Friday, December 31, 2010

December: A Month of Ups- A Month of Downs

This is so tough to figure out. What do you make of a month that saw the Mocs go 5-2?

They lost their two toughest out of conference games, to Georgia State and Murray State, both at home. In both games, they fell way behind, and came charging back, only to come up just a little bit short.

They won their two games against non-D1 teams in convincing fashion, just like they were supposed to.

And they won all three of their conference games to get into first place in the SoCon North in commanding fashion. They are up by a game and a half in the division, and have already beaten three teams in division play, including a road game against Elon.

So what do we make of this month?

All in all, if you could have picked five games for the Mocs to win this month, they won the five most important ones. They couldn't lose to Reinhardt or Montreat. And they beat the three teams in the SoCon, and that is the most important thing come the first weekend in March.

But the problem is that the losses to Murray State and Georgia State reveal some flaws with the team that have to be major concerns. They don't come out fast often enough, and against teams with as much length as them, they struggle.

However, at the beginning of the month, I predicted they would go 5-2. That was considered a positive pick at the time. In the end, they did just that. They got to 5-2. If they had not lost to Georgia State last night, then the feeling would be much more positive about the Mocs tonight. But last night's loss was disheartening. In the end, this month the Mocs earn a solid B. They could have earned an A- with a win last night. But they didn't do it. So in the end, December earns a solid B, and the Mocs have probably earned a C+ to date. It would be a C- if the Mocs were 1-2 in conference play and 7-7. At 3-0, they earn an above average grade.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Georgia State 81, Mocs 76

This loss will hurt for a while.

The Mocs simply did not shoot well from three point range, and Georgia State never wants to play anywhere but McKenzie Arena again. Georgia State shot phenomenally well over the course of the two day Dr Pepper Classic- hitting for season highs from the field both days. Today, they shot 54.5%, including 10 of 24 from three point range.

The Mocs shot well from the field, but only 23.5% from three point range.

Rebounding wound up even at 33. That's pretty decent, all things considered. The Mocs did not turn the ball over too much- only eleven times. For a change, the problems from the free throw line could be traced to the Mocs good free throw shooters. Ricky Taylor made just 4 of 8. Omar Wattad made 3 of 4, but missed a crucial one late in the game. Keegan Bell made just 1 of 2. That's a total of 8 of 14 from three of their best free throw shooters. They should make roughly 80%. If those Mocs had made 11 of 14 from the free throw line (78.5%) they would have been within one on their final offensive position.

Another problem was that the Mocs offensive possessions at the end of the game were focused entirely on three point shots. They already were not shooting well...and Georgia State was missing free throws. Why not take the two points and try to trim the lead to one possession and put more pressure on the Panthers to make their free throws down the stretch?

DeAntre Jefferson had 19 points and 8 rebounds. This was against a bigger, just as physical team. Jefferson is really starting to turn into one of those guys that cen be relied on to produce big numbers. He is putting up numbers that could make him one of the best big men in the SoCon this year. He made 9 of 10 free throws tonight. If that keeps up, then he really will be almost unstoppable.

Omar Wattad has 19 points. Keegan Bell had 15, and Ricky Taylor 16 to go along with Jefferson's 19. The rest of the team? Try 7 points. Not a good night from the role players on this team. Those are the four best players, and Early is the fifth. Early had a good night with seven rebounds, but just four points before fouling out. No one else remotely produced. Troy Cage, who had played so well against the NAIA schools, did not score, though he did have four rebounds. The Mocs missed Josh Odem being able to score five to ten points off the bench tonight. Cage needed to be that guy. He was not on this night.

All in all, this was a pretty unsatisfying end to what had been a good month. The Mocs are back to 7-7, and are just 2-7 in OOC games against D1 teams as they head to Austin Peay (one of those seven losses) on Monday night.

This game felt a lot like the Jackson State game. It was a home game against a team the Mocs were favored to beat. And the visitors shot the ball unbelievably well, and kept the Mocs from being able to win. However, the Mocs hung around in this one much better than they did against Jackson State. The Mocs are definitely getting better game by game. They are still 3-0 in the SoCon. This loss stings- but they still just need to get going on a big run in SoCon play and everything will be allright.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Georgia State Preview- CAA: Here We Come!!

Georgia State is not a great CAA team. However, they are 1-0 in conference play and are at .500 overall. The Panthers played one of their best games of the season against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first round of the Dr Pepper Classic, when they beat the Islanders 72-42.

The CAA is clearly a better conference than the SoCon- having had an at-large bid make it all the way to the Final Four back in 2006 (George Mason). It's a good conference, and one that would make a decent win for the SoCon if the Mocs can come up with it.

The Mocs are 3-0 in SoCon play, and are over .500 for the first time all year. They can get back to .500 against D1 opponents with a win in this game. They have beaten their last two non-D1 opponents by an average of 48.5 points per game. Now, for the first time since December 17, they will battling a D1 opponent. This one comes in the Dr Pepper Classic Championship Game.

Georgia State got hot shooting from three point range against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, making 9 of 20, and also shooting 52.8% from the field. On the year, they are not that good of a shooting team. Prior to the first round game, they were shooting 43.4% from the field, good for 191st in the country. They are shooting just 35.7% from three point range on the year prior to the game. Those are not exactly good numbers. They will look to continue the hot shooting.

Brandon McGee, Eric Buckner, and Jihad Ali are the frontline for Georgia State, and they have generally been the go-to players for the Panthers. They are the top three rebounders on the team, and the top three scorers.

Dante Curry made six threes against the Islanders, as the Panthers jumped out to a 20-2 lead. Devonta White also had a big game. McGee and Buckner combined for 13 rebounds and 17 points.

