After all the craziness this season in the Big South it's amazing to think that we could have a real regular season conference championship game on Saturday. Here is a look at the conference heading into the last week of regular season play.
1. Charleston Southern Buccaneers (18-9, 12-4, LW 1): Barclay Radebaugh has his Bucs rolling as they took down Presbyterian and Campbell this past week by a combined 55 points. If the Bucs can pass their final road test at Gardner-Webb on Thursday then they'll have a shot at winning the outright conference regular season title on their homecourt against High Point. The Bucs have only lost once in conference play in the Buc Dome all year.
2. High Point Panthers (21-7, 12-4, LW 3): High Point didn't throttle their opponents like Charleston Southern but they were still pretty dominant in wins over Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian. John Brown only had 2 points against GWU and the Panthers still won by 21 points behind a big night from Lorenzo Cugini with 19 points and 7 rebounds. HPU could win the conference outright or have a significant drop if they can't take care of road business at Asheville and Charleston Southern.
3. Winthrop Eagles (16-11, 11-5, LW 4): Pat Kelsey's team continues to trend up at the right time and dominated both Asheville and Longwood this week to the tune of a 22.5 point average margin of victory. Keon Moore may be the frontrunner for Player of the Year now after dropping 27 on the Bulldogs and 15 against Longwood. The Eagles have the easiest remaining road in the conference with a trip to Campbell and a home match up against Presbyterian.
4. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (20-8, 11-5, LW 5): The Big South gave Coastal Carolina two gifts late in the year, well three if you consider the tournament is on their home floor. The Chants are closing the year with a soft schedule and will likely enjoy an 8 day lay off, longer than any other team, because of it. On the court the Chants had a bit of a statement win at Radford before later beating Campbell on Thursday. Coastal visits Longwood Monday night before closing the year with Presbyterian at home on Thursday.
5. Radford Highlanders (20-9, 11-5, LW 2): After losing to Coastal and beating Asheville on the road Radford now has to take care of business at Liberty and against Gardner-Webb this week if they don't want to play Wednesday in Myrtle Beach. Mike Jones' team should be in good position for the bye but they already lost to Gardner-Webb once this year and it's possible that they could be in a game with major implications on Saturday.
6. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (17-12, 9-7, LW 7): After losing to High Point badly last week Tim Craft will most likely find himself facing off against Liberty or Campbell next weekend in the HTC Center. Gardner-Webb did snap a three game skid with a 10 point win over Liberty but Jerome Hill was banged up a bit in the game. Hill is expected to be a go this week against Charleston Southern and Radford and hopes to still alter the Player of the Year race.
7. UNC Asheville Bulldogs (13-14, 9-7, LW 6): Asheville has now dropped three straight games and will most likely find themselves playing on Wednesday in Myrtle Beach. A home match up with High Point awaits before the Bulldogs will head to Liberty. If the Bulldogs split the week then they will most likely find themselves playing Liberty in back-to-back match ups.
8. Presbyterian Blue Hose (9-20, 5-11, LW 8): Speaking of three game skids, the Blue Hose are in the middle of one after getting worked by Charleston Southern and High Point last week. It won't get any easier for the Hose this week with match ups against Coastal and Winthrop. PC can't improve their seeding at this point and will most likely see Longwood on Wednesday in Myrtle Beach.
9. Longwood Lancers (8-21, 4-12, LW 9): After taking down Liberty early in the week, Longwood looked like that team that no one would want to match up with in Myrtle Beach. Instead the Lancers had one of their worst halves of the year losing to Winthrop badly on their home floor. Longwood needs to decide if they are going to be that dark horse team heading into the Big South Tournament or if they are going to pack it in for the year. Lotanna Nwogbo gets his cast off today and he's expected to potentially saddle up against Campbell on Saturday.
10. Campbell Fighting Camels (9-20, 3-13, LW 10): Campbell looks like a team that has already decided their season is over this point after losing to Coastal and Charleston Southern by a combined 53 points this week. Campbell still has a shot at the 8/9 game in Myrtle if they can get something going against Winthrop and Longwood this week.
11. Liberty Flames (7-22, 1-15, LW 11): The good news for the Flames is Joe Retic is back, the bad news is the season is still going. Liberty fell to Longwood and Gardner-Webb this last and will close the season out against Radford and Asheville this week. Can Dale Layer's team finish the season strong? I think we all know the answer.
Current Tournament Outlook:
Opening Round (Wednesday March 4)
#8 Presbyterian vs #9 Longwood
#7 Gardner-Webb vs #10 Campbell
#6 UNC Asheville vs #11 Liberty
Quarterfinals (Friday March 6)
#1 High Point vs Presbyterian/Longwood
#4 Radford vs #5 Winthrop
#2 Charleston Southern vs Gardner-Webb/Campbell
#3 Coastal Carolina vs UNC Asheville/Liberty