College Basketball Betting Preview for Big South: Change Coming At Winthrop, Radford
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- Coaching changes at Winthrop and Radford highlight the league before 2020-21.
- Watch out for Longwood, which is led by Griff Aldrich.
- Matt Cox breaks down the league from top-to-bottom.
The biggest storyline of the Big South for the 2021 campaign is dynasty handoffs.
It’s a changing of the guard for Winthrop and Radford, two of the league’s most decorated programs.
A bigger stage and deeper pockets finally lured Pat Kelsey away from Rock Hill. To keep the train chuggin’, Winthrop tagged former Kelsey mentee Mark Prosser to man the helm.
Prosser inherits a well-stocked war chest for his inaugural season, which, along with a stout crop of transfers, makes Winthrop the prohibitive favorite once again.
Radford, on the other hand, will look a lot different under new leadership. Darris Nichols, regarded as a rising star amongst young coaches, replaces established veteran Mike Jones, who accepted a promotion at UNC Greensboro.
If Nichols is the wunderkind everyone claims, the Highlanders should contend for a top seed in Big South Tournament.
The skinny on Campbell? The Camels are a basketball purist’s dessert.
Do-everything forward Joshua Lusane is a sleeping giant and he’s not even “the guy” as he’ll play third banana to two certified bucket-getters in Cedric Henderson Jr. and Jordan Whitfield.
Coach Kevin McGeehan routinely whips up organic offenses, so that end of the floor is set in stone. The question becomes, can the Camels get stops?
Don’t snooze on the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Gardner Webb posted the worst betting performance in the Big South last year (9-13 ATS), but a maintained positive 1.4 cover margin.
A healthy Lance Terry would be a monumental development for head coach Tim Craft. Terry was terrific before an injury pulled the plug on his season, as he hung 23 on Florida State in the non-conference.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs and Camels (along with UNC Asheville) will be hot in pursuit of the perennial powers for the top spot on the podium.
Griff Aldrich. It seems like everything the former titan of industry-turned-upstart coach touches turns to gold.
Ok, fine, most things. He tallied a profitable 13-9 ATS record in conference games last season, covering by an average 2.0 points a game (both tops in the Big South, per Teamrankings.com).
At large, the league was extremely competitive 1-through-11 from a betting perspective.
In a parity-ridden landscape, finding specific teams to bet consistently as part of a larger portfolio is tricky, but if you insist on picking a horse, when in doubt, ride with Griff and his Lancers.
He returns two dynamite guards in Justin Hill and DeShaun Wade, who each have breakouts in their crystal balls.
For High Point, one must wonder if Tubby Smith has lost his Kentucky mojo entirely.
However, he does return one of the top players in the league, John-Michael Wright, who should keep the lid on a major catastrophe.
USC Upstate’s a conundrum, and then some.
First off, put little stock into what transpired last year. The Spartans were without a full-time, in-person coach, as Dave Dickerson opted to work remotely out of COVID-19 concerns.
From that lens, there’s a bullish case to be made for 2022.
However, I wouldn’t bet on an emphatic turnaround, either. This roster is downright depleted, as it currently stands.
Everette Hammond and Tommy Bruner were instrumental in shot creation last year, but both have left town. Dickerson will need a monster year from mini maestro Dalvin White to keep the Spartans afloat.
It looks like both USC Upstate and High Point are intriguing but are still stuck in reverse at the moment.
Buckets & Bojangles
A significant change is coming to the Big South postseason format.
Historically, all games were played at campus sites, with the higher seed playing host throughout the tournament — the regular-season champ was guaranteed every game on its home hardwood.
That’s ancient history.
The entire tournament will be played on a neutral floor.
For teams like Presbyterian or Charleston Southern, who are lurking in that lower-to-middle tier, this is music to their ears. In a win-or-go-home postseason battlefield, slaying the giant is hard enough — your odds improve considerably, though, on neutral turf.
PSA. For those who intend to bet conference championship odds, make sure to read the fine print on the wager. Some books stipulate the bet is paid out based on the conference tournament winner, not the regular-season winner.