Sorry I missed a week. I learned that brown ale and MacBooks do not necessarily mix. A lot has happened in the Big South over the last two weeks so let's get to it!
The Big South is still managing to pester the ACC and SEC early this season. Radford got a win against their friends up the road, Virginia Tech, and Cliff Ellis went to his old stomping grounds and took down Auburn in a 58-54 win for Coastal Carolina. More chances will keep coming for Big South schools as we approach January.
Ugggh...exam week. There are only seven games in the conference this week between Monday and Friday. Exams always seem to slow things down a bit right when it feels like the season is about to get rolling.
It's bad enough that there are only seven games but four of those games are against non-Division I competition. I've gotten on a stump before but I'm still tired of teams scheduling three or four non-Division I opponents. Its not good for anyone and just inflates win totals. I can see one or two but once it's taking up third or more of you non-conference schedule then it becomes a bit of a joke. I'm looking at you Coastal Carolina, Campbell, Liberty, Charleston Southern, High Point, Winthrop, Presbyterian, Radford, Gardner-Webb, and Asheville. Johnson & Wales culinary institute might as well join the Big South at this point.
1. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (6-2, Last Week: 1): The Chants have been taking care of business a bit more this year and avoided another slip up against South Carolina State. It should be another week on cruise control for Cliff Ellis.
2. Radford Highlanders (5-2, LW: 6): After a slow start without Ya Ya Anderson, the Highlanders are really playing at a high level now. They won their tournament in Corpus Christi and then knocked off an ACC squad. A tough game at Georgetown waits for them this week.
3. High Point Panthers (6-2, LW: 7): High Point finally got that super solid non-conference win I've been waiting to see for two years when they knocked off a very good William & Mary team this weekend. This team is still a bit of a mystery and an upcoming match up with JMU on the road will be the only gauge left before conference play.
4. Charleston Southern Buccaneers (5-2, LW: 5): The Bucs took down a very solid Western Carolina squad last week to show they may just be for real this season. They probably will drop to 5-5 though with their next three games on the road against very tough competition in NC State, Colorado State, and Wofford.
5. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (5-4, LW: 2): Yes you drop Gardner-Webb! It's what you get when three of your last four games have been against non-Division I teams! This is still a really good squad and I'm interested to see how they finish out their final three non-conference, Division I games.
6. Winthrop Eagles (3-4, LW: 3): Brutal December slate for the Eagles with four road games against pretty tough competition. If you throw out the Maryland loss then the average margin of defeat for the Eagles this year is three points. At the very least this team will be battle tested going into conference play.
7. UNC Asheville Bulldogs (3-4, LW: 4): I don't know how good this team is. Andrew Rowsey is leading the country in scoring but he shoots A LOT. He's almost shot more field goals than the next three top players on UNCA combined, is his style a play ever a detriment to his team. A road trip starting this Sunday at UAB should tell us a lot about the Bulldogs.
8. Longwood Lancers (3-6, LW: 9): The god awful portion of the schedule is over for Longwood and the Lancers split a pair of home games this week beating Dartmouth and losing to a resurgent UT-Martin squads. Quincy Taylor has been a beast but the Lancers need a win at winless UMBC this weekend.
9. Liberty Flames (3-5, LW 8): The Flames have now loss five of their last six games with their only win coming against a sub-par Furman team. The Flames have talent but there seems to be no rhythm or rotation right now. Their record should get a nice bump though with three of their last five conference games coming against non-Division I teams.
10. Campbell Camels (1-5, LW: 10): The Camels have lost five straight and still haven't beat a Division I school. The good news is they should get a win Monday night against non-D1 Johnson & Wales and they have more games left in their non-conference schedule than anyone else.
11. Presbyterian Blue Hose (3-6, LW: 11): Don't let the record fool you, PC's wins have come against Bob Jones, Toccoa Falls, and Piedmont. The Blue Hose had a shot to win their first D1 game Saturday but lost to UNCG by two at home. The streak will continue as they only play non-Division I Montreat this week.
Player of the Week
Quincy Taylor, Longwood: The UAB transfer put the Lances on his back this week scoring 34 points in a crazy comeback win over Dartmouth, followed by 24 points against UT Martin. The senior is now averaging 17 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting nearly 54% from three.
Freshman of the Week
Peter Moeller, Liberty: The Danish product had a nice week for Liberty against Furman and St. Francis Brooklyn with a combined 17 points in those two games. His 10 points versus St. Francis was his first double-digit performance of this career.
High Point at #16 Ohio State, Dec 10, 7 PM, Big Ten Network
Charleston Southern at NC State, Dec 12, 7 PM, ESPN3
Radford at Georgetown, Dec 13, 12 PM, Fox Sports 1