The ASun holds the distinction of kicking off this season’s pre-March Madness fun for 2019. Comprised of teams from the Southeastern U.S. (and for some reason a Tech school from New Jersey), the ASun got a little tougher from last year by swapping USC Upstate out to the Big South in exchange for Liberty. Note: North Alabama was also a new addition to the conference this season, but since they are just up from Division II, they are ineligible for postseason play beyond the ASun tourney.
When and Where: March 4th-10th at the various higher-seeded teams’ campuses. Lipscomb has locked up home court throughout by virtue of a tiebreaker over Liberty.
Defending Champ: Lipscomb Bisons
Who’s Good: Liberty, Lipscomb
Who’s Sneaky: North Florida, maybe?
Who Stinks Out Loud: I want to go with Stetson but will defer to Kennesaw State since the Hatters are the odd man out and will not be in the bracket.
Coolest Team Nickname: NJIT HIGHLANDERS! THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!
Seeding and Rules: Only the top 8 get in (there are 9 teams), High seeds host games throughout, with seeding determined by conference record.
Multi-Bid League: Unfortunately not. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Liberty and Lipscomb this season but, the odds of an at-large bid for a second team are minuscule at best.
Breakdown: There doesn’t appear to be any Cinderella here. Outside of the top two seeds, everyone has been middling at best. North Florida would be as close to a spoiler as I can find as they somehow have been able to keep up a hot streak even after dismissing their top scorer, Noah Horchler for violating team rules. The first rounds feel like they should go chalky with the small possibility of North Florida over Liberty in the semis as the only shot of avoiding the rubber match between them and Lipscomb.
My Pick(s): Using what my model has put together, I have Liberty and Lipscomb neck and neck. So, even with Liberty having to go on the road for the final, I think I can be convinced that there’s some value on them at +275. They did beat the Bisons in Nashville a couple weeks back. If they meet Lipscomb in the final, it should be lined around -325/+250, so I can either let it ride or look for a live spot to buy back and try to make some cabbage.
Liberty Flames +275 (0.5x)
One down, 25 to go. Look for the Big South, Patriot and Horizon league previews on Monday.