We continue our conference previews with the ASUN. Every week on Twitter, we preview two conferences while streaming live from the Mid-Major Madness account (@mid_madness), speaking with media members and coaches throughout the selected league.
For the full Twitter Space, hit the link below:
To open the conversation, Mid-Major Madness writer Nick Lorensen and Jon Manson from A Sea of Red recapped what happened in the ASUN last season and so far this offseason. Although Bellarmine won the conference tournament in March, that wasn’t the team to rep the league in the NCAA Tournament because of its Division I transition (a silly rule that really shouldn’t exist but we digress). Jacksonville State represented the league and fell to Auburn in the first round.
The news continued through the early months of the offseason for Bellarmine as star Dylan Penn transferred out to Vermont and head coach Scott Davenport announced it would be his last season as the head man, passing the torch to his son Doug. That flame would stay lit a little west as Liberty received good news that one of the country’s best guards, Darius McGhee, is back for another season.
To open the conversation with coaches, Queens head coach Grant Leonard (6:00) hopped on to talk about his team’s first year in DI. The Royals are one of four programs transitioning to DI this season and join Austin Peay as first-year members in the league.
“In the last seven years, we have the sixth-best winning percentage in all of NCAA basketball,” Leonard said. “I know it’s a completely new level and challenge, but we’ve had a lot of phenomenal players, and am really excited to get in the mix right away.”
Jon and Nick then continued the conversation by previewing every team in the league. To hear about your team, advance the recording to each time stamp.
23:00 Austin Peay
32:30 Central Arkansas
34:45 Eastern Kentucky
43:15 Jacksonville State
47:15 Kennesaw State
58:30 North Alabama
1:00:40 North Florida
1:04:50 POTY & Title Predictions
Along with the Twitter Space, Nick also talked to Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay about the program that he has built in Lynchburg. The Flames have won 20+ games in six straight seasons and return one of the top 3-ball threats in McGhee.
“We can talk all you want about what he does and can do on a basketball court, but ironically the story that Darius had in returning is worth mentioning. He finished the season, he’s the all-time leading wins player at Liberty. He’s set a bunch of records, back-to-back ASUN Player of the Year awards, and literally could’ve gone anywhere,” McKay said. “And he turned all that down to retain his eligibility. Talked to a few NBA teams about his future and what he needed to do. Could’ve signed a pro contract the day our season got over and then he stayed. Nick, get this, he didn’t ask for one thing to stay.”
To listen to our whole interview with McKay, click the link: Ritchie McKay Interview
Along with the ASUN, a preview article on the Patriot League will also come out this week. Stay tuned for the Twitter Space previews on the MEAC and Southland.