Championship Week(s) started last night as the Atlantic Sun Championship got underway. Today, we’ll preview a few mid-major tournaments that get started early this week.
ATLANTIC SUN: Before the season started, Florida Gulf Coast was the heavy favorite to win the league title and while the Eagles did win the regular season crown outright, they haven’t seem to put it all together yet. It started before conference play when they lost to Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Oral Roberts. Then down the stretch, they lost home games to Kennesaw St and Lipscomb. They’re vulnerable and something isn’t quite right and that’s why Lipscomb will make its first ever trip to the Big Dance.
BIG SOUTH: This should be one of the more entertaining mid-major tournaments. UNC Asheville won the regular season outright, but only by a game and they lost to both Radford and Winthrop, the two teams that tied for second. Throw in Campbell’s penchant for buzzer beaters and this will be must-see TV. Asheville gets to host every game it plays and that will make the difference as the Bulldogs will make another trip to the tournament.
PATRIOT: Bucknell, like Florida Gulf Coast, was the prohibitive favorite to win its conference. Unlike the Eagles, though, the Bison made it clear all season long that they were the best team in the Patriot League. Strange things have happened in this tournament in recent years, but don’t expect another sub .500 team like Holy Cross to win this tournament as the Crusaders did in 2016. Bucknell will roll to the second of back-to-back tournament berths.