Virginia Military (19-11) vs. Coastal Carolina (19-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The HTC Center (3,212) -- Conway, South Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: VMI 13-2, Coastal Carolina 13-5. Away Record: VMI 5-9, Coastal Carolina 6-7. Neutral Record: VMI 1-0, Coastal Carolina 1-0. Conference Record: VMI 11-5, Coastal Carolina 12-5. Series Record: Coastal Carolina leads, 18-6.
GAME NOTES: The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will see how much they have left in the tank as they take on the Virginia Military Keydets in the semifinal round of the 2014 Big South Conference Tournament at the HTC Center.
Coastal Carolina, the top seed out of the South Division, narrowly edged Charleston Southern, 73-68, in double-overtime in the second round on Friday. The win was the third straight for the Chanticleers, who also topped the Buccaneers by a tight score in the regular-season finale (63-61).
VMI, which is the second seed out of the North Division, had an easier time in its matchup in the second round, defeating Gardner-Webb in a 90-77 final. The Keydets have won five of their last six games dating back to the regular season, and enter play today with a record of 19-11 overall.
This is the second meeting of the season between these two squads, with VMI knocking off the Chanticleers, 83-78, on Feb. 12. Despite that setback, Coastal Carolina still holds a commanding lead in the all-time series (18-6). The winner this time advances to the championship game against either Winthrop or UNC-Asheville, depending on the outcome of that semifinal clash.
D.J. Covington scored 21 points and collected nine rebounds, while Rodney Glasgow tacked on 20 points in VMI's win over Gardner-Webb. The Keydets knocked down 50.8 percent of their shots from the floor, while limiting Gardner-Webb to just 31.9 percent.
Covington (18.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg) is one of the premier frontcourt players in the Big South, ranking in the top-five in scoring, rebounds, blocked shots and field goal percentage. QJ Peterson's (19.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) name also features heavily among the list of league leaders, as he is fifth in the conference in scoring and third in steals (1.7 spg). Glasgow (18.5 ppg) is also one of the more productive players in the league, ranking second in assists. Led by that trio, the Keydets have been the top scoring team in the country this season (88.5 ppg).
Josh Cameron finished with 20 points and El Hadji Ndiequene (14 rebounds) and Badou Diagne (11) helped Coastal Carolina to a 59-41 edge on the boards in its win over Charleston Southern. The Chanticleers also outscored their opponent from 3-point range (27-9) and at the free-throw line (20-15).
The Chanticleers are not as potent an offensive group as VMI, as they are netting a modest 72.8 ppg on 43.4 percent shooting for the season, with their field goal percentage being the worst in the conference. Missing shots has not kept them from collecting wins however, as they are among the 15 best teams in the country on the boards (39.5 rpg). Elijah Wilson (16.4 ppg) heads up the scoring effort, with Warren Gillis (14.6 ppg) and Cameron (13.9 ppg) filling in behind. Gillis added 18 points on Friday and Wilson finished with 16 on just 5-of-21 shooting.
The Keydets are clearly not intimidated by postseason play. The Chanticleers, who connected on just 28.9 percent from the floor, will not be able to win again if they don't shape up offensively.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Military 79, Coastal Carolina 74
03/08 11:10:56 ET