Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Root for Coastal Carolina in the Morning

Calvin W BoazCorrespondent IIJanuary 25, 2010

TAMPA - MARCH 21:  Head coach Cliff Ellis of the Auburn University Tigers leads his team against the St. Joseph's University Hawks as the Tigers defeated the Hawks 65-63 in overtime in the first round of the East Region of the 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 21, 2003 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As a Big South men's basketball fan, there is currently no better place to be than in Conway, S.C.

Right now in Conway, wearing teal represents a fashion statement. Libraries and bookstores are scrambling to find copies of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Rumor has it that Cliff Ellis will soon release a country song about Coastal Carolina basketball.

Predicted to finish eighth by the coaches and a media panel, the Chanticleers are currently in first place in the Big South with an 8-1 record within the 10-team conference. Only Kentucky, BYU, and Syracuse have more than Coastal's 18 wins in Division I basketball going into this week's action.

There are several reasons for the Chanticleers' turnaround from a 11-20 record last season, but the huge improvement starts at the point guard position. Kierre Greenwood's 8.8 points per game only begins to tell the story of his importance.

This team possesses the true point guard it has lacked for several years, and consequently teammates are finally getting the ball at the right time. Greenwood's penetration skills are leading to several easy baskets every game.

The arrival of Ed Gray from South Carolina has more than made up for the surprise transfer of Anthony Breeze to Appalachian State. Coming off the bench, Gray is  averaging 15.2 points and five rebounds a game.

The combination of Greenwood and Gray have added much-needed athleticism to a team that has been lacking it since the days of Tony Dunkin.

Joseph Harris may wear "double nothing" on his back, but he is some kind of something for Coastal. The red-shirt senior leads the Chanticleers in scoring at 15.6 points per game and recently became the Big South's all-time leader in rebounds.

Seniors Mario Edwards and Logan Johnson may be overlooked, but the pair is never under-appreciated. These two are the quintessential glue guys who do the dirty work to help the entire team execute as one cohesive unit. 

Once thought to be a poor hire, Ellis is now known as the crafty crooner of Myrtle Beach. Ellis has the squad playing tough defense and taking high-percentage shots. No longer is there any talk of his 24-35 record after two seasons at Coastal.

Halfway through the conference season, Coastal Carolina has transformed from also-rans to the team to beat in the Big South. Despite the current success, the team knows it most likely has to win the conference tournament to make it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993.

For now, the Cliff Dwellers are just glad the team isn't the predicted cellar-dweller.