Sunday, December 13, 2009

Post Game Shower- Mississippi Valley State

Click on the title to be taken to the boxscore for the game on

So, maybe that is how Ty Patterson will effect a game. Patterson lead the starters with 16 points in his first game back. Ricky Taylor lead all Mocs with 22.

The Mocs 22 point win was a dominant performance. They jumped out to a big early lead, and never looked back against the Delta Devils. They made 41 percent from three point range. The Mocs also won the rebounding war 34-26.

Keegan Bell only had eight points, but he did have ten assists.

This was the first time the Mocs had played like that since the Virginia Intermont game. The Mocs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Jeremy Saffore came off the bench for the first time. DeAntre Jefferson, Ridge McKeither, Patterson, Bell, and Josh Odem were the five starters. Taylor, Saffore, and Chris Early all played ten plus minutes.

The Mocs can be a very good team. With Patterson back, this team suddenly looks like they have real potential. Sure, the win at Jacksonville State was good, and the win against Longwood was nice, but this win was impressive. This was probably the best win since the East Tennessee State game.

Can the Mocs actually put together back-to-back good games? Can it happen? They'll need it. This was a stepping stone win. But a stepping stone win is sure better than a loss.


Georgia Tech is coming to twon Monday night on Fox Sports. Get ready. Get to the game. This is the home game we all should be waiting for. Can't wait for a shot at a ranked ACC team at home. The Yellow Jackets are the clear favorites, but the Mocs should be fired up for this one. They could use a big home crowd.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Postgame Shower- Elon

Click on the title to find a boxscore for the game on

That hurt. Again.

Two steps forward. One step back.

The Mocs beat Longwood and Jacksonville State, but then come up with this clunker at home.

Elon is a threat to score. When they are hot shooting, they score in bunches. That's happened every time they've won this year. They've scored big points. So once Elon was scoring, I was scared.

The Phoenix always play the Mocs very close. The Mocs simply can't beat Elon consistently. It drives me crazy. Why? Why? Why?

Josh Odem played very well. Jeremy Saffore also played decently. However, Keegan Bell played awful. Five assists were good-four turnovers were not. Two points was not. Chris Long and TJ Douglas made 9 of 20 threes on the night off the bench for the Phoenix.

And so it happened again. Another very frustrating night for the Mocs against Elon. It is bound to happen at least once a year it seems.

The team is inconsistent. Chris Early finally played, and played reasonably well. Ty Patterson should be back by Saturday, maybe Monday. This team is going to get it together. They just need to get all the pieces together, and they need to mature as a team. That maturity will come.

Just so everyone knows- I apologize for not being here updating this on Saturday night. This was my finals week...very busy! But after this week, things will calm down substantially. Get ready for a lot of posts!


Mississippi Valley State is up Saturday at 2:00. The game will be in McKenzie Arena. They are 1-7 on the season. They beat Champion Baptist College. That is their only win. It was also their only home game. Arkansas beat them last Saturday night 91-54. The Delta Devils schedule has been brutal- I watched them play Gonzaga earlier this year. They played the Zags close. That is not an awful team that lost to Gonzaga. They have some talent and athleticism. They lost by just 18 to a Gonzaga team that is in the Top Twenty-Five.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pregame Meal- Elon

Elon Phoenix (2-6, 0-1)
G Josh Bonney (5-10 Jr)
G Devan Carter (6-1 Sr)
G Drew Spradlin (6-5 So)
F Roger Dugas (6-8 Fr)
F Adam Constantine (6-9 Sr)

Mocs (4-3, 0-0)
G Keegan Bell (6-1 RSo)
G Josh Odem (6-5 Fr)
F Jeff Smith (6-5 RJr)
F Ridge McKeither (6-5 Jr)
C Jeremy Saffore (7-1 RJr)


Here is a link to Elon’s basketball front page-

The Phoenix always struggle to put points on the board consistently and their defense is always tough. In the Phoenix two wins, however, they have averaged outscoring their opponents 95.5-77. In their six losses, they have been outscored by an average of 70.7-50.8. The low came on Thursday, when Samford hammered them, 55-31. They allowed just 55 points, and yet could not make the game remotely close.

The Phoenix best player is probably Adam Constantine. It’s hard to believe he is still there. It feels like he has been around since Elon entered the SoCon to me. He is averaging 10.5 points per game, and 6.9 rebounds per game. He is shooting 53.8 percent from the floor.

Drew Spradlin and Josh Bonney are the team’s two leading scorers. Bonney is averaging 14.5 points per game, while Spradlin is averaging 10.8. They are the motors to the offense. Bonney leads the team with nearly five assists per game. Spradlin is shooting 38.5 percent from three point range.

The leading three point shooter is Terrance Birdette. He is shooting 61.9 percent (13 of 21) from three point range. He can fill it up when he gets to play.

The Phoenix have been outrebounded by six boards per game. They also have forced on average just under fifteen turnovers a game, while committing nearly fourteen. They are shooting 38.5 percent from the field as a team, while allowing opponents to shoot 48.3 percent from the field. This team has been getting hammered defensively as well as offensively so far this year. It’s only getting worse, too. Samford shot 50 percent from the floor, while Elon shot 26 percent from the floor in the most recent game. It was a humiliating performance by the Phoenix on Thursday night.


The Mocs are shooting just 43.4 percent from the floor. With the way Elon’s defense has allowed other teams to shoot, the Mocs will need to shoot better.

Keegan Bell played brilliantly against Jacksonville State and was the key reason they won the game. With six assists a game, and 9.7 points per game, he is the engine that makes the Mocs go. Going against Bonney should be an incredibly interesting match-up. Bell has an advantage, but it is not a dynamic one.

Ricky Taylor has started to play well again in the Mocs last two wins. He has come off the bench in both games. He’s averaging 10.3 points per game overall. Most of that has occurred these last two games. The guard is playing much better when a little bit of pressure is taken off. Will he start tonight?

Ridge McKeither is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game, but the Mocs on the whole are getting outrebounded by just under half a rebound per game. They have not been rebounding well lately.
Elon has been getting outrebounded for most of the year. The Phoenix will need to rebound well to stick around in this game.

The Mocs defense has been good throughout the year so far. They allow too many made three pointers, even though opponents are only shooting 34.3 percent from long range against them. The Phoenix will need to find ways to score.

Constantine will play a key role against Saffore, and Bonney’s match-up with Bell is also key. Those two player match-ups will go a long way to determining this game. If Elon can’t find ways to score, then they will have a tough time winning this game.


- How will the Mocs play in their first home game since the ETSU game back on November 17?
- Will Bell put together another huge game?
- Can Taylor keep the pressure off in a home game?
- Will the Mocs be able to put a dagger into Elon early in the game?


The Mocs need to try to bury Elon early in the game. They have a chance to take the Phoenix out of it early by getting out to a double digit lead quickly. This Elon team does not appear to be a team that can come back from a big deficit. Of course, the Mocs may not be able to jump out to a big lead either. They have not been able to jump on team’s early very well. They need to tonight in a big home game. This is the Southern Conference opener, so this is really the biggest game of the year until January. They need this one to continue on their goal to get a first round bye in the SoCon Tournament. Elon will play the Mocs closer than many people expect for a while, like they always seem to. The Phoenix will stick within single digits until the final ten minutes, when they will run out of gas. Mocs 71, Elon 55.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post Game Shower- Jacksonville State

Click on the title of this article to go to the boxscore for the game on

Yes. This was satisfying.

After the loss that I called "humbling" to Texas-Pan America last Friday, this win felt just as good. After all, the Mocs were underdogs, playing on the road, where they had not performed well, against a team that had already hammered Georgia Southern and should have beaten Georgia. To win this game 80-71 is about as exilirating as it gets when playing a non-major program in December.

That was Keegan Bell. That was who we had been waiting for. He had 17 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and just two turnovers. He made 9 of 10 free throws. The Mocs as a team made 78.3 percent of their free throws in this one.

Ricky Taylor played great off the bench again. He scored 13 (with four of the Mocs six three pointers), had eight rebounds, and three assists. Taylor seems to be more comfortable coming off the bench at this point. If that's how he is more comfortable, how can we argue with it?

Jeff Smith played very well, too. He scored eleven points and had four rebounds. Josh Odem made a lot of big shots on his way to thirteen points.

Everything did not come up roses for the Mocs, though. They lost the rebounding battle 36-30 to a team that is probably not as big as they are. This is not a good sign. But clearly the focus was there today. The free throw shooting was sparkling, and they only committed ten turnovers, after committing four before the first media timeout.

The other major problem for the Mocs was that Dante Harvey, just back from one injury, went out with another injury. Coach Shulman said after the game that Harvey may have fractured his wrist. That would be fairly devastating to a team that is finally starting to get everyone on the floor.

Ridge McKeither did not have his best night. He scored seven points and had six rebounds. He appeared to take a step back tonight.

There are still puzzling things to me. Jasper Williams started a game earlier in the year. Tonight, he played one minute. DeAntre Jefferson has been a solid offensive weapon so far this year. Tonight, he played nine minutes. That is the second time in two games that he has not played double digits in minutes.

But, it is hard to be critical of much. On the night, the Mocs shot 49.1 percent from the floor. Fans have complained of poor offensive performance. This was a Gamecocks team that was allowing 43.4 percent shooting from the floor to start the year. So the Mocs played excellent on offense against a decent defensive team.

It's easy to forget that Jefferson and McKeither are both junior college transfers. JC transfers rarely look great before January. McKeither has looked very good so far for the most part, and Jefferson appears to me to be playing well, at least on the offensive end. Let's not forget that they will look even better during the second half of the season, more than likely.

All in all, this was a good night for Chattanooga basketball. The Mocs are 4-3, and are back to playing better basketball. The big early lead was erased, which was not good, but the Mocs responded well to the close game late. This was a big game for the Mocs to win, in a game that the Mocs could have easily folded in.


No matter what anyone says, this was not the biggest game of the week. Obviously. The biggest game is still to come. The Mocs will be at home on Saturday night at 7:30 to take on the Elon Phoenix in the SoCon opener. Elon is just 2-5 at the moment, with a road win over Lipscomb and a home win over Farleigh Dickinson-Florham. The Phoenix lost Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Hofstra, Yale, and UNC-Wilmington. They will play at Samford on Thursday before taking on the Mocs Saturday night in their second SoCon game. The Phoenix always seem to be a tough out in conference play, especially for the Mocs. The Mocs will need to be on top of their game and have a nice home crowd supporting them to get this very important win.

Early and Cage Updates

It appears that Chris Early has been medically cleared to play. This is very good news for the Mocs. Odds are that he does not play tonight, but will play against Elon at home Saturday night. This is huge for the Mocs.

