The Byrd Cage

Everything You Need To Know About The Atlantic Sun Tournament

In Game Posts on February 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm

The brackets are set for the Atlantic Sun Tournament, so be sure to get your office pools organized by Wednesday afternoon.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a pool for a conference tournament. If so, I bet it has never happened with that Atlantic Sun. “Hey, Jim from accounting took Gulf Coast to win it! What a moron!”

This just does not make sense.

But, we here at The Byrd Cage do not concern ourselves with trivial issues like “sense.” So- here’s your guide to the Atlantic Sun Tournament Office Pool:

The Tournament is in Macon so even though the Bears aren’t the “Home Team” they’ll be playing on the home court. This is the third year in a row for the tournament to be held in Macon.  And although Macon rhymes with bacon, it just does not smell as good.

The Matchups:

#1 Belmont v. #8  Jacksonville: If you’ve heard or read anything from Coach Byrd over the past few days, you may have noticed he’s been giving a lot of credit to Jacksonville. Granted, they’ve been playing well* but let’s be honest, they haven’t been playing well for 90% of the season. Belmont is in a class by itself and should [SHOULD] have zero problems getting out of Macon with three wins in a row. Take the Bruins. Obviously. (Wednesday 2/29 2:30 EST ESPN3)

#2 Mercer v. #7 Lipscomb: Mercer and Belmont were tied for the #1 spot in the conference two weeks ago. Then Mercer remembered they’re Mercer and commenced losing basketball games to Jacksonville, UNF and Belmont. Mercer deserves credit, they’re a good ASun team and the late season Florida road trip is always tough. On the other end, the Bison(s?) season has digressed into a state of general malaise. With the recent departure of Jordan Burgason (from the team, not life) Lipscomb finds themselves simply trying to extend their season. I’ve learned over the past few years that predicting what Lipscomb will do in the tournament is impossible. Lispcomb is 2-1 all time against the Bears in ASun Tournament play. The Bears shouldn’t assume they’ll handle the Bison(s?) but after a 63-54 W over LU five days ago, Mercer should come out on top. But I don’t think they will. Take the upset, Mercer loses in the first round on their home floor. (Wednesday 2/29 6:00 EST ESPN3)

#5 UNF v. #4 ETSU: On paper, this seems like the most even match in the tournament, as it should be. ETSU and UNF both finished 10-8 in the ASun, but ETSU owned UNF during the regular season winning both contests. ETSU visited Belmont on February 18th and put up 58 to Belmont’s 80. Prior to the game, I thought ETSU was a bit of wild card and thought the game could go several different directions. I did not consider a 22 point blowout as one of those potential directions. I don’t have an answer for why ETSU’s season has been so unimpressive, but I don’t really care. I’m glad it has been. UNF, on the other hand, has been impressive over the past few seasons. In last year’s tournament, the Ospreys went on a run and upset both Jacksonville and ETSU in route to a swift 87-46 backhand from Belmont. In a win over Mercer on February 20th, UNF’s Parker Smith scored 46 points himself. That’s the good news. The bad news is the rest of the team only managed 29. I’m a little lost on this game. In any other situation, I might root against ETSU, but should Belmont get past the Dolphins (worst mascot ever by the way), I’d really like to see ETSU again in a Thanks for the Memories type game. Take ETSU, against all my better judgment. (Thursday 3/1 2:30 EST ESPN3)

#3USC Upstate v. #6 FGCU: The Spartans of Upstate may be the scariest team in this tournament. Featuring newly named player of the year Torrey Craig, Upstate makes their first ever ASun Tournament appearance as a three seed. Upstate plays fast and tough which totally conflicts with Belmont’s slow, methodical feel. Even though Gulf Coast has managed to win eight games this season, all but one over ETSU came against lower seeds or teams that did not qualify for the tournament. The Eagles have lost their last five of six including a 87-74 loss to Upstate on February 23rd. Personally, I don’t see a way that Gulf Coast gets through this game. In my opinion, Upstate is as good as Mercer and with two regular season losses to the Bears, I think the Spartans want an opportunity to prove they can handle Mercer even on their home court. Unfortunately, since I picked Lipscomb up there, they’ll have to settle for the Bison(s?). (Thursday 3/1 6:00 EST ESPN3)

That leaves Belmont v. ETSU and USC Upstate v. Lipscomb in the Semi’s.

And in epic fashion, Belmont kicks Lipscomb in their stupid grammatically-challenged heads.

Honestly there’s no reason not to pick Belmont to win it all. They have three (THREE!) first team all conference guards. Three.

Well, that about sums it up for your A-Sun tourney preview.  But, before I go, one more thing.

If you’re going to Mercer, lock your car doors and hide any valuables. And on your way back to Nashville, be sure to hit the Marathon Mart on Mercer University Drive. It is both a petrol station and Chinese buffet. I wish I were kidding about this, but I am 100% serious.   


  1. Great work, Matt. Personally, the only upset I’d be willing to call is UNF over ETSU as I was not impressed by their recent play at the Curb. How awesome would it be if Jacksonville, ETSU, Upstate, and Mercer all lost in the 1st round?! I can dream can’t I?

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