Handicapping the Big South Tournament

Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE

I don't even pretend to understand how Ken Pomeroy comes up with his college basketball numbers or completely understand what they all mean. Likely, if I even tried to understand my head would explode. I do however like stopping by Ken's website and reading his blog. Today's blog I found interesting in particular because it handicapped the Big South tournament kicking off Tuesday.

The Favorites:

Charleston Southern (32% Chance of Winning): The Buccaneers will get to rest for a couple of days after grabbing the one seed in the South Division. They await the winner of the Winthrop/Radford and then could have early afternoon match ups the rest of the week. The rest should give them a chance to get Big South first teamer Saah Nimley healthy for the homestretch.

Gardner-Webb (23%): Chris Holtmann was named the Coach of the Year this weekend and deservingly so, the Bulldogs are the conference's hottest team. GWU is on a seven game win streak and has won ten out of their last eleven. The Bulldogs should have a soft quarterfinal match up with either Campbell or Presbyterian.

The Contenders:

Coastal Carolina (14%): Coastal has a clear advantage playing on their home court and with the conference bumping their game times for the first rounds and quarterfinals to 8PM. There is no word yet from the Big South if the tournament will actually be double-elimination for the Chanticleers or if they'll be allowed to use six men on the court. With a good week, talented seniors Kierre Greenwood and Anthony Raffa could propel the Chants to a championship.

UNC Asheville (13%): Eddie Biedenbach always gets his squad to play well this time of year but the Bulldogs are reeling. UNC-A has lost five of their last six games and will need to get back on track against a scrappy Longwood squad Tuesday. If Jeremy Atkinson and Keith Hornsby can catch fire then you may find the Bulldogs back in the "Big Dance" for a third straight year.

High Point (11%): The Panthers likely would have had a much better chance at taking home the title until their best player and Big South Freshman of the Year John Brown got hurt last week against Radford. Brown is now out for the year with a foot injury and HPU will have to rely heavily on big man Allan Chaney. It doesn't help that the Panthers will also most pretty much have a road game against Coastal Carolina on Thursday if the Chants get past Liberty.

So You're Telling Me There's a Chance:

VMI (3.5%): As expected, VMI senior Stan Okoye was named conference Player of they Year and DJ Covington was named Defensive Player of the Year. But do the Keydets have what it takes to make a run similar to last year? VMI, sort of, backed into the two seed at 8-8 for the North Division and could be staring at a rematch against an Asheville team that beat them easily on the road, in front of a national TV audience a little over a month ago.

Winthrop (1.8%): The Eagles have had an open and down season but are coming off a good win against Asheville. Pat Kelsey's squad drew Radford in the first round, a team they lost to by one on the road in January. The Eagles have already proven this year that they can take down Charleston Southern and they may get another chance if they get past the Highlanders on Tuesday.

Zip, Natta, None:

Campbell (0.7%): Campbell just hasn't been able to rebound from the loss of Darren White this year. Trey Freeman may be able to carry the Camels to a win, but they are a long-shot for sure.

Radford (0.5%): Mike Jones continues an admirable rebuild of the Highlander program. Radford more than doubled their wins this year and have some promising young players in RJ Price and Javonte Green. They are a dangerous team at times, but will run into the Charleston Southern buzz-saw if they make it to the quarterfinals.

Liberty (0.5%): Liberty faces the uphill battle of opening the tournament against host Coastal Carolina. The Flames may need a win to save Dale Layer's job at this point.

Presbyterian (0.06%): You never know what to expect out of the Blue Hose, but they probably won't be an easy out for Campbell on Tuesday. If PC gets past the Camels then they'll have a shot against Gardner-Webb, a team they beat earlier this year.

Longwood (0.03%): The Lancers have been playing better as of late but are still the longest of long-shots in this tourney. Longwood matches up against UNC-A in the first round, a team they played very tough on the road earlier this year.

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