Also, Troy Cage has not been medically cleared to play. It appears that John Shulman is looking into getting him a sixth year of eligibility to get him a medical redshirt year. This is bad news for the Mocs, but could be good news in the long run.

Analysis is pretty simple here. Early is a very good addition that would really help the Mocs get on track if he comes in and is ready to play against Elon. Watching Dante Harvey struggle coming back from injury makes me wonder if Early will be capable of getting ready to play effectively by then. Let's hope he is.

As for Cage, this is not good that he may need to sit out for a while, but the team could get much better with him next year and the following year. It may work out just fine in the long run for this team.

GO MOCS! Beat the Cocks!

Pregame Meal- Jacksonville State

8:00 Tuesday, December 1

Mocs (3-3, 0-0)

G- Keegan Bell (6-1 RSo)
G- Josh Odem (6-5 Fr)
G- Jeff Smith (6-5 RJr)
F- Ridge McKeither (6-5 Jr)
C- Jeremy Saffore (7-1 RJr)

Jacksonville State (2-3, 0-0)
G- Jay-R Strowbridge (6-0 RJr)
G- Jeremy Bynum (6-3 Jr)
G- Trenton Marshall (6-5 Jr)
F- Stephen Hall (6-5 So)
F- Sean Thurston (6-7 Jr)


Here’s a link to the Jacksonville State men’s basketball site.

Jacksonville State is 2-3, with back-to-back road losses to Southeast Louisiana and Georgia. The Georgia loss was a three point loss. The Gamecocks are 2-1 at home, hammering West Alabama and Georgia Southern, but getting obliterated by 25 by UAB.

This Gamecocks team is a hard working team that gets a lot of rebounds. They have outrebounded their opponents by nearly four boards a game. They shoot 47.4 percent from the field, 36 percent from three point range, and 73.1 percent from the free throw line. This team can shoot the ball well. They also only commit 12.6 turnovers per game.

These stats all indicate one thing- this team is disciplined, smart, and hard-working. That will make them dangerous in any situation. They will be a tough out in the OVC this year. They have really started to turn that corner.

Jay-R Strowbridge is a transfer from Nebraska. He is the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 14.4 points per game. He is also third on the team in assists. He is a great free throw shooter (85.7 percent) and an OK three point shooter (36.4 percent).

However, junior college transfer Trenton Marshall has been the team’s best player so far. He is averaging 17.4 points per game. He also leads the team with ten steals. He is shooting 84.2 percent from the free throw line, while making 37.5 percent from three point range. This guy has been a real impact player for the Gamecocks early on.

Stephen Hall and Nick Murphy are the other players that average double digits for the Gamecocks. Both of them play big. Hall is averaging 8.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 56.8 percent from the field. He is averaging 11.2 points per game. Murphy is averaging 11.8 points per game while getting 6.3 rebounds and shooting 63 percent from the field. Hall is making 72.2 percent of his free throws, while Murphy is shooting 68.4 percent on his free throws.

The Gamecocks defense has been OK too. Opponents are shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, while making 35.4 percent of their threes. However, they commit a lot of shooting fouls. Opponents are shooting 22.2 free throws per game. Also, the Gamecocks do not force a lot of turnovers, forcing just 12.2 per game.


The Mocs biggest problem has been that they have not been able to keep from turning over the basketball. They are averaging 19.7 per game. Of course, the Gamecocks don’t force a lot of turnovers. So, that may be one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered quickly. Will the Gamecocks be able to force Keegan Bell and the rest of his teammates into some turnovers?

The Mocs offense has not been overly efficient either, shooting just 42.5 percent from the field. The Gamecocks defense has been good, so this may not bode well for the Mocs offense.

It will be a very interesting match-up to watch Nebraska transfer Strowbridge go against Vanderbilt transfer Bell. The two will probably be matched up on each other for a lot of the game, so that may be the match-up that defines the game.

The Mocs have averaged outrebounding their opponents by half a rebound a game. However, at his point, it is difficult to call them a good rebounding team. They did not do well rebounding against Texas-Pan America or Longwood over the weekend. With the Gamecocks having strength in rebounding, the Mocs could really have their hands full in that department.

Ridge McKeither and Josh Odem are the only two Mocs averaging in double digits, but it is obvious that the most important player for the Mocs is probably Ricky Taylor, whether he starts or not. Taylor scored well against Virginia Intermont and Longwood, and the Mocs offense just seems to look better when Taylor is playing well.

Dante Harvey has not looked as he has tried to work himself back into the lineup. He is clearly pressing at this point. Hopefully, he can pull himself together and take a deep breath and just make plays. That’s what the Mocs need from him.


- Can Bell respond to the challenge and take over the game (mentally and physically)?
- Will DeAntre Jefferson get more playing time?
- How is the Mocs psyche for a tough road game?
- Will the Mocs be able to protect the basketball?
- Can the Mocs rebound the ball?


Well, this one was marked as a question mark in the preseason, and there seems to be little reason to feel too differently about it now. The Mocs disappointing performance in Texas has left them feeling some pressure from the fan base, despite it being early in the season. How will they respond to that pressure? Jacksonville State played well at home in two games, and they played very well against Georgia last week. The Mocs will need to protect the ball, otherwise they will have no shot against this team. They need every possession they can get. The Mocs will also need to rebound better than they have been. I’d love to pick the Mocs, but just can’t do it in this situation. Jacksonville State 78, Chattanooga 72.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A November To....Puzzle About

What do you think about November? What does anyone think about November?

It's hard to completely evaluate at this point. For one thing, the Mocs were without four players for most of the month. Dante Harvey came back for the last three games, but was clearly not himself. Troy Cage, Ty Patterson, and Chris Early are all still out.

What did I expect before the month began? I expected 3-3. That's exactly where we are. So, why the disappointment? Mainly because when I said 3-3, I had the Mocs losing to ETSU and beating Texas-Pan America.

Once the Mocs beat ETSU, it was hard to not expect 4-2. We all thought that the Mocs were on their way.

They have not played well away from home yet. But this team is young. As these players come back, the Mocs will continue to improve all the way up until January. So their struggles were not completely surprising.

Still, Keegan Bell did not dominate the way many thought he would. He has yet to turn into the true offensive force that he probably needs to be to have this team be very successful. It is also obvious that Jeremy Saffore has some offensive shortcomings at this point. DeAntre Jefferson is a better offensive weapon, but he has shown a little bit of an effort problem at times that has had him sitting on the bench more than he would like. Ridge McKeither has been as good as advertised offensively, but appears to be struggling a little bit on the defensive end. Ricky Taylor has been off for the most part until the win over Longwood.

The biggest problem I saw over the course of the two games in San Padre Island was on the boards. They were outrebounded by two teams that were significantly smaller than them. That signals an effort problem to me. That's not good. That's the thing that I don't like to see. I hope the Mocs can get that turned around.

Can the Mocs turn it around? Absolutely. For the one millionth time (probably literally), there are a lot of injuries and suspensions, and ETSU has beaten College of Charleston, Appalachian State, and Arkansas. The Mocs beat the Bucs, so we should have no reason to fear any team in the SoCon. That being said, the Mocs are a long way from being where they need to be.

But if we have learned anything from John Shulman over the years, it is that they will be playing good basketball by March. This team will grow, and they will be a good team come March, even if they aren't there right now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Post Game Shower- Longwood

Click on the title to go to the boxscore.

The Mocs 74-70 win over Longwood was a mixed bag. For example, let's look at the bad things first.

The Mocs were outrebounded again by a much smaller team team. This time, it was a 40-36 rebounding disadvantage. Most frustrating, they gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Lancers. That is almost unacceptable. In fact, I again chalk that up to lack of desire and effort. While the desire and the effort were better today in a lot of ways, that is not a good indication.

Today, the Mocs did make 16 of 22 free throws, or 72.7 percent. That shows that the focus was there better today than yesterday. Yesterday they lost by 11 while making 40 percent of their free throws. If they had made 75 percent yesterday, they would have lost by just four, which would have made the final minutes at least interesting.

It was a back and forth game. It was never out of hand in either direction. In fact, Longwood's early 9-0 lead may have been the only time the whole game that either team should have really felt good about things until the end.

For all those people that thought the Mocs offense was the problem, they certainly improved on THAT today. They shot 49 percent from the field, and made 50 percent of their threes. The biggest problem was the 22 turnovers, but they narrowed that down to just nine in the second half, which is why the second half seemed so much better.

Ridge McKeither had a couple of moments that he simply took over the game. He scored eight straight at one point and ended with 19. Ricky Taylor finally had another good game, ending with 21.

Dante Harvey is pressing. He has scored just one point in three games. Also, unless there is an injury that I have not heard about yet, why did DeAntre Jefferson not play more than seven minutes? He had been the player who had been playing the best lately. He barely saw the floor today. Neither did Jasper Williams, who played just four minutes, and Dontay Hampton, who was in there just six.

Keegan Bell was not absolutely brilliant. He scored just five points. But he did dish out eleven assists and come up with three steals. He has it in him, but he is still clearly working off the rust.

Should the Mocs be pleased to beat Longwood by four? No, of course not. But this team was really struggling to play even a decent game away from home. Just coming up with a win and getting that moneky off our back was huge.

Sometimes just coming up with a win supercedes how it is done. The Mocs needed a win as badly as they have ever needed one. They got that.

If you had told me before the season that we would be 3-3 after November, I would have taken it. I was afraid of 2-4. I was hoping for 4-2. I thought we would go 3-3. Of course, I thought we would lose to ETSU and beat UTPA. Due to the different results in those two games, the 3-3 is pretty bittersweet. But I'll take it.


The Mocs head to Jacksonville State on Tuesday night at 7:00. For those people that think the Gamecocks should be an easy win, Jacksonville State lost by just three at Georgia yesterday. They are 2-3, but their lone D1 win is a 22 point beatdown of Georgia Southern. Again, with the Mocs not having much success away from home, and not having won a true road game yet, this will be a very big challenge to the Mocs.


Pre-Game Meal- Longwood

Longwood (0-6)
G Martiz Washington (6-0 So)
G Kevin Swecker (6-1 Sr)
G EJ Dawson (6-2 Sr)
F Dana Smith (6-5 Sr)
F Billy Robinson Jr (6-7 Sr)

Mocs (2-3, 0-0)
G- Keegan Bell (6-1 RSo)
G- Josh Odem (6-5 Fr)
F- Ridge McKeither (6-5 Jr)
F- DeAntre Jefferson (6-8 Jr)
C- Jeremy Saffore (7-1 RJr)

NOTE: I don’t see how you don’t start Jefferson at this point. He’s playing better than anyone else on the team right now. It’s a big lineup, but a combination that might be worth trying.


