Big South Power Rankings: Asheville Looking Like the Bulldogs of Old

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

This week marks the last of cross-divisional play before teams end the regular season against their divisional rivals. Some teams are building momentum towards a first round bye in Myrtle Beach, while others are going to the other direction.

The Big South Power Rankings are back after a week off. Sorry for the missed last week, my wife was in child birth and as much as I love Big South hoops I don't think it was a good idea to bring the laptop into the delivery room.

1. UNC Asheville Bulldogs (13-11,7-3)
Last Week: 2

Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey does not lack confidence, almost to a fault at times, but he has become a machine for Nick McDevitt's Bulldogs. Rowsey is averaging over 28 points per game in his last four outings and has been the catalyst for Asheville's recent four game winning streak. The Bulldogs aren't dominating teams and barely escaped games against Longwood and Liberty with wins, but they'll look to continue their solid run with a pair of road contests this week.

Last Week: W 86-73 vs Campbell, W 75-72 vs Liberty
This Week: 2/13 at Radford (ESPNU), 2/15 at Presbyterian (ESPN3)

2. VMI Keydets (14-9,7-3)
Last Week: 5

Speaking of sensational freshmen, VMI's Q.J. Peterson continues to dazzle and is averaging 26 points per contest during the Keydets current four game winning streak. The story of the week for Duggar Baucom's boys was the quadruple overtime thriller at Gardner-Webb, in which the Keydets nailed THREE buzzer beaters!

Last Week: W 108-104 vs Gardner-Webb, W 92-84 vs Charleston Southern
Next Week: 2/12 vs Coastal Carolina, 2/15 at Liberty

3. Radford Highlanders (16-9,6-4)
LW: 8

Radford certainly hit a rough patch losing four out of six games, but it seems like Mike Jones got hist Highlanders back on track this week. Javonte Green dropped 33 at Charleston Southern to take down the Bucs, then Radford took down Presbyterian in Clinton. The Highlanders will now have the toughest week of any team in the Big South as they host a surging Asheville squad before taking on High Point on Saturday.

Last Week: W 82-76 at Charleston Southern, W 83-66 at Presbyterian
This Week: 2/13 vs UNCA (ESPNU), 2/15 vs High Point

4. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (14-10,7-3)
LW: 1

The Chants had a chance to take a strangle hold on the South Division this week with two games in the HTC Center, but dropped a decision to High Point and didn't look overly impressive against Longwood. Cliff Ellis' squad will need to step up to get a bye in the Big South Tournament as three of their next four games are away from home, starting this week with a trip to VMI.

Last Week: L 77-74 vs High Point, W 67-58 vs Longwood
This Week: 2/12 at VMI, 2/15 vs Gardner-Webb

5. Winthrop Eagles (13-10,6-4)
LW: 3

Winthrop had a bit of a weird week as they played three games due to a postponement earlier this season. The Eagles took care of business though and won all three contests this week by an average margin of over 22 points. The Eagles have a pair of road tests this week, including one in Farmville, Virginia where Pat Kelsey will take on one of his former mentors Jayson Gee.

Last Week: W 73-62 at Liberty, W 92-62 vs Barber-Scotia, W 88-62 vs Campbell
This Week: 2/12 at Longwood, 2/15 at Charleston Southern

6. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (13-12,6-4)
LW: 7

Tim Craft's Bulldogs almost put together a five game winning streak and could have really shot up our power rankings, but it was their overtime thriller against VMI that held them back a bit. GWU has throttle the North Division for a 4-1 mark and will look to keep their positive momentum going with a pair of road games this week.

Last Week: L 108-104 vs VMI, W 80-76 vs High Point
This Week: 2/11 at Liberty, 2/15 at Coastal Carolina

7. High Point Panthers (10-13,6-4)
LW: 6

High Point is playing just as good of basketball as anyone in the Big South right now and almost won their fifth straight game at Gardner-Webb on Saturday. John Brown has been the catalyst and is now averaging 19.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Right now the Panthers are in the drivers seat for one of the two divisional buys in Myrtle Beach, let's see if they keep it going this week.

Last Week: W 77-74 at Coastal Carolina, L 80-76 at Gardner-Webb
This Week: 2/12 vs Charleston Southern, 2/15 at Radford

8. Charleston Southern Buccaneers (10-13,4-6)
LW: 10

After the brief hiatus from Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley the Bucs looked to be back on track after they took down Liberty at home, but Barclay Radebaugh's squad dropped two close contest against North Division opponents this week. Can the Bucs live up to their preseason hype and get things going as we move into the stretch run this month?

Last Week: L 82-76 vs Radford, L 92-84 at Radford
This Week: 2/12 at High Point, 2/15 vs Winthrop

9. Campbell Camels (11-14,5-5)
LW: 4

After starting the season with a sizzling 4-1 record the Camels have dropped back to Earth losing four out of their last five and three straight. Now Kevin McGeehan can't even keep his own fans in check:

If the Camels want to claw back into the North Division race then this is the week as the two worst teams in the Big South visit Buies Creek.

Last Week: L 86-73 at UNCA, L 88-62 at Winthrop
This Week: 2/12 vs Presbyterian, 2/15 vs Longwood

10. Liberty Flames (9-16,3-7)
LW: 9

Liberty has lost four straight and six out of their last seven. Frustration seemed to boil over Saturday as the Flames had quite the emotional game in Asheville. News & Advance reporter Chris Lang started with the craziness just after the second half started:

The Flames defense then stepped up and they clawed back into the game, then things really started to get crazy:

In a game changing call:

Despite their record it's clear that the Flames are fighting as Lang pointed out:

I'm not sure if the Flames are a team to be feared who can put together another tourney run or a team on the brink of total implosion. Could some home cooking be the solution for the Flames this week? We'll see if people show up at the Vines Center that wasn't even at twenty percent capacity this past week against Winthrop.

Last Week: L 73-62 vs Winthrop, L 75-72 at UNCA
This Week: 2/11 vs Gardner-Webb, 2/15 vs VMI

11. Longwood Lancers (7-18,2-8)
LW: 9

Jayson Gee often talks about how "fragile" his team is and that the Lancers just don't have the personnel to succeed night in and night out this season, that rung true after the Lancers heartbreaking home loss to Asheville as the Lancers laid a dud and Tristan Carey sat out almost the whole first half versus Presbyterian. Longwood followed up that loss with a atrocious shooting performance at Coastal in which the Lancers shot 21% in the first half and were 2-for-13 from three for the game. At least there was some good news out of Farmville this week:

Last Week: L 77-62 at PC, L 67-58 at Coastal Carolina
This Week: 2/12 vs Winthrop, 2/15 at Campbell

12. Presbyterian Blue Hose (5-19,1-9)
LW: 12

It was only a matter of time before the Blue Hose broke through and it came this week against Longwood thanks to 27 points from Davidson transfer Jordan Downing. PC couldn't build any momentum though as they lost Radford in their next outing. The Blue Hose does have the ability to rattle off a few more Ws this year though.

Last Week: W 77-62 vs Longwood, L 82-66 vs Radford
This Week: 2/12 at Campbell, 2/15 vs UNCA

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