Big South Conference Tournament Odds: Longwood, Asheville Favored

Longwood Slight Favorites Over UNC Asheville in Big South

The Big South Conference Tournament odds are a bit of a surprise. Second-seeded Longwood is a slight favorite over No. 1 UNC Asheville. It’s not all that unusual to see a No. 2 as a slight favorite. But seldom will you see a team that finished four games behind one team favored over it in the tournament odds.

But the Big South Conference Tournament is far from a two-team show. Both Radford and Gardner-Webb are at +450 or lower, so the NCAA Tournament berth is wide open. Winthrop and South Carolina State aren’t without a shot but would need lots of things to fall into place. All games will be televised on ESPN+ with the championship game at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, March 5, televised on ESPN2. All games will played at the the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. The Big South Conference is rated No. 23 by Jeff Sagarin, so you probably won’t want any of the teams in your March Madness bracket contest.

The Favorites

LONG Longwood Lancers(+220)

The Lancers are the slightest of favorites in the Big South Conference Tournament odds despite losing twice to Asheville during the season. Longwood finished the season with a 20-11 overall record and a 12-6 conference mark. The Lancers are average offensively and defensively. Longwood is solid on the offensive glass and can make some steals on defense. The differential between Longwood and Asheville isn’t that great. The Sagarin college basketball ratings have Ashville 1.5 points better and Ken Pomeroy has Asheville a single point better.

UNCA UNC Asheville Bulldogs (+250)

The Bulldogs are led by likely Big South Conference Player of the Year Drew Pember and were 24-7 overall and 16-2 in conference games. Asheville is a solid shooting team but often shoots itself in the foot with turnovers. The Bulldogs rank No. 316 in the nation in turnover percentage, which nullifies their 3-point shooting. UNC Asheville hits 39.5% of its 3-pointers, which is No. 5 in the nation. But the turnovers, along with a lack of offensive rebounds, knock the Bulldogs down to No. 187 in offensive efficiency. Asheville is a better defensive team, ranking No. 123. Asheville is especially strong defending the 3-pointer, ranking No. 23.

RAD Radford Highlanders (+400)

The Highlanders have gotten a little bit of respect in the Big South Conference Tournament odds, sitting at +400. It’s hard to see them that low, especially given their late-season 2-4 run in conference play. Radford can force some turnovers on defense but really don’t do a whole lot well. Still, it’s a relatively weak conference but the Highlanders appear to be a few points worse than the top contenders.

WEBB Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (+450)

Gardner Webb is the No. 4 seed in the Big South Conference Tournament but they’re not without a chance. The Bulldogs are the best defensive team in the conference. So you can never discount them. The Gardner-Webb offense is nothing to get too excited about. Gardner-Webb isn’t entering the tournament playing its best. The Bulldogs lost their last four games, allowing 75 points or more in all four. But if the line against USC Upstate isn’t too big, the Bulldogs could be worth a shot in your NCAAB betting plans for the tournament. It’s a quick revenge game for the Bulldogs who lost at USC Upstate in the final game of the season.

The Outsiders

WIN Winthrop Eagles (+1200)

Winthrop finished 10-8 in conference play this season, which is better than many people expected. The Eagles were dealt a blow early in the season losing Kyle Burns to the college basketball injury report and he was expected to play a key role. Winthrop didn’t miss Burns offensively, as the Eagles were solid. But Winthrop was one of the worst defensive teams in the nation. With an adjusted defensive ranking of No. 348, only a handful of teams were worse. Winthrop could stop the inside or outside shot. The Eagles can hit shots offensively, but too many turnovers and lack of offensive rebounds hurt the team’s numbers.

SCUS South Carolina Upstate Spartans (+1400)

USC Upstate closed the season strong, finishing on a 6-1 run, that included wins over Longwood and Asheville. While those games were at home, the Spartans should be playing with a little confidence in the tournament. Still, the Spartans are considered a bit of a longshot with Big South Conference Tournament odds of +1400. The biggest problem for the Spartans is their shooting. It’s dismal, with USC Update No. 300 in offensive efficiency. The defense is the team’s strong suit, but it’s not good enough to make up for a lack of shooting on most nights.

Projected Championship Matchup

You have to take UNC Asheville in its side of the bracket. Asheville was the best team during the regular season and there’s no reason for that to change now. Longwood will likely be playing the winner of Radford and Winthrop in the semifinals. Longwood gets the slight power rating edge over both teams, so will have to take the Lancers. But an upset in the semifinals definitely wouldn’t be a huge surprise. It may be difficult to beat a college basketball three times in a season, but that’s the way to bet this one and take Asheville +250.
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