The 2011 Atlantic Sun Basketball Championships get started March 2 at Mercer's University Center in Macon, Georgia. This is the tourney's second straight year in Macon. Belmont, the conference's best team by far, should make it to Friday without a hitch, drawing the miserable Kennesaw State Fighting Owls in round one. Host team Mercer gets Lipscomb in what should be a decent game.
Outside of Peach State teams, two-time defending champs East Tennessee State and Jacksonville have winnable round-one games.
The A-Sun tournament is unlike those of the SEC, ACC, and Southern, which all offer first-round byes to their highest-ranking teams. Everybody balls from day one in the A-Sun, except for the teams that don't make it in of course. This one is also unique among Division I conferences with Georgia teams in that every team doesn't make the tourney cut. Stetson and South Carolina Upstate are watching from home.
The complete bracket and schedule:
Wednesday, March 2
No. 8 Kennesaw State vs. No. 1 Belmont, 2:30
No. 7 Campbell vs. No. 2 ETSU, 9
Thursday, March 3
No. 6 UNF vs. No. 3 Jacksonville, 2:30
No. 5 Mercer vs. No. 4 Lipscomb, 9
Friday, March 4
Belmont (let's keep it real) vs. 4/5 winner, 6:30, CSS
2/7 winner vs. 3/6 winner, 9, CSS
Saturday, March 5
Championship, 6, ESPN2