2009-10 Conference Primers: #23 – Big South

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2009

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Mark Bryant, the Coordinator of New Media for the Big South Conference and writer of Big South SHOUT, is an RTC correspondent.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Radford (14-4)
  2. UNC Asheville (12-6)
  3. Winthrop (12-6)
  4. Gardner-Webb (10-8)
  5. VMI (9-9)
  6. High Point (9-9)
  7. Liberty (8-10)
  8. Coastal Carolina (7-11)
  9. Charleston Southern (6-12)
  10. Presbyterian College (3-15)

 All-Conference Team:

  • Jamarco Warren (G), Jr., Charleston Southern
  • Grayson Flittner (G), Sr., Gardner-Webb
  • Joseph Harris (F), R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
  • Joey Lynch-Flohr (F), Sr., Radford
  • Art Parakhouski (C), Sr., Radford

6th Man. Nick Barbour (G), Soph, High Point 

Impact Newcomer.  Lazar Trifunovic (F), Jr., Radford (transfer from Binghamton)

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What You Need to Know.  Ask any of the Big South coaches right now who’s on top and the answer you’ll get is Radford.  The Highlanders are the preseason favorite for the first time in a decade with good reason: the defending conference champs (regular season and tournament winners) still have their skilled twin towers combination of 6-8 Joey Lynch-Flohr and 6-11 Art Parakhouski.  RU center and dominant force Parakhouski in particular has the size, strength, and game needed to dominate the opposition (for perspective, last year he averaged a double-double against Big East and ACC competition), playing his way into Player of the Year honors last season and the Preseason POY award for this year.  Beyond Radford, the race should be very tight among a few schools with questions to answer: Asheville – can the Bulldogs win away from the Justice Center this year (11-3 home, 4-13 on the road a year ago); Winthrop – can the Eagles return to their once-familiar position of dominance in the Big South with 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Mantoris Robinson now as the unquestioned team leader; and Gardner-Webb – can the Runnin’ Bulldogs and playmaker Grayson Flittner iron out some consistency so that they turn their big wins into streaks?  Meanwhile, two recent contenders will definitely be rebuilding:  VMI – where Coach Duggar Baucom no longer has the Holmes twins to rely on in his rapid-fire scheme; and Liberty –where star player Seth Curry and Coach Ritchie McKay both departed Lynchburg, leaving new Coach Dale Layer to get the Flames burning again.  High Point should fit in around where VMI and Liberty fall in the standings, with Coastal Carolina in that mix as well, while Charleston Southern is likely to trail that group despite the sharpshooting of Jamarco WarrenPresbyterian College remains ineligible for a championship as the transition to D1 continues, but PC doesn’t have the tools to contend yet in any case,  so look for the Blue Hose at the bottom of the standings.

Predicted ChampionRadford Highlanders (NCAA Seed:  #15).  Last year RU passed early front-runner VMI in the regular season and then knocked the Keydets out in the Big South Championship.  The reward for the Highlanders? A #16 seed and a lethal draw against eventual National Champion North Carolina (an experience Parakhouski describes as “short, but amazing”).  This season Radford should draw a little more attention and could easily play into a #15 spot, which opens the possibility of getting a potentially favorable match-up down low given the size RU can bring to the post.  With that, it’s not out of line to think the Big South could see a first round win for the first time since Winthrop’s memorable upset of Notre Dame in 2007.

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ATB: Worst UK Loss in 18 Years

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2007

ATB v.4
11.07.07

Upset of the Year? We had a lot to say already on the UK upset at the hands of Rick Scruggs’ Gardner-Webb squad, but we didn’t really discuss the numbers behind an upset of this magnitude. Obviously, not much went well for the Cats – they shot a tepid 36% while allowing 53% (god only knows the last time an opponent shot that well at Rupp Arena) and they were outrebounded by eight. The dearth of any noticeable inside game aside from Patrick Patterson (12/12) is obvious – one night after Mark Coury pulled a double-double, he followed it up with 2/4. The two “stars” of this team, Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford, combined for 6-21 shooting and it appears at first blush that UK will only go as far as the offense of these two (+ PP) will take them. Which means… probably not very far. The one other bright spot for the Cats was freshman Alex Legion, who came off the bench for 13 pts. Gardner-Webb has a lot to be proud of, and they can ride a win like this to far greater heights than expected in the Atlantic Sun. With four starters in double figures, great shot selection and patience with the ball, they very well may be a team to watch this season in that league.

Connecticut 69, Morgan St. 65. Before the Gardner-Webb upset, we were all set to discuss how overrated UConn was again this year, and how excited we were to see read about the big intra-sectional matchup tomorrow night between the Huskies and Holy Cross. Oh wait, Jim Calhoun don’t play like that. No offense to Todd Bozeman’s Morgan St. squad, but we’ll just have to settle for UConn being overrated. What’s not to like? Well, for starters, the Huskies are having trouble shooting the ball again, going a mere 3-15 from behind the arc. And while the nation’s #1 defensive fg% team last year held MSU to 35% shooting, they might want to concentrate a little more on stopping the long shots (11-22 from downtown). Jeff Adrien (12/10/7 blks) and Jerome Dyson (20/2) carried the Huskies, but 7’3 Hasheem Thabeet (3/6/2 blks) continues to underwhelm us. It seems as if UConn has a long way to go if they want to get back to the NCAA Tournament this year.

 

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Other Games: Buffalo 89, Ohio Valley 82. What is Ohio Valley and why is it playing in this tournament?

On Tap Tonight (all times EST). The Storrs Regional continues and the Norman Regional gets started.

  • Denver (NL) v. East Central Oklahoma 5:30pm – gotta love multi-directional D2 teams.
  • Oklahoma (-16) v. San Francisco (ESPNU) 8pm – interested to see how Blake Griffin starts his career at OU.
  • Connecticut (-17) v. Buffalo (ESPNU) 9pm - this is the only time all season Buffalo will have a winning record – enjoy it, Bulls.
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