The Panthers are 83rd in the country in rebounding, with 38.0 rebounds per game heading into the game against TAMU-CC. The Mocs are ranked 31st in the country, and helped themselves tonight with more than 45 rebounds, which is higher than their average.

Both teams like to get up and down the floor, but both teams are better defensive teams than offensive teams. Both teams are trying to get themselves ready for the conference games that are coming up in January.

--Rebounding. With both teams being good rebounding teams, this will be an interesting stat to watch.
--Turnovers. Bell and the Mocs committed 14 against Montreat, while the Panthers forced the Islanders into 17. The Mocs need to keep their turnovers under control.
--Jefferson, Saffore, Early vs. Buckner, McGee. Their bigs are better than our bigs. I hope our bigs read this and play inspired basketball to prove me wrong. They are capable. They need to keep their bigs from dominating and see what happens.
--Curry and White's shooting. If they stay as hot as they were against the Islanders, it will become much more difficult to contain their inside game and come up with the win.

--Celebrate another Dr Pepper Classic Championship!
--Start preparing all the month end stuff for the blog.
--Feel good about getting back to .500 against D1 opponents.

--Wonder if we'll lose to Georgia Southern like Georgia State did.
--Hope that Georgia State turns out to be one of the biggest surprises of the CAA.
--Try to console myself with memories of losing the Dr Pepper Classic Championship Game in the 1996-97 season, right before going to the Sweet Sixteen.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, and go to bed realizing that tomorrow is another day.

--Troy Cage will play another big role off the bench.
--Bell will score more than he did against Montreat (zero points).
--Taylor will hit a few huge shots.
--McGee and Buckner will have their moments against the Mocs bigs.
--Jefferson will accept the challenge and end up with double digit bords.
--Mocs 73, Georgia State 70. Georgia State can't possibly shoot that well from three point range two nights in a row, right? Jefferson and Early will hold their own against the Panther bigs. Taylor will make the big shot to help the Mocs put things away in the end. This should be a very good game against an OK CAA team.


Mocs 89, Montreat 51

The Mocs dominated the game from the beginning and never really seemed to let up. The amazing thing for the Mocs is that two of their starters did not score a point. Jeremy Saffore did not score, and that was not too surprising. But Keegan Bell not scoring was a pretty unusual situation. Bell, though, did come up with eight assists. He turned the ball over four times as well. He had three steals and three rebounds, but he only took two shots. That was an interesting stat.

Montreat tried to put a lot of pressure on Bell, hoping to force him into some bad decisions. He responded relatively well.

Troy Cage, who needed to have a big night to get into a rhythm, lead the team with 16 points, which was really nice to see now that everyone knows that Josh Odem is not coming back to this team this season. Jeff Smith, who is also going to figure more prominently into the lineup with Odem gone, scored 15, as did Omar Wattad. Dontay Hampton, another important figure with Odem out, scored 11. Ricky Taylor put in 13. DeAntre Jefferson added nine points and ten rebounds.

The Mocs did not dominate the boards like they should have against Montreat. They outrebounded them 46-41. They allowed Steve McBurrough to come up with twelve rebounds.

However, the Mocs were tenacious on defense yet again, allowing Montreat to shoot just 25 percent from the floor. They forced just sixteen turnovers, but a ton of missed shots. The Mocs did the same thing against Reinhardt.

The defense has become the backbone of this team, to go along with the rebounding that normally accompanies the team. Bell does a good job getting the Mocs into their offense, and the rest of the guys seem to be responding right now.

It's hard to take much from this game, but the Mocs have to be pleased that they are playing such good defense lately. The challenges return tomorrow when they take on a CAA team in Georgia State at 7:00 in the Dr Pepper Classic Championship Game.


Georgia State 72, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 42

Demond Watt was absolutely non-existent for the Islanders. Watt scored a team high nine points, and garnered four rebounds. Justin Reynolds scored eight points and had nine rebounds.

But Georgia State exploded offensively. Dante Curry got red hot shooting from three point range. The Panthers made 3 of 10 from three point range, except for Curry. He made 6 of 10 from behind the arc. Devonta White also scored 14 points, and those were the only two players to score in double digits. Brandon McGee also garnered nine rebounds.

The Panthers shot nearly 53 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Islanders 31-26. They only turned the ball over twelve times.

Georgia State shot very well from the floor. One of their best shooting nights of the season to date. The Panthers moved to .500 on the season, and will look to get over .500 in the Championship Game against the Mocs at 7:000 on Thursday night. They were last over .500 back on November 27 when they lost to Samford to fall to 2-2 on the season.


Burroughs Sprained Ankle

Jahmal Burroughs sprained his ankle at Monday's practice, and is likely to miss the Dr Pepper Classic, though that is a little unclear.

How much does this hurt the Mocs? It is not devastating, but it does not help matters any- especially for tomorrow night's game. Both Georgia State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi have a dominating interior presence. Burroughs could certainly come in handy if some fouls wound up getting called on the Mocs big guys.

The Mocs could really use Burroughs, and he has started playing a little bit better. He is a nice role player, and could play a big role down the stretch of the season. So he needs to get healthy so that he can do the job that the Mocs are relying on him for.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Montreat Preview- You Can Come Home Again, Lincoln!

The Dr Pepper Classic will continue with Game 2 at 7:00 on Wednesday night- and the Mocs will take on Montreat and Lincoln Waters, who is returning to Chattanooga after playing for the Mocs back in the late 90s.

Montreat is 4-9 and picked to finish last in the Appalachian Athletic Conference- a full two spots behind Reinhardt in that conference. Just in case anyone forgot, the Mocs beat Reinhardt 107-48 their last time out.