Here’s a link to the Longwood Lancers men’s basketball athletic site-

The Lancers are being outrebounded by an average of 41-31 per game. This has been a major source of frustration for the Lancers so far this year. They are shooting just 39.4 percent from the field, and 24.3 percent from three point range.

Antwan Carter is the team’s leading scorer, despite the fact that he comes off the bench. He’s playing just under 25 minutes per game, and scoring 16.0 points per game. Dana Smith is averaging 14.5 points per game. Carter is also garnering 6 rebounds per game, while Smith is pulling down 7 per game.

Aaron Mitchell was supposed to be one of the Lancers star players. However, Mitchell has fallen on hard times and not started the last two games (being replaced by Washington in the starting five). Mitchell is shooting just 26 percent and 7.7 percent from three point range. He can not seem to find the range yet.

The best three point shooter for a player who has more than ten attempts on the season is Kevin Swecker, who is shooting 27.6 percent (8 for 29) from three point range. This team is really struggling from three point range.

The Lancers are forcing 15.3 turnovers per game, while committing 14.2. Those are better than expected numbers from a team that is 0-6.

The Lancers are a decent free throw shooting team. They are making exactly 70 percent on the season. The problem is that they do not get to the line very often, going there just fifteen times per game.


At this point, the key may be if the Mocs come up with the desire to play or not. The Mocs were outrebounded by a much smaller Texas-Pan America team. Longwood is just as outmanned in terms of height as the Broncos. The Mocs will need to dominate the boards if they want to come away with the win.

The Mocs have the size advantage. Jefferson, Saffore, and McKeither will need to be great from down low and take advantage of the edge that they have. Alexander Starling (of Bethune-Cookman) had a solid game down low in Friday’s game. The Mocs will need a similar performance.

The Mocs are shooting just 29.4 percent from three point range. That is not good. This is not a good shooting team. The Mocs are shooting 41.4 percent from the field. So they should be taking more shots from closer, where they perform much better.

The Mocs are turning the ball over 19.2 times per game. The Lancers have not been great at forcing turnovers, but the Mocs have been more than willing to give it up this year. They will need to try to keep possession of the ball.

Yesterday, the Mocs put the full court press on the Broncos, and it did not seem to work. In fact, it seemed to cause the Mocs foul problems to some degree, and the need to play a lot of different guys. Sam Watson is seeing a lot of playing time for a walk on. He did play well yesterday, however. So the questions about his playing time have been answered to some degree. Still, the Mocs full court pressure did not pay dividends and maybe they should lay off against this Lancers team and see what happens.


- Will we play with a little heart, desire, and focus, or will we take this whole trip off?
- Can the Mocs score in their halfcourt offense?
- Will the Mocs pound the ball inside? If so, will they be able to make the free throws that will inevitably come?
- Will Bell take over a game, like he should be capable of doing?


Whew. I’m scared to pick this one. Yesterday’s horrific performance is still fresh in my mind. Yet, I just have a hard time imagining that the Mocs play like THAT again. This is a team that people are starting to downgrade drastically, and that may be a mistake. After all, they beat ETSU, who beat College of Charleston, Appalachian State, and Arkansas. Winning away from home is always the hardest thing for a young team to learn to do. Maybe today is the day. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Mocs 64, Longwood 63.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post Game Shower- Texas-Pan America

Click on the title to be taken to the boxscore.

I've been struggling for the last few hours to come up with the words to express the frustration that I feel over losing this game.

This. Was. Humbling.

There's really no other way to put it. It's not that I thought we couldn't lose to the Broncos. I thought it was possible. But it's that I thought that we could come up with a way to score on them. We had a huge size advantage on them. Yet, for some reason, we couldn't score for most of the game against them. We didn't seem to be trying to pound it inside.

The foul trouble did not help matters any. In fact, it hurt matters drastically. But there are really just a few places to put this blame.

Focus. And hustle. We did not rebound well, especially given their size. We also did not shoot free throws well. That is a sign of lack of focus and lack of desire. The Broncos outrebounded the Mocs 45-38, after being outrebounded by double digits heading into the game. The Mocs had been shooting 74 percent from the free throw line, but only made 8 of 20 (40 percent) in this one.

(I know. I'm using "we" and some people don't like that. But sometimes I say we when talking positively, so I certainly don't want to stop using it now.)

Now, how carried away should we get with this? Let's remember- this bunch did beat East Tennessee State. Yes, the same Bucs team that beat College of Charleston, Appalachian State, and Arkansas. This team also has a world of injuries still. The team will look very different come January.

The Mocs have clearly not learned how to win away from home. That's something that takes time. This was a completely frustrating afternoon of basketball. I'd like to think that the Mocs can turn it around tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 against Longwood. But right now, I'm having a hard time imagining it.

If I'm looking for a bright spot, it was the first half stretch where Saffore came up with a couple of blocks and also came up with a basket. Also, DeAntre Jefferson scored 12 points with nine rebounds, and made 4 of 5 free throws.

Make no mistake- this one hurt.


The Mocs will take on the Lancers in a battle of unusual team nicknames tomorrow afternoon. The Lancers are 0-6 on the season, but have played almost everyone close. The Mocs have played so poorly lately, they could desperately use just a nice solid performance. Hopefully, the focus and desire are there tomorrow afternoon. That's all I'm looking for at this point.

Bethune-Cookman Takes Down Longwood

Click on the article title to go to the boxscore provided by

Bethune-Cookman upset Longwood on Friday afternoon 66-62. The Wildcats improved to 2-3, while Longwood dropped to 0-5.

If the Mocs win, they will face Bethune-Cookman at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. If the Mocs lose, they will face the Lancers at 12:30.

Reed scored 21, while Starling scored 18. The Wildcats were playing a very tight game the whole way, sticking close, before pulling out the win at the end of the game.

We'll see which team the Mocs face tomorrow. Either would be a decent challenge.

Pregame Meal- Texas-Pan America

Texas-Pan America (0-5, 0-0)
G- Jared Maree (6-3 So)
G- Ben Smith (6-3 Sr)
G- Nick Weiermiller (6-1 Jr)
G- Julius Hearn (6-0 Jr)
F- Luis Valera (6-7 Sr)

Mocs (2-2, 0-0)
G- Keegan Bell (6-1 RSo)
G- Josh Odem (6-5 Fr)
G- Jeff Smith (6-5 RJr)
F- Ridge McKeither (6-5 Jr)
F- Jeremy Saffore (7-1 RJr)

EDIT: According to a Chattanooga Times-Free Press article, Dante Harvey will be starting today. It said that he would be starting in place of Ricky Taylor, who I had already removed from the starting lineup. If this is based on the Missouri starting lineup, that would mean Harvey is in, and McKeither is out. We'll see.


Here is the Texas-Pan America Broncos Men’s Basketball website-

The Broncos have started the same five in each game so far this year. They lost to Louisiana Tech in their opener at home, then lost their road games to Lamar, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Missouri, and Mississippi State. They have been outscored by an average of 25.2 points per game, 81.8-56.6. They have been outrebounded by about twelve per game, and are shooting just 36.3 percent from the floor and 59.5 percent from the free throw line. They are shooting 30.9 percent from three point range. Opponents are shooting 54.1 percent from the floor. Of course, the Broncos only start one player over 6-3, so that can play a huge role in how their opponents have been shooting against them.

The Broncos are members of the newly formed Great West Conference. It does not currently have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They do have an automatic bid to the CBIT, though. Nick Weiermiller was preseason first team all conference. Nathan Hawkins and Ben Smith were named to the honorable mention all conference team. The team was picked to finish last in the conference.

No player is currently scoring in double figures. Luis Valera leads the team in points with 8.4 per contest. He is shooting 52.8 percent from the floor. He also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 5.2 per game. Weiermiller has been struggling so far this year, despite the preseason expectations. He is shooting just 28.1 percent from the field and averaging 6.2 points per game. Hawkins has also not been great off the bench. He is averaging just 6.0 points per game, and has made just 2 of 13 free throws.

The Broncos are averaging just 16.6 turnovers per game, which is pretty solid given that they have already played Missouri and Mississippi State. We all know that the Tigers force a lot of turnovers. They turned the ball over just 22 times against Mizzou.


The Mocs have not played well away from home so far this year, with two underperforming losses to Richmond and Missouri. They will need to show up at South Padre Island if they want to beat Texas-Pan America.

Ricky Taylor has been in an awful slump lately for the Mocs. Everyone got excited by his first performance against Tennessee Wesleyan, and then a decent showing against Virginia Intermont. Since the D1 competition started up, he has been ice cold.

The Mocs have been outrebounding their opponents by an average of 3.5 per game, which is very good. They also have really improved their free throw shooting, as they are up to 74.1 percent from the charity stripe. The problem has been turnovers, as they have committed 19.8 per game. The Broncos defense has not forced a lot of turnovers, though. Keegan Bell should be able to control the ball better and he needs to be a force in this game.

Shulman has been messing with the starting lineup for the Mocs. Based on performance, I think the starting lineup listed above will be it. However, don’t be surprised if DeAntre Jefferson gets the start. He needed to be benched for a game after that showing against Richmond, but he played with much more enthusiasm against Missouri.

The problem for the Mocs could be if Weiermiller suddenly finds himself. He is capable of putting up big numbers and has been ice cold so far this year. If he starts shooting lights out, then the Broncos could have a shot at putting together a nice performance. It seems like the Mocs are always giving up a career night to someone, and Weiermiller could be that guy. Ben Smith made 5 of 12 from three point range against Missouri.

The key for the Mocs will be rebounding. They have a big size advantage. Not just with Jefferson, McKeither, and Saffore, but even out on the perimeter. The Mocs will need to have a big rebounding edge in this game, or else Texas-Pan America may hang around.

- Can Ricky Taylor snap out of his 4 for 25 slump over the last three games?
- Will the Mocs perform away from home?
- What will the starting lineup be?


The Mocs have more talent. They certainly have more size. They are not as experienced as the Broncos though. The Mocs need to convince themselves that they are capable of winning a game away from home. The Broncos have some talented shooters that have not been hot shooting as of late. If they start heating up, then the Mocs could find themselves in some trouble. Still, even if that happens, Bell and the guys down low should be able to find their points. The Mocs should win this one fairly comfortably if they just play their game. Mocs 84, Texas-Pan America 71.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

San Padre Island Invitational- Longwood vs. Bethune-Cookman

The Longwood Lancers are 0-5, while the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats are 1-3. The Lancers have played very close, hard fought games against Virginia, Navy, Columbia, and Richmond, despite falling in all of them. Old Dominion hammered them pretty solidly. The Wildcats were hammered by Old Dominion and VCU, but lost a sixteen point game to Mississippi State. Their win came over Edward Waters, a non-D1 team.

