With the first round of action in the Big South Tournament completed, the top seeds are ready to take to action in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The top two seeds in both the North and South division earned byes in the first round as the bottom eight teams had to battle it out to reach the quarters.
The upset of the day on Wednesday, was Longwood, which finished with a 4-12 record in conference, knocking off two-time defending Big South Tournament champions, UNC-Asheville. Longwood advances to take on VMI in the second round, who had a worse record than UNC-Asheville, but earned a bye as the two seed in the North Division.
Top seeds High Point and Charleston Southern also begin their tournaments on Friday as well as Gardner-Webb. After Thursday's games will be another day of rest before the semifinals take place on Saturday and the championship on Sunday. Whoever comes out of the Big South is likely to have a tough road in the NCAA Tournament as a 16 seed.
The schedule for Thursday is below, all times Eastern.
1S Charleston Southern Buccaneers vs. 5S Winthrop Eagles - 12 p.m.
Charleston Southern (17-11, 12-4) finished as the top team in the South Division and is the overall favorite in the conference. It holds the highest kenpom ranking (down at No. 173, but still highest in the conference) and are led by sophomore Saah Nimley, who leads the Buccaneers in points and assists per game. Winthrop (14-16, 6-10) knocked off Radford in overtime to advance to the quarterfinals. The two teams split their regular season series with the home team winning both games.
2N Virginia Military Keydets vs. 6N Longwood Lancers - 2 p.m.
VMI (13-16, 8-8) has the best player in the conference in Stan Okoye, who averages 21.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, but struggled down the stretch losing six games in a row before winning their final two. Longwood (8-24, 4-12) knocked off UNC-Asheville thanks to a strong defensive performance they will need to replicate to pull of another upset. VMI won both regular season meetings between the two.
2S Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs vs. 3N Campbell Fighting Camels - 6 p.m.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (20-11, 11-5) are the hottest team in the Big South, having won seven in a row and 10 of their last 11 games. The one game they played against Campbell (13-19, 7-9) this season was a triple-overtime classic that the Fighting Camels pulled off 93-81. Campbell needed overtime to defeat Presbyterian in the first round and advance to the quarters.
1N High Point Panthers vs. 5N Liberty Lancers - 8 p.m.
High Point (17-12, 12-4) was looking like the team to beat in the Big South before losing two of their final three games at home. The Panthers also had a classic game against their quarterfinal opponent earlier this season, defeating Liberty (12-20, 6-10) in double overtime during their first meeting. High Point won both games by a total of 10 points.