CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern is back in action on Tuesday night as the No. 6 Buccaneers host No. 11 USC Upstate in the 2019 Big South Men's Basketball Championships First Round. Tipoff on ESPN3 between the Bucs and the Spartans is set for 7 p.m.
CSU (15-14, 9-7 Big South) is hosting a first-round game for the third consecutive season as the Buccaneers prepare to take on the Spartans (6-25, 1-15 Big South) for the third time this year. CSU previously topped Longwood (79-74, 2017) and Presbyterian (68-51, 2018) over the last two years in the conference's first round.
The Bucs topped USC Upstate twice in the 2018-19 regular season with their last matchup coming back on February 21 in the Buccaneer Field House. CSU's 92-60 win over Upstate marked the 600th win in program history as the Buccaneers led from start to finish against the Spartans.
The first game featured a balanced effort from the Bucs as five different CSU players scoring double-digits on February 2 at the G.B. Hodge Center, 90-71. Travis McConico narrowly missed out on his first collegiate triple-double finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists to pace the Bucs.
Tuesday night's game features three players recognized by the conference office. CSU's Christian Keeling (First Team, All-Academic) and Dontrell Shuler (All-Freshman) were recognized by the Big South, while USC Upstate's Jure Span earned All-Academic recognition.
CSU Quick Hits
- Charleston Southern men's basketball hosts a first-round game for the third consecutive season as the Buccaneers welcome USC Upstate to the Buc Dome for the Big South Championships First Round game.
- The Bucs are the No. 6 seed in the tournament, only the third time in program history CSU has received this seeding in the tournament's 34-year history.
- CSU has advanced to the quarterfinal round in 31 of the last 33 seasons, including each of the past two years after first round wins over Longwood and Presbyterian.
- Christian Keeling (pictured left) and Dontrell Shuler were recognized among the conference's award winners on Monday evening with Keeling earning First Team and All-Academic recognition, while Shuler garnered an All-Freshman nod.
- The Bucs topped USC Upstate in both of their regular season matchups, including a 92-60 win on February 21 in the Buc Dome.
- For the second consecutive season, CSU ended the regular season on a hot streak as the Bucs recorded wins in eight of their last 11 games to finish in a four-way tie for fifth in the conference standings.
- The winner on Tuesday night will advance to take on No. 3 Winthrop in Buies Creek, N.C. on Thursday afternoon with tipoff set for 2 p.m.
- The Bucs are 3-1 all-time in Big South first round games.
USC Upstate Quick Hits
- USC Upstate was picked 11th overall in the Big South Men's Basketball preseason poll announced at the conference's media day. The Spartans received 64 points overall in their first preseason ranking as a member of the Big South Conference.
- Upstate joined the Big South as a full member over the summer of 2018 transitioning from the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Spartans joined fellow newcomer Hampton (MEAC) as new members to the conference this season.
- The Spartans picked up their first Big South win of the season on January 26 as Upstate topped Longwood, 80-63.
- USC Upstate finished the season with an eight-game losing streak.
- USC Upstate has posted a 1-14 record away from home this season with their lone win coming at Western Michigan.
- Malik Moore leads the Spartans with 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Deion Holmes is also in double-digits with 15.0 points per game.
CSU Earns the No. 6 Seed
Heading into the 34th iteration of the Big South Championships, Charleston Southern has only been the No. 6 seed twice in program history. Both have occurred under the tenure of Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh with CSU earning the No. 6 seed in both the 2006 and the 2011 seasons.
CSU is 1-2 overall in the tournament when earning the No. 6 seed with the Bucs picking up their lone win in the quarterfinal round against Birmingham Southern.
CSU as No. 6 in Tournament Play
No. 6 CSU 97, No. 3 Birmingham Southern 76 – 2006
No. 2 Coastal Carolina 73, No. 6 CSU 67 – 2006
No. 3 UNC Asheville 72, No. 6 CSU 63 - 2011
CSU First Round Success
The first round of the Big South Championships was added to the postseason tournament in the 2012 season. Since then, CSU has lined up on the first day of the tournament four times, including in each of the last three seasons.
The Bucs have posted a 3-1 record in the conference's opening round of the postseason with wins over Campbell, Longwood, and last season's victory over Presbyterian.
Bucs in the First Round
No. 5S CSU 81, No. 4 Campbell 71 – 2014
No. 8 Longwood 75, No. 9 CSU 69 – 2016
No. 8 CSU 79, No. 9 Longwood 74 – 2017
No. 8 CSU 68, No. 9 Presbyterian 51 - 2018
Repeating the 2017-18 Magic Stretch Run
Last season, it was a win over Radford that sparked Charleston Southern's late run to end the regular season. CSU rattled off an impressive 7-2 mark over the final nine games on their way to advancing to the conference quarterfinals.
The Bucs utilized the win over the Highlanders to pick up victories over High Point, Liberty, Presbyterian, Longwood, Campbell, and Winthrop on their way to finishing tied for fifth in the conference's regular season standings.
This season CSU on eight of its last 11 games to rally back and claim the No. 6 seed in the tournament. The Bucs' stretch was sparked by a strong defensive game against Gardner-Webb back on Jan. 26, and included wins over PC (twice), USC Upstate (twice), UNC Asheville (twice), and Radford. Five of the wins during the stretch came inside the Buc Dome.