Different sports have different key holidays. For college hoops, Valentine’s Day is — strangely — one of those days. Once Valentine’s Day arrives, a fortnight remains in the slates of many of our beloved hoops squads. Just four games — over 11 days — remain in the Big South regular season, and virtually none of our questions have answers. Here’s what we know:
Clinched first-round byes (3): UNC Asheville, Liberty, Winthrop
Clinched play-in game spot (1): Presbyterian
Easiest scenarios to #1 seed and hosting quarterfinals/semifinals:
#1 UNC Asheville: Win out. The Bulldogs are currently tied with Liberty (against whom they play on the final Saturday of the season).
#2 Liberty: Also, win out. The Flames play at Winthrop and at Asheville on the final two Saturdays of the season.
#3 Winthrop: Win out (the Eagles are a game behind Asheville and Liberty), and have Liberty beat Asheville. This scenario would potentially invoke the league’s multi-team tiebreaker, which is:
TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURE FOR SEEDING MULTI-TEAM TIE
(1) The combined record of conference games between the tied teams involved will be compiled. Ties will be broken and seeding’s assigned based on the winning percentage of the combined conference records. The higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group is unequal (i.e., 2‐0 is better than 3‐1; 1‐0 is the same as 2‐0; 2‐0 is the same as 4‐0; 2‐1 is the same as 4‐2; 1‐0 is better than 1‐1; 0‐1 is the same as 0‐2; 0‐2 is the same as 0‐4). (2) If the first procedure fails to break the tie, then each tied team’s record shall be compared to the team occupying the highest position in the final regular‐season standings, continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage by a higher winning percentage. (2-a) If the tie is broken by (a) or (b) regarding one or more teams, but three or more teams remain tied, then procedures (a) and (b) will be re‐applied among those tied teams only. (2-b) If two teams remain tied, the two-team tiebreaker policy will be applied. (3) If there is more than one tie in the standings, and when utilizing the tie‐breaking procedures there are a pair of teams tied, a team’s record against the combined tied teams (prior to their own tie‐breaking procedures) is used, rather than performance against the individual tied team. (4) If procedures of a multi-team tie breaker fail to establish an advantage, the team with the highest ranking on the most recent College Basketball RPI Report will be awarded the higher seed.
My head hurts.
We also have some odd scenarios near the play-in games.
Presbyterian (1-13) will be in a play-in game, and will almost assuredly be on the road. They could earn the ninth seed by winning three games and having Longwood (3-11) lose its remaining four. The Blue Hose could also potentially host a play-in game by winning all four of their remaining games, having Longwood lose at least three of theirs and having Charleston Southern (4-10) lose their four remaining contests.
Seeds 4-7 (as things stand as of this writing) and their remaining schedules are:
#4 High Point (8-6): at Liberty, at Charleston Southern, Campbell, Gardner-Webb
#5 Gardner-Webb (7-7): Radford, at Presbyterian, Asheville, at High Point
#6 Campbell (6-8): at Charleston Southern, Asheville, at High Point, Radford
#7 Radford (6-8): at Gardner-Webb, Longwood, Presbyterian, at Campbell
High Point can still separate itself with wins over Campbell and Gardner-Webb to close the season, and the Panthers have at least a one-game lead over everyone here. Gardner-Webb has a tough contest with Asheville at home in the final ESPNU wildcard game of the year (February 23, 9pm), and could help its lot with a win over Radford this Wednesday. Campbell could still get as high as fourth, but the key game for the Camels — and the Highlanders below them — is the game with which the two will close out the season.
If the season closed today:
First-Round Games (at campus sites – Tuesday, February 28)
#10 Presbyterian (1-13) at #7 Radford (6-8)
#9 Longwood (3-11) at #8 Charleston Southern (4-10)
Quarterfinals (at regular-season champion – Thursday, March 2)
Presbyterian/Radford winner vs. #2 Liberty (12-2)
#6 Campbell (6-8) vs. #3 Winthrop (11-3)
#4 High Point (8-6) vs. #5 Gardner-Webb (7-7)
Longwood/Charleston Southern winner vs. #1 UNC Asheville (12-2)
Semifinals (at regular-season champion – Friday, March 3)
Presbyterian-Radford/Liberty winner vs. Campbell/Winthrop winner, 6pm
High Point/Gardner-Webb winner vs. Longwood-CSU/UNC Asheville, 8pm
Finals (at highest remaining seed – Sunday, March 5)
Championship game, 1pm, ESPN
Players of the Week – February 13
UNC Asheville players took home both awards this week, bolstered largely by a dominant offensive performance at Longwood on Saturday.
Ahmad Thomas took home Player of the Week honors, notching a double-double (26 points, 10 boards) in his club’s 104-101, double-overtime victory over Winthrop last Thursday night, followed by 22 points and five boards in that decisive 91-69 victory in Farmville over the weekend. Thomas knocked home 10-of-13 free throw attempts against Winthrop, while canning 11-of-16 shots from the field against Longwood. This is Thomas’ second award of the season, having won it the week of December 12.
MaCio Teague takes home the Come Ready Nutrition Freshman of the Week honors for the fourth time in this campaign. Teague logged 20 of his team’s first 31 points Saturday, en route to a 30-point performance. The Cincinnati product made good of 10-of-16 tries (6-of-10 from three) in that contest. Teague also played a crazy 47 minutes in the outing against Winthrop, collecting 24 points and a block of the game-winning attempt by the Eagles. However, this might have been his crowning achievement last week:
Winthrop 77, Gardner-Webb 71
Winthrop’s Xavier Cooks recorded a double-double (23 points, 10 boards) as the Eagles staved off a challenge from the energetic Runnin’ Bulldogs. Read more about this game in our game story.
Liberty 76, Charleston Southern 69
CSU guard Cortez Mitchell scored 23 points on 8-of-14 from the field and led his Bucs to the precipice of an upset in Lynchburg. The Flames got a 19-point, seven-rebound performance from hulking forward Myo Baxter-Bell, who joined three LU scorers in double digits.
Campbell 70, Presbyterian 57
Camel guard Chris Clemons scored right on his league-leading points average (23 points) to help visiting Campbell take down the Blue Hose. Presbyterian guard/forward Ed Drew paced his club by tallying 13 points and seven boards.
UNC Asheville 91, Longwood 69
As mentioned above, Ahmad Thomas and MaCio Teague led a strong effort by the visiting Bulldogs. Asheville connected on 51.5 percent of its tries (34-of-66) in the victory.
Radford 69, High Point 68 (OT)
Panther guard Andre Fox drained a bucket as time expired in regulation to send his team to overtime, but his potential game-winner in the extra period could not find the mark. Fox scored 13 points in the contest, with his teammate Anthony Lindauer contributing 17 on 7-of-14 shooting. Three Highlanders finished with double-doubles, as forward Ed Polite Jr. finished with 14 points and 10 boards, while guard Donald Hicks and center Randy Phillips finished with identical 10-point, 12-rebound totals. The teams connected on just 13 of 48 combined three-point tries.
This Week’s Games (all times Eastern and broadcasts on BigSouthSports.com, unless otherwise noted)
Tuesday, February 14
High Point at Liberty, 7 (MASN)
Wednesday, February 15
Radford at Gardner-Webb, 7 (ESPN3)
Winthrop at Longwood, 7
Presbyterian at UNC Asheville, 7
Campbell at Charleston Southern, 7
Saturday, February 18
Liberty at Winthrop, 2 (ASN)
UNC Asheville at Campbell, 2
Longwood at Radford, 4:30 (ESPN3)
High Point at Charleston Southern, 5:30
Gardner-Webb at Presbyterian, 7