Myrtle Beach Madness kicks back up Friday in the HTC Center as the Big South quarterfinals tip off starting at noon. All four games will be available on ESPN3.
#1 Charleston Southern vs #9 Longwood
Longwood pulled off the only seeding upset on Wednesday by knocking off Big South Freshman of the Year DeSean Murray and the Presbyterian Blue Hose 65-61. The competition stiffens for Jayson Gee's squad on Friday when they face off against the top seeded Charleston Southern Buccaneers, who swept the season series against the Lancers.
At first glance this seems like it should be a cake walk for the Bucs but Longwood nearly knocked off CSU on Valentines Day in a 65-64 thriller in Farmville. You can also throw out the first match up between these two teams due to the fact that was the game that Lotanna Nwogbo was injured in and the fact Shaquille Johnson was battling flu like symptoms. Johnson hopes to play a key factor for Longwood after his tenacious double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds against PC.
This game might have the most compelling backcourt match ups of the tournament as Big South Player of the Year Saah Nimley and his teammate Arlon Harper square off against Big South 2nd Teamer Quincy Taylor and fellow guard Leron Fisher. Longwood held Nimley to just 6 points in the last match up, his lowest output of the season, but Harper torched the Lancers for 21 points. Quincy Taylor had his best Big South game of the season against the Bucs posting 30 points in the one point loss at Willett Hall.
This should be a good one regardless of the seeding and should set the tone for a great day in the HTC Center.
#4 Radford vs #5 Winthrop, 2:30 PM
There has been plenty of time for Pat Kelsey and Radford to gameplan for Friday's second match up featuring Radford and Winthrop. Kelsey's Eagles made a run to the Big South finals a year ago while Jones is looking for just his second tournament victory ever after being bounced in the quarterfinals last year by Asheville. Radford swept the regular season series from the Eagles but it's always tough to beat a team three times, especially in March.
This game will feature two conference first teamers going head to head in Radford's Javonte Green and Winthrop's Keon Moore. Green had 21 points and 9 boards the last time these two teams played and Moore wasn't far behind him with 22 points and 5 rebounds in the 73-66 loss. You have to expect these two to go hard at one another on Friday afternoon. Really in the last meeting both of these players didn't get much help and the winner may be determined if guys like R.J. Price or Ya Ya Anderson step up for Radford or for Winthrop Andre Smith or Keon Johnson for the Eagles.
The most interesting match up may be down low where neither team really stood out in the last match up. The Eagles really didn't get much production out of Xavier Cooks or Tevin Prescott but neither did the Highlanders with Kion Brown or Brandon Holcomb. You have to wonder if these two frontcourts will cancel each other out once again or if one can really step up. Having a big game inside might be the key to one of these teams pulling out a victory.
This game should be your typical 4/5 seed brawl that you see so often this time of year.
#2 High Point vs #7 Gardner-Webb, 6 PM
You would think with the tremendous frontcourt of Jerome Hill and Tyrell Nelson that High Point would be a really solid match up for Tim Craft in the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs. The the contrary High Point has drubbed GWU twice this year despite the Bulldogs holding John Brown to 2 points and 0 rebounds last time out.
The difference in the 21 point win for the Panthers last time out was the perimeter performance of Lorenzo Cugini, Brian Richardson, and Devante Wallace who combined to go 9-for-12 from downtown. If Gardner-Webb wants to win they'll have to have big nights from Hill and Nelson, neutralize John Brown, and have Tyler Strange, Adonis Burbage, and others step up their defense on the perimeter. GWU needs to grind out a win and not get into a shootout with the Panthers.
It's unclear if Tim Craft is running the show at this point or if GWU has a motivated core of Strange, Hill, and Nelson playing to keep their seasons alive. This could be a great game if the Bulldogs can get on the same page together.
#3 Coastal Carolina vs #6 UNC Asheville, 8:30 PM
A rubber match between the Chanticleers and the Bulldogs will close the evening in the HTC Center. After dropping 34 points in a 10 point win over Liberty on Wednesday Andrew Rowsey has now scored 100 points combined in his last three games. Obviously he'll be a focal point for Cliff Ellis' talented bevy of guards when the game tips off late Friday. The Chants did keep Rowsey in check the last time these two teams met in February as he scored just 6 points and a 2-for-11 night from the field.
Asheville could have the edge in the paint if they can get bigs Jaleel Roberts and Giacomo Zilli going. Production out of that tandem at the same time has been few and far between recently and we all know that Badou Diagne, Marcus Freeman, and Tristian Curtis are going to hit the boards hard despite the size advantage.
The biggest questions regarding Coastal this year is are they going to be a team that is going to live and die from beyond the arc in tournament? That's a tough style for a team to win back-to-back-to-back games and the Chants look a little different from the squad they were this time last year. I think the Chants initial hurdle against Asheville could be their toughest.