Inside College Hoops

2018 Charleston Classic Predictions

It’s prediction time again! This season’s first eight team bracketed event is the Charleston Classic. Based on what we know about each team thus far, this is how I see the tournament playing out.

8. Appalachian State - The Mountaineers have to be coming into Charleston feeling somewhat confident after hanging tough with Alabama last Sunday. Isaac Johnson, Justin Forrest, and Ronshad Shabazz took every shot attempt except for six in that game. So not exactly deep scoring for Appalachian State. I see them being competitive at the Classic, but unfortunately returning back to Boone with no wins to show for it.

7. Ball State - This pick kills me a little bit inside. I really enjoy watching this Cardinals team. You don't find more entertaining players in the MAC than Tayler Persons. Trey Moses has a smooth touch and great high post game. Kyle Mallers, KJ Walton, and Tahjai Teague are solid contributors, and the Cards go nine deep, which is usually a plus in this type of format. A tough draw though leaves them just falling short against V-Tech and Alabama.

6. Alabama - The Tide were one of my at large picks in my preseason bracket. A lot to like on paper for Avery Johnson's roster. However things have not clicked in the early going. The Tide were rolled by Jacksonville State in a charity exhibition game, they struggled most of the game on Sunday vs. App State. By the end of the year, I think they will be much stronger. Now though is a different story, they face an experienced Northeastern team that matches up well against Alabama. After that I see the Tide beating Ball State on day two. And taking a tough loss on the final day against…

5. Davidson - Many people picked the Wildcats to win the A10 this season, and with the rocky start the A10 is off to they could definitely be in line for that opportunity. But the Wildcats have a few kinks to work out. They really had a hard time against Dartmouth, barely winning by three in their last game. They draw Wichita State in the opener, which should be a very tight game.  I am leaning toward Wichita to be able to defend the three point attack well enough to win that game. From there I believe Davidson should win comfortably against Appalachian State, and end on a very nice high note by defeating Alabama.

4. Wichita State - Coach Marshall has a much different roster this year. Markus McDuffie plus a lot of newcomers. The Shockers had a rough home loss in the season opener against Louisiana Tech, but bounced back nicely by beating Providence on a neutral court. Samajae Haynes-Jones (a reserve PG last season) really stepped up with 15 points and 8 dimes against Providence, the need him to continue to play at a high level and provide a secondary threat behind McDuffie. I think Wichita will ride the momentum and win a tight one over Davidson. I then believe Purdue will be too much for them to overcome, and ultimately they finish fourth after losing a war against…

3. Northeastern - The Huskies were red hot last Friday at Harvard, hitting 13 of 23 from three point land which included 7 out of 10 from Jordan Roland off the bench. Northeastern came into the season as the favorites to win the CAA. They will be making three separate visits to Charleston this season. The Charleston Classic, the road game against Charleston, and the CAA Conference Tourney. Head Coach Bill Coen must love it down there, I don't blame him. I believe Northeastern finds a way to get two victories this week. Beating Bama in the opener, and ending with a tight win over Wichita St.

2. Virginia Tech - I was very high on this team until the Chris Clarke news came out. Even still this is a very talented squad especially compared to the competition in Charleston. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is an All-ACC level talent as a Sophomore. Isaiah Wilkins played fantastic in his debut as a true Frosh, scoring 21. And you add the three seniors (Ahmed Hill, Justin Robinson, Ty Outlaw) and you still have a pretty loaded team. I think the Hokies will get a stiff test from Ball State, but find a way to get past the Cardinals. They will be somewhat surprised to see Northeastern in Round 2 and take care of business, before losing in the Championship Game to…

1. Purdue - The Boilermakers have the best player in this field in Carsen Edwards. Players of his caliber can really shine in a three day event. Purdue got a nice test from Ball State last week and I believe that got them mentally prepared to take on this test. The bracket sets up nicely for them as well. Facing Appalachian State in the opener and then the Wichita-Davidson winner. If they can win those two comfortably they should have an advantage of fresher legs in the Final. I believe that will give them just enough of an edge to outlast Virginia Tech and become 2018 Charleston Classic Champions.