The 2017 Atlantic Sun Tournament is already under way, and should prove to have some great games as it moves into the semifinals on Thursday Mar. 2. Some of the more memorable upsets in recent tournament history have come from this conference, including Florida Gulf Coast’s run to the Sweet 16 and Mercer’s upset of Duke (Mercer has now moved on to the Southern Conference). With that being said, this conference is worth paying attention to.
Florida Gulf Coast, the number one seed, was able to win easily over the eighth seeded Stetson and is now looking to repeat as Atlantic Sun Tournament Champions.
In an upset, fifth seeded Kennessaw State went on the road to beat USC Upstate 80-78. Kendrick Ray led the Owls with 24 points.
Dallas Moore led the North Florida Ospreys to the NCAA tournament two seasons ago and is looking to do the same this year. He led North Florida to a big win over sixth seeded Jacksonville in the quarterfinals with 37 points. He will need to continue to carry the Ospreys if he wants to go dancing again.
The number two seed Lipscomb also coasted to an easy win beating NJIT 97-66, aided by a 30 point performance by Garrison Matthews.
Player of the Tournament: Dallas Moore
With 37 points already in the books for Dallas Moore, he has to be the front-runner for MVP of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Moore has averaged 24.2 points on the season and doesn’t look like he will slow down at any point soon. He added three assists, seven rebounds and a steal to finish out his stat line for the quarterfinals.
The Ospreys have already beaten Lipscomb twice this season, so they should have the advantage heading into the third match-up, even though it is hard to beat a team three times in one season. In Moore’s other two games against Lipscomb he scored 39 and 36 points respectively. If Lipscomb hasn’t figured out a way to stop Moore by now, they probably aren’t going to. Another big game for Moore and he won’t even need to have his team win the tournament to win MVP.
2017 Atlantic Sun Tournament Champions: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Florida Gulf Coast will win the A-Sun Tournament for the second year in a row. They have proven this season that they are capable of beating good teams, with wins over UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. The Eagles have posted a 12-2 record in conference, and as the number one seed, get home court advantage throughout.
Brandon Goodwin has been a constant force for the Eagles, averaging 17.9 points and four assists per game. Pairing him with a roster full of players that have done this last season will give them the edge.
The Eagles rank in the top 100 in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game and points allowed per game, making them by far the best and most balanced team in the conference.
With all of these factors adding up, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles will be dancing again in 2017.