardner-Webb. The Chanticleers finish their regular season at home with games against Presbyterian and Charleston Southern.
4. (2nd S) UNC-Asheville 15-13, 9-5 #230 2
Asheville bounced back from their consecutive losses with a home sweep of Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina, each by double digits. Jaron Lane led the Bulldogs with 22.5 points per game this week. A tough week looms for UNCA (@ Winthrop, vs GWU) as they hope to grab a first round bye.
5. (3rd S) Gardner-Webb 16-13, 9-5 #245 1
The Runnin’ Bulldogs picked up a pair of wins on their home court against Presbyterian and Winthrop. Gardner-Webb blew a 13-point 2nd half lead before coming back to beat the Eagles 85-79 in overtime. Jerome Hill’s double-double paced the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
6. (4th S) Winthrop 15-12, 8-6 #240 1
Winthrop remains within striking distance of a first round bye after their split this week. The Eagles defeated Coastal Carolina 75-65 thanks to shooting 22-of-27 from the free throw line. Winthrop concludes their regular season at home against UNC-Asheville and Presbyterian.
7. (3rd N) Radford 18-11, 8-6 #248 2
The Highlanders went 1-1 this week after beating Longwood and falling to VMI, both games on the road. R.J. Price scored 28 points to help Radford pick up the win in Farmville. Javonte Green’s 21 points and 7 boards weren’t enough for the Highs to overcome D.J. Covington’s 29 and 13 on Saturday.
8. (5th S) Charleston Southern 12-15, 6-8 #241 no change
The Buccaneers have defeated the Blue Hose by an average of 39 points per game in their 2 meetings this season. Unfortunately for CSU, they won’t likely meet PC again this season. Charleston Southern was 1-2 on the week with the win over Presby, and losses to High Point and UNC-Asheville. The Buccaneers are a dangerous team, and can make a run next week at the beach.
9. (4th N) Liberty 10-19, 4-10 #288 2
The Flames picked up their largest margin of victory against a Division I opponent this weekend when they defeated Campbell 79-59. The win stopped Liberty’s losing streak which was extended to 7 earlier in the week when they fell to High Point. Is the win over Campbell a sign that the Flames are turning things around like they did last season? If so, they should be able to enter the Big South Tournament with some positive momentum after home games this week against Longwood and Radford.
10. (5th N) Campbell 12-17, 6-8 #334 1
Campbell’s a mess, having lost 3 straight and 6 of their past 7 including home drubbings at the hands of Liberty and Longwood. Perhaps the Camels are ready for the season to be over. After this week, trips to High Point and Radford, they may be.
11. (6th N) Longwood 8-21, 3-11 #342 1
The Lancers have now lost 7 of their past 8 games. The Lancers are just 1-6 at home in conference play this season with the only win coming against Liberty.
12. (6th S) Presbyterian 6-23, 2-12 #348 no change
Losses to Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern this week, matchups with Coastal and Winthrop on tap. Don’t worry Blue Hose, the season’s almost over.