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College basketball betting: Longwood hoping to make history at Big South tourney

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Longwood is on the verge of becoming one of the better stories in the NCAA tournament field.

Longwood has never made the NCAA tournament in Division I, having made the leap to the Big South in 2012. It only made it four times in Division II or III. Longwood was 12-17 last season, though did finish well and had a lot coming back. Still, it didn't get a single first-place vote in its division in the Big South preseason poll.

Then Longwood went 15-1 in the conference. Longwood comes into the Big South tournament, which starts Wednesday and finishes with the championship game in Charlotte on Sunday, as the No. 1 seed and the favorite. But the Lancers' first NCAA tournament appearance won't come easy, because there are a few teams capable of winning the auto bid. Here's what you need to know about the Big South tournament before betting it at BetMGM:

Big South standings

1. Longwood (15-1 in conference, +210 odds to win at BetMGM)

2. Winthrop (14-2, +300)

3. Gardner-Webb (11-5, +300)

4. USC Upstate (10-6, +3000)

5. UNC Asheville (8-8, +1400)

6. Campbell (8-8, +800)

7. High Point (7-9, +1400)

8. Radford (7-9, +5000)

9. North Carolina A&T (6-10, +10000)

10. Hampton (5-11, +20000)

11. Presbyterian (4-12, +20000)

12. Charleston Southern (1-15, +20000)

Favorites

  • Longwood: Longwood has lost just once since Dec. 22. The Lancers are a very good 3-point shooting team that is also very good on the offensive boards. They might not be able to do so well on the offensive glass against a top team in the NCAA tournament, if they make it that far, but the formula is working in the Big South.

  • Winthrop: It's rare for a team that has been a reliable program and went 14-2 in the league to be overshadowed like Winthrop has this season. The Eagles can obviously win the league title, as they did in 2020 and 2021. Winthrop is a good, experienced team that shoots it very well from the field. The Eagles lost by 4 at Longwood on Jan. 29, the only meeting between the teams this season, and haven't lost since.

  • Gardner-Webb: The Runnin' Bulldogs have been on a nice roll, winning eight of their last 10. Gardner-Webb is a good defensive team that hasn't yet beat either of the top two seeds this season, but had close losses to both of them.

A long shot worth considering

  • Campbell: Back in October, Campbell got 20 of the 26 first-place votes in the North Division. Preseason predictions mean little by now, but it's a reminder that the Camels do have the talent to win the league bid. The Camels get nearly all of their minutes from juniors and seniors, which makes the disappointing season even more confusing. It's unlikely Campbell comes alive in the conference tournament, but it has the ability and experience to stun either of the top seeds.

Longwood Lancers guard Justin Hill (11) is looking to lead the team to its first NCAA tournament berth. (Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Longwood Lancers guard Justin Hill (11) is looking to lead the team to its first NCAA tournament berth. (Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)