Coastal Carolina pulled off the upset last night, beating Charleston Southern by 20 and dropping the Buccaneers into a first place tie in the Big South. Tonight offers a few tempting choices for the SCGD, including a pair of games between division leaders. Of course the most talked about game of the night will see Belmont taking on Murray State in the Ohio Valley. However, that would be too easy of a choice for this column. More tempting is a battle between division leaders in the Sun Belt, as Middle Tennessee takes on Arkansas State. While that was originally going to be tonight’s featured SCGD, the impending snowstorm in the Northeast this weekend has led to a last minute change. After all, what better place is there to go when it snows than on a trip out to Hawai’i?
At midnight Eastern tonight, Big West leader Long Beach State travels to the islands to take on the Rainbow Warriors (local TV in Hawaii, free streaming at bigwest.tv). Long Beach State sits at 9-1 in conference and 13-8 overall, a game up over Pacific in the standings. They have an RPI of 104 and a KenPom of 151. Hawai’i, on the other hand, sits in third place at 7-4 in league and 13-9 overall. Their RPI is 205 and KenPom is 202. Neither team scored any wins of note this season in non-conference play.
The 49ers are led by Mike Caffey who is averaging 11.9 points per game, trying to make up for the loss of Casper Ware who graduated after last season. They also have a trio of transfers who are strong contributors, Dan Jennings (West Virginia), Tony Freeland (DePaul) and Keala King (Arizona State). Long Beach is 8-0 since Freeland and King became eligible on December 29.
As for Hawai’i, they are led by the reigning Big West Payer of the Week, Christian Standhardinger, who is averaging 24.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in his last three games. Also, keep an eye on the student section tonight. The promotion for tonight’s game is “60s Hippie Night” and free wigs are being given away to students attending the game.