Big South Men's Basketball Tournament Preview - First Round

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The 2012 Advance Auto Parts Big South Men's Basketball Championship tips off tonight, Monday, Feb. 27 with two first round games -- No. 10 Radford at No. 7 VMI and No. 9 Gardner-Webb at No. 8 High Point.  The winners of each game will advance to Wednesday's Quarterfinals at UNC Asheville.  A printable version of this preview is available in .pdf format.

For additional information on the Advance Auto Parts Men's Basketball Championship, click here.

#10 RADFORD HIGHLANDERS (6-25) AT #7 VMI KEYDETS (14-15), 7:00pm, Cameron Hall - Live Video: Big South Network presented by State Farm

The winner of No. 7 VMI-No. 10 Radford will play No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 12:00pm at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C. ... This is just the second time in Big South history that First Round Tournament games are being contested (1993).

TOURNAMENT SERIES:  This is the second meeting between VMI and Radford in the Big South Tournament.  The first was in the 2009 Championship game, which was won by Radford, 108-94.

SEEDINGS NOTES:   VMI is the No. 7 seed for the second time since joining the Big South.  The Keydets were the No. 7 seed in the 2004 Tournament, their first season in the League.  VMI is 0-1 as the No. 7 seed, falling to No. 2 High Point in the '04 Quarterfinals ... Radford is the first No. 10 seed in the history of the Big South Tournament.

TOURNAMENT RECORDS:  VMI is 5-6 all-time in the Big South Tournament, and its last tourney victory was in 2011, a 78-73 home win over No. 5 Winthrop to reach the Semifinals ... Radford is 22-23 all-time in the Big South Tournament, and its last tourney victory was in 2010, a 64-61 overtime win against Charleston Southern to reach the Semifinals.  The Highlanders did not qualify for the Conference Tournament last season.

HEAD COACHES:  VMI head coach DUGGAR BAUCOM is in his 7th year and is 101-109 overall, including 5-5 in the Big South Tournament.  He has led the Keydets to the Semifinals three out of the last five years ... Radford head coach MIKE JONES is in his first season and is 6-25 overall.

2011-12 SERIES:  VMI swept the season series from Radford, winning 80-76 at home on Jan. 14 and 65-60 in Radford on Jan. 26.  KEITH GABRIEL averaged 18.5 points in the two meetings, while STAN OKOYE contributed 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds ... For Radford, freshman JAVONTE GREEN led the Highlanders with averages of 19.0 points and 11.5 rebounds against the Keydets.  Radford also out-shot VMI from the field, 47.6 percent to 44.2 ... The Keydets enter Monday's game with a four-game win streak over the Highlanders.

ABOUT VMI:  Junior STAN OKOYE was voted to the Big South All-Conference Second-Team and All-Academic Team.  He has 1,429 career points and 622 career rebounds ... Okoye has scored more than 20 points in each of his three Big South Tournament games, and owns career averages of 22.0 points and 7.3 boards ... KEITH GABRIEL is one of eight players in Big South history with 300 career 3-point field goals (303).  He is 10th all-time in Conference annuals with 1,873 career points and needs 21 points to move into ninth ... MICHAEL SPARKS is VMI's third active 1,000-point scorer with 1,046.

ABOUT RADFORD:  Freshman R.J. PRICE leads the teams with 11.0 points, just ahead of classmate JAVONTE GREEN's 10.4 scoring average.  Both players were voted to the Big South All-Freshman Team ... Green was the Conference's leading freshman rebounder during the regular-season with 6.7 boards ... TOLGA CERRAH was voted the Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

#9 GARDNER-WEBB RUNNIN' BULLDOGS (12-19) AT #8 HIGH POINT PANTHERS (12-17), 7:30pm, Millis Center - Live Video: Big South Network presented by State Farm

The winner of No. 8 High Point-No. 9 Gardner-Webb will play No. 1 seed UNC Asheville in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 6:00pm at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C. ... This is just the second time in Big South history that First Round Tournament games are being contested (1993), and the second-ever No. 8-No. 9 meeting in the Conference Tournament.

TOURNAMENT SERIES:  This is the first meeting between High Point and Gardner-Webb in the Big South Tournament ... High Point is hosting a Big South Men's Basketball Tournament game for the first time since 2008 and the sixth time overall (4-1 in home Tournament games).

SEEDINGS NOTES:  High Point is the No. 8 seed for the first time since 2009 and the third time overall ... The No. 8 seed has won just once in the history of the Big South Tournament (1993 -- No. 8 Winthrop defeated No. 9 UNC Asheville) ... The Runnin' Bulldogs are just the second No. 9 seed in the history of the Big South Tournament.  Since joining the Big South in 2008-09, GWU has been a No. 6 seed (2009) and No. 8 seed (2011).  Gardner-Webb did not qualify for the Conference Tournament in 2010 when the event featured just the top eight teams.

TOURNAMENT RECORDS:  High Point is 9-10 all-time in the Big South Tournament, and its last tourney victory was in 2011, a 67-60 win at No. 2 seed Liberty to reach the Semifinals as the No. 7 seed ... Gardner-Webb is 0-2 all-time in the Big South Tournament, and its last Conference tourney victory was in 2008 as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

HEAD COACHES:  High Point head coach SCOTT CHERRY is in his third year and is 39-51 overall, including 1-2 in the Big South Tournament ... Gardner-Webb head coach CHRIS HOLTMANN is in his second season and is 23-40 overall, including 0-1 in the Big South Tournament.

2011-12 SERIES:  The teams split the season series in 2011-12, with the home team prevailing in overtime.  Gardner-Webb won the first meeting on Jan. 7, 65-61, while High Point won the second meeting on Feb. 4, 81-77 ... For the Panthers, NICK BARBOUR averaged 20.5 points while SHAY SHINE added 18.5 against Gardner-Webb ... TASHAN NEWSOME led GWU with 12.0 points in the two meetings.

Gardner-Webb and High Point are first and third, respectively, in the League in most losses by single-digits.  GWU has 13, while HPU has 11.

ABOUT HIGH POINT:  Senior guard NICK BARBOUR was voted First-Team All-Conference after leading the League with 20.8 points during the regular-season.  He buried 105 three-pointers this season, ninth-most in a single-year in Big South history.  Barbour also is the Big South's fourth all-time leading scorer with 2,092 career points ... Barbour owns a 16.3 career scoring average in Big South Tournament play (four games) ... Junior LANDON HARRIS was named to the All-Academic Team.

ABOUT GARDNER-WEBB:  Junior forward TASHAN NEWSOME led the Runnin' Bulldogs with 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds during the regular-season ... STEFON JOHNSON is second on the squad with 6.4 boards per game ... Freshman MAX LANDIS leads the team in three-point field goals with 56 ... Sophomore center MIKE BYRON is an All-Academic Team honoree.