Matt Rushing leads Montreat with 11.3 points per game. He has a season high of 28 points. He is the second leading rebounder at 5 boards per game. Steve McBurrough is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game, leading the team. McBurrough has 8.7 points per game, which is second on the team.

Rushing and McBurrough have combined to shoot 29 of 57 from the free throw line, which is terrible for two guys that have the ball in their hands so often. Montreat is scoring 82.2 points per game, while allowing 84.8 points per game.

In reading the article in todays Chattanooga Times-Free Press, there has to be some concern that the team maybe did not come out quite as focused as they should have coming off the break. That is clearly reading between the lines for me to say this, but there seems to be some rust, and the Mocs will need to shake it off quickly.

The Mocs have jumped all the way to 31st in the country in rebounds per game and 64th in the country in assists per game. Chris Early and DeAntre Jefferson both average 7.1 rebounds per game. Keegan Bell averages 6.6 assists per game. Omar Wattad and Ricky Taylor are the only two Mocs averaging in double figures.

This is also an important game for Troy Cage. Cage will be playing a majority of the minutes that Josh Odem is missing out on. Cage needs to really get into a rhythm, because is going to become one of the Mocs most important players down the stretch. They are going to need him to have some big games down the stretch.

--Focus. Very similar to the Reinhardt game, the Mocs need to show up with focus and intensity. If they do that, they should be able to simply physically dominate the game.
--Cage. Troy Cage needs to have another nice game to get the confidence rolling so that the Mocs can rely on him in future important games- like on Thursday.
--Bell. He is the engine. His focus and intensity drives the rest of the team.

--Be glad to be over .500 for the first time this season.
--Start thinking about Thursday night's game.

--Run into a brick wall head first...without a helmet on.
--Start wondering if I should go to the Southern Conference Tournament in March.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, and remember that tomorrow is another day. No really. Thursday is another game.

--Cage will score in double figures again.
--Jefferson and Early will both get double figures in rebounds. So will Saffore. (How about that?)
--Mocs 98, Montreat 59. The Mocs will come out rusty and less focused than they were against Reinhardt, but it simply won't matter in the long run. The Mocs are just much too good to lose this kind of game at this point.


Dr Pepper Classic Preview: Georgia State-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

This is a deeply intriguing match-up between two schools that are in desperate need of coming up with a good showing in the Dr Pepper Classic.

Georgia State is off to a 4-5 start, but is 1-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, after beating James Madison. Their RPI sits at 313 (as of Monday night's games according to, and that is not particularly good, but they have not really been blown out by anyone. Their schedule just has not been THAT tough. They are in the very tough CAA, so they will need to play very well to contend in the conference, despite already beating one of the league favorites, James Madison.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is 4-7 on the young season, but has played the fourth toughest schedule in the whole country. They have not faired terribly against it, actually. They are the third highest ranked team in the Southland according to, behind Nicholls State and Sam Houston State. They are currently ranked 121 by that measure.

Brandon McGee is the only Georgia State player to average in double figures with 10.3 PPG. However, he has only started four games, and is only averaging 22.9 minutes per game. He also is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game, so he is incredibly efficient when he is in the game.

Eric Buckner is second on the team in scoring, and leads the team in rebounding. He averages 9.2 PPG and 6.6 RPG. McGee is 6-7, and Buckner is 6-10, and both are juniors. This is a solid front line for the Panthers.

McGee and Buckner combined for 63 minutes, 37 points, and 16 rebounds in the 74-72 OT loss to Georgia Southern. Buckner fouled out in just 22 minutes in that game. McGee played 41 minutes.

The guard play is not tremendous. Devonta White, James Fields, and Jihad Ali combined for nine turnovers against Georgia Southern, and only had nine assists. They combined for just 18 points. This is not a great backcourt and have not shot particularly well.

Georgia State is 85th in the country in rebounds per game, which is shown by their frontcourt of McGee and Buckner. They are only 185th in field goal percentage, despite Buckner and McGee both shooting over 50%.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is lead by one dominating player. Demond Watt is averaging 16.0 PPG and 9.9 RPG. He is shooting over 60 percent from the floor. He's a senior. In his last six games, he has averaged 16.8 PPG, scoring in double figures in each game. He is also averaging 9.8 RPG. Those games were against Bethune-Cookman, Valparaiso, St. Edwards, Marquette, Houston, and Memphis. They went 3-3 in those games. He also came up with three blocks in two of those games.

Terence Jones also plays a critical role in the Islanders offense. He turned the ball over eight times against Houston, and six times against Marquette, in the two games prior to the Memphis game (which was their most recent game). Then against Memphis, he did not turn the ball over a single time. Jones is a pretty good three point shooter, but needs to do a better job of not turning the ball over.

The Islanders are 187th in rebounds per game, and 186th in field goal percentage. They do not score a lot of points.

--Watt will put on a show in Chattanooga that will certainly help him land on the All Dr Pepper Classic Team.
--Watching McGee and Buckner go up against Watt will be a treat for any fan who gets out to this showdown.
--Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69, Georgia State 64. This will be a tremendous game that will come right down to the wire, but the Islanders will find a way to get it done in the end. This will be a fun game to watch for anyone that comes out to the game early for that one.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Georgia State Capsule

ENROLLMENT: Information Not Easily Available
CONFERENCE: Colonial Athletic Association
NICKNAME: Panthers
COACH: Rod Barnes
LEADING SCORER: Brandon McGee, 10.3 PPG
LEADING ASSISTS: Devonta White & James Fields, 2.6 APG

Georgia State has played three overtime games- and lost all of them. That has severely hurt the Panthers chances at a winning start. They are 4-5, so they may be better than some people perceive.

Georgia State is off to a 1-0 in start in CAA play with a one point home win over a very good James Madison team. They were picked to finish eleventh in the twelve team conference in the preseason polls. UNC-Wilmington was picked to finish behind them, and they were the only team. The CAA is always a very competitive conference and has earned a lot of respect nationally in recent years.

