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Conference Tournament Season is Here! Atlantic Sun Preview

Atlantic Sun starts the party. Who should Big Ten teams root for and against?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 23 Kennesaw State at Indiana Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today is Monday, February 27 and the first conference tournament begins today with the opening round games of the Atlantic Sun tournament. While we aren’t committing to previewing every conference tournament, we will at least start champ week previewing this one. Feel free to skip to the bottom if you just want to know who your Big Ten rooting interests are.

Atlantic Sun tournament preview

The Atlantic Sun (or ASUN as they prefer to be known as) holds their tournament staggered across four days on the week of February 27 to March 5. Games are played at campus sites with the top seeds hosting each successive round of the event. Because the ASUN is undemocratic, only the top ten teams in the conference regular season standings (out of 14) get to participate and the tournament is reseeded after the quarterfinals. They also have the 7 seed play the 8 seed while the 9 seed plays the 10 seed which is something I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else. This is done because the first round games take place at the campus sites of the 1 and 2 seeds and there is no travel day in between round 1 and the quarterfinals.

In the last five tournaments, the ASUN has been granted two 15 seeds, one 14 seed, one 13 seed, and one 12 seed. Liberty or Kennesaw State could be as high as a 12 seed (with some help, everyone else is looking at a 14 or lower).

The favorites

Liberty - using favorite here as the betting favorite, Liberty is not my personal favorite. Moving to CUSA after this season. Record sits at 24-7 (15-3) and are the only ASUN team with a NET high enough to be in consideration for a (somewhat unlikely) at-large bid.

Kennesaw State - seeking to make their first Division 1 tournament during their second to last year in the ASun before moving on to the greener grass of CUSA. Kennesaw State has been in D1 since the 2005-06 season transitioning after winning the D2 national championship in 2004. Kennesaw State tied Liberty for the conference regular season championship and sit at 23-8 (15-3). Should Bellarmine or Queens win the tournament, Kennesaw State would be the auto-bid as neither are eligible.

Other contenders

Eastern Kentucky (19-12, 12-6) - seeking their 9th tournament appearance and first since 2014 when they lost to Kansas 69-80 in the first round.

Stetson (19-12, 12-6) - never made the tournament. The Hatters, or “Mad Hatters” as I prefer to call them, had their most conference wins this millennium.

Chaos options

Bellarmine and Queens are not actually able to win the auto bid. Bellarmine won the tournament last year and regular season champion Jacksonville State went instead. Bellarmine will be eligible in 2025 and Queens in 2027.

Last year’s NCAA dancer

Jacksonville State has already been eliminated.

Never made the tournament club

Kennesaw State (12 seasons), Stetson (50 seasons), North Alabama (first year eligible), Central Arkansas (11 seasons)

B1G connections and other fun conference stats

  • Florida Gulf Coast - Former Penn State head coach Pat Chambers in his first season
  • Indiana Hoosiers beat Kennesaw State 69-55
  • Northwestern Wildcats beat Liberty 66-52
  • Nebraska Cornhuskers beat Queens 75-65
  • Purdue Boilermakers beat Austin Peay 63-44
  • ASUN last won a NCAA tournament game in 2019 (Liberty over Mississippi State) and last made the Sweet 16 in 2013 when Dunk City (a.k.a. Florida Gulf Coast) defeated Georgetown and San Diego State

Too Long, Didn’t Read B1G Rooting Interests

Bubble teams: Root for Liberty to lose early or win the tournament. They are a long shot to get an at-large bid, but it’s not impossible. That scenario involves carnage in front of them and probably a close runner-up performance to Kennesaw State.

Teams around the 3-5 seed line: Root for anyone other than Liberty, Kennesaw State, Bellarmine, or Queens

Potential NIT teams: Root for Kennesaw State. Kennesaw State gets an automatic bid to the NIT tournament by virtue of being the 1 seed. If they win the ASUN tournament, that’s one more non-guaranteed NIT spot up for grabs.


BoilerUp89: Kennesaw State

MNW: Them Fightin’ Owls. Some weird contrasts in style here, though—EKU and Queens get out and push, while the Fuckin’ Falwells’ glacial pace is matched by Stetson. The Hatters could be efficient enough or the Colonels fast enough on the offensive end to make things tricky, but a Flames-Owls final seems likely here.


Who will win the ASUN tournament?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Kennesaw State
    (14 votes)
  • 46%
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Eastern Kentucky
    (0 votes)
  • 6%
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Other (tell us in the comments)
    (1 vote)
32 votes total Vote Now