Here’s our updated Big South Basketball Power Rankings with games played through January 5th after the first round of conference games.
Note: National rankings are courtesy of KenPom.com. Arrows denote movement in power rankings since last week.
1. Coastal Carolina 11-3, 2-0 #106
Coastal Carolina picked up where they left off last season in conference play with 2 impressive victories over High Point and Charleston Southern. The Chanticleers led from start to finish and had 5 players score double figures in their road win over High Point, 83-68, on New Year’s Eve. Coastal led the entire 2nd half en route to their 83-74 win over Charleston Southern behind Warren Gillis’ 18 and Josh Cameron’s 17 points.
2. High Point 10-4, 1-1 #168
The Panthers rebounded from their disappointing loss to Coastal, with a nice win at Winthrop. There won’t be many teams who escape Rock Hill this year with a W. It took 2 overtimes, but poor execution by the Eagles would catapult High Point to the win. John Brown led the way with 33 points while Devante Wallace grabbed 12 boards. Two, winnable home games for HPU this week with CSU and Campbell visiting the Millis Center.
3. UNC-Asheville 6-7, 2-0 #199
Wow, what a week for the Bulldogs. First, they go on the road and beat one of the hottest teams in the league, Radford, by a Jaleel Roberts tip in with 2 seconds left. Then, Asheville completely destroys Gardner-Webb, 80-55, who was 9-5 and one of the top teams in the Big South coming into the game. Sam Hughes and Chudier Pal each netted career highs in scoring in the game. Andrew Rowsey, who was the top scorer in the Big South, combined for just 10 points in the 2 wins.
4. Charleston Southern 7-6, 1-1 #231
The Buccaneers split their first two conference games with a loss at Coastal Carolina and a 74-71 win Monday night over Campbell. Saah Nimley’s 26 points were not enough to overcome the Chanticleers 52% shooting from the field. Against Campbell, CSU trailed by 4 with 43 seconds to play before closing the game on a 7-0 run. The Bucs got the win despite shooting just 37% from the field.
5. Winthrop 6-7, 1-1 #252
3 overtimes in the first 2 Big South games for Winthrop. The Eagles opened up league play with an overtime win over Longwood before falling to High Point in double overtime. Keon Moore led the Eagles with 30 points on 5 made 3-pointers in the loss to the Panthers. Winthrop hits the road for 2 games this week against Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb.
6. Gardner-Webb 9-6, 1-1 #191
A bit of an up and down week for the Runnin’ Bulldogs. They opened play with a nice road win over Presbyterian, 81-64, behind 21 points and 11 boards from Tyrell Nelson and 19 points and 12 boards from Jerome Hill. GWU would then head to Asheville where they ran into the UNCA buzzsaw. Gardner-Webb wouldn’t help themselves as they shot just 28% from the field and 17% from 3.
7. Longwood 5-10, 1-1 #326
Just like Winthrop, the Lancers played 3 overtimes in their first 2 conference games. After falling on the road to Winthrop, Longwood was able to pull away from Radford in the 2nd overtime as they beat the Highlanders, 90-79. Leron Fisher and Ryan Badowski each scored over 20 points and 4 Lancers reached double figures in the double OT game. Coach Gee played 4 guys 40+ minutes led by Lotanna Nwogbo’s 48 minutes.
8. Campbell 7-8, 1-1 #261
The Camels picked up a win over Liberty, 53-46, in what will hopefully be the ugliest Big South game this season. Both teams shot 30% or worse from the field and neither reached the 30% plateau from 3-point range. Campbell followed up the ugly win by nearly upsetting Charleston Southern in Charleston Monday night. The Camels led 71-67 in the final minute, but saw CSU score 7 straight to steal the victory.
9. Radford 9-6, 0-2 #212
Just a week ago, Radford was entering conference play having won 4 straight and 7 of 8. Now, all of a sudden, the Highlanders are at the bottom of the conference standings at 0-2. Radford lost at home to UNC-Asheville before being outlasted by Longwood in double overtime in Farmville. Things won’t get any easier as Radford heads on the road for a game against Gardner-Webb on Thursday.
10. Presbyterian 5-10, 1-1 #348
After dropping their 10th straight Division I game to open the season by losing to Gardner-Webb, the Blue Hose rebounded with their first conference road win since 2012 by beating Liberty, 62-58. Freshman DeSean Murray played in his first game since November 18th, and finished with his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead PC. Was the win a fluke against the worst team in Division I? Or has Presbyterian found a diamond in the rough with Murray?
11. Liberty 6-9, 0-2 #324
Liberty continues to play poor on offense, and their defense hasn’t been enough to get them over the hump. The Flames dropped their first 2 conference games falling at Campbell and losing at home to Presbyterian. LU scored just 46 points while shooting 30% from the field in the loss to the Camels, and missed 10 of their 21 free throws in the loss to PC. If you don’t think things can get worse for Dale Layer and company, think again. The Flames next 3 opponents (UNCA, Coastal, CSU) are all in the top 4 of these power rankings with 2 of them on the road.