Georgia State features a pair of 6-10 players- Buckner being the best one that is really starting to come into his own.

For those interested in such things, the CAA Championship Game is the same day as the SoCon Championship Game- March 7.
Georgia State Schedule To Date
November 16 @McNeese State 68, Georgia State 62
November 19 @Georgia State 80, Troy 70
November 23 @Georgia State 69, Utah Valley 56
November 27 Samford 70, @Georgia State 61
November 30 @Hampton 60, Georgia State 56
December 4 @Georgia State 64, James Madison 63
December 11 Western Michigan 61, @Georgia State 59
December 18 @Georgia State 76, Florida A&M 67
December 22 @Georgia Southern 74, Georgia State 72

Sunday, December 26, 2010

KenPom Rankings

According to, through games as of Saturday, December 25:

1) College of Charleston 92
2) Davidson 106
3) Wofford 117
4) Furman 134
5) Appalachian State 204
6) Western Carolina 225
7) Elon 233
8) Samford 237
9) Chattanooga 241
10) The Citadel 272
11) UNC-Greensboro 300
12) Georgia Southern 318

SoCon Rank: 18

Overall Predicted Record: 13-17
SoCon Predicted Record: 9-9


RPI Standings

According to, through games as of Saturday, December 25:

1) Davidson 61
2) Wofford 103
3) Furman 109
4) College of Charleston 116
5) Appalachian State 171
6) Western Carolina 218
7) Chattanooga 220
8) Samford 225
9) Elon 250
10) UNC-Greensboro 299
11) The Citadel 302
12) Georgia Southern 332

SoCon Rank: 22

Predicted Overall Record: 12-18
Predicted SoCon Record: 8-10


Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Capsule

LOCATION: Corpus Christi, Texas
NICKNAME: Islanders
COACH: Perry Clark
LEADING SCORER: Demond Watt, 16.0 PPG
LEADING ASSISTS: Terence Jones, 2.3 APG

The Islanders have played a very difficult schedule so far. They do not have a sparkling record. They are 4-7 on the season.

As members of the Southland Conference, only one team will likely advance to the NCAA Tournament this season. The Islanders are certainly considered one of the favorites to advance to the Big Dance. They are in the West Division with Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, Texas-San Antonio, Texas-Arlington, and Texas State. The Islanders were picked to finish third by the SIDs and fourth by the coaches in the preseason.

The best player on the Islanders is Demond Watt, obviously. He has averaged nearly a double-double against this difficult schedule. He can flat out play. He will be a difficult match-up for anyone in this tournament.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Schedule To Date
November 13 @Texas A&M- Corpus Christi 81, NortheasterN State 74
November 15 Texas A&M 86, @Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 65
November 17 @Oklahoma State 68, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 58
November 21 @Ohio 83, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 70
November 23 @Kansas 82, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 41
November 26 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69, Bethune Cookman 65
November 27 Valparaiso 68, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 62
December 1 @Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 77, St. Edwards 56
December 7 @Marquette 86, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 50
December 18 @Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 81, Houston 78
December 20 @Memphis 68, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 63


Saturday, December 25, 2010

All Mocs Want For Christmas

What do the Mocs want for Christmas? Plenty. What did John Shulman wake up to this morning in his stocking.

Hopefully not coal. The Mocs certainly don't need any coal in their stockings this Christmas. They need to be VERY GOOD and hope that the good vibes help get them on top.

But Shulman woke up this morning and hoped he found these things in his stocking:

1) More money to give all of his staff, and for a bigger recruiting budget.

2) Unlimited cell phone minutes from the NCAA.

3) A big man who can play center that is one of the top recruits to come to the SoCon in next year's class. (Yes, sometimes Christmas does come early.)

4) Some of the energy that he and Keegan Bell share to rub off on everyone else.

5) A full arena.

6) The conference tournament to be in Chattanooga. (Sometimes the SoCon officials are Santa Claus.)

7) A card guaranteeing that Omar Wattad never misses another shot.

8) About twenty pounds of muscle added to Jeremy Saffore's frame.

(I want to be fair to Saffore- he has added some muscle over the years. And who knows if his frame could handle an extra 20 pounds of muscle. I just know that it would be nice if he had some more muscle.)

Also, this is all in good fun...obviously.


Montreat Capsule

LOCATION: Montreat, NC
CONFERENCE: Appalachian Athletic Conference
NICKNAME: Cavaliers
COACH: Lincoln Walters
LEADING SCORER: Matt Rushing, 11.3 PPG
LEADING REBOUNDER: Steve McBorrough, 7.4 RPG
LEADING ASSISTS: Terrell Mosley, 3.8 APG

Montreat is in the same conference as Reinhardt, and Reinhardt was picked to finish sixth in the eight team Appalachian Athletic Conference. Reinhardt was picked to finish eighth.

Lincoln Walters is in his first year as the head coach at the NAIA school. He had been an assistant head coach prior to that. He has been busy since his days at Chattanooga as a player back in the late nineties.

Here is a quote attributed to Walters on the Montreat website: "Building young men in character and integrity through basketball has been a passion of mine for quite some time. I've had a passion for basketball my entire life and having the opportunity to use this passion to advance the Kingdom of God is truly a privilege. I'm grateful to Montreat for giving me this opportunity. My family, (immediate and in-laws) have a long history with this institution and have poured a lengthy part of our lives into what the Lord is doing here. Thank you for giving my wife and me the privilege to continue this tradition."

Montreat has played a very difficult schedule so far, having already played five Division 1 teams- and guaranteed to play two more in the Dr Pepper Classic. Their closest game of those five was an 18 point loss to Charleston Southern. Their biggest blowout in those five games was a 49 point loss to Longwood.

