The Big South is ranked 20th among the NCAA's 32 Division I conferences in terms of strength according to the website realtimerpi.com. That number is down from No. 16 last week. Look for the ranking to plummet further now that the majority of the nonconference games have been played.
The Big South has beaten a team from the ACC and SEC this season.
Wake Forest (6-8) lost games to Winthrop and Presbyterian. Both teams will be pulling for the Demon Deacons the rest of the way to boost the value of beating an ACC school. Same goes for the SEC's Auburn. UNC Asheville and Presbyterian both won at Auburn, now 7-7.
TOO EARLY FOR MARCH MADNESS? -- ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi has already come out with his third update for his NCAA tournament bracket. His first version (Nov. 14) had Coastal Carolina representing the Big South as a No. 14 seed facing potential No. 3-seed Kentucky. In his last two updates, Lunardi has picked Liberty to make the field in a play-in game for the right to face No. 1-seed Duke.
CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK -- Charleston Southern senior Jamarco Warren and Liberty junior Jesse Sanders were name Players of the Week by the conference on Monday.
Warren averaged 22.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in leading the Bucs to three wins in four games. He scored 24 points in three-straight games during a six-day span while aiding CSU to two Conference wins. He had 24 points at Georgia, scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half of a win over High Point and then hit six three-pointers in a 73-58 win over Radford on Sunday.
Sanders averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds in leading the Flames to three wins in four games, including two conference road wins. He went 7-of-7 from the free throw line against Gardner-Webb and sank two in the final second of regulation to force the extra period. Sanders then knocked down the game-winning jumper to give the Flames the win. He finished with 15 points at UNC Asheville, including a clutch three-pointer with 1:27 remaining to put Liberty ahead by four points.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK -- VMI's Rodney Glasgow averaged 12.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in helping VMI to two conference road wins. He is one of three Big South players to record a game with at least 10 assists this season..
TRACKING THE PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM -- Preseason Player of the Year Nick Barbour of High Point is averaging 14.0 ppg. The Panthers have lost four straight games. In Barbour's last three outings he has failed to score in double figures and he's shooting just 20 percent (6-for-30) from the field.
Coastal Carolina's Chad Gray is scoring 12.6 ppg to go with 5.8 rebounds and 18 blocks through 14 games. He is one of five players in the league to post a 20-point, 10-rebound game this season: Stan Okoye, VMI, 5 times; John Brown, Liberty; Desmond Holloway, Coastal Carolina; D.J. Cunningham, UNC Asheville.
Al'Lonzo Coleman of Presbyterian is 10th in the league in scoring (14.5), fifth in rebounding (8.3), third in field goal percentage (.475) and, surprisingly, 11th in assists per game (3.2). He has four double-doubles this season.
Charleston Southern's Jamarco Warren is sixth in the conference in scoring (16.3) and the leader in career points scored (1,650) among active players. He's been hot at the free throw line (83.3 percent), only UNC Asheville guard Matt Dickey has been better (83.6 percent). Warren has made the most 3-pointers (39) in the conference.
Austin Kenon of VMI is fourth in the league in scoring at 16.4 points per game which ranks third on the high-scoring Keydets' team behind Okoye (19.8) and Keith Gabriel (16.4). Kenon has bumped up his scoring to 21.3 in four league games. He leads the Big South in 3-point field goal percentage (33-of-85, .388) and is third in free throw percentage (80.4).
CLOSING IN ON No. 600 -- Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis is two wins shy of becoming the 26th coach with 600 career Division I victories. He is 598-381 at the Division I level. The Chants play at VMI and Liberty this week.
HOLLOWAY SHOWS THE WAY -- A lot of attention has been paid to former South Carolina players Gray and Mike Holmes, now at Coastal Carolina. But it is Holloway who is leading the team in scoring.
Holloway is a junior guard who transferred from Wabash Valley, a junior college in Mt. Carmel, Ill. He is the only player in the league to score in double figures in every game this season. He ranks second in the Big South with 18.9 points per game.
SANDERS NEARING A BIG SOUTH FIRST -- Liberty's Jesse Sanders needs 16 assists to reach 400and 29 rebounds to get to 500. Once he reaches both milestones he will be the first player in league history to achieve both those marks.
SOON TO JOIN ANOTHER CLUB -- Charleston Southern's Warren has 296 career 3-pointers and 293 career assists. Only Jack Leasure (Coastal Carolina), Scott Hartzell (UNC Greensboro) and Chavis Holmes (VMI) are on the 300 3-pointer, 300 assists list.
DEADLY AT THE LINE -- Winthrop's Robbie Dreher is tops in free throw shooting in Big South-only games. Dreher, a sophomore guard, is 20-for-23 (87 percent) in three league games. He is tied for second in scoring in league-only contests (20.0 ppg).
VMI AND DEFENSE -- Did you ever think those two words would appear in the same sentence? VMI held Asheville to 72 points and Gardner-Webb to 76, marking the second time this season it had held consecutive Division I opponents under 80 points. This comes from a team that has led the nation in scoring four consecutive seasons and is doing so again this season (92.5 ppg).