Coastal Carolina Takes A Couple On The Chin, But Still FightingPosted by jstevrtc on February 17th, 2011
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have their work cut out for them.
Getting into the NCAA Tournament from the Big South is tough enough, considering the conference has never had more than one representative in The Dance at a time. You want in? You better win the postseason tournament. Winthrop has won nine of the last 12, bordering on a monopoly. National chatter about the Chanticleers, though, has been on the uptick throughout the latter part of the season, due to an impressive 20-game winning streak (22, if you include victories over a couple of D-III teams).
Unfortunately for CCU, Ohio State and Kansas weren’t the only teams to get knocked off of lofty perches over the past few days. We know what happened to OSU on Saturday at Wisconsin. And Kansas enjoyed the official #1 spotlight for mere hours on Monday before getting shelled at Kansas State. After the Chanticleers defeated rival Winthrop on Saturday, they owned the nations longest winning streak. Then Garnder-Webb came to town on Tuesday and put a stop to that with a 59-57 shocker over Coastal.
Even worse, starting point guard Kierre Greenwood tore his left ACL in the first half of that game, ending his season. Before the injury, he was leading the team in assists (4.0 APG) and co-leader in steals with top scorer Desmond Holloway, both averaging 1.3 SPG. We’ll see how well they tolerate the shakeup to their lineup tonight when they host independent North Carolina-Central tonight.
The Chanticleers still clinched a share of the conference title when VMI beat Liberty on the same night that CCU fell to Gardner-Webb, but the late-season hiccup at the hands of G-W coupled with the loss of Greenwood has brought any at-large bid talk for the NCAA Tournament to an abrupt halt. History shows that even the best of win streaks and a nice gaudy record (CCU went 28-6 last year and lost in the first round of the NIT) can’t overcome a relatively weak schedule devoid of quality wins. An current RPI of 56 and strength-of-schedule ranking of 256th out of 345 D-I teams means that the only win streak that will matter for Coastal this season will be the one they hope to put together in the Big South Tournament. The good news for them is that they have the opportunity to snag their third-ever NCAA berth at home, having locked up the overall #1 seed.