Isaiah Wilkins, Longwood Lancers, Big South Tournament Preview

CBB Review prepares you for every conference tournament leading up to Selection Sunday. Up next: The Big South Tournament.

The Big South Tournament could be a fun one, with five teams winning ten games or more in conference play. UNC Asheville comes in as the clear favorite, winning the conference by four games, but teams like Longwood and Radford certainly have the talent to keep things interesting.

2023 Big South Conference Awards

Player of the Year: Drew Pember, UNC Asheville

Freshman of the Year: Zack Austin, High Point

Transfer of the Year: Daquan Smith, Radford

Coach of the Year: Mike Morrell, UNC Asheville

First Team:

  • G: Claudell Harris Jr., Charleston Southern (17.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.3 APG)
  • G: Isaiah Wilkins, Longwood (13.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 37.9 3P%)
  • G: Jordan Gainey, USC Upstate (15.1 PPG, 2.6 APG, 2.4 RPG, 2.0 SPG)
  • F: Kelton Talford, Winthrop (16.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 67.2 FG%)
  • F: Drew Pember, UNC Asheville (20.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 2.3 BPG, 38.8 3P%)

Second Team:

  • G: Daquan Smith, Radford (13.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 38.5 3P%)
  • G: Jaden House, High Point (17 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.3 APG)
  • G: Tajion Jones, UNC Asheville (14.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 45.6 3P%)
  • G: Ricky Clemons, Campbell (14 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.5 SPG)
  • F: Zack Austin, High Point (14.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 2.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG)

Big South Tournament Simulation

First Round – Wednesday, Mar. 1

8. High Point (14-16, 6-12) vs. 9. Charleston Southern (9-20, 5-13) – 6 p.m on ESPN+

These two teams split the season series, including a 37-point win for Charleston Southern the first time they played. Luckily for High Point, they have a little momentum heading into the conference tournament, winning three of their last four games, while Charleston Southern went 1-7 in the month of February,

Ariel’s Pick: 8. High Point

7. Campbell (13-17, 8-10) vs. 10. Presbyterian (5-26, 1-17) – 8 p.m on ESPN+

Presbyterian comes into this game on a 17-game losing streak. 17! Their one win though? Against Campbell. With that being said, this will probably be game number 18 on the Blue Hose’s losing streak.

Ariel’s Pick: 7. Campbell

Quarterfinals – Friday, Mar. 3

1. UNC Asheville (24-7, 16-2) vs. 8. High Point – Noon on ESPN+

UNC Asheville swept High Point in the regular season, but High Point has the talent to keep it close. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being a single-digit game with a few minutes to go.

Ariel’s Pick: 1. UNC Asheville

4. USC Upstate (15-14, 10-8) vs. 5. Gardner Webb (15-15, 10-8) – 2 p.m on ESPN+

Talk about an even matchup. Both teams had identical conference records and equal amounts of overall wins on the season. These two teams played each other in the last game of the regular season, with USC Upstate winning by six at home. Momentum matters too, as Gardner Webb heads into this game on a four-game losing streak. Expect this to be the game of the Big South Tournament.

Ariel’s Pick: 5. Gardner Webb

2. Longwood (20-11, 12-6) vs. 7. Campbell – 6 p.m on ESPN+

Longwood won their two head-to-head matchups against Campbell by a combined 49 points. That’s all you need to know.

Ariel’s Pick: 2. Longwood

3. Radford (18-13, 12-6) vs. 6. Winthrop (15-16, 10-8) – 8 p.m on ESPN+

Radford swept the season series, but Winthrop has turned its season around, winning their last four games. It’s called March Madness right? Let’s give ’em madness!

Ariel’s Pick: 6. Winthrop

Semifinals – Saturday, Mar. 6

1. UNC Asheville vs. 5. Gardner Webb – Noon on ESPN+

UNC Asheville is just too good, specifically Drew Pember. If Gardner Webb wants any chance, they’ll have to take him out of the game and get him in foul trouble.

Ariel’s Pick: 1. UNC Asheville

2. Longwood vs. 6. Winthrop – 2 p.m on ESPN+

These two teams played in the conference final last year, with Longwood winning by 23 points. While it won’t be that much of a blowout, Longwood will still win this one.

Ariel’s Pick: 2. Longwood

Championship – Sunday, Mar. 5

1. UNC Asheville vs. 2. Longwood – 1 p.m on ESPN+

UNC Asheville hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2016, when they stunned the conference as a four-seed and won. Longwood, on the other hand, won its first-ever Big South Tournament last year and would like to go back-to-back. It comes down to Drew Pember vs. Isaiah Wilkins, two all-conference players showing out and making the dream come true. Drew Pember deserves it, and he’ll get his chance to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.

Ariel’s Pick: 1. UNC Asheville

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