So where do we begin with the first game of the San Padre Island Invitational? The game begins at 1:00 Eastern. That's where. The game is available (with Bethune-Cookman announcers) here.


Longwood (0-5, 0-0)
G Martiz Washington (6-0 So)
G Kevin Swecker (6-1 Sr)
G EJ Dawson (6-2 Sr)
F Dana Smith (6-5 Sr)
F Billy Robinson Jr (6-7 Sr)

Bethune-Cookman (1-3, 0-0)
G CJ Reed (6-3 So)
G Stanley Elliott (6-3 So)
G Jerry Jones (6-2 So)
F Tyrel Adams (6-6 Jr)
C Alexander Starling (6-9 Sr)

Here's a quick look at Longwood.

Martiz Washington just took Aaron Mitchell's starting spot in the last game. Mitchell is shooting 8.3 percent from three point range and 27.3 percent from the field. That's not good. Dana Smith is averaging 14.6 points per game and 6.8 rebounds. Antwan Carter is not a starter, but he leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points per game, and 6.2 rebounds. They've been outrebounded by an average of nine per game. The Lancers are only shooting 39.7 percent from the field, and 23.2 percent from three point range, while their opponents are shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from three point range.

Here's a quick look at Bethune-Cookman.

The Wildcats are led by Alexander Starling. He's shooting 61 percent from the floor. He is averaging 11.8 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. CJ Reed is the team's leading scorer, with 17.5 points per game. Reed also leads the team in assists with 16 of the team's 32. They are losing the rebound battle by just 1.5 per game, which is not too bad considering the competition. They have not been shooting well (40.6 percent), but they are holding their opponents down as well, to just 42.4 percent shooting. They have been playing slightly better than you might expect.


This should be a pretty interesting match-up. If you just casually look at the boxscores, Longwood appears to be a big favorite, but those don't seem to quite indicate everything. The stats seem to tell a little bit different story. However, Edward Waters may be helping Bethune-Cookman out a bit. Bethune-Cookman will have a hard time containing Carter. Reed could explode for Bethune-Cookman. The shooting will not be particularly good in this one, I expect. In the end, Longwood wins, in an interesting game. Longwood 71, Bethune-Cookman 64.

I'm Thankful For....

Things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful....

1) that the SoCon Tourney was in Chattanooga last March.

2) that College of Charleston upset Davidson, thus making us play the Cougars when they were playing their fourth game in four days.

3) that Thabeet will NOT be there to greet us when the Mocs make it back to the NCAA basketball tournament this year.

4) that Steph Curry spent time in the SoCon, thus making the whole conference profile that much higher, and make it that much easier to recruit top talent.

5) that Jimmy Fallon picked us to cheer for, for whatever reason.

6) that John Shulman is our coach.

7) that Ridge McKeither and Josh Odem picked us.

8) for all the Mocs basketball players.

9) that Jurick and Banks (not to mention Wattad) will all be here next year.

10) that we have eased up the schedule a little bit this year from the last two years.

11) that Ty Patterson, Dante Harvey, Troy Cage, and Chris Early should all be back in the fold by the time we play Georgia Tech at home.

12) for my family, especially our newest addition on this, her one week birthday.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there, whether you are a Mocs fan or not! Enjoy it and enjoy eating. Don't eat too much!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead!


Davidson is 1-4 after their win over Fredonia State tonight. People in the SoCon are shocked! The Wildcats are dead!

Calm down everyone.

The Wildcats are far from dead. Davidson's losses were to Butler, South Florida, LaSalle, and Penn State. That is not murderer's row, but it is a decent set of losses.

The Wildcats are young and inexperienced, just as our Mocs are. They will be better. They will improve with each passing game. The Wildcats have a tough schedule still ahead. Rhode Island, Gonzaga, Massachusetts, Cornell, and Penn still are in the future for Bob McKillop's team. So this team could continue to struggle all the way into conference play.

All that being said, Davidson fans seem to be shrugging off the start and saying that there is nothing to be concerned about. The Wildcats are going to steamroll to another SoCon title. Here's the problem with that thinking- Davidson is not quite as good as they have been in recent years. The rest of the SoCon is certainly not worse, and may be better. Davidson did not win the tournament last year (and that was not Chattanooga' home court advantage fault), so how they can expect to roll to the title this year is beyond me.

Is Davidson one of the favorites come SoCon Tourney time? Absolutely. They are one of the SoCon's better teams, or will be by tournament time. Should Davidson fans be convinced that they are going to roll without any problem with the SoCon? Absolutely not.

To quote another movie, "They're only mostly dead." And that is still an overstatement.

So, Can I Complain About Shulman?

People say that I am too high on Shulman as the coach. People complain that the Mocs lose by 40 points to teams. People complain about his substituion pattern.

I really don't. I think Coach Shulman has done a tremendous job as the head basketball coach. After Mack McCarthy left, the Mocs had not been to an NCAA Tournament since 1997. Then Shulman showed up and the Mocs went in 2005 and 2009. How can anyone complain about that?

However, it has become increasingly clear that there is one problem with Shulman coached teams. I will do more research on this as the years progress to find out if it is just my perception or if it is reality. However, I feel like the Mocs really struggle on the road or on a neutral court under Shulman.

Dating back to his first season, the Mocs are 7-12 (.368) on neutral courts. That is not good. In 2004-05, they lost to Wake Forest in their lone neutral court game. In 2005-06, they lost to Holy Cross and Davidson, but beat Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Mount St. Mary's, College of Charleston, and Appalachian State. In 2006-07, they lost to Towson and Davidson, and beat Wofford and Prairie View A&M. In 2007-08, they lost to Southern Illinois, South Alabama, and Elon, and beat UC-Irvine. In 2008-09, they lost to Memphis, USC, Fairfield, and Connecticut.

How about the road record? According to, he is 23-43 (.348) in road games following the loss to Missouri. That may not be fair, though. After all, the Mocs play a lot of games like the one against Missouri where they are clear underdogs. So let's look at the SoCon road record.

2004-05 4-4
2005-06 3-4
2006-07 3-6
2007-08 4-6
2008-09 4-6

So the Mocs have never had a winning road record against the SoCon since Shulman has been there. He is 18-26 (.409). The Mocs are a combined 25-38 (.397) on neutral courts and against the SoCon on the road. These are really not good records.

His home SoCon record has been great, especially when you include the SoCon Tournaments that have been played in Chattanooga.

2004-05 9-2
2005-06 5-2
2006-07 3-6
2007-08 9-1
2008-09 10-3

That gives a total of 36-14 (.720). Clearly, that is an excellent winning percentage and should be lauded. And I give him a ton of credit for being able to win at home.

I know that winning on the road is tough and is not easy to do. Still, this is where Shulman could really turn a corner. Somehow, the Mocs seem to lack the mental punch to be able to get over the top in these road games. When they get punched, they don't seem able to get back up off the mat. At home, they do that. On the road, not so much.

So, am I complaining about Shulman? Only partially. As everyone knows that talks to me, I am a Shulman supporter. However, I have come to expect to see different teams at home than show up on the road. I'd like to see a little bit of improvement in that. I'm sure Shulman feels the same way.

If you have a question about it, the Mocs are 161-214 (.429) on the road. So Shulman is below average in road games in terms of Mocs D1 basketball history. I have not gone back and compared McCarthy of Arnold (much less Lebo or Dickerson) individually to Shulman. So there may be some facts that would be uncovered if I did that. I don't know which side of the debate they would favor.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Look Ahead- Two San Padre Games...

So let's take a quick look at the three opponents that are in our bracket at San Padre Island.

Texas-Pan America is 0-5. They lost to Louisiana Tech, Lamar, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Missouri, and Mississippi State. Lamar is the only one they have come closer than eighteen points against. They lost to them by five on the road. Missouri beat them 100-44. Louisiana Tech was their lone home game, an 18 point loss.

Longwood is 0-5. They lost to Virginia, Navy, Old Dominion, Columbia, and Richmond. They lost to Richmond 65-52. Old Dominion was the only team that has beaten them by more than thirteen points, a 39 point loss. Navy was their lone home game, a three point loss.

Bethune-Cookman is 1-3. They lost to VCU, Old Dominion, and Mississippi State. They beat Edward Waters by 19 in their lone home game. VCU beat them by 26, Old Dominion by 31, and Mississippi State by 16.

So, it looks to me like Longwood may be the best team in the bunch. They certainly have played some fairly quality competition close. Of course, the only team with a D-1 win is Chattanooga's over East Tennessee State. This will not be easy for the Mocs. They should not underestimate this bracket. This is a young team still trying to feel their way out when they are playing away from home. The Mocs need two wins very badly though, for their own psyche and for the mindset of the fans back home. This is as important as two games could be at this point in the season for the Mocs.


Box Score and More Analysis

The box score will be taken to by clicking on the title.

Keegan Bell sounds great on the postgame show. He talked about the importance of getting better and that at some point, the team needs to grow up. They need to work harder in practice. I love the attitude Bell has.

The team has not grown up yet, but they are still gelling. He seems to think that will happen at some point. Bell is also blaming himself. He said he needs to look more to score, and that he needs to be more aggressive himself.

"We have to grow up. We have to grow up. I know we're young, but we have to grow up."

Beautiful. I love the attitude. He's turning into a real team leader.

Post Game Shower- Missouri

Ouch. The Mocs were hammered in this game by the Tigers. Missouri took it to them early and often. They shot lights out. So there was nothing positive to take from this game, right?

Wrong. Against Richmond, the Mocs were outhustled. In this game, there were fewer hustle mistakes. The effort was there. The results were not. Make no mistake, a 99-56 loss is not how I wanted the Mocs to head into the tournament portion of this San Padre Invitational. Still, let's not be confused about the issue- the Mocs played better tonight than they did against Richmond.

The Mocs did not shoot well from long range, but Odem and Bell both showed that they could play on this level. Saffore, McKeither, Smith and Jefferson showed flashes too. They actually had more points in the paint for the game, which is incredibly impressive. The problem is that Taylor did not look good again. Ricky Taylor is really struggling right now. The Mocs need him to be a shooter to stretch out defenses. I have not been impressed with Taylor lately.

Jefferson, who I was horribly disappointed in during the Richmond game, actually looked like a real player tonight. Ridge McKeither rebounded well, but did not shoot well.

