Conference Tournament Primer: Big South ConferencePosted by Adam Stillman on March 5th, 2014
It’s day three of Championship Fortnight and with three more conferences tipping off today, what better way to get you through the next two weeks of games than to break down each of the Other 26′s conference tournaments. Today, the Big South, NEC and OVC get started.
Dates: March 5, 7-9
Site: HTC Center (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
What to expect: Chaos. The Big South Tournament might be the most unpredictable conference tourney in the nation. Just two games separated first place from seventh place in the league standings, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise for any of those teams to earn the automatic bid. Remember that Liberty, a squad that finished 6-10 in the league a season ago, won last year’s bid. With the parity in this conference, it could be just about anybody. Pick a name out of a hat for this one.
Favorite: High Point. The Panthers won the league by a single game with a record of 12-4. They could have been a legitimate Cinderella threat had former Florida Gator Allan Chaney not had his career cut short in December due to heart complications. Still, the regular season champion features sophomore John Brown and his 19.6 PPG and his 7.9 rebounds per contest on the inside, and won’t be easy to beat.
Darkhorse: Virginia Military Institute. If there’s one thing third-seeded VMI can do, it’s score the basketball. The Keydets are the nation’s highest scoring team, averaging 88.5 PPG this season. While they’re not exactly efficient — ranking 134th in the country at 106.4 points per 100 possessions, according to Ken Pomeroy — their ability to pile up the points makes the Keydets a serious threat to win the league’s automatic bid.
Who wins: Coastal Carolina. The second-seeded Chanticleers have to travel just eight miles to the HTC Center. They won the South Division at 11-5. It’s a toss-up with this league, so nearby Coastal Carolina is the pick.
Player to watch: D.J. Covington, VMI. While High Point’s John Brown was named the Big South Player of the Year, I touched on him earlier. I’m going with Covington for his ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor. Not only does the 6’9″ senior average 18.7 PPG and 9.3 RPG, he was named the league’s defensive player of the year, helped by his 8.2 percent block percentage.
Bubble Implications: None