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Our favorites, sleepers, and dark horses in the 2021 Big South Conference basketball tournament

We take a look at one favorite, one sleeper and one dark horse candidate to win it all in the 2021 Big South Conference men’s basketball tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Winthrop at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

In a normal year for college basketball, the Big South would have the potential to be a multi-bid league in 2021. Winthrop sits atop the action with a 20-1 record, but no wins against the Top 100 in the NET. Some non-conference games to go with action might have been enough, but the pandemic took away a chance for most mid-major leagues to slide in with an at-large as well.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the best teams in each conference, and providing picks and predictions for each conference tournament. Plenty of favorites will win, but we’ve got some sleepers to consider that might be able to pull off a big upset on the way to the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s the bracket for the Big South Conference Tournament with TV listings, dates and times.

Favorite: Winthrop

They might be the biggest favorite of any team to win any conference tournament. The Eagles have the No. 1 offense in the league by a mile, and are 68 spots ahead of any league opponent at 109th in the country via KenPom. 6’7 senior Chandler Vaudrin has an eFG of 52.3%, and leads a team that is terrific on the glass: They rebound 35.5% of their misses as a unit, and hold opponents to just 21.6% in the same category.

Sleeper: Gardner-Webb

The advanced stats have them rated as the second-best team in the league, despite a 10-10 record in conference play. The Runnin’ Bulldogs make 36.5% of their three-pointers, and won three-straight by double digits to cap the regular season. Jaheam Cornwall leads that offense as a shooter, and is 63-150 from long range this year.

Dark Horse: Hampton

If Davion Warren can get hot (21.3 points per game), he might be able to carry the Pirates for a game or two. No team in America blocks more shots per possession than Hampton, who have 7’0 Dajour Dickens controlling the paint and rejecting a shot on 13.8% of possessions. A hot scorer and rim protection can be a winning formula on any night, despite a 10-13 record this season.