Big South Conference

Big South Tournament Preview and Postseason Awards

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John Brown (Getty Images)

The Big South had one of the most entertaining conference races in college basketball, as at one point in February, seven teams were tied for first place. By the end of the season, two teams — Charleston Southern and High Point — finished 13-5 in league play with the Buccaneers earning the top seed. But given the way in which this season played out, it would be more surprising if the Big South tournament was all “chalk.”

READ MORE: NBC Sports’ latest Bracketology | The updated top 25

The Bracket



When: March 4, 6-8

Where: HTC Center, Conway, South Carolina (Coastal Carolina’s home arena)

Final: March 8, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

READ MORE:’s 2015 Conference Tournament Previews

Favorite: High Point

The Panthers finished tied for the Big South regular season title, with a triple-overtime loss to the Buccaneers in the regular season finale being the reason why they didn’t win it outright. Of course high-flying forward John Brown is the headliner for Scott Cherry’s team, but forward Lorenzo Cugini and guard Devonte Wallace are both averaging ten points per game and four players average at least two assists per contest.

And if they lose?: Charleston Southern

With Saah Nimley leading the way the Buccaneers average 74.5 points per game, and in conference games, Charleston Southern was tops in offensive efficiency. This a group that enjoys taking threes, as they attempted (and made) more three-pointers than any team in the Big South. And keep an eye on Will Saunders (13.1 ppg) and Arlon Harper (13.0), as both are solid supplementary scoring options alongside Nimley.


  • Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers have a case for favorite status, as the tournament is being played on their home floor and they went 3-1 against the top two seeds this season (sweeping High Point). And Cliff Ellis’ team doesn’t lack experience, as they won the automatic bid last season.
  • Winthrop: In conference games the Eagles were the best in the Big South in defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage and three-point percentage defense. And led by guard Keon Moore, Pat Kelsey’s team has won six of its last eight games.

Player of the Year: G Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern

The 5-foot-8 senior guard averaged 21.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for Charleston Southern, and he produced more games of 30 points or more (seven) than single-digit outings (four). Included in Nimley’s season is a stretch of four straight games in which he scored 30 points or more.

Coach of the Year: Barclay Radebaugh, Charleston Southern

Radebaugh’s Buccaneers were picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, but they managed to win 13 conference games and a share of the regular season crown. And while Nimley is the headliner, four others are averaging at least eight points per game with Arlon Harper (13.0 ppg) and Will Saunders (13.1) also averaging double figures.

All-Big South Team:

  • Nimley
  • G Keon Moore, Winthrop: Averaging 18.8 points per game, Moore shot 45.7% from the field, 44.9% from three and 86.4% from the foul line.
  • F John Brown, High Point: Known for his elite dunking ability, Brown is a three-time all-conference selection who averaged 18.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season.
  • F Javonte Green, Radford: The 6-foot-4 senior averaged 15.0 points and a Big South-best 8.7 rebounds per game for the Highlanders.
  • F Jerome Hill, Gardner-Webb: Hill averaged 19.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

CBT Prediction: Coastal Carolina repeats as Big South tournament champion, holding off Charleston Southern in the title game.

Cedrick Bowen wins another game on a last-second dunk for Charleston Southern during a wild sequence (VIDEO)

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Charleston Southern had one of the season’s most memorable moments during the opening night of college basketball as senior forward Cedrick Bowen’s tip dunk at the buzzer lifted the Buccaneers to a road upset of Ole Miss.

The 6-foot-5 Bowen had another memorable dunk on Monday night as his breakaway slam with 1.7 seconds remaining capped a wild sequence of events to put Charleston Southern up 71-70 against Campbell.

Bowen contested the jumper of Campbell forward Nehemiah Mabson before leaking and receiving an outlet pass for the easy finish. Mabson then made matters worse by throwing the ball into the second row of the bleachers and not giving the Camels a chance at a final look.

Charleston Southern guard Saah Nimley was fouled on the ensuing possession and made two free throws to make it a 74-71 final score. Nimley finished with a team-high 22 points while Bowen tallied eight points in the win.

I guess if the Buccaneers find themselves down late in a game for the rest of this season they need to have Bowen on the floor the finish the game with a dunk.

VMI, head coach Duggar Baucom agree to extension through 2019

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Just a few months after completing a 22-13 season, his third 20-win campaign as the head coach at VMI, Duggar Baucom has been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2018-19 season. The school announced the news Wednesday afternoon.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead VMI Basketball through 2019,” Baucom said in the release. “I am very proud of the competitive program we have established at VMI. The credit for the success we have built here is far reaching. Our achievements are due to my outstanding coaching staff, strength coach, training staff, academic support personnel, sports information department, administrative assistant and the great support of our loyal Keydet Nation.”

Last season Baucom’s Keydets made the program’s first postseason appearance in 37 years as they played in the CIT. Simply making the event wasn’t enough for VMI however, as they won three games before falling to Yale in the semifinals.

