Tag:Big South Tournament
Posted on: March 6, 2010 6:56 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2010 7:00 pm

No you 'Chant'!

7:00 PM

Apologies to Jim Nantz for beating him at his own game. 

For the 9th time in 11 years, Winthrop is your Big South champion

The Eagles managed to implore their plodding, physical brand of basketball on Coastal Carolina, stunning their hosts 64-53, before a star-studded record crowd of a thousand? No, more like 1,030!! 

Winthrop lacks star power and pizazz but they could potentially be a worthy test for a number of projected 2 and 3 seeds, due to their ability to slow down the tempo and defend. 

Tough ending to a banner season for Coastal and head coach Cliff Ellis, who tumbles back into 'that old Auburn coach.' Honestly, I watched pretty much every play of this game and none of them were very memorable, nor any single performance spectacular, but some might argue it's not really about what I want. 

In a rather ironic twist, a building on the Winthrop campus nearly burned down this afternoon, it's cause unknown, it's presence, symbolical. You know, a mattress or sofa would have been just fine. Much more controlled and still hammers home the same point: Winthrop, Big South Champs. 

March, how did you get so mad?

AP Story
Posted on: March 6, 2010 3:47 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2010 3:58 pm

Big South Championship Game

3:45 PM

Just a reminder to you, off the beaten path college basketball blog fan, the big dance registers its second RSVP this afternoon as red-hot Coastal Carolina (28-5, 15-3) hosts resurgent Winthrop (18-13, 12-6) for the Big South Conference Championship just off the Grand Strand in Conway, SC. 

The Palmetto State rivals split their regular season match-ups with both schools holding serve at home, so we'll see how Winthrop manages amidst the hostility the second time around as they try to hand the Chanticleers their first home loss of the season in DI's second smallest gym (1,039 capacity...really). 

Winthrop is no stranger to success, winners of 8 Big South Tournaments since 1999. After beginning the season 7-9, the Eagles rode their defensive prowess to a respectable league record, but will have to find some scoring today if they want to pull the upset. Sophomore guard Reggie Middleton is their leading scorer at just 10 ppg, but is showing some post-season pluck averaging 21 ppg in the tournament. 

The Chants feature a balanced attack led by forwards Joseph Harris (14 ppg, 10 rpg) and Chad Gray (14 ppg, 5 rpg), and pride themselves on defense, as they led the league in FG% defense, so you can expect a low-scoring grinder today straight from the Tom Izzo clipboard. 

Ahh, come on John, tell us what we really want to know...

You got it, Italics. A Chanticleer is a fabled rooster featured in the Canterbury Tales, because when it comes time to choose a mascot, why look any further than Jeff Chaucer? 

So turn on and tune in as the Big South crowns its champ near the shores of Myrtle Beach. To the winner, a likely 14/15 seed awaits, and for the loser, well, a lovely parting package of local flair including Confederate flag beach towels and Girls Gone Wild Crew t-shirts. 

So really, everybody wins. 

Big South Tournament Championship Game
Winthrop @ Coastal Carolina 
4 PM 

Posted on: March 5, 2010 2:42 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2010 3:03 pm

The man can coach, but can he croon?


2:40 PM

Lefty Driesell. Eddie Sutton. Rick Pitino. Tubby Smith...Cliff Ellis?

Quite a Rushmore of coaches right there, and yes, Coastal Carolina's Cliff Ellis is just one win away from becoming the fifth coach in NCAA history to guide four different schools to the NCAA Tournament. 

Tomorrow, 4pm EST, Ellis and the Chanticleers play host to the Winthrop Eagles in the Big South Tournament Championship, as the former South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn maestro attempts to cement his legacy as Master of the Turnaround and assuredly, a spot in the coaching Hall of Fame. 

The bespectacled Ellis looks more Econ Prof. than basketball luminary, but there is really nothing "typical" about Ellis. In a profession in which it's widely believed one must sacrifice any semblance of a side hobby or life outside of the basketball offices in general, here is Cliff Ellis: avid musician, author, chef, ostrich farmer, gardener, philanthropist and probably even finds time to fold his own laundry. He's a dolphin in a shark-tank industry.

Before embarking on a career in X's and O's, Ellis was the lead vocalist for the Villagers, a headlining garage-band on the Southeast party circuit in the 1960's. How many other coaches have something like this on their resume? 

Tonight, at the Boardwalk Pavilion:

Bob Knight & the Stranglers, Roy Williams & the Aw Shucks Express, and Coach K & the Sweet 16's. 

About a week ago I was watching some SEC West shat-show and the announcer, Dave Neal, recalled a conversation he recently shared with a longtime referee. The ref remembered working an Auburn game during Ellis' tenure, and the typically docile coach exploding out of his seat to vociferously protest a call. Words were exchanged, a warning was issued, and play resumed. Not 5 minutes later Ellis called the official over and simply told him, "I'm sorry I said that." It was the first and only in-game apology he'd ever received. 

So if it's objectivity you like with your slice of the Big South, I'm sorry, I'll be rooting for Coastal Carolina to march forward to the dance for only the second time in school history, and Ellis to make a little history of his own. 

Take it away, Cliff: 


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