With four teams finishing within two games of each other at the top of the overall league standings, expect a wide-open conference tournament. High Point won the North Division by four games, but the South featured a tight race among Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and
Charleston Southern likely enters as the favorite, especially since High Point lost leading scorer and star freshman John Brown for the season with a broken right foot. Since starting 7-0 in the league, Charleston Southern has only gone 6-5, but the Buccaneers have the pieces to win the automatic bid. Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper form a dynamite backcourt, and Mathiang Muo is another capable option.
Gardner-Webb is the hottest team in the league, winning 10 of its last 11 games -- including an overtime win over Charleston Southern last week. The Runnin' Bulldogs' ability to control the tempo and take advantage of second-chance opportunities makes them a difficult out. UNC-Asheville has lost five of six, but it still has the inside-outside tandem of Keith Hornsby and Jeremy Atkinson.
Can High Point still be a threat? The Panthers are still optimistic without Brown, but a lot falls on the ability of Allan Chaney to make an impact. One team to watch for could be Coastal Carolina. It's the host team and has Anthony Raffa filling it up offensively.
Schedule: March 5, 7, 9-10 in Conway, S.C.
Title game: Sunday, March 10 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2
THREE BEST PLAYERS
- Stan Okoye (VMI)
- John Brown (High Point) -- will miss tourney with broken foot
- Saah Nimley (Charleston Southern)
Conference RPI: 30
KenPom.com rating: 29
Sagarin rating: 28
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello