MASSEY: Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament preview

Graduate student forward Keenan Gumbs of the Liberty Flames goes for a layup against UCLA Dec. 29, 2018. Tribune News Service/David Wilson of the Miami Herald photo courtesy
Graduate student forward Keenan Gumbs of the Liberty Flames goes for a layup against UCLA Dec. 29, 2018. Tribune News Service/David Wilson of the Miami Herald photo courtesy

Dane Massey is a second-year Digital Sports Production major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

March is finally here, and with it comes the madness of tournament time. The madness starts with the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) Tournament which is scheduled to start with the men’s tournament featuring two matchups, one being Queens taking on Florida Gulf Coast and the reigning champions Bellarmine taking on North Florida. It’s time for magic to happen and dreams to be crushed, what fun!

Where is the tournament taking place? 

For both the men’s and women’s tournaments the higher seeds will host the matchup, and with Kennesaw State and Florida Gulf Coast locking up the sites for the men’s and women’s finals respectively, if they were to get that far.

Who won the Regular Season title and holds the number one seed?

Kennesaw State holds the number one seed in the men’s ASUN tournament. Liberty, who is right behind Kennesaw State in the standings, lost to the Owls on the road which dashed any chances as the host site for the finals.

In the women’s bracket Florida Gulf Coast, for now, claims the number one seed for the fifth straight tournament, however, second seed Liberty split the season’s matchups with Florida Gulf Coast with a win on their home floor against the Eagles but it was not enough to claim the top spot.

ASUN Tournament Brackets: 

Men’s Bracket

Quarterfinals (Feb. 28): 

No. 10 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles/No. 9 Queens University Royals @ No. 1 Kennsaw State Owls at 7 p.m.

No. 5 Lipscomb Bisons @ No. 4 Stetson Hatters at 7 p.m.

No. 7 North Florida Ospreys/No. 8 Bellarmine Knights @ No.2 Liberty Flames at 7 p.m.

No. 6 North Alabama Lions @ No. 3 Eastern Kentucky Colonels at 7 p.m.

Semi-Finals (March 2):

Lower Seed @ Higher Seed TBD

Second-Highest Seed @ Second-Lowest Seed TBD

Finals (March 5): 

Lower Seed @ Higher Seed at 3 p.m.

Womens Bracket

Quarterfinals (March 5): 

No. 10 seed /No. 9 seed @ No. 1 seed TBD

No. 5 seed @ No. 4 seed TBD

No. 7  Seed/No. 8 Seed @ No.2 Seed TBD

No. 6 seed @ No. 3 seed TBD

Semi-Finals (March 8):

Lowest Seed @ Highest Seed TBD

Second-Highest Seed @ Second Lowest Seed TBD

Finals (March 11): 

Lower Seed @ Higher Seed TBD

Predictions for ASUN Tournaments: 

Men’s Tournament: Liberty Flames

Riding on another solid season, Liberty currently sits second in the ASUN standings behind Kennesaw State, but yet they lead the ASUN in the least points allowed, field goal percentage and point differential. Senior guard Darius McGhee is the ASUN’s leading scorer, averaging 22 points per game, while defensively freshman Colin Porter sits in the top ten in steals for the Flames. Liberty was the victim of Bellarmine’s magical run to the ASUN crown last year, but with Bellarmine’s side a little weaker this year, expect the revenge tour to be complete with the Flames gaining the ASUN crown for the fourth time in five years.

Women’s Tournament: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

This isn’t much of a debate here for the Eagles winning this one. Yes, Liberty is up there with them in the standings and they did beat Florida Gulf Coast in Lynchburg, Virginia, but the Eagles decimated Liberty in Fort Meyers, Florida. The Eagles are also led by legendary head coach Karl Smesko who currently is ranked third amongst all active Division-1 head coaches in win percentage (.827), and has led the Eagles to nine Atlantic Sun Tournament Championships in the last 11 years (including winning the last five). He also leads a squad that is ranked 17th in the nation in offensive points per game this season (78.4) and 25th in the nation in points allowed per game (56.5). So if you add all that up, plus fifth-year senior guard Tishara Morehouse having another standout year and possibly on her way to an ASUN Player of the Year award, it is pretty much a given Florida Gulf Coast can do it again.

Contact Dane Massey with comments at dtmassey@bsu.edu or on Twitter @danemassey22.

Comments