Big South Power Rankings: Coastal Carolina Grabs North Division Lead

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

With two weeks left seeding and an NIT guarantee is on the line throughout the conference. There is no shortage of pivotal match ups in this conference where six teams are within two games striking distance of first place in each division.

1. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (16-10,9-3)
Last Week: 4

The only thing that slowed down Coastal Carolina a bit this week was their bus getting stuck in the snow. The Chants are playing great basketball and have now won three in a row and seven of their last eight. There has been a lot of talk around QJ Peterson and Andrew Rowsey for Freshman of the Year, but Coastal's Elijah Wilson should be in that conversation as well. Wilson is now averaging 16.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He had a career high 26 points in the Chants road win over VMI this week. Things get a little harder this week with a tough road trip for Cliff Ellis' boys.

Last Week: W 83-78 at VMI, W 75-60 vs Gardner-Webb
This Week: 2/19 at Winthrop, 2/22 at UNC Asheville

2. High Point Panthers (11-13,7-4)
LW: 7

High Point gets a little bit of an advantage since they only had to play one game this week due to snow, but the Panthers made the most of their one game by taking down Radford on the road thanks to a huge night from John Brown. Brown dominated the Highlanders dropping 34 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Can High Point keep it going this week with three games on the slate?

Last Week: W 72-65 at Radford
This Week: 2/17 vs Charleston Southern, 2/19 vs Liberty, 2/22 at Longwood

3. VMI Keydets (15-10,8-4)
LW: 2

It was an up and down week for Keydets as they imploded against Coastal Carolina at home but then grabbed a road win at in-state rival Liberty. QJ Peterson and D.J. Covington both had a double-double Saturday night versus the Flames, as the two combined for 30 points and 24 rebounds. Rodney Glasgow also had a big night with 25 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Duggar Baucom's Keydets now gets to enjoy two home games this week.

Last Week: L 83-78 vs Coastal Carolina, W 77-70 at Liberty
This Week: 2/19 vs Campbell, 2/22 vs Radford

4. Radford Highlanders (17-10,7-5)
LW: 3

A resilient Highlanders team downed UNC Asheville in a nationally televised game on ESPNU and could have followed that up by staying in first place in the North Division versus High Point but John Brown ruined that for Mike Jones. Now Radford has quite the week as they'll play on the road at in-state rivals who, frankly, don't like them very much and neither do their fans.

Last Week: W 102-92 vs UNCA, L 72-65 vs High Point
This Week: 2/19 at Longwood, 2/22 at VMI

5. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (14-13, 7-5)
LW: 6

Gardner-Webb took care of business on the road at Liberty but couldn't keep it going on their road trip to Coastal Carolina. Every game for the Bulldogs is a pivotal one from here on out as Gardner-Webb is in a three-way tie for second place in the South Division and the all important first round bye with Winthrop and UNC Asheville.

Last Week: W 68-52 at Liberty, L 75-60 at Coastal Carolina
This Week: 2/19 vs Presbyterian, 2/22 vs Winthrop

6. Winthrop Eagles (14-11,7-5)
LW: 5

Winthrop simply showed up for their odd/early mid-week game against Longwood, while the Lancers did not. That resulted in an easy win for the Eagles, but they didn't build any momentum as Charleston Southern proceeded to throttle Winthrop 84-64. The Eagles next three games come against teams either above or tied with them in the South Division standings.

Last Week: W 76-59 at Longwood, L 84-64 at Charleston Southern
This Week: 2/19 vs Coastal Carolina, 2/22 at Gardner-Webb

7. UNC Asheville Bulldogs (13-13,7-5)
LW: 1

Remember last week when I said the Bulldogs were looking like "vintage Asheville"? Not so much any more... The Bulldogs first lost at Radford despite 42 points from Andrew Rowsey, but the low point came Saturday when Asheville lost to Presbyterian for the first time since 2009. Asheville now finds themselves two games behind Coastal in the South Division and in a dog fight for the two seed. The good news is that three of their final four games will come at home.

Last Week: L 102-92 at Radford, L 72-71 at Presbyterian
This Week: 2/19 vs Charleston Southern, 2/22 vs Coastal Carolina

8. Charleston Southern Buccaneers (11-13, 5-6)
LW: 8

The Bucs were the other team that only played one game this week but they certainly made it count by dominating Winthrop for a 20 point win thanks to 17 points and 7 rebounds from guard Arlon Harper. It's going to be hard for the Bucs to climb out of the fifth seed in the South Division but they have the advantage of playing one more game than anyone else in the division at this point.

Last Week: W 84-64 vs Winthrop
This Week: 2/17 at High Point, 2/19 at UNCA, 2/22 at Presbyterian

9. Campbell Camels (12-15,6-6)
LW: 9

Campbell did get a win this week but they didn't look overly impressive. The Camels looked more like the team that last to Division II Chowan on Saturday than the team that started Big South play 4-1, as the Camels were down 46-13 at the half against Longwood. If the Lancers can keep charging then Campbell might need to hold onto the fourth seed in the North by the skin of their teeth. But from another vantage point the Camels are just a game out from the three seed and a game and half from the two seed despite losing four of their last five games.

Last Week: W 77-66 vs Presbyterian, L 76-53 vs Longwood
This Week: 2/19 at VMI, 2/22 vs Liberty

10. Longwood Lancers (8-19, 3-9)
LW: 11

The Lancers' fanbase was disgruntled with the lack of effort from Longwood in their home loss against Winthrop and so was Jayson Gee who even put his young player on notice letting them know that they could be playing for their jobs. The team responded and absolutely dominated Campbell in their own building on Saturday night thanks to 18 points and 5 assists from Lucas Woodhouse. The 23 point win was the biggest winning deficit for the Lancers against a Division I team in school history. Longwood will look to keep it going with three of their next four games in the comforts of Willett Hall.

Last Week: L 76-59 vs Winthrop, W 76-53 at Campbell
This Week: 2/19 vs Radford, 2/22 vs High Point

11. Presbyterian Blue Hose (6-21,2-10)
LW: 12

The Blue Hose shocked the Big South this week and did the South Division a favor by knocking of UNC Asheville in a game televised on ESPN3. Davidson transfer Jordan Downing was the hero with 31 points for PC on the night. The next two weeks are more about playing good basketball going into Myrtle Beach than improving seeding. One thing is for sure, no one will take the Blue Hose lightly from here on out.

Last Week: L 77-66 at Campbell, W 72-71 vs UNCA
This Week: 2/19 at Gardner-Webb, 2/22 vs Charleston Southern

12. Liberty Flames (9-18,3-9)
LW: 10

I can only imagine the recurring nightmare that Dale Layer has since his Flames have had four chances in their last eight games to hit a big three to send a game into overtime and are 0-for-4 in those instances. After two home losses to Gardner-Webb and VMI the Flames have lost six straight and eight of their last nine. It won't be easy for the Flames to snap the streak this week with two games on the road.

Last Week: L 68-52 vs Gardner-Webb, L 77-70 vs VMI
This Week: 2/19 at High Point, 2/22 at Campbell

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