March 2, 2009 12:51 pm ET by Kyle Whelliston
Our first conference tourney will be the Atlantic Sun event in Nashville, a league we took you behind the scenes for last year. This year's seen a fantastic race between three strong teams: three-time champs Belmont, revenge-minded Jacksonville, and an ETSU squad that hasn't quite made it over the top since leaving the SoCon. They are your top seeds going in, but if you're looking for a dark horse, look no further than the No. 4 finisher that has won eight straight games and just so happens to be hosting the tourney. Meet a big reason for Lipscomb's momentum: Adnan Hoznic is our 16th and penultimate Mid-Majority Baller of the Week for the 2008-09 season.
Mr. Hodzic's week began with a strong performance in a 10-point home win over eventual league No. 1 seed Jacksonville. The 6-9 product of Bosnia and Herzegovina hung 22 points on the Dolphins on 7-for-14 shooting, adding four rebounds and going a perfect 8-for-8 from the line. In the regular season finale against lowly North Florida, the sophomore Sarajevan didn't let up, putting up 21 on 8-for-15 shooting. He also chipped in seven rebounds as the Bisons finished the slate on a long win streak.
Even though he led the A-Sun in field goal percentage in his first year, it's been what can only be described as a breakout year for Mr. Hodzic, who should find a place on one of the league's postseason teams. He's more than doubled his scoring output from his freshman year from 8.6 ppg to a team-leading 17.9, upped his rebounding from 4.2 to a team-best 7.6 rpg, and has registered seven double-doubles in 2008-09. He also makes his presence felt every minute he's on the floor: at 25.4 points per 40 minutes played, he's tied for 18th nationally in that category. At no time during this eight-game win streak has he shot worse than 50 percent, and he's converting 59.6 percent of his shots on the season.
So while you're following along with the A-Sun tourney, don't discount that dangerous No. 4 seed that'll be the beneficiary of some serious home cooking (important, as the quality of catering at this event is always top-notch). You've been properly warned. And congratulations, Adnan, you're the Mid-Majority Baller of the Week.
Photo: Brandee Rees/Lipscomb Athletics
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