Favorite(s)-High Point 17-12 12-4, Charleston Southern 17-11 12-4
After not doing much of anything in the non-conference (only 3 division 1 wins) High Point has secured the top seed in the North division of the Big South conference. After going just 8-10 in conference last season the Panthers have vaulted to near the top of conference and are looking for the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance.
Charleston Southern is the top seed in the Southern division. The Buccaneers finished the season three games better than their next competitor and are hoping to do better than their semifinal appearance last season and will do so on the back of a top 20 rebounding team and a top 30 ranked offense. With a squad that can go 9 deep, they have the depth to wear down other teams.
Contender(s)-Gardner-Webb 20-11 11-5, UNC-Asheville 16-15 10-6
Gardner-Webb lost 20 games last season. This year they have wins over DePaul and Iowa as well as a one-point loss to Illinois. Of their five conference losses they have 2 losses by six points, a 3 point loss, a 1 point loss and a triple OT loss. One thing is for sure, the Bulldogs will keep any Big South Tournament game close.
UNC-Asheville is the two-time defending champion of the conference and has wins over the Colonial Athletic Association’s leader Northeastern and St. John’s on the road in addition to nearly knocking of N.C. State in Raleigh. The Bulldogs have the pedigree and the experience to make another run at the NCAAs.
Team Likely to pull an upset-Coastal Carolina 14-14 9-7. The Chanticleers began the season with an OT win over one of the hottest teams in the country, Akron and a 23-point win over Clemson. Add to that a split with two-time champ UNC-Asheville and a 20-point blowout of division leader Charleston Southern and Chanticleers are one team capable of knocking off one of the favorites.
3 Key Players- John Brown-High Point. The freshman forward who is averaging 16.4 points and 6.1 rebounds could be the key to the Panthers’ quest of an NCAA Tournament bid.
Keith Hornsby-UNC-Asheville. The son of musician Bruce Hornsby the sophomore guard goes from 12 minutes per game in his first year to 34 this year. As a result he is averaging 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and over a steal per game. If the Bulldogs hope to three-peat Hornsby has to continue contribute all over the floor.
Stan Okoye-VMI. The senior forward is the clear leader of the Keydets. He leads the squad that likes to get up and down the floor (12th in the country) in points (21.5), rebounds (9.2), steals (1.5) and is 2nd in assists (2.7). If there is a guy in the conference who can carry a team on his back, it’s Okoye.
2013 BIG SOUTH TOURNAMENT
March 5-10 Myrtle Beach, SC
Tuesday, March 5 – First Round
GAME 1: No. 4 South Coastal Carolina vs. No. 5 North Liberty
GAME 2: No. 3 North Campbell vs. No. 6 South Presbyterian
GAME 3: No. 4 North Radford vs. No. 5 South Winthrop
GAME 4: No. 3 South UNC-Asheville vs. No. 6 North Longwood
Thursday, March 7 – Quarterfinals
GAME 5: No.1 North High Point vs. Winner Game 1
GAME 6: No. 2 South Gardner-Webb vs. Winner Game 2
GAME 7: No. 1 South Charleston Southern vs. Winner Game 3
GAME 8: No. 2 North VMI vs. Winner Game 4
Saturday, March 9 – Semifinals
GAME 9: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
GAME 10: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8
Sunday, March 10 – Championship
GAME 11: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10