Spring preview 2018: ASUN

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Spring preview 2018: ASUN

College

Spring preview 2018: ASUN

As the college golf season gets ready to resume, Golfweek will preview each automatic-qualifier conference in Division I, offering picks to win, midseason All-Conference teams and more.

All of our conference previews will reside here.

Next up: ASUN (formerly known as the Atlantic Sun)
• • •

Men

Conference championship: April 22-24, The Legends Club, Braselton, Ga.

Defending champion: Kennesaw State

Team rankings: North Florida (30), Kennesaw State (46), Lipscomb (52), Jacksonville (78), South Carolina Upstate (161), Florida Gulf Coast (190), Stetson (253)

Midseason All-Conference team: Dawson Armstrong, Lipscomb (23); Phillip Knowles, North Florida (26); Jake Fendt, Kennesaw State (42); Andrew Alligood, North Florida (161); Wyatt Larkin, Kennesaw State (191)

What to expect: This will be an intriguing one for a couple of reasons: 1. The two-time defending champions are being outplayed so far this season, 2. The ASUN has a good deal to live up to from last season.

Kennesaw State is the crew with the target on its back, and so far, the Owls have not looked like a team incredibly likely to three-peat. While Kennesaw State boasts two all-conference players, so does North Florida – a crew ranked 16 spots higher than the two-time defending champs. While the Owls match up with North Florida pretty well with their top two players, the Ospreys clearly separate themselves with a significantly stronger punch in the 3-5 spots. Lipscomb boasts maybe the conference’s best player in Dawson Armstrong and is overall solid in the top three spots. If the Bisons can get more from the Nos. 4 and 5 spots this spring, they could make a dart to the top.

Three ASUN teams (Jacksonville, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb) made the NCAA Championship in 2017. That’ll be tough to replicate, as only three ASUN teams would make it to 2018 regionals based on their current rankings. As for who wins the conference, it appears to be a race between North Florida, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb for now. With the spring to go, the Ospreys have the upper hand at the moment.

Pick to win: North Florida

• • •

Women

Conference championship: April 22-24, The Legends Club, Braselton, Ga.

Defending champion: North Florida

Team rankings: Kennesaw State (43), Jacksonville (96), Florida Gulf Coast (130), Stetson (134), North Florida (139), South Carolina Upstate (185), Lipscomb (243)

Midseason All-Conference team: Madison Caldwell, Kennesaw State (84); Michelle Forsland, Jacksonville (138); Carolin Schart, Stetson (172); Henriette Nielsen, Kennesaw State (180); Roanne Tomlinson, Kennesaw State (182)

What to expect: There’s plenty of overlap here from the men’s description. Two-time defending champion? Check. Those defenders not being ranked atop the conference this season? Also check.

North Florida was frankly a surprise winner last season considering the Ospreys finished the season fourth in the rankings among the teams in this conference. This season, the team finds itself fifth in that category. Can this group repeat the magic of last season? It seems pretty unlikely. It’s already tough enough to replicate a performance like that, and the top team in the conference has also gotten significantly better.

After ending last season ranked 81st, Kennesaw State finds itself ranked 43rd in the 2017-18 season. That’s 53 spots higher than any other team in this conference. The Owls boast three of the conference’s five best players as well. A lot can happen in the spring, but there’s a resounding favorite right now, and it’s not the reigning champs.

Pick to win: Kennesaw State

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