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Big South Final: Longwood Lancers at Winthrop Eagles Game Preview, Odds, & Picks

Longwood is looking for its first NCAA Division I tournament appearance. The Lancers won their openers in the 1994 and 2001 Division II tournaments and advanced to the Division III Final Four in 1980. It won’t be easy facing the two-time defending champions from Winthrop.

When it comes to March Madness predictions, there will be no discussions about the loser of this game getting an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament  Longwood is 135th and Winthrop 136th in the NCAA NET rankings with both teams 0-1 against Quad 1 teams.

DJ Burns Jr shoots Big South Final
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

In the March Madness bracket projections on the CBS Sports site, the Big South champion is a  No. 15 seed and that shouldn’t change regardless of which team wins the title.

Red-hot Winthrop going after the 3-peat

The Winthrop basketball team knows a thing or two about winning titles.

The Eagles won regular-season conference titles four times from 2016-21 and are the two-time defending Big South tournament champions and will be looking to be a part of the March Madness bracket for the second year in a row and 12th time since 1999.

The Eagles made headlines and defied the March Madness odds with an upset of Notre Dame in 2007 and more recently, gave fifth-seeded Villanova a test in the first round of the 2021 tournament.

Winthrop used wins over High Point and Gardner-Webb to advance to Sunday’s title game.

The duo of Corey Hightower and D.J. Burns Jr. has combined for 65 points in the first two games of the conference tournament.

Winthrop outscored Gardner Webb 29-17 from the foul line in the nine-point win in the semifinals. The Eagles were 5 of 6 from the line in the final minute to clinch their 10th win in a row and reach the conference title game for the third year in a row.

Winthrop has covered against the Las Vegas odds eight times during its 10-game winning streak.

Longwood living dangerously in postseason

At this time of the year, it is all about surviving and advancing. Longwood is certainly doing that.

The top-seeded Lancers needed overtime to advance against No. 9 seed North Carolina A&T in the quarterfinals when two missed free throws by North Carolina A&T with 13 seconds left kept the game tied. Once in the extra session, Justin Hill had 10 of his 24 games to give Longwood the 79-65 win.

In the semifinals, Longwood trailed by 16 points midway through the first half and USC Upstate and was still playing catchup with nine minutes to play.

The Lancers took the lead for good on Hill’s 3-pointer the 5:40 remaining. The 79-70 win gave Longwood a spot in Sunday’s title game.

Hill has averaged 21 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7 assists in the two games while Deshaun Wade is averaging 17.5 points per game and is 7 of 10 from 3-point range.

“It’s something that we preach constantly it’s just to stay the course, continue to pour into the root, and just be ourselves,” Longwood coach Griff Aldrich told the media after the game. “They didn’t panic and they just kept on playing one possession at a time, and over the course of 40 minutes, we were able to come out the victor. Just really proud of the guys. It takes toughness, not just physically but mentally, to stay locked in.”

Longwood has covered against the college basketball spreads in its last three games including both games in the conference tournament.

Winthrop Eagles at Longwood Lancers Head-to-Head

Longwood snapped a four-game losing streak to Winthrop with a 92-88 home win on January 29 as a 2½-point favorite. The teams were both 3-3 against the spread before Longwood covered in the most recent meeting.

Something of interest for those who bet online, the four-point final marked the first time in the last four meetings that the game between the Lancers and Eagles was decided by single digits. Three of the last five games in the series went under the total.

Winthrop Eagles at Longwood Lancers Game Information

Game: Winthrop (23-8) at Longwood (25-6)

Location: Bojangles Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Day/Time: Sunday, March 6, 12:00 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN2

Winthrop Eagles at Longwood Lancers Betting Lines

Winthrop Eagles at Longwood Lancers Prediction

Longwood and Winthrop are first and second in the Big South in scoring offense and 3-point field-goal percentage.

Five of the last six Longwood games went over the total although, with a total of 147, it will be tempting to take the game the finish under that total.

Longwood won the regular-season title and the lone meeting this season but it is hard to go against Winthrop’s track record at this time of the year.

Pick: Winthrop Eagles -2 (-110)

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