Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Record: (21-12, 11-5 Big South)
RPI: 216 (.476)
BPI: 200 (46.3)
Conference: Big South
How They Qualified: Automatic Bid (won Big South Tournament)
Head coach Cliff Ellis and this Coastal Carolina Chanticleers can thank a tough early season schedule for their success later in the season. They began the season just 2-5 with losses to the likes of Minnesota, Clemson, Ole Miss, and Akron. After a 2-2 start to Big South play, they found their stride and won 11 of their final 14 games, including two straight to end the regular season before their run through the conference tourney.
Earning a number one seed in the conference tourney after winning the Big South South Division with an 11-5 record, they survived a scare from fifth-seeded Charleston Southern in the quarterfinals, 73-68 in 2OT before limiting the number one scoring offense in the country, VMI, to just 62 points in a four point win. Today they capped off their title run with an emphatic 76-61 whipping of a red-hot Winthrop team, who had won five straight.
The Chanticleers are riding a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season, into the NCAA Tournament.
What You Need to Know
Leading Scorer: Elijah Wilson – 16.2 ppg
Leading Rebounder: El Hadji Ndieguene – 6.8 rpg
Leading Passer: Warren Gillis – 3.0 apg
Bad Losses: South Carolina State (twice), Charleston Southern
Good Wins: Winthrop
What to Expect
While they’re surely partying on the streets of Myrtle Beach (again), expectations for a win in the NCAA Tournament should be tempered. The Big South’s automatic qualifier typically garners a 16-seed, a dubious distinction since the seed has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game. The Chanticleers are looking to become the first team from the Big South since Liberty (#13 seed) in 2008 to earn a non-16 seed. It’s their first appearance in the tournament since 1993.
Let’s look on the bright side, they’re in and depending on the seed they draw, they certainly have the firepower to win a game. The three-headed scoring trio of Wilson, Gillis (14.6 ppg), and Josh Cameron (14 ppg) will need to catch fire for the Chanticleers to have a chance. One other silver lining. They’re 11th in the country in rebounds per game (39.8) thanks in large part to big men Ndieguene and Badou Diagne (6.5 rpg).
Congratulations to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. They are going dancing in the NCAA Tournament!