Sunday, February 26, 2017

Big South conference tournament preview

This is part 2 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
Winthrop 15-3
UNC-Asheville 15-3
Liberty 14-4
Gardner-Webb 11-7
High Point 9-9
Radford 8-10
Campbell 7-11
Charleston Southern 7-11
Longwood 3-15
Presbyterian 1-17

Tournament format:
First round is Tuesday February 28 for the bottom 4 seeds (higher seed hosts).  Then the quarters and semis are Thu-Fri March 2-3, hosted by the 1 seed Winthrop.  Championship Sunday March 5, hosted by the higher seed.

The matchups:
1) Winthrop vs. 8/9) Charleston Southern/Longwood
4) Gardner-Webb vs. 5) High Point
3) Liberty vs. 6) Radford
2) UNC-Asheville vs. 7/10) Campbell/Presbyterian

The stakes:
The Big South is RPI 25.  The little secret they've held this year is that their top two teams have actually good RPIs!  Winthrop sits at 21-6, RPI 78.  Asheville at 21-8 RPI 66.  Between them, they have 3 other Top 100 wins this year, although two are Furman.  So the resume isn't exactly teeming with quality wins.  Therefore, they're probably either a 14 or 15 seed (probably 14 once upsets happen in other conferences).  Still, getting to the 14 line would be a modest victory for the conference.

What might be an interesting call is Asheville and the NIT.  Winthrop has the autobid there.  Asheville would probably not make the NIT, just based on resume, but they would likely be the highest RPI team to be left out of that tournament.  But the NIT has steered away from low-majors with shiny RPIs as of late, so I think Asheville is doomed there.

If anyone else wins the conference tourney, Dayton is a likely destination.  Liberty might, might have the RPI that allows it to avoid Dayton; everyone else would be doomed.

As far as the CBI/CIT, Liberty and Gardner-Webb are over .500 and seem likely.  High Point will need one win to ensure eligibility.  Based on merit, I'd have Liberty easily in one of these, and G-W as a bubble team.

1 comment:

HenryMuto said...

I watched that Gardner-Webb vs High Point ending last night what a game to get Winthrop the home court. I think Winthrop is the best team so I was hoping they would get home court. They needed Gardner-Webb to win their last 2 games to get home court.

Go Winthrop!