Here's a little bright spot. The Mocs outrebounded Missouri, 33-31. That was very good. The Mocs needed that kind of showing. They needed to show that they could rebound, something that has been lacking so far this year.

Now here's the good news. The Mocs are still playing without Ty Patterson, Troy Cage, and Chris Early. Dante Harvey played, but did not look overly impressive. He will have to play himself into shape, a little bit. But the Mocs are still learning how to play. They are a far different team right now than they will be in January. The Mocs will be much much better in the near future.

As I said back before the season, these next two games will go a long way to determining just how successful the Mocs could be this year. Texas Pan-America, Bethune-Cookman, and Longwood wait for the Mocs. They need to find a way to win those two games. The Texas-Pan America game is an absolute must win for the Mocs at this point.

I'm looking for a much better show on Friday afternoon. If it is not there, then I will begin to question this team a little bit. But not yet. Not quite yet. They still beat ETSU at home, which is a solid win that I was not necessarily counting on before the season started.


Apologies Apologies

Over the last week, I have not been here as much as I would like. Why? Well, I had a new addition to my family, and the birth was more eventful than I expected it to be. From here on out, I'll be here, though. So you can't stop me now! Apologies!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Post Game Coverage

I promise- extensive coverage of the Mocs-Bucs game will be coming by Thursday evening! Hold your horses!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Pre-Game Meal- ETSU

East Tennessee State (1-0, 0-0)
G Justin Tubbs (6-3 Jr)
G Micah Williams (6-4 Jr)
F Tommy Hubbard (6-4 Jr)
F Isiah Brown (6-8 So)
F Adam Sollazzo (6-6 So)

Mocs (1-0, 0-0)
G Keegan Bell (6-1 RSo)
G Ricky Taylor (6-5 So)
G Josh Odem (6-5 Fr)
F Ridge McKeither (6-5 Jr)
C Jeremy Saffore (7-1 RJr)


The Bucs Official Athletic Site-

The starters listed above are based a lot on who finished the game on Saturday for the Bucs in their 62-58 win over Appalachian State. Also, it is assuming that Mike Smith, the Bucs best player, is not healthy enough to start. He played just ten minutes against the Mountaineers.

ETSU is going to try to slow the game down. They did not score a fast break point against the Mountaineers, and surrendered just four. They will rely on playing solid defense, and making just enough shots to win the game. They shot just 41 percent against Appalachian State, but made fifty percent in the second half. They made just 55 percent of their free throws for the game, which nearly cost them. However, they made 5 of 6 in the final minute to help salt the game away. They only made 3 of 15 on threes.

In other words, this team will rely on defense, and hope that the shots fall enough to win the game. They held Appalachian State to 41 percent shooting as well. They also forced 25 turnovers, while the Mountaineers had just six assists. In other words, the Bucs were playing absolutely great defense. It does not get much better than that. They were hurt by their own 20 turnovers, though.

ETSU was outrebounded by two, 36-34. However, they collected thirteen offensive rebounds. Those are the sort of hustle plays that can make a huge difference in a game. They came up with just ten second chance points on those rebounds, but getting those chances can translate into points.

Smith played eight minutes in the first half the other night, and connected for just three points, but also had three personal fouls. He played just two minutes in the second half, and had no shots…or fouls. He averaged fifteen points and seven rebounds a game last year, and that is why he was preseason All Atlantic Sun. It will be a huge blow if he cannot play in this game. It seems like he may not be healthy enough to play, as indicated by the second half minutes against Appalachian State.

No other returning player averaged more than 4.7 points per game. That was done by Brown. The newcomers are expected to play a big role on this team. Tubbs is the most notable newcomer and he played a big role in the win over Appalachian State. He made two free throws in the final minute to push the lead to 59-56.

Freshman Sheldon Cooley scored eleven points coming off the bench. He should continue to play a vital role on this team. Tommy Hubbard and Jocolby Davis both started against Appalachian State and could start against the Mocs tonight. Hubbard has seven rebounds and four points on 2 of 10 shooting in seventeen minutes. Davis had one rebound, two points and six turnovers in eighteen minutes.


Brown will probably be given the responsibility of guarding Saffore. That will be an interesting match-up. Saffore did not face anyone anywhere near as physical as Brown against Virginia Intermont. That is the real question regarding Saffore. We all know he has height, but the question is if he can match up with someone who has a little muscle and bulk. That could play a huge role in the game.

Bell likes to speed up the pace of the game, and the Mocs played a fairly fast tempo against Virginia Intermont. More than likely, the Mocs will want to play a fast style. The Bucs will want to grind it out as best as they can. The team that controls the tempo will have the best chance to win.

The Mocs are undermanned without Patterson, Harvey, Cage, and Early. But the Bucs are really nursing the injury bug as well with Smith sitting out right now. Which team is better equipped to deal with that problem?

Neither team has been able to shoot free throws well during the exhibition games or in their first regular season game. However, the Bucs made pressure free throws down the stretch, which is something that the Mocs have not had to do yet. Does that play a role in this game?

Josh Odem will be playing in his first big game as a college player. He will need to show up for the Mocs to have a good chance at winning. Justin Tubbs and Sheldon Cooley are newcomers for the Bucs that could be matching up with Odem. Odem will need to hold his own against the Bucs newcomers in a key match-up for both teams.


- Will the Mocs make free throws tonight or not?
- Can Saffore do THAT against a D-1 team?
- How many fans will show up for this game?
- Will the Mocs shoot a bunch of threes in a game against a quality opponent?


This is going to be a very competitive game. If Smith plays and plays well, it totally changes the complexion of this game. The Bucs already beat Appalachian State, who is picked ahead of the Mocs in the Southern Conference North Division. So the Mocs will need to play well in order to win the game. However, the Roundhouse should be packed thanks to the promotion of the game and the $1 tickets. This will only help the Mocs. In a home game, the Mocs will find a way to win a close one. Mocs 77, East Tennessee State 72.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some Rivalry Notes

On the eve of the Mocs annual showdown with ETSU, it is an interesting time to look at the Mocs rivals.

The Mocs biggest problem at the moment is that they do not really have rivals in the Southern Conference. Appalachian State might be as close as they come, due to the fact that the share a division with them, and have a long standing history of having tough battles against good Mountaineer teams.

But, that doesn't get the blood going.

Fans still hate Marshall. But they have not played the Thundering Herd since December of 2007, in an unmemorable 57-47 win. (Now their second to last meeting in the SoCon Final on March 2, 1997, was a very memorable 71-70 OT win. Chris Mims with the putback! YES!) So, it is really hard to call them a rival anymore.

Some fans hate Davidson, but I have a hard time getting riled up about the game. I personally am beginning to dislike Elon because the Phoenix always seem to beat us when I least expect it. Samford is clearly our future rival, with their proximity to the Mocs geographically, but it is hard to really not like them yet.

College of Charleston is our current biggest conference rival probably. People, including me, really dislike the Cougars, and the feeling seems to be fairly mutual. The Cougars are 12-10 all-time against the Mocs, so it is hard to really get too excited yet about this rivalry, because they don't play twice a year every year and they just haven't been playing for long enough.

That leaves us with ETSU. It's not a conference game, and they only play once a year, and it is early in the year. Still, this may be the biggest rival the Mocs have anymore. The Mocs lead the all-time series 41-32.

The blood still gets boiling for me when the Bucs show up on the schedule. I do not like the Bucs. I miss having them as a real rival. One day, maybe Samford will take their place. I sure hope so. Because nothing gets me going like a rivalry game!


SoCon This Week

So, what happened in the SoCon this past week? A lot more than you may think, given that it was the first weekend.


Appalachian State- The Mountaineers beat UNC-Wilmington, 69-58 on Friday and then lost 62-58 at East Tennessee State. There were a lot of good things from Appy State agains the Bucs, but nobody was able to score, really. Sims scored 14, but six of those were from the free throw line. Brand provided some senior leadership. The Mountaineers were playing less than 24 hours after their opening win, so their loss may be attributed to that. We'll have to wait and see what develops for a team picked to finish second in the North.

Chattanooga- Obviously, we've talked a lot about the Mocs on here. They went 1-0, with a 107-62 win over Virginia Intermont.

Elon- Elon beat Lipscomb 91-86 on Saturday night. The Phoenix shot 59 percent for the game. This is a total break from the way the Phoenix have played in the past, where it has been all about the defense. Bonney and Spradlin each scored 24 points. If they can score like that, Elon may be a contender in the division after all.

Samford- The Bulldogs went 0-3, but all of them were by three points or less in the Hispanic Funds Classic. The losses were to Kent State, Wisconsin-Grenn Bay, and UAB. None of those are bad losses, and since they were all so close, not a lot of negatives should be taken from this. The biggest negative is that there has to be a question about the Bulldogs mental toughness and ability to win close games.

UNC-Greensboro- Stywall shot well in the second half, but the Spartans got pounded by Duke. Very little to see here. Nothing to see here. There is no surprise, so we know very little about the Spartans that we didn't know before.

Western Carolina- The North Division favorites struggled to put away St. Catherine, before pulling away for a 65-41 win. They shot 50 percent in the second half to go from seven points up at halftime to the final margin. They shot just under 42 percent for the game. They will really need to be more consistent if they are going to fufill expectations.


College of Charleston- Goudelock scored 19 but it was not enough for the Cougars, the preseason favorite to win the SoCon. Their 70-59 loss to Coastal Carolina was extraordinarily disappointing. They Cougars have some distractions right now (injuries and suspensions), but still were expected to win this game. How will they respond?

Davidson- The Wildcats lost to Butler 73-62, but seemed to prove that they were not going to fall off as much as some people thought heading into the season. After all, Butler is a Top Ten team, and the Wildcats lead with under ten minutes left. Allison played tremendously well for the Wildcats.

Furman- The Paladins won 88-49 over Lees-McRae. Miller and Dehm each made five three pointers. If the Paladins shoot like that they could be this year's The Citadel, coming out of nowhere and just maturing a year to become a contender in the SoCon. The Paladins will need to show this against a real team, first though.

Georgia Southern- The Eagles dominated Reinhardt in similar fashion to the way the Mocs beat up on Virginia Intermont. The Eagles may be slightly better than first anticipated, but we need to wait and see before declaring that.

The Citadel- Joe Wolfinger lead the way in scoring, which is very important for the Bulldogs if they are going to be succcessful this year, as the Bulldogs rolled over Kenyon College, 64-45. The game was a little closer than this blog might want it to be, since the Bulldogs are the preseason favorite to win the tournament here.

