Kennesaw State Favored To Win Atlantic Sun Conference Basketball Tournament 2023
The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament begins February 27 and has a new format to crown a conference champion, as the teams will re-seed for the semifinals. Bellarmine and Queens qualified for the conference tournament, but cannot represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament because of their status while transitioning to Division I. If one of them happened to be the champ, the regular season winner (Kennesaw State) would get the automatic bid.
Only the top 10 teams in the 14-team conference qualify for the A-Sun Tournament.
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How to Watch the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
When: February 27, 28; March 2, 5
Where: Campus sites (higher seed hosts each game)
Format: Re-seed for semifinals; top-six get bye into quarterfinals
Watch: ESPN+; Championship Game on ESPN 2 on Mar. 5 at 3 p.m. ET
Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Seeds, Teams and Odds
1. Kennesaw State (+300)
2. Liberty (-230)
3. Eastern Kentucky (+1600)
4. Stetson (+1700)
5. Lipscomb (+2500)
6. North Alabama (+10000)
7. North Florida (+20000)
8. Bellarmine (+20000)
9. Queens U. (+10000)
10. Florida Gulf Coast (+15000)
Favorite To Win Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
Liberty is the deserving favorite in this conference tournament, despite being the No. 2 seed because of regular season tiebreakers. The Flames are actually the No. 45 team in the country per Ken Pomeroy, while Bart Torvik has them 38th and they are 42nd in NCAA’s NET Rankings. That would suggest they should get at-large consideration, but they only have one Quadrant 2 win and are just 6-3 in Quadrant 3 games. They just don’t have the signature wins, so they need to win their way in during the A-Sun Tourney.
Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Darkhorse
This conference re-seeds at the semifinals, so a high seed would run into top-seeded Kennesaw State. That makes it hard to pick any long shots, plus Liberty is really good and would likely squash a lower seed. Of the other teams, Stetson at +1700 is the most interesting to me. They are awful defensively and lost by 29 against Liberty, but took Kennesaw State to overtime in a one-point loss. The Hatters shoot a lot of 3s and are shooting 38.8% from deep, which ranks 11th in the nation. They’re on a crash course to see Liberty in the semifinals, if they get there.
Players to Watch in Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
Assuming Liberty wins the conference, Darius McGhee is a player to watch in the NCAA Tournament. The 5-foot-9 super senior is averaging 22.3 points per game and had 43 in Liberty’s recent 88-81 loss to Kennesaw State. He’s a 40.4% 3-point shooter and is an 87.5% free throw shooter for his career.
Kennesaw State’s Chris Youngblood is shooting 42% from 3 and leads the way with 15 points per game for the Owls. Queens University is probably too far off the pace to make a run, but Kenny Dye is scoring 17.2 points per game, but may be wearing down. He only had nine points in 39 and 38 minutes, respectively, against Liberty in the final two regular season games.
Betting Pick to Win The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
Kennesaw State +300. Liberty is probably going to win this conference tournament, but -230 is not much of a bargain at all. The implied probability of Liberty winning the A-Sun Tourney at -230 is 69.7%. I’d give Kennesaw State greater than a 30% chance of beating them in the rematch, assuming all goes according to plan up to that point.
When the two teams played on Feb. 16, Kennesaw State was as high as +230 on the moneyline and Liberty was as high as -275. As mentioned, the Owls won 88-81. The Flames likely get revenge, but could face a slightly stiffer semifinal opponent because the conference re-seeds. Kennesaw State also has home-court advantage from the regular season win. I’d take my chances with holding a Kennesaw State ticket rather than laying the Liberty price.
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