Beyond the Scoreboard: Streaking Bulldogs move into Mid-Major Top 25 Poll

MaCio Teague has been named Big South Conference Player of the Week. (Photo courtsey: UNC Asheville)

A seven-game winning streak has propelled the UNC Asheville men’s basketball team into first place in the Big South Conference.

The surge has also brought the Bulldogs (18-9, 11-3) back into the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.

Asheville is 24th in this week’s poll, the only BSC team in the rankings. The Bulldogs started the season 24th in the preseason poll, and closed out last season with five straight weeks in the rankings, peaking at No. 19 before finishing the season 24th.

With four games and two weeks left in the regular season, coach Nick McDevitt’ squad is in good shape to win the conference regular-season title for a second straight year.

The Bulldogs enjoy a one-game lead over Winthrop (16-9, 10-4) going into the home stretch of the regular-season race.

Asheville hosts Liberty (16-11, 7-7) in a 7 p.m. tipoff Thursday night at Kimmel Arena, where the Bulldogs’ 21-game home winning streak is the third-longest in the country.

Following a trip to Charleston Southern (11-14, 6-8) on Sunday, the Bulldogs have a showdown at home with Winthrop on Feb. 22, a game that will likely decide the regular-season champion between the two programs that shared the title last season.

Winning the regular-season title comes with added significance because the champion hosts the BSC Tournament.

The Bulldogs close the regular season Feb. 24 at Gardner-Webb (12-15, 7-7).

Asheville’s latest win also produced some national attention. Guard MaCio Teague hit a trio of 3-pointers in the last two minutes to rally the Bulldogs to a 66-64 win over Radford last week. His game-winning 3-pointer in the waning seconds brought a response from radio play-by-play man Brian Hall and analyst Mike Gore so excited and passionate that it was featured as the “Call of the Night” on ESPN.

The program is already in the midst of its best three-season stretch of victories in the 54-year history of playing hoops. The 63 wins over the past three seasons (22-12 on 2015-16, 23-10 in 2016-17) betters the mark of 62-29 set by the 1981-84 teams of coach Jerry Green.

And the Bulldogs are two wins away from winning 20 or more games for three straight seasons, a feat never achieved since the program began playing hoops in 1964.