Montreat's Schedule To Date
October 29 @Emmanual 77, Montreat 61
October 30 Martin Methodist 97, Montreat 72
November 5 @East Carolina 85, Montreat 58
November 6 Montreat 71, @Warren Wilson College 59
November 9 @Truett McConnell College 96, Montreat 89
November 13 Montreat 121, Cincinnati Christian 110
November 16 @Appalachian State 101, Montreat 71
November 18 @Charleston Southern 103, Montreat 85
November 22 @Longwood 111, Montreat 62
November 23 Montreat 104, @Piedmont Baptist College 53
December 1 @North Greenville 87, Montreat 70
December 8 @King College 80, Montreat 66
December 11 @UNC-Asheville 86, Montreat 57
December 17 @Montreat 117, Florida College 72

The Cavaliers have a very tough road to winning the tournament. They would have to beat the Mocs on their home floor, and then beat either Georgia State or Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The odds of them winning this tournament are slim to none. They may be able to sneak out a game if the other team really comes out unprepared, but the odds of them being able to win a second one is almost nil.

Although, the Cavaliers will be the fan second favorite, trailing only the Mocs, due to Lincoln Walters return to the Roundhouse.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mocs Not In Position To Relax

The Mocs are ahead of the rest of the North Division by a game and a half. They are 3-0, and off to a tremendous start in conference play.

Last year, on January 14, the Mocs were 11-6 and 3-1 in SoCon play. They had lost to Elon at home, but beaten Georgia Southern on the road, along with UNC-Greensboro and The Citadel at home. They looked like they were going to be one of the main contenders in the North.

And then it all fell apart. The whole thing collapsed. The Mocs won just four games the rest of the year and lost twelve. It was disturbingly bad. Ridge McKeither and Jasper Williams and Dante Harvey all left the team. Ty Patterson had to be carted off the floor to the hospital, and the Mocs were in a disarray. Complete and total disarray.

This year, the Mocs vow things are different. They really could be in for a special season if they can maintain their focus.

Again, this team has not arrived. They still need to keep winning. A first round bye is critical for the Mocs to win the tournament. They have road trips to UNC-Greensboro and The Citadel as their next two conference games. Both are winnable. But both are also loseable.

UNC-Greensboro is winless this year, but the Spartans have played their last three games against Clemson, Wake Forest, and Richmond exceptionally close. They are a dangerous team.

The Citadel is always a dangerous team when we play them. There was the dramatic close win last year, and the hard fought road win at their place two years ago.

If the Mocs can somehow get to 5-0 (and believe me, I am not counting it as a cinch yet), then they will be in prime position to get a bye and possibly win the division. They could even finish with the best record in the conference at that point.

But they need to capitalize on this. They were 3-1 a year ago- and now they are 3-0. They need to focus.

And I believe they will.


Past OOC Opponents

RPI according to and records are D1 only.

Tennessee 7-3, 29
Austin Peay 7-6, 126
Kennessaw State 1-9, 318
Marshall 6-3, 104
Louisville 10-3, 30
Jackson State 2-8, 110
FIU 3-6, 300
Murray State 6-4, 75


Tennessee is on a terrible three game losing streak that has been really detrimental to the Mocs RPI. When the Vols were #1 in the RPI, the Mocs were ranked significantly higher in the RPI. They were in the 140s before losing to Murray State, and the Vols lost right after that, and the Mocs dropped 80 spots. The Vols can really help the Mocs RPI if they start winning again. They are playing Belmont tonight.

Austin Peay is also a future opponent. The Governors are becoming one of the favorites in the OVC, despite losing their second leading scorer. Could they win the OVC? Yes. This team is the only undefeated team in the conference. It would be good for the Mocs if Austin Peay went on to win the OVC since they play them twice.

Kennesaw State is one of the odder teams on the Mocs schedule. They were playing so well when the Mocs played them, coming off a huge win over Georgia Tech. They have not won since that win over the Yellow Jackets, and seem to be getting worse and worse. It wouldn't hurt the Mocs feelings if they started winning at some point and jumped into contention in the Atlantic Sun.

Marshall is one of the Mocs good wins. The Thundering Herd has beaten Top 100 James Madison at home, and lost to them on the road. They also lost to Louisville on the road. This will continue to be one of the Mocs good wins. Along with Memphis, UCF, and Southern Miss, Marshall is one of the main contenders in Conference USA.

Louisville has beaten UNLV and Butler for quality wins, and lost to Drexel at home for their only loss of the year. Of course, Drexel has an RPI of 19 right now, so that is not that bad of a loss. They haven't played any other Top 100 teams at all. Their schedule has been relatively easy, and they will be in contention in the Big East. The Mocs would love it if the Cardinals went on to be a major player in the conference race.

Jackson State may only be 2-8, but with an RPI of 110, they are not that bad. But after losing to Bradley, there has to be some question whether or not they deserve their spot. They are probably still the favorite in the SWAC, though that is not necessarily huge praise for them. They should start winning a lot more games now that they are about to enter SWAC play.

FIU is clearly the worst loss of the year for the Mocs. They already lost to RPI 339 Bowling Green. This is not a good team. There is really almost no excuse for losing by 21 to this Golden Panthers team. They are not a significant contender in the Sun Belt. In fact, it would be best if the Mocs just forgot about this game altogether.

Murray State may be considered co-favorites with Austin Peay. They have already lost a conference game to Morehead State. Their schedule is about to really ease up, as they will play many teams with RPI's over 300. They may remain in the Top 100, though. This team is good enough to win plenty of games. I have come to expect Austin Peay and Murray State to play for the OVC title, and that makes the Mocs schedule look all the better.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Future OOC Opponents

RPI according to W-L are total for the non-D1 team, and the D1 records vs. D1 teams.

