Well...that went pretty well. The Big South went 8-5 over the first weekend of play and didn't really lose any games that were a surprise but did pick up a couple of big wins.
I questioned the Charleston Southern Buccaneers and some of the preseason hype surrounding them more than anyone this preseason and man did Barclay Radebaugh make me shut up very quickly. The Bucs has a bigupset win at Ole Miss on Saturday with a finish that may be hard for any team to top this season.
Are the Bucs a flash in the pan or will they return to their level of play from 2011 to 2013? The game at Ole Miss was super sloppy all around but a win is a win. We'll find out a little bit more about the Bucs when they host Wright State on Saturday.
There seems to be suspensions, injuries, and mysterious disappearances all around the Big South. Longwood is missing Quincy Taylor because he played some rec league games during his redshirt year. Radford is missing YaYa Anderson and their offense besides Javonte Green looked inept Friday at Richmond. And then there is High Point who really won't give you the whole John Brown story as he sat out their opener in Hawaii against Cal State Bakersfield.
There are also plenty of injuries weighing some teams down and it always seems like opening night is always the revelation of a bunch of unexpected news from around the landscape. Here's to hoping all the teams get back to full strength soon.
Man I expected Presbyterian to struggle at Duke, especially without Reggie Dillard, but 113-44! That's insane! Presbyterian had absolutely no offensive flow for and Jordan Downing looked like an over-hyped prospect going just 3-for-12 from the field. Obviously we've all seen Downing do better, but woof...
We'll find out a little more about PC this weekend at a three game event at Louisiana Tech where they'll match up against three pretty good mid-majors. If they don't look any better then maybe it could be Gregg Nibert's last year in Clinton.
1. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers: Chants had an impressive showing on a quick turnaround game at UCLA.
2. Charleston Southern Buccaneers: Contender or pretender? We'll get a better glimpse this week.
3. UNC Asheville Bulldogs: Played well at Wake Forest then knocked off East Carolina.
4. Winthrop Eagles: Only suited up 8 scholarship players Friday, can they withstand two road games this week?
5. High Point Panthers: Beat two pretty terrible teams in Hawaii. How will they look against Richmond when they get back?
6. Radford Highlanders: Offensively challenged at Richmond, can they take down JMU on the road?
7. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs: Looked good at LSU. Can they grab a win with two match ups in the Palmetto state this weekend?
8. Longwood Lancers: Gee's Lancers play four games in five days this week and two without Quincy Taylor.
9. Campbell Camels: No Reco? No Problem. Competition stiffens this week for the Camels.
10. Liberty Flames: No one stood out in non-D1 win, how will the Flames look this week with three games on the slate?
11. Presbyterian Blue Hose: Like I said...woof
Player of the Week:
Andrew Rowsey, UNC Asheville: Rowsey already picked up where he left off averaging 27 points through two games this past weekend. He also is averaging 3 assists and 3 steals per game early on and is 21-for-22 from the free throw line to start the year.
Freshman of the Week:
Ryan Badowski, Longwood: The "Big Badowski" nearly set a school record for threes on Friday against Averett with seven buckets from downtown. The Cleveland product also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal in the Lancers 79-53 win.
It could be a pretty crazy Monday in the Big South with six match ups on the slate.
Winthrop at Clemson, 7 PM, ESPN3
Delaware at Liberty, 7PM, ESPN3
Radford at James Madison, 7 PM
Gardner-Webb at Charleston, 7:30 PM
Erskine at Charleston Southern, 7 PM, Big South Network
High Point at Hawaii, 5 AM, ESPN2
Every single Big South team can win on Monday and almost all the games would be perceived as an upset. If the conference wants to take the next step in climbing the ladder and aspiring to the CAA then Monday is a pretty big night altogether.
Four Big South teams will play in tournaments or events this week and it should provide some pretty good match ups. Liberty starts their two road contest for the Cancun Challenge with Virginia Tech on Wednesday and Miami (OH) on Saturday.
Gardner-Webb kicks off the Paradise Jam in Virgin Islands with a match up against Clemson. If the Bulldogs want to make their mark then this is a great chance to do it.
Longwood will head to Ypsilanti, Michigan to play in the Eastern Michigan Showcase from Friday to Sunday against UNC Greensboro, Youngstown State, and Eastern Michigan. We'll get to see the Lancers at full strength for the first time during the Saturday game against YSU.
Presbyterian heads to Ruston, Louisiana for the Coaches vs Cancer Classic where they'll play host Louisiana Tech, American, and Morehead State over the weekend. Will the Hose respond to last week's beat down?
Three Games to Watch
High Point at Richmond, 11/22, 1 PM: Can the Panthers compete against quality competition and can John Brown survive against other talented big men? We'll find out Saturday when Scott Cherry's squad roles into the Robins Center.
Wright State at Charleston Southern, 11/22, 5:30 PM: This is a nice little home game for the Buc Dome. CSU is coming off a big win at Ole Miss and Wright State is riding high after beating Belmont on opening night.
UNC Asheville at East Tennessee State, 11/22, 7 PM: This should be a great game in Johnson City against two pretty comparable teams both looking to make noise in their respective conferences this year.