HPU men, women earn Big South No. 1 seeds
Becoming the first program since the 1995-96 season to sweep the No. 1 seeds for the Big South basketball tournament, High Point University got a better fix on its possible first opponents this week when the league announced seeding late Saturday.
The men, who went 12-4 and won the school’s first outright regular season title, will face either Winthrop or Liberty on Friday at noon in the first game of the quarterfinals. Winthrop is the No. 4 seed from the South division as the loser in a three-way tie and Liberty is the No. 5 from the North. They will meet on Wednesday at noon in the opening game of the men’s play.
The men’s and women’s tournaments are being held at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina.
HPU beat Winthrop 65-64 at the Millis Center in the teams only meeting this season. The Panthers beat Liberty twice this year, with a 76-70 win in Lynchburg, Va. and a 67-60 victory at home.
The Panthers are 10-12 all-time in the Big South Tournament. HPU is 0-4 against Winthrop in the tournament but the teams have not met since 2007-08. The Panthers are 1-2 against Liberty in championship play, including last year’s 61-60 loss in the quarterfinals. The team’s win came in the 2011 quarterfinals.
The women’s team went 16-4 in Big South play to win the second regular season title in program history and first since 2006-07. The Panthers set a program record with 16 Big South wins.
The women will face either No. 8 UNC Asheville or No. 9 Radford on Thursday at noon. Asheville and Radford will kick off the tournament at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
The Panthers swept both teams in the regular season. High Point is 2-1 against Asheville in championship play. The teams last met in the quarterfinals of the 2008-09 tournament with High Point winning 72-67. HPU is 2-0 against Radford in the Big South Tournament with wins in 2002-03 and 2011-12. High Point is 12-14 all-time in the Big South Tournament. HPU is the first Big South school since 1995-96 to win both the men’s and women’s regular seasons outright.
Elsewhere on the men’s side, host Coastal Carolina (18-12, 11-5 Big South) is the No. 1 South seed after winning the outright South Division crown — the Chanticleers’ first division title. The Chanticleers will open against the winner of Campbell-Charleston Southern at 6:00pm on March 7.
UNC Ansheville got the No. 2 seed in the South after tying with Garnder-Webb and Winthrop at 10-6. Asheville won the tiebreaker by virtue of going 3-1 against GWU and WU. With the three-way tie reduced to a two-way tie between Gardner-Webb and Winthrop, the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ season sweep of the Eagles clinched GWU the No. 3 South seed and moving WU to No. 4.
No. 3 North seed Radford meets No. 6 South seed Presbyterian College at 2 p.m.. In the evening session, No. 4 North seed Campbell will play No. 5 South seed Charleston Southern at 6 p.m., with No. 3 South seed Gardner-Webb facing No. 6 North seed Longwood at 8 p.m. Wednesday’s winners will advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.
The top two seeds in each division got first-round byes.
No. 2 South seed UNC Asheville begins its postseason against the winner of Radford-Presbyterian College Friday at 2 p.m. VMI is the No. 2 North seed for the second-straight year and plays the winner of Gardner-Webb-Longwood Friday night at 8.
On the women’s side, Liberty and Winthrop finished the season tied for second with 15-5 conference records. The Lady Flames swept the season series to break the tie and earn the No. 2 seed as the Eagles picked up the No. 3 seed. Campbell earned the No. 4 seed with a 13-7 record in conference action. Gardner-Webb came in at the No. 5 spot with an 11-9 Big South record, ahead of Coastal Carolina who finished the Conference season at 10-10. Presbyterian College earned the No. 7 seed with a 9-11 record in Conference play. UNC Asheville is the No. 8 seed as it posted a 7-13 Big South record. Radford and Longwood posted 5-15 Conference records. Radford earned the No. 9 seed via the tie-breaker procedure to give Longwood the No. 10 seed. Charleston Southern rounds out the seeds with a 4-16 Big South record.