While certainly not the end-all, be-all, of conference weekends, there is no question that the next two games for the Charleston Southern men's basketball team are as big as any on the schedule.
The Buccaneers have two of the top Big South Conference title contenders coming to town this weekend, starting with tonight's game against Campbell and followed by a Saturday night visit from Coastal Carolina.
Charleston Southern enters tonight's game with a 9-5 record overall and a 3-1 mark in league play, while Campbell is a perfect 3-0 in conference play and 9-6 overall.
"It's not a make-or-break weekend, but certainly these two games are pretty important in terms of letting us know where we stand early on in this league," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "The important thing is to play every game in this league one at a time. Regardless of the outcome on Thursday, win or lose, we have to put it behind us and get ready for Coastal on Saturday. This will test the maturity level of our basketball team."
Tonight's contest features the top two scoring teams in the Big South in league play. CSU is averaging 89 points per game in its four conference games, while the Camels average 79.3 points per game.
Campbell has the top scorer in the conference in 6-4 junior guard Darren White, who averages 20.3 points per game while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. Senior 6-8 forward Eric Griffin averages 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds.
CSU senior forward Kelvin Martin leads the league in rebounding at 9.2 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Saah Nimley is averaging 15.3 points per game as the point guard.
The difference in the two teams may be on defense. Campbell is the league's second-best team in field goal percentage defense, while CSU has struggled in that area, ranking ninth in the league. Campbell leads the Big South in blocked shots, while CSU is tops in steals.
"This game will test every aspect of our defense and it's a tremendous challenge, but it's a game we're excited about having the opportunity to play at this point in the season," said Radebaugh.