Wofford- The Terriers 3 point loss to Pittsburgh was a nice performance for Wofford. They had a 13 point lead with 16 minutes left. The Terriers blew the lead from there, but that's fine. Sure, Pitt isn't as good as last year's Elite Eight team, but the Terriers, behind Dahlman, proved that they are as good as advertised. They will be a serious contender in the SoCon.

This Week's Schedule

Georgia Southern at South Carolina 7:00 SportSouth
Elon vs. UNC-Charlotte (in Durham) 9:30

East Tennessee State at Chattanooga 7:00
Presbyterian at Furman 7:00
Winthrop at College of Charleston 7:00
Lees-McRae at Appalachian State 7:00
Wofford at Georgia 7:00
UNC-Greensboro at Virginia Tech 7:00
Charleston Southern at The Citadel 7:00
Elon vs. TBA (in Durham) TBA

Georgia Southern at Florida 7:00 Fox Sports Florida
Western Carolina at Texas 9:00 ESPNU

USF vs. Davidson (in Charleston) 7:00
Lees-McRae at Wofford 7:00

The Citadel vs. Eastern Michigan (in Springfield) 6:30
Appalachian State at Arkansas 7:00
Clemson at Appalachian State 7:00 Fox Sports South
Farleigh Dickinson at Elon 7:00
Samford at Texas A&M 8:00
Davidson vs. TBA (in Charleston) TBA

Georgia Southern at Jacksonville State 5:30
Dartmouth at Furman 7:00
The Citadel at Missouri State 9:00

Chattanooga at Richmond 5:00
The Citadel at Maryland-Eastern Shore 6:30
Wofford at Bradley 7:00
Davidson vs. TBA (in Charleston) TBA


24 Hour College Basketball Tip-Off

Click the title to go to the link with the full schedule on the ESPN website.

This day ought to be a load of fun. From midnight tonight to after midnight tomorrow night, there will be 19 games (17 men's games) broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN360. Also, there will be constant discussion on, which is what really can make a day like this fun.

Yes, there are some really early games (hello 6 AM Monmouth-St. Peter's and 8 AM Drexel-Niagara), but all in all, this is a great promotion for smaller schools, and there are some fun match-ups for bigger schools.

The Mocs (and the Vols for those of you who might care) both play tomorrow, but are not included in this day of fun. Well, the Lady Vols are, but whatever. That's too bad. I think it would be great if the Mocs-Bucs game could get the full treatment on ESPN tomorrow. It would be a lot of fun.

I won't watch for 25 and a half hours (who could?) but I will watch plenty of the action, I imagine.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quick Notes- Future Opponents

Just wanted to quickly note that ETSU beat Appalachian State 62-58 at home last night in what was an absolutely tremendous game. I got to listen to just a little bit of that game.

I watched probably half an hour of Mississippi Valley State's loss to Gonzaga. I have to say that the Delta Devils look like they may be better than I have been giving them credit for. They hung with Gonzaga for the first thirty minutes of the game. They will not be intimidated when they come to Chattanooga to play. Sure, they got beat by twenty points, but they were unintimidated and were more athletic than I expected.

We'll see.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Post Game Shower- Virginia Intermont

Click on the title for a link to the boxscore on

Due to some technical difficulties, I was only able to listen to the final few minutes of the first half forward. For that reason, the analysis is a little thin tonight. I began listening when the score was 57-25, Mocs.

Game Recap

The Mocs dominated from start to finish. The score was 13-0 before the Cobras could even get on the board.

Bell came up with five steals, including four in the first four minutes. The score at halftime was 62-30.

Taylor had scored just four in the first half but came out firing in the second half and gave the Mocs a dominating lead early on. A 93-37 lead with 10:24 left was the Mocs largest lead. After that, they clearly took their foot off the gas a little bit. This trimmed the final to 107-62. Bell finished with six assists as well.

Player of the Game

Jeremy Saffore. Saffore had fifteen points and thirteen rebounds. He also had two assists and a blocked shot. He made 6 of 8 shots, and 3 of 5 from the free throw line. Ten of those thirteen rebounds were offensive in nature. That is a very impressive stat line.


The Mocs played with passion and a point. They played with desire to stomp on Virginia Intermont's heart early and take them out of the game. What do you take from that? Not much, and a lot. It doesn't mean much because they should do that to this Cobras' basketball team. But it also means a lot, because sometimes a young, inexperienced team (like these Mocs are) have a hard time doing that. So it is very good news that the Mocs were able to dominate in this fashion.

Also, they dominated the rebounds. That's not surprising. They should have. That was what was expected of them. McKeither played with desire, and Saffore looked like he was more than capable of coming up with with big plays, including a three point play, which helped to show his increased strength. That was good news for the Mocs. Bell also played very well.

Free throw shooting was decent as well. This team appears to have the ability to shoot the ball reasonably well from all over the floor. Bell shot poorly the other night, but now was clearly better. However, tonight Jasper Williams couldn't make a shot. He shot 1 for 9, 0 for 5 from three point range, and 0 for 2 from the free throw line.

What do you make of the game? It's hard to tell. Virginia Intermont is not a great basketball team by any means, but there is also certainly reason for the Mocs to be very excited about where they are and where they are going.

Answers to Questions

Yes, McKeither, Jefferson, and Saffore CAN dominate the inside against Virginia Intermont. That's a good sign. They needed to dominate a game like this if they are going to win games later on in the year.

It sounds like Saffore should be playing more than Jefferson right now. Maybe that's not as surprising as I thought it was. I did not expect to feel this way at this point. I think Jefferson is going to give a lot of to the Mocs, and Saffore is still not as strong as I would like for him to be. Against a more physical opponent, can Saffore hold his own?

Taylor was only OK in the first half, but played much better in the second half. Taylor may not be there every night, but I'm not sure that he has to be. He will be very good, but he may not be the star of this team. He's a shooter, that's for sure. When he's hot, he's critical to the club.

Can the Mocs make free throws? Yes, and no. They made 14 of 23, which is good for 61%. That's not very good, but it is a big improvement over the exhibition game. So we're in a holding pattern on this for the time being.

Bell shook off the rust and played much better. Yes, make no mistake, he can be a star on this team.

Odem did not play like a freshman for most of the night. He was very impressive. Odem is going to be tough to get out of this lineup for the next four years.

A Look Ahead

Coming up next is ETSU. That will be a much tougher match-up for the Mocs. The Bucs are not as good as a lot of teams that the Mocs will play (Richmond, Missouri, Murray State, and Georgia Tech, namely). But ETSU was in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and are one of the Mocs oldest rivals. Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs are gone from last year's team. Mike Smith, who has been injured, should be playing. He is preseason all Atlantic Sun.

We'll know a lot more about the Mocs after this game. Can they handle a decent team at home? This is going to be a tough one for the Mocs to win, especially with how young they are. The Mocs will need to play very well.

Go to if you would like to get $1 upper deck seats to the game next Tuesday night. Wonderful price- wonderful showdown!

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered- Phillip Jurick

Phillip Jurick, the former four star recruit from East Ridge who was rated the #14 center in the country coming out of high school, has officially signed with the Mocs!

This is wonderful news. He was redshirted last year by Tennessee, and then moved on Chattanooga State for this year. He will be a sophomore next year, his first with the Mocs.

There have been rumors that Jurick is a head case, but it is hard to know what the problems were in Knoxville without him telling us.

The Mocs are slowly accumulating a LOT of talent on next year's team. Assuming no defections, McKeither, Jefferson, Saffore, Harvey, and Jurcik will battle for time in the post. That will leave Early available to play his more natural position on the wing. Throw Cage into that mix, and Bell in at point, and you have a lot of reasons to be excited. Combine that with Taylor at the 2 guard spot along with Odem and this time really looks good. Now throw in Banks, who, if he qualifies, is looking like a likely candidate to redshirt next year. So far, I haven't even mentioned Wattad, who signed with Georgetown initially. Wow. Next years team will have experience, and might just be loaded.

All of this on the Mocs opening night. There is plenty to be excited about in McKenzie tonight.

And the signing period isn't over yet!


The Pre-Game Meal- Virginia Intermont

Virginia Intermont (0-3, 0-0)

G Jimmie Ross (6-6 So)
G Wade Bryant (6-4 Jr)
G Tihlee Anderson (5-9 Fr)
F Marquette Knight (6-5 Jr)
C Delonte McDaniel (6-7 So)

Mocs (0-0, 0-0)
G Keegan Bell (6-1 RSo)
G Ricky Taylor (6-5 So)
G Josh Odem (6-5 Fr)
F Ridge McKeither (6-5 Jr)
C Jeremy Saffore (7-1 RJr)


Virginia Intermont Basketball Homepage-'s.jnz
Here’s what we know. Berea hammered Virginia Intermont 99-66 last Friday night. On Saturday, Asbury beat the Cobras 79-57. On Tuesday night, Virginia Intermont lost at Southern Virginia, 86-47. That means that the Cobras are 0-3, with an average score of 88-57. The average margin is 31.3. Those are not pretty numbers for Virginia Intermont.

The Cobras return just six players from last year’s team and one starter. Five of them are sophomores. There are seven freshman and four junior college transfers on the roster. Last year, the Cobras were 7-25 and 5-13 in Appalachian Athletic Conference. In case you missed it in the above statement, the Cobras have no seniors on the roster.

Jordan Spurling and Delonte McDaniel are not huge, but they are big enough. McDaniel is 6-7 and Spurling is 6-9. Both are sophomores. Jimmie Ross is the leading returning scorer, averaging 4.1 points per game a year ago.

VIC is only shooting 22.6% on their three point shots so far this year. That is through all three games. They are making 61.5% of their free throws. They committed thirty turnovers in their last loss to Southern Virginia, and are averaging committing 23 turnovers per game so far this year.

The leading scorers through two games are Marquette Knight and Wade Bryant, both of whom have averaged eleven points per game. Spurling and McDaniel are combining to average 14.5 points per game, and seven rebounds. Bryant is the team’s leading rebounder, averaging six rebounds per game. Tihlee Anderson committed ten turnovers in those first two games with only four assists as he adjusts to the college game. Ross has also been struggling, with just three assists and eight turnovers.


While this should not be much of a battle, there are some interesting battles. The Mocs don’t have tremendous size. This should help VIC, who also does not have great size. In fact, watching McKeither go against McKnight could be interesting. Both are the same size, and both are expected to be go-to guys for their team as junior college transfers.

Jefferson and Saffore going against Spurling and McDaniel inside could also be intriguing. Spurling and McDaniel do not have great size, but they should match-up reasonably well with Jefferson and Saffore.

The Mocs shot very well last Saturday against Tennessee Wesleyan. Ricky Taylor was draining threes from everywhere. The Mocs made a lot of shots from the field, and VIC has struggled slowing teams down so far this year.