In nine seasons at VMI, Baucom has posted a record of 140-140 and his teams have reached the Big South tournament title game on three separate occasions. VMI will have to account for the graduation of two of their top three scorers in forward/center D.J. Covington and guard Rodney Glasgow, with both earning first team All-Big South honors, but guard QJ Peterson will be back for his sophomore campaign.

Peterson posted averages of 19.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in VMI’s high-paced system, and he was named to the league’s second team all-conference squad.

Winthrop hires assistant coach Brian Kloman

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Winthrop made an assistant coaching hire on Monday as the program hired former Tennessee Tech assistant coach Brian Kloman to the same position.

Kloman replaces former assistant coach Brian Thornton, who left for Ball State earlier this spring, and the move was announced in a release from the school.

“Brian is someone that I have known for many years through the coaching profession and have tremendous respect for,” Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey said in the release. “He is a tireless worker and possesses and elite ability to cultivate relationships. He has gained a reputation as one of the best up and coming recruiters in our business. Student-athletes love him. I am excited to have him at Winthrop.”

The newest member of the Winthop staff comes after two seasons at Tennessee Tech and a stint at North Carolina Central. Kloman has also worked at Pikeville College, Daniel Webster and Pfeiffer College and is the son of Craig Ferguson, an assistant coach at Oklahoma State.

Friday’s Pregame Shootaround: Harvard looks to make NCAA tournament return

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GAME OF THE DAY: Harvard at Yale, 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

The Crimson play their second-to-last game of the season against the only team capable of catching them in the Ivy League race. If Tommy Amaker’s team gets the win, they get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. But that’s easier said than done, as the Bulldogs won the first meeting on February 8. Yale forward Justin Sears was the difference-maker, as he accounted for 21 points and 11 rebounds. Also of note was Yale’s defensive effort, as they limited Harvard to 39% shooting from the field and 7-for-21 from three.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Eastern Kentucky vs. Murray State, 10:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

The second semifinal in the OVC matches the two (Murray State) and three (EKU) seeds, and the two teams haven’t met since January 8. Steve Prohm’s Racers won that meeting, 77-64, shooting 51% from the field and attempting 28 free throws (making 19) to Eastern Kentucky’s eight (making six). Freshman Cameron Payne and forward Jarvis Williams scored 19 points apiece for the Racers in that meeting, with Williams making all nine of his shots from the field. EKU, which has won five straight games, is led by the veteran trio of Glenn Cosey, Corey Walden and Marcus Lewis.


  • Big South: Quarterfinals begin
    The Big South moves to the quarterfinal round after playing for first-round games on Wednesday, and among the teams in action are host Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers face Charleston Southern, an 81-71 winner over Campbell on Wednesday. These teams haven’t met since January 8, when the Buccaneers beat the Chanticleers 70-58 in Charleston. Regular season champion High Point also begins its tournament, matchup up with Winthrop in the first game of the day.
  • Horizon League: Wright State, Valparaiso enter the fray
    The Horizon League bracket favors those who finish highest in the standings, meaning that champion (and host) Green Bay and Cleveland State won’t play until Saturday’s semifinals. Friday night, Wright State and Valparaiso play their first games with the Raiders facing Oakland and Valpo taking on Milwaukee. Wright State swept the Golden Grizzlies during the regular season, and the Crusaders did the same to Milwaukee.
  • Missouri Valley: No. 2 Wichita State looks to snap a streak
    The primary focus regarding the Shockers will be whether or not they can pick up three more wins and enter the NCAA tournament 34-0. But, the program hasn’t won the conference tournament since 1987. They’ll look to take the first step towards ending that dry spell with a win over Evansville Friday afternoon. The game that may provide the most suspense in St. Louis: Illinois State – Missouri State, with the home team winning both regular season meetings.
  • OVC: Belmont looks to return to the title game
    Eastern Kentucky – Murray State will be good, but so will Belmont’s matchup with Morehead State. Rick Byrd’s Bruins went 14-2 in OVC play, and two of those wins came against the Eagles. Belmont won the second meeting by just three points on January 29, with J.J. Mann scoring 22 points and the Bruins closing the game on a 10-0 run. Drew Kelly scored 23 points in that game for the Eagles, who led 73-66 with 1:19 remaining.
  • SoCon: Day one in Asheville
    The SoCon tournament gets going with a triple header in Asheville, with Georgia Southern and UNCG favored to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals. The opener matches Samford and Appalachian State, with the Mountaineers having won both regular season meetings. Jason Capel’s team beat the Bulldogs 63-57 on February 27, with Tommy Spagnolo (21 points, ten rebounds) sparking a late rally. As for the other two games, the individual matchup between Furman’s Stephen Croone (19.3 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Georgia Southern’s Jelani Hewitt (20.0, 3.2) should be fun to watch.