Coastal Carolina at High Point, 7:00 PM Eastern, bigsouthsports.com
The final UTR Game of the Day for the 2014 calendar year comes from High Point, NC where the hometown Panthers will be welcoming in Cliff Ellis’ Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the Big South conference opener for both teams. These two teams currently sit at 9-3, tied for the best non-conference record among Big South schools. They also have the two highest KenPom and BPI ratings in the Big South. While there are several other teams (most notably Gardner-Webb and Radford) that could factor into the Big South race this season, tonight’s two opponents are in fact the two teams that we see as most likely to be battling it out for the league’s automatic bid in March.
Coastal Carolina’s 9-3 record is marred somewhat by the fact that 4 of their 9 wins came against non-Division I opponents, the maximum number of non-D1 games permitted. However, it is also highlighted by a win over Coach Ellis’ former school, Auburn, back on December 5. The Chanticleers are led by Josh Cameron and Warren Gillis. Cameron put up 22 points in the Auburn win while Gillis scored 18 last time out against Central Arkansas.
High Point’s best non-conference win came at Hawaii, where the Panthers started the season off strong by winning all three of their games in the round-robin format Rainbow Classic. They also nearly came up with a win at Clemson, falling by only 3 points. Junior John Brown leads the way for High Point and may be the best player in the entire Big South. He scored 26 points against Clemson and had 19 in the Hawaii win as well as in a loss at Ohio State. Coastal Carolina will need to find a way to stop — or at least slow down — Brown if they want to score the road victory tonight.