Power Rankings are supposed to be fun and as much fun as the Big South has been this year dissecting the conference is tough to say the least. SEVEN teams in the Big South are currently tied for first. SEVEN! That's just crazy and as my colleague Bret McCormick of The Herald (Rock Hill) pointed out pretty improbable:
Using a high-level computing program called Mathematica on his Mac laptop, Polaski ran 1 million simulations of Big South men’s basketball seasons. Of the million iterations – which took Mathematica less than an hour to crank out – 2,008 came back with seven teams tied for first place after 12 games. That’s a 0.2 percent chance of the seven-way logjam occurring.
Bret was referring to Winthrop math department chairman Dr. Thomas Polaski who ran all the simulations. I probably would've failed Dr. Polaski's class. Let's try to sort out this craziness.
1. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (16-9, 8-4, LW 6): So Gardner-Webb has the longest win streak, three, of the seven teams tied for first right now so I guess we'll put them down as #1 at this point. The Bulldogs got a road win at Longwood last week before getting some revenge on Campbell on Friday. Jerome must have took the Campell loss personally as he had 24 point and 20 rebounds on Friday night. Hill is well beyond Beast Mode at this point.
2. Winthrop Eagles (13-10, 8-4, LW 5): Pat Kelsey's Eagles have won five of their last six after taking down Charleston Southern and Liberty last week. The Eagles navigated a little trouble against Liberty with Xavier Cooks and Tevin Prescott fouling out, which might be the only way to slowdown Winthrop at this point. The competition certainly stiffens this week with a trip to High Point and then a home match up with Gardner-Webb.
3. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (17-7, 8-4, LW 7): As much as High Point bragged about John Brown's dunk on Friday it was Coastal Carolina who made the biggest headlines. The Chants showed toughness in a 65-60 comeback win over the Panthers and have now won two in a row after dropping two straight. A short trip to the Buc Dome awaits this Wednesday before hosting Liberty.
4. Charleston Southern Buccaneers (14-9, 8-4, LW 4): The Bucs got their butts beat a Winthrop in a 22 point shellacking but responded nicely with a big road win at Radford behind a monster 39 point night from Saah Nimley. CSU will be back in the Buc Dome for the first time in three games this week when they welcome rival Coastal Carolina.
5. Radford Highlanders (17-8, 8-4, LW 1): Mike Jones' Highlanders finally lost after rattling off eight straight wins in conference play. Radford got the big win at High Point to open the week but then fell to visiting Charleston Southern. Longwood visits early this week in a game where Radford will be looking for some revenge before visiting Presbyterian over the weekend.
6. UNC Asheville (12-11, 8-4, LW 3): Up and down week for the Bulldogs after losing by double-digits at Coastal and then coming back from a 10 point halftime deficit against Longwood for a home win. Giacome Zilli played like a man possessed in the second half Friday and finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. If Asheville can get that type of energy night in and night out in the post then they'll be even tougher down the stretch.
7. High Point Panthers (17-7, 8-4, LW 2): The Panthers had the greatest opportunity coming into last week with a game lead in the conference but totally fell apart with losses against Radford and Coastal Carolin. Can they stop the streak with a home match up against Winthrop before visiting Campbell over the weekend?
8. Presbyterian Blue Hose (8-17, 4-8, LW 8): William Truss returned against Liberty and the Blue Hose got their first win in four games. It'll be interesting to see if PC can get something going heading into the Big South Tournament. At this point they have a leg up over Campbell and Longwood for the eight seed in the conference tournament but the nine and eight seed play each other so it doesn't matter all that much.
9. Longwood Lancers (7-18, 3-9, LW 9): Longwood totally fell apart and got a little cocky with a 10 point halftime lead at UNC Asheville. It's still like the Lancers are in a holding pattern waiting for Lotanna Nwogbo to come back. The hope right now is that he'll be back for perhaps the final week of the season when the Lancers have two home match ups. Longwood can make some noise in the Big South Tournament with the big man but continue to struggle in the post without him.
10. Campbell Fighting Camels (9-16, 3-9, LW 10): The Camels did pick up a win over PC but was the version without William Truss. They have a good opportunity this week to jump up to eighth place in the conference if they can beat Liberty on Tuesday night.
11. Liberty Flames (6-19, 0-12, LW 11): Home games against Campbell and Liberty over the next week and half have to be circled on Dale Layer's schedule as the only opportunities for a win this season.