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The Big South Tournament Bracket: UNC Asheville is in the driver’s seat

Home court will pay dividends in the league of tiebreakers

NCAA Basketball: NC-Asheville at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Big South regular season was just as projected: full of tight ball games and close records, which led to the seeding coming down to the very last regular season contest. Just to give a more in-depth understanding of how close things were, the league ended with several tiebreakers.

Before we get to all the madness, UNC Asheville, Campbell, Presbyterian and Longwood already locked in their seeds Saturday. The regular season champion UNC Asheville Bulldogs won the conference outright and will host the quarterfinals and semifinals. The Campbell Camels were locked into the 4-seed, Presbyterian Blue Hose earned the number 9-seed and Longwood Lancers the 10-seed.

Seeds five through eight needed some extra time to sort the 9-9 records of the Liberty Flames, High Point Panthers, Gardner-Webb Bulldogs and Charleston Southern Buccaneers. After the first phase of tiebreakers proved to not give any team an advantage, Charleston Southern was the first to be seeded (8-seed) out of the tiebreaker due to two losses against UNC Asheville. Liberty would grab the 5-seed amongst the remaining three teams based on their combined record being better versus Radford and Winthrop. To break the tie between High Point and Gardner-Webb, the records against Presbyterian determined that Gardner-Webb would be the 6-seed and High Point the 7-seed.

The Radford Highlanders and Winthrop Eagles had to wait until Sunday morning to know their tournament fate as they tied for second place with a 12-6 record. Their tiebreaker procedure went through several phases before using each teams final RPI in which Radford earned the 2-seed and Winthrop landed the 3-seed.

The first round of The Big South Conference Tournament will have High Point and Charleston Southern playing as hosts. The Panthers will have the 10-seed Longwood coming into town and Charleston Southern will be matched up with Presbyterian. Charleston Southern has been playing great basketball as of late, winning nine out of their last 12, peaking at the right time. Both first-round games will tip at 7:00 p.m.

Six teams earned a first-round bye into the Quarterfinals of the tournament. Fifth-seeded Liberty will face fourth-seeded Campbell at 9:00 p.m., while Gardner-Webb the 6-seed will be matched up with 3-seed Radford/Winthrop at 3:00 p.m. The 2-seed Radford/Winthrop will play the winner of High Point and Longwood at 1:00 p.m. Top-seeded UNC Asheville gets the winner Presbyterian and Charleston Southern at 7:00 p.m.

The Tournament Bracket

How to Watch

The first round of the Big South Tournament will be streamed on the Big South Network as well as Roku on February 27th. The Quarterfinals and Semifinals resume March 1st and 2nd, these games will be streaming live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN at 6:00 p.m and 8:00 p.m. The championship game, which will be held at the highest remaining seed’s arena, will be on ESPN on March 4th at 1:00 p.m.

Predictions

Much of the same will occur in the tournament. Each contest will be heavily competitively as all of the teams are close in skill and talent. It will be a tough road for anyone facing UNC Asheville as they have been dominant at home with a 13-1 record at Kimmel Arena. For any team to go dancing it will have to be knocking off the top-seeded Bulldogs in an intense environment. The pressure defense of Radford will propel them to a matchup with the Bulldogs, however, it won’t be enough to keep UNC Asheville from playing in the NCAA tournament.