Montreat 4-6
Georgia State 4-5, 266
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2-7, 109
Austin Peay 7-6, 133
Georgia Tech 6-5, 114


Montreat is 4-6 and coached by Lincoln Walters, the former Chattanooga player. Montreat has played a heck of a schedule so far- East Carolina, UNC-Asheville, Appalachian State, Longwood, and Charleston Southern. That is five D1 schools already. They've averaged losing those five games 97.2-66.6, or 30.6 points per game. This team is 4-1 in games against non-D1 teams, so maybe they aren't bad for their level, but this team has not played close games against D1 teams like Reinhardt had previously...and the Mocs just beat Reinhardt by 59. So- say what you want there. Appalachian State beat them 101-71- a team the Mocs beat by double digits at home earlier this month.

Georgia State is a potential opponent in the Dr Pepper Classic. They already own a win over a Top 100 RPI team over James Madison. They lost at home to Samford by nine, for another SoCon opponent. They also lost at Georgia Southern by two points. Samford was their biggest blowout loss of the year, so no one has blown them out, even a Hampton team that is in the Top 100. This team is capable of pulling off an upset for sure.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is the other potential opponent in the Dr Pepper Classic. This team has only two wins- but has played the third toughest schedule in the country. Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Valparaiso, Kansas, and Memphis all rank in the Top 100 of the RPI...and all six have beaten TAMU-CC. In games against non-Top 100 teams, they are 2-2, with a losses to Marquette and Ohio, and wins over Bethune-Cookman and Houston. This team is not that bad even though their record indicates that they are. They may very well be the favorites in the Southland Conference.

Austin Peay will be a road rematch after playing them to a very tough three point loss the first time we played them. The Governors have slowly developed into one of the favorites of the OVC. They are 4-0 in conference play so far. They sit alone atop the conference, ahead of the Murray State team that was perceived to be the tougher of the two OVC opponents we played this year. Strangely, the team is without their second leading scorer, Anthony Campbell. Since Campbell they have gone 3-1, with their lone loss coming in overtime to Memphis. Not bad. This team is pretty good.

Georgia Tech is the biggest name opponent left on the schedule. The Yellow Jackets are a meandering 6-5. They lost by 17 at Kennessaw State, and beat Richmond by 13. Georgia Tech's loss to Siena tonight was also an upset. So there is really no telling with this team. Northwestern crushed them by 20, and the Georgia beat them by one. The Yellow Jackets are an ACC team, and the game will break up the conference schedule for both teams. This acts as the Mocs Bracket Buster game, as it is played the same week as the Bracket Busters. This may be an even better spotlight for the Mocs- and is a team that the Mocs could conceivably beat.


Again, expect full coverage of the Dr Pepper Classic in the coming days. The Mocs host tournament for this holiday season will draw a lot of attention on here, especially during this semi-quiet period of actual basketball. Who would the Mocs rather play in the second game, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or Georgia State? Tough to say. Georgia State has played everyone close, but has losses to Samford and Georgia Southern- two teams that the Mocs expect to be at least equal to, if not better than. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has been getting beat up, but they have played a brutal schedule. My gut instinct tells me that Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will end up with the better RPI and possibly in the NCAA Tournament. I think that the Mocs would probably prefer them in the championship game for the biggest boost to the overall profile. But it's a tough call....


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Odem Done

Josh Odem has been declared academically inelegible for the spring semester, meaning he will miss the remainder of the season. He may or may not transfer. This is a blow to the Mocs, who will miss having the two guard to help back-up Taylor. Cage will need to step into that role now.

All that being said, I hope that Odem can learn from his mistakes and move forward and will stay a Moc. He has shown great potential and could be a valuable asset to the program in the long run.


KenPom Rankings

According to, through Monday:

1) College of Charleston 93
2) Davidson 109
3) Wofford 113
4) Appalachian State 147
5) Furman 166
6) Samford 217
7) Western Carolina 227
8) Chattanooga 232
9) Elon 247
10) The Citadel 255
11) UNC-Greensboro 311
12) Georgia Southern 319

SoCon Rank: 18

Predicted Overall Record: 13-17
Predicted SoCon Record: 9-9


RPI Standings

According to, through Monday's games:

1) Appalachian State 45
2) Davidson 83
3) Wofford 94
4) College of Charleston 98
5) Furman 157
6) Samford 202
7) Chattanooga 207
8) Western Carolina 217
9) Elon 266
10) The Citadel 278
11) UNC-Greensboro 306
12) Georgia Southern 339

SoCon Rank: 20

Predicted Overall Record: 11-19
Predicted SoCon Record: 7-11


Mocs 107, Reinhardt 48

The Mocs trailed 15-12 about eight minutes into the game, and everyone was a little uncomfortable in McKenzie Arena.

But then the Mocs got hot shooting, starting playing a little bit better defense, and turned things into a complete a total rout.

Look- I think we should all be comfortable saying that the Mocs should have dominated in this game. And they did.

But what should not be overlooked is that this Reinhardt team played close against both Georgia Southern and Murray State. They were down by single digits in the second half against both teams. They wound up losing by 17 and 14 to those two teams- which is nothing compared to what the Mocs did to this Eagles team.

What does that mean? Well- it could be a fluke. It could mean that Georgia Southern is really bad, and that Murray State was unfocused. We just don't know. It is a real unknown.

No matter what you think it means about Georgia Southern or Murray State, what it certainly means about the Mocs is that they came out focused and played hard. I guess there was not an overabundance of focus early in the game, but that is nitpicking. There were too many first half turnovers again (eight).

