MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Charleston Southern has been chosen as the 2013-14 Big South South Division favorite in a preseason poll of the league's head coaches and media panel. The announcement was made today at the Sheraton Convention Center Hotel as part of the Big South Basketball Tip-Off Media Luncheon.
The selection marks the second straight year CSU has been picked as the South Division favorite. Ninth-year head coach Barclay Radebaugh and the Bucs received 28 of the 30 first-place votes and 177 out of a possible 180 points, finishing ahead of second-place Gardner-Webb and third-place Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers received the other two first-place votes, and were followed in the poll by UNC Asheville, Winthrop, and Presbyterian.
High Point was selected as North Division favorite, earning 25 of the 30 first-place votes and 175 of a possible 180 points. Liberty, the defending Big South Tournament Champion, was picked second and received three first-place votes. Radford finished third, while VMI checked in at fourth and garnered two first-place votes. Campbell and Longwood rounded out the poll.
CSU returns three starters and eight letterwinners from a 2012-13 squad that won 19 games, captured the Big South South Division title, and advanced to the NIT. The Bucs reached national postseason play for the second time in program history behind a high-powered offense that finished 39th in the country in scoring, and second in made three-point field goals per game.
CSU backed up its selection as the preseason favorite by starting 7-0 in Big South play as part of an eight-game winning streak that ranked as third longest in program history. Led by the backcourt duo of Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley (both 2013-14 Big South Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections), the Bucs finished at 19-13 and 12-4 in Big South action and earned a spot in the Big South Tournament Championship Game for the first time since 2005. CSU fell short in that title game against Liberty, but impressed in the NIT at top-seeded Southern Miss, challenging the Golden Eagles to the wire in a 78-71 loss in Hattiesburg.
The Bucs open the 2013-14 season on Friday, November 8, hosting Johnson University (Tenn.) for an 8 p.m. tipoff at the Buc Dome. CSU's out-of-conference schedule includes home matchups with UNC Wilmington and Delaware, and road contests at New Mexico, Baylor, Alabama and Florida State. Radebaugh and the Bucs will start their Big South South Division title defense on Wednesday, January 8, welcoming rival Coastal Carolina to the Buc Dome.
The entire Big South Men's Basketball Preseason Poll is below.
2013-14 Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
North Division (first-place votes) -- Points
1. High Point (25) -- 175
2. Liberty (3) -- 137
3. Radford -- 104
4. VMI (2) -- 93
5. Campbell -- 78
6. Longwood -- 43
South Division (first-place votes) -- Points
1. Charleston Southern (28) -- 177
2. Gardner-Webb -- 117
3. Coastal Carolina (2) -- 115
4. UNC Asheville -- 99
5. Winthrop -- 90
6. Presbyterian College -- 32