Jimmie Ross will be a key player for the Cobras. He appears to be the point guard, and has been turning the ball over too much early in the season. He will need to get the ball into the right players hands. Going up against Bell will make it that much more challenging. Bell can handcuff a lot of guys, and Ross will have to play great defense to contain Bell. Bell will also need to control his emotions a little bit better and play more relaxed than he did last Saturday, when he shot just 1 for 7.


- Can McKeither, Jefferson, and Saffore dominate on the inside?
- Who should be playing more- Jefferson or Saffore?
- Can the Mocs make free throws?
- Will Ricky Taylor be there every night or was last Saturday just a hot night?
- Is Keegan Bell going to shake off the rust and play better tonight?
- Will Odem play like a freshman?


The Mocs won by 43 against a team that is picked to finish second in the AAC last weekend, albeit in an exhibition game. On opening night, the Mocs should be even more focused and more prepared. Going against the team that is picked to finish last in the AAC and has been getting blown out so far this year should only help matters.

Look for McKeither to have a big night, and for Bell to show why everyone has been so high on him in the offseason. Also, expect everyone to play plenty of minutes, much like last Saturday against TWC.

The free throw problems are still going to be there, more than likely. But in a game like this, it won’t matter. Plenty of players will play and get their confidence up before Tuesday’s showdown with ETSU. Mocs 106, Virginia Intermont 54.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AD Banks- Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

Click on the link to go to's profile of AD Banks.

The Mocs got AD Banks to sign today. He was grade at an 85 by That makes him a high major prospect.

He is 6-6 and is a small forward. Imagine this lineup in the 2011-12. Bell at point, Odem at shooting guard, and Banks at small forward. That is some kind of lineup. That could be a very special team.

He is a good shooter, but he is also very high energy. He is an incredible find for the Mocs. Shulman definitely did a great job in getting him.

Combine him with Omar Wattad, and the Mocs have basically used up their scholarships for next year. They can sign more, but must be down to this number by next year.

There are still rumors about Phillip Jurick. He was rated the #14 center in the country coming out of high school in 2008 and signed with Tennessee. He left Knoxville and is currently attending Chattanooga State. He would be a sophomore next year, and there are some rumors he will be transferring to Chattanooga after this year. He is from East Ridge. We'll see if that holds up.

If it does, start throwing Jurick into that lineup. WOW!


Mocs Schedule Breakdown

Chattanooga’s schedule in 2008-2009 was brutally tough, and directly lead to them nearly having a losing record. Missouri, USC, Tennessee, Memphis, Alabama and Top 100 (according to the RPI) Niagara team all found their way onto the schedule. That does not even include Steph Curry’s Davidson team being on the schedule twice in conference play. The only good news was that they did not have to play College of The Saviors…er…Charleston on the road. Whew. That was a relief.

Coach John Shulman promised that he would not do that again. It was just too much for his team to try to overcome. This year, with six seniors off the team, he has taken the easier road, though this schedule still has its landmines.

When examining the schedule, it is important to realize that until mid-December (right around the Georgia Tech game), the team will not be at full strength, assuming everyone gets healthy and academically eligible. That makes all the November games that much tougher.

Here’s a closer look at the schedule from where we stand right now:

13- Virginia Intermont
17- East Tennessee State
22- @ Richmond
24- @ Missouri
27- Texas- Pan America (South Padre Island Invitational)
28- Bethune-Cookman/Longwood (South Padre Island Invitational)

Overview: It is a nice ease in with Virginia Intermont to get everyone ready to go, but then things get tougher. The next three games are not going to be easy. Richmond is one of the favorites in the A-10, Missouri was in the Elite Eight last year, and ETSU is a huge rivalry game. Texas-Pan America is close to home, but is picked to finish sixth out of six teams in the new conference, the Great West. Bethune-Cookman is picked to finish fifth in the MEAC. Longwood had their most successful season at the D-1 level last year, when they finished 17-14. This is clearly an easier start than last year, but only one D-1 home game during November puts a little damper on the early season schedule, although it is against ETSU, which is a big plus. Too bad it doesn’t fall on a weekend.

Most Important Game: While casual Moc fans will point to the Missouri game as the biggest game since it is against a BCS conference team, and some diehard fans will point to the East Tennessee State game since it is the biggest rivalry, I believe that the most important game (and yes, I am about to lump two games into one, since it is impossible to separate them) is at San Padre Island. Those two games on a neutral court are critical to the Mocs getting off to a solid start. They need at least a split in those two games, and a sweep would be beneficial. That is far from guaranteed. Win those two games, and the Mocs would be no worse than 3-3 coming out of November (assuming a win over Virginia Intermont). Given the injuries and academic issues, along with the D-1 inexperience on the team, a 3-3 start would not be bad.

1-@ Jacksonville State
5- Elon
12- Mississippi Valley State
14- Georgia Tech
19-@ Murray State
21- Tennessee Temple
29- Long Island (Dr Pepper Classic)
30- Eastern Kentucky/Morgan State (Dr Pepper Classic)

Overview: Only two road games find their way onto the schedule this month. They are against two OVC teams. Jacksonville State is picked to finish sixth in the conference, and Murray State is picked to win the conference. Neither game will be easy. Elon is the conference opener for the Mocs. Mississippi Valley State plays fifteen of their first sixteen games on the road. The Mocs are road game seven on that list. Georgia Tech is nationally ranked and coming the McKenzie Arena for one of the most anticipated games of the year. Tennessee Temple is a non-D-1 opponent. Long Island was picked to finish second in the NEC. Eastern Kentucky is picked fifth in the OVC, and is a successful program. Morgan State is picked to win the MEAC. This is a great December schedule. The only “easy” game is Tennessee Temple, and Mississippi Valley State SHOULD be a win, but beyond that, there is no guaranteed win, but also no game the Mocs absolutely cannot win.

Most Important Game: Clearly, the most important game is the Elon game. Not only is it a SoCon game, but it is a game against a division rival. This is a critical game. The Dr Pepper Classic is always important, but winning a SoCon home game will be very important to trying to earn a bye in the Southern Conference Tournament. Slowly, Elon is becoming one of the Mocs biggest rivals. (Hey, maybe I’m the only one that feels that way, but I hate how the Mocs always seem to lose to those ole Fighting Christians, I mean, the Phoenix.)

6-@ Georgia Southern
11- UNC-Greensboro
14- The Citadel
16- College of Charleston
21-@ UNC-Greensboro
23-@ Elon
25-@ Wofford
28- Western Carolina
30- Appalachian State

Overview- Now the SoCon season heats up. This is good stuff. The Mocs will hopefully be playing together as a team by this point. The home games against The Citadel and College of Charleston will play an important role in the other division. Four of the last five games are against division rivals, and those will probably go a long way to determining the Mocs positioning in the division as they head into February.

Most Important Game- Western Carolina at home will be huge. The Catamounts are the team that seem to be the favorite in the division. Coming off a tough three game road trip, the Mocs will need to either be focused after some big wins, or ready to bounce back at home against one of the best teams in the division. This is virtually a must win for the Mocs.

4-@ College of Charleston
6-@ The Citadel
10- Samford
13- Furman
20-@ Samford
22- Davidson
25-@ Appalachian State
27-@ Western Carolina

Overview- And now, the SoCon season wraps up. The schedule is very difficult this month, as the Mocs go on the road for five of their eight games, including against College of Charleston and The Citadel, who most people think are two of the top three in the South Division, and Appalachian State and Western Carolina, possibly the top two teams in the North Division. Davidson, the conference bully over the last several seasons, comes to Chattanooga as well. Throw in that the Mocs play Samford (a future rival…I just don’t feel it yet, but they are clearly the geographical rival) twice, and the schedule is full of danger.

Most Important Game- The trip to Samford will be crucial to determine how important the last three games are. If the Mocs can get by them on the road, then they may be in position to win the division if they can find a way to get through the last three games on their schedule. That game will be critical for the Mocs end of season aspirations.


So, there it is. All in all, this is a decent schedule. The three toughest games will be at Richmond, at Missouri, and Georgia Tech at home. The rest of the schedule is not unbelievable, but there are plenty of nice mid-major challenges. Murray State, Jacksonville State, Long Island, Morgan State, ETSU, and Eastern Kentucky all are good quality opponents. The SoCon appears fairly wide open, as well. Virginia Intermont, Tennessee Temple, and Mississippi Valley State at home are the three easiest games on the schedule.

The only two not put into a category are the two at the South Padre Island Invitational. Those two games may make or break the first month and a half of the season, and determine the Mocs perception around the conference for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To Redshirt or Not To Redshirt- That is the Question.

So, over the last couple of days at MocFans, the idea has been tossed around the Dante Harvey should redshirt.

This is an interesting idea. Clearly, Harvey has a lot of upside and a lot of potential. In fact, he was coming around at the end of last year, and many expected him to start this year. However, with the addition of McKeither, it is hard to know just how much he would play.

An injury like Harvey's is hard to recover from. It takes time. While he is expected to be back by mid-December, he may not be 100 percent for much longer than that.

The Mocs are ten deep at this point, or will be by mid-December. With Bell, Taylor, Odem, McKeither, Jefferson, Williams, Patterson, Early, Cage, and Saffore, the Mocs are very deep. How much would Harvey even play in this situation?

Harvey has talent. He should not waste it sitting on the bench. He should play at 100 percent.

Take the redshirt. Get perfectly healthy. Have three years where Harvey can develop into the star he has the potential to be.

Murray State Falls to Cal, 75-70

Click on the title to be taken to a summary of the game on

So, what did we learn about Murray State last night? We learned that they are not a very big team. They are pretty small. So was Cal. That was the biggest reason that Murray State was able to hang around the whole game against the 12th ranked team in the country. A big man could have really caused problems for the Racers. The Mocs don't have a dominant big man either, so this is not really going to help the Mocs when they face off.

Also, Murray State is very resilient. There were several times that I gave up the Racers for dead, only to have them bounce back and get back into the game. This team will not give up under any conditions.

This is a very good OVC team. They could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament if they all stay healthy, especially if they do not match up with a really big team in the first round. This team is certainly one of the toughest games on the Mocs schedule.

Murray State outrebounded Cal, and BJ Jenkins was hitting from 3 point range. They shot well, and made 67% from the free throw line. The seventeen turnovers and the fact that they shot 17 fewer free throws than Cal is what proved to be the difference. A lot of those free throws came in the closing minutes as the Racers tried to play catch up.