All in all, Bell looked good, and Taylor and Early had huge games. Burroughs had a reasonably good game. Saffore and Jefferson collected seven and eight rebounds. Early had twelve, as they won the battle of boards (are you ready for this?) 55-23. The Mocs shot 52.6% from the field and 41.2% from three point range. Reinhardt shot 25.8% from the field. Really, just unbelievable stats.

One of the most important stats- Troy Cage erupted for 14 points. With Odem out (indefinitely at this point) Cage becomes a very important part of this team. He hasn't played much, and hasn't played particularly well when he has played- until today. This afternoon, he played well. Yes- it was against Reinhardt. But maybe he can be a valuable back-up.

The 17 total turnovers was too many. And I did watch the game start to finish.

The Mocs are back to .500 overall for the first time since they were 2-2 following their upset win over Marshall. If the Mocs can beat Montreat, they will be over .500 for the first time all year.

This was an impressive showing against an overmatched foe- albeit one that had played well in previous D1 battles. We'll have to see if they can keep on playing at a high level once they come back from Christmas Break.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Postgame for Tomorrow's Game

I will not be providing immediate postgame coverage of the Reinhardt game. I will be at work during the game. Then, I will come home, and I am planning on watching the game on Chattanooga All-Access beginning at about 9:00. So I will be done with it about 11:00 and then do postgame coverage. So all my posts tomorrow will be coming later than what many may be used to.


Reinhardt Preview: Businessman's Special for a Business Game

The Mocs are playing at noon on a Tuesday afternoon. This has caused a great deal of distress among many a Moc fan who think this is a horrid idea. But that has been hashed, rehashed, and then fried.

So let's cut to the chase. It's a Businessman's Special! Fun!

The Mocs need to treat this like a business game. They need to not hit the snooze button a few times. Reinhardt is not a great team (they are a 4-9 NAIA team), but they hung around with both Georgia Southern and Murray State. They were within single digits in the second half of both games, losing to GSU by 17 and MSU by just 14.

So the Mocs need to come out early and set the pace, set the tempo, and jump out to a big early lead. Is it possible? Sure it is. The Mocs are more than capable of beating this team by 30 points. They also are capable of laying a total egg and being sent home with a lump of coal in their stockings (in other words, not on the list of Good Boys and Girls).

Kevin Nordeen won the Appalachian Athletic Conference's Player of the Week last week. He is a senior guard, and 6-1. Last week, he averaged 24.0 points per game on 59.3% shooting, and shot 59.1% from behind the three point arc. He is a deadly shooter when he is on his game. Could Nordeen get hot? Possibly. Amazingly, he did not play against either Murray State or Georgia Southern, and this past week was his first game action of the season. So Nordeen makes Reinhardt even better than the team that played those two D-1 schools close.

Looking at their season stats (which have not been updated to include Saturday's game), Carlos Lyles is averaging 14.4 points per game, David Lawson is averaging 13.6 points per game, and Tyler Blackwell is averaging 10.3 points per game. Lyles has a game of 35 points this year, and Lawson scored 25 against Georgia Southern. Steven Jenkins played well off the bench against both Georgia Southern and Murray State.

Lyles, Blackwell, and Lawson also are the best rebounders for the Eagles. Each of them have games in double figures rebounding on the season. Georgia Southern outrebounded Reinhardt by six, including allowing Reinhardt to claim ten offensive boards (out of 28 total). They were outrebounded by thirteen against Murray State, but still claimed eight offensive rebounds (out of their 21 total). The Mocs are one of the better rebounding teams in the country- especially in defensive rebounding. They rank as one of the top 30 in the country in not allowing opponents to get offensive rebounds according to Pomeroy. If the Mocs don't play lazy, they should be able to dominate the glass.

Another surprising discovery is that the Mocs are not a team that allows opponents to shoot well beyond the arc against them this year. Many people still have that misconception in their head- pointing back to the Jackson State game as an example. Taking Jackson State away, opponents really have not done that.

But what if Nordeen goes off? What if the Mocs come out lazy and don't clear the glass? What if Bell turns into a turnover machine? What if the shots don't fall and the Mocs don't adjust and pound the ball to Jefferson, Saffore, Early, Burroughs, and Watson, then they could struggle to score.

--Focus. If the Mocs are focused and hungry, they should be able to do everything they need to do to win the game in the first twenty minutes. The early start time on a weekday may create a bit of a haze in the arena and the Mocs may come out sluggish and keep Reinhardt in the game. One of these days, Reinhardt is going to complete the upset. That's why the Mocs need to not come out sluggish.
--Rebounding. This will tell if they are focused or not. Beat Elon on the boards by 17 and then beat Reinhardt on the boards by nothing? That would be a sure sign of the lack of focus and intensity.
--In the paint. If the Mocs outscore Reinhardt in the pain by a large margin, then they will win the game. Yes, Reinhardt may get hot from the outside, but the Mocs should be able to dominate in the paint.

--Wonder how many more times the Mocs may try a noon start in coming years.
--Celebrate the fourth win of the month.

--Wonder how long Shulman can stave off the wolves losing to NAIA teams.
--Be very, very upset.
--Sigh, go to bed, and remember that tomorrow is another day- though I likely won't be able to remember that until at least December 30.

--Jefferson, Early, and the rest of the inside game will dominate.
--Wattad will have a fairly bad game. Call this a gut feeling. Prove me wrong, Omar.
--Bell will come up with double digit assists.
--The game will stay close longer than most will expect it to, as the Mocs will lead by single digits at halftime.
--The Mocs will wind up clearing the bench in the second half.
--Mocs 86, Reinhardt 64. The Mocs are just too physical and too big and strong for Reinhardt. The Mocs will struggle to be motivated and that will lead to a lackluster first half, but in the end, the Mocs will pull away and win with ease.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reinhardt Links

Look- does anyone really know about Reinhardt? Obviously, we know very little about the Eagles. (Yes, that's their nickname!)So, I have included the following four links to help learn a few things about our next opponent.

