Winthrop at Virginia Military Institute (Big South)
Cameron Hall - Lexington, VA
9:00 PM EST
If you follow the Big South as much as we do, or as much as Big South fans do, this series has been the most entertaining and intriguing in the conference. If you don't, here are the sides involved: Winthrop, dominant squad in the league for the past decade, built on defense. VMI... well, in the past three years "VMI" has become a verb, adverb and adjective meaning "to score a ton of points." If you didn't know that, you're on the wrong site.
Some of the battles between the two have been legendary. Consider the conference championship game of 2007
, when the Keydets came within three points of beating the Eagles on their own floor. There was the time two months earlier when Gregg Marshall beat Duggar Baucom at his own game, a 109-96
track meet that left the cadets in the stands at VMI exhausted just for watching. Or current HC Randy Peele's systematic destruction of VMI's high-possession system last season, an 85-41
Winthrop enters the regular season as champions (again), and does so with a very young team. The Eagles are 1-5 in the early going, and feature one of the least effective offenses in the country -- they're shooting just 37.4 percent over a six-game stretch that includes losses to Davidson, N.C. State, Akron and East Carolina. A scorer is emerging in Cameron Stanley
, the Wake Forest transfer that was stuck on the end of the Demon Deacon bench but is scoring 11.7 ppg to lead the team.
VMI (4-2), on the other hand, BEAT KENTUCKY. It's forgotten somewhat because Gardner-Webb beat them to it last year, but we'll be reminding you all season long. The Holmes twins (Travis
) have doubled up to make up the gap from departed national leading scorer Reggie Williams, and they're both averaging around 20 points each. This could be the year that Coach Baucom's master plan
finally comes together -- not only are they once again the nation's fastest team (a blistering 90.1 possessions per ballgame) and scoring early and often, they're making big stops on the defensive end too. The Keydets' 22.5 turnovers forced a game is second nationally. Enjoy VMI basketball -- for the health and safety of the fans, sales of Coke and Mountain Dew will end after the first media timeout.Basketball State Preview/Box