A thrilling Big South regular season ended in fitting fashion.
The afternoon started with UNC Asheville, Winthrop, and Liberty all tied atop the conference standings, and with the Big South adopting a new format, there was quite a bit to be decided on the court. This year, the top seed will host the quarterfinals and semifinals, with the championship game taking place on the campus of the highest remaining seed.
Liberty and UNCA tipped off Saturday in a virtual 1 seed elimination game, with the Bulldogs pulling away in the second half thanks to 31 points from Ahmad Thomas. With UNCA’s victory, the pressure was on Winthrop to win at Presbyterian, but the fun didn’t stop there.
Thanks to the tiebreaker rules, the regular season crown and top seed would be awarded to either Winthrop or UNCA depending on the result of Gardner-Webb at High Point. While Winthrop was predictably trouncing the Blue Hose, Gardner-Webb slipped by High Point in overtime, giving the Eagles the top seed as they look to finally break through after losing in the last three title games.
Ritchie McKay’s Liberty Flames dropped to the 3 seed with their loss in Asheville, and they’ll square off with 6 seed Radford in Rock Hill.
High Point will get another crack at Gardner-Webb, as the two will meet again in the 4/5 matchup.
The tournament opens on Tuesday with 7 seed Campbell hosting 10 seed Presbyterian, and 8 seed Charleston Southern hosting 9 seed Longwood.
The full bracket can be seen here.