The Mocs are in for a very tough challenge on December 19 when they head to Murray to take on the Racers. That will be a real challenge. Hopefully, everyone is eligible and healthy by then to give us our best chance to win.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Georgia Tech Nearly Blows Exhibition

Click on the title to read article on Georgia Tech's official website about the game.

Georgia Tech won by eight in overtime over Indiana (PA) on Sunday night in an exhibition game.

As was said regarding Syracuse previously, these things can be blown out of proportion. However, it is important to note that they were outrebounded by three. This is a bad thing. Part of the Yellow Jackets excitement heading into the season is that they had a good recruiting class. But with youth comes inconsistency. Will the Yellow Jackets be focused when they come to McKenzie Arena?

Let's not get carried away thinking about Georgia Tech just yet. We are a long way from that game. They've got Florida A&M. Then they get three games in Puerto Rico, starting with Dayton, moving onto George Mason or Villanova, before wrapping up with Boston, Kansas State, Indiana, or Ole Miss. Then Mercer, Siena, and USC all visit Atlanta. Their trip to Chattanooga will be their first true road game of the year. Before that, we should be rooting for the Yellow Jackets. If they are ranked in the Top Ten or Fifteen when they come to Chattanooga, it will be one of the biggest games the Mocs have had in a long time.

OK. So maybe I just got carried away thinking about Georgia Tech. Oh well. Gotta pass the time somehow!


Season Tips Off Tonight!

Click on the title to be taken to the schedule of today's game on ESPN's website.

It all begins today. From now until early April, college basketball will take root in our consciousness.

Sure, college basketball lacks the excitement of college football early in the season. After all, with every team having a shot come conference tournament time, the early season games don't mean a ton. Sure, seedings are on the line early in the year (at least to some extent), but seriously, if North Carolina lost tonight to FIU, it would not cost UNC a number one seed, and if FIU only wins fifteen more games the rest of the year, they won't get an at-large to the NCAA because of it.

So do these games matter? Not really. But it's fun to watch basketball. College basketball is far superior to the NBA in terms of excitement and fun. Will I be watching? I'll watch some. After all, if you want to win your NCAA Tournament Pool, you have to know the teams.

Four games tonight- Florida International at North Carolina, Alcorn State at Ohio State, Albany at The Team That Lost To LeMoyne (Syracuse), and Murray State at California. Murray State-Cal is on ESPNU at 11:00 Eastern. The Racers are a future opponent for the Mocs, so I will certainly be keeping an eye on that one.

Let's see. It's almost 11 AM Eastern right now. The Virginia Intermont game is Friday at 7 PM. That means 104 hours to tipoff!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Virginia Intermont's Weekend In Kentucky

Click the title for a link to Virginia Intermont's conference- the Appalachian Athletic Conference.

The Cecil Zweifel Classic was this weekend in Wilmore, Kentucky. Virginia Intermont competed in that. On Friday night, they lost 99-66 to Berea. On Saturday, they lost to Asbury 79-57.

What does this mean? Not a whole heck of a lot. We already knew that the Mocs would be favored heavily to take down the Cobras. This only confirms that VIC is team searching for some answers, that was beaten by an average of 27.5 points this weekend.

The Mocs, if they come out somewhat ready to play, should be able to win this Friday night. Again, that is not the critical thing about this game for the Mocs. The important thing is to see how the players respond to game situations, and trying to get them ready to play even better against ETSU on November 17.

Fans ought to head out on Friday night to see the game, because there will certainly be some fireworks from the Mocs on Friday night.

SoCon Previews- Western and College of Charleston are the favorites

The Mocs are the reigning North Division champs, while the Davidson Wildcats are the reigning South Division champs. The Mocs beat College of Charleston in the title game last year.

But, things have changed drastically. All five Mocs starters are gone, Steph Curry is gone from Davidson, and Wiggins is gone (due to injury) from College of Charleston.

Without Wiggins and Curry, who is going to SAVE US NOW??????

It's the eternal question. Who will save the SoCon now? Probably no one. Now it will just drift into oblivion. It will fall to about the 20th rated conference.

Wait a minute....

Needless to say, this year is going to be much different than last year. The players are different. The stars will be different. And the league is up for grabs.

The league is wide open. There are eight teams that should hold serious title hopes heading into the year. Of the remaining four teams, three should be better than they were last year. So, top to bottom the SoCon should actually be better than it was a year ago.

On with the Tradition Rich First Annual MocsMania Blog Southern Conference Preseason Predictions That Come With A 100% Money Back Guarantee predictions.

North Division

1. Western Carolina- Harouna Mutombo is a potential star in this league. The nephew of Dikembe Mutombo is a redshirt sophomore and won Freshman of the Year last year. He averaged 14.4 points per game last year, while Brandon Giles averaged 13.2 points per game. Those two guards will lead the team to big heights. The team is very experienced, with nine juniors and seniors on the roster. Mutombo has a decent shot at being the conference player of the year. The Catamounts tied the Mocs for first last year in the division, and with nearly everyone back, it is hard to not pick them to win the division this time around.

2. Appalachian State- The Buzz is back in town. Buzz Peterson is back coaching the Mountaineers for his second stint. Donald Sims and Kellen Brand are both excellent guards, averaging 13.8 points and 14.8 points per game. I've always feared Sims as much as any player in the SoCon for whatever reason. Buzz is not a bad coach. But there are high expectations for this team. They finished third last year in the division, just behind the Mocs and Catamounts. If the Mountaineers don't make a run this year, then the season will not be a success.

3. Chattanooga- We've talked a lot about the Mocs on this blog already, for whatever reason. I mean, you would think this was a Mocs blog or something...With all the talent that Shulman accumulated in the offseason, the Mocs have a real shot to contend in the division again. The problem is that with injuries and academic issues, the Mocs will not really get to gelling until December, and by January they could start forming, and by March, they could be extremely dangerous.

4. Samford- The Bulldogs biggest problem is that they are not overly big. They play that "Princeton" style of offense that just drives teams crazy. They will play low scoring, big time defensive games. That keeps them in nearly every game. Bryan Friday averaged 12.5 points per game a year ago, and he is the team leader. The Bulldogs are primed to contend in the SoCon in this, their second season in the conference.

5. UNC-Greensboro- The Spartans should be better this year. They were inexperienced last year, but with Mikko Koivisto, Kendall Toney, and Ben Stywall all back in the fray this year, they are going to be better. This is going to be a tough team to beat, but they are probably not quite ready to contend with the other four teams in this division.

6. Elon- The Phoenix seem to ALWAYS be a tough out. No one should want to play Elon on a yearly basis at all. Matt Matheny is in his first year as head coach, and without Ola Atoyebi and Brett James this season could be tough. Still, with a new coaching staff, and the tough-nosed nature the Phoenix always seem to have, then this team has potential to be better this year than last year. Chris Long, who shot over 40 percent from three point range a year ago, is probably the top returning player.


1. College of Charleston- Andrew Goudelock is the preseason SoCon Player of the Year, and probably deservedly so. He is a great pure shooter, and scored 16.7 points per game a year ago. Tony White is one of the top point guards in the league, and he may be the key to the Cougars team. With Antwain Wiggins out for the year, the Cougars have real problems in the frontcourt. They need to find someone to replace him up front. If they do, they will become the clear cut favorite to win the division. Without Wiggins, they are a "just barely" favorite.

2. The Citadel- Cameron Wells and his 15.6 points per game may win the SoCon Player of the Year. With Demetrius Nelson and Josh Brown gone from the team, there could be problems for this team. But most people thought they were a year away last year, and now that year is here. They head into the year knowing they can win, having done it last year. Seven foot freshman Joe Wolfinger will play an important role on the Bulldogs.

3. Davidson- How will the Wildacts survive with Andrew Lovedale and Max Paulhus Gosselin? That's all that they lost from last year's team. Wait. They must have lost something else. Yes, that's right. Lottery pick Steph Curry is gone. But with Steve Rossiter, Will Archambault, and Bryant Barr all back, they have plenty of winning tradition back on the team. Frank Ben-Eze, Dan Nelms, and Jake Cohen are all 6-10. They have as much size as any team in the conference. That could give them a huge advantage if those guys play up to their capability.

4. Wofford- The Terriers have never quite seemed to be able to get over the hump, but they do have all five starters back. They are right there with the other three teams in this division. Junior Salters and Noah Dalhman are among the best players in the conference. Both averaged over 15 points per game. Dahlman averaged 17.8 points per game. This is a very good team. It is really just a compliment to the rest of the division that I am picking them to finish fourth. Plus, they have not had the success of any of the other teams in this division yet.

5. Furman- Last year, Furman was very young. They are hoping they can be this year's The Citadel. A year more experienced, and suddenly surging onto the scene in the Southern Conference. Amu Saaka is a transfer from South Florida that should provide immediate results. Jordan Miller averaged 13.8 points a year ago, and he should be even better this time around. The Paladins are going to pull some upsets and make some noise along the way.

6. Georgia Southern- Welcome to the only team that is clearly going to be worse than they were a year ago. Charlton Young, a former Mocs assistant, is the new head coach for the Eagles. Willie Powers, Antonio Hanson, and Ben Drayton do provide some talent in the backcourt, but they need to get some help up front if they are going to contend. The Eagles have been underachieving for years under Jeff Price. If this year they don't underachieve, they could be better, but things don't look good for the Eagles.


First Round

4N Samford
5S Furman
Winner: Samford

3S Davidson
6N Elon
Winner: Davidson

4S Wofford
5N UNC-Greensboro
Winner: Wofford

3N Chattanooga
6S Georgia Southern
Winner: Chattanooga

Second Round

1S College of Charleston
4N Samford
Winner: College of Charleston

2N Appalachian State
3S Davidson
Winner: Appalachian State

2S The Citadel
3N Chattanooga
Winner: The Citadel

1N Western Carolina
4S Wofford
Winner: Wofford


1S College of Charleston
2N Appalachian State
Winner: College of Charleston

2S The Citadel
4S Wofford
Winner: The Citadel


1S College of Charleston
2S The Citadel
Winner: The Citadel


So, in conclusion, The Citadel is going to win the automatic bid. Chattanooga and Davidson could easily make a run at the title though by the time March rolls around. Wofford also has a strong chance to make a run. Samford, Appalachian State, and Western Carolina are all dangerous too. That makes eight very dangerous teams. With Furman and UNC-Greensboro being much improved, the conference is going to be as tough and as wide open as ever.

SoCon action ought to be a load of fun this year.

We all want the Mocs to have success, and they easily could. They have the bullseye on their back after last year. They will be better by March. Hopefully, by then they will have earned the bullseye.

But don't forget, no SoCon team has ever won four games in four days. So getting the bye is huge.