Basketball Main Page

This is not going to be an easy win for the Mocs. They do need to show up and put in the effort early to put the game away. They should win the game if they focus in the first half.

Get a good look at it all tonight. Full preview tomorrow. (Hopefully, with an interview with Coach Pourchier, but he hasn't responded yet to my request.)


Chattanooga and the SoCon's Dream? Could It Happen?

The Southern Conference Tournament is in Chattanooga this year. And the Southern Conference and Chattanooga could be getting their dream.

What would be the best thing for the tournament? If the teams that help the conference sell the most tickets are all good enough to make people want to make the trip to Chattanooga. What constitutes "good enough"? Probably finish in the top two in either division.

So what would sell the most tickets?

First of all, Chattanooga needs to be good. The Moc fans will show up for the tournament if the perception in Chattanooga is that the Mocs have a real shot to win it. They need to finish first or second in the North. They are 3-0 and well on their way to doing that if they can keep on winning. They need to win some big games coming up, and it is possible. It's also possible that the Mocs don't get it completely turned around and can't finish that high in the division.

The other North team that would probably attract the most fans is Appalachian State. The Mountaineers probably bring plenty of fans all things considered. And they are a traditional power in the conference, so the perception would certainly be high that they can win the title if they finish that high in the division.

From the South, Davidson brings plenty of fans and plenty of attention if they are good enough. They are a traditional power and would bring plenty of fanfare to the tournament.

The other team from the South probably needs to be College of Charleston. They have all the media love, and they have the recognizable head coach, and they have the fan base to help fill up the arena.

Ironically, those are probably the four most tradition rich programs in the SoCon. Wofford certainly has enough cache to help with the national perception, but they are not quite as tradition rich, and would probably not draw quite as many fans.

The irony is that so far, those appear to be the five best teams in the SoCon, with the lone exception possibly being Furman, depending on whether or not you happen to believe that this is the year the Paladins finally keep it all together for the whole year. It is very possible that the four teams listed above get the four byes, which will make for a lousy Friday, but a fun quarterfinals...and potentially an even more enticing Semifinal Sunday. Can you imagine Charleston-Chattanooga and Davidson-Appalachian State in the semis? Can you imagine Charleston-Appalachian State and Davidson-Chattanooga in the semis? Either one would be unbelievable and the hype in Chattanoogs would be easy to get excited about.

Here's to hoping that happens, because that is probably the best thing for the city of Chattanooga, and the SoCon as a whole.


Sagarin's Rankings

According to Jeff Sagarin:

1) College of Charleston 73
2) Davidson 90
3) Furman 94
4) Appalachian State 100
5) Wofford 108
6) Samford 211
7) Chattanooga 216
8) Western Carolina 232
9) Elon 280
10) The Citadel 288
11) UNC-Greensboro 317
12) Georgia Southern 343

SoCon Rank: 18


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 92
2) Davidson 106
3) Wofford 111
4) Appalachian State 148
5) Furman 168
6) Samford 220
7) Western Carolina 229
8) Chattanooga 241
9) The Citadel 247
10) Elon 259
11) UNC-Greensboro 316
12) Georgia Southern 317

SoCon Rank: 18

Overall Predicted Record: 13-17
SoCon Predicted Record: 9-9


RPI Rankings

According to

1) Appalachian State 52
2) Davidson 78
3) Wofford 100
4) College of Charleston 107
5) Furman 157
6) Chattanooga 208
7) Western Carolina 223
8) Samford 250
9) The Citadel 298
10) UNC-Greensboro 300
11) Elon 302
12) Georgia Southern 337

SoCon Rank: 21

Predicted Overall Record: 11-19
Predicted SoCon Record: 7-11


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Warning! Reinhardt Could Be Better Than We Think...

Reinhardt plays in the NAIA.

Reinhardt is 4-9.

However, the Eagles have played two D1 schools so far- Georgia Southern and Murray State.

They lost by less than twenty to both teams. They were within three in the second half against Georgia Southern. They were within nine in the second half against Murray State.

In other words, if we played them the exact same way that Murray State played them, more than likely there will be fans up in arms on the MocFans message board complaining about how awful the Mocs played and how Shulman needs to be fired.

The Mocs need to be very careful here. It is a noon start right before they go off for Christmas break. They need to come out with energy and put this team away early because this is a team capable of getting off to a good start and hanging around. That is a potentially dangerous affair for the Mocs to get caught up in.


Reflections on Elon- A Day Later

OK- it's been a day since the Mocs win over Elon, and it is time for a quick reflection on what went down.

It's important to distinguish the SoCon to understand where this victory ranks.

There are three classes of SoCon teams right- The Contenders, The Darkhorses, and The Longshots.

The Contenders- College of Charleston (the early favorite), Davidson, Wofford, Appalachian State, and Chattanooga.

The Darkhorses- Furman, The Citadel, Western Carolina, Samford, and Elon.

The Longshots- UNC-Greensboro and Georgia Southern.

Of course, Furman or a host of other teams can still move around on this list, but this is their current standing in my opinion.

My theory is that any team with Sims is capable of winning the SoCon Tourney. The Mocs are at home for the tourney and are playing well. Davidson, Wofford, and CofC have as much talent as anyone and will fight it out for one of the byes all year round.

Of course, Furman could become this year's Citadel and steal a bye away from them, like the Bulldogs did two years ago, making CofC play four games in four days. That is the real wildcard in the whole race.

But more on the SoCon after the Austin Peay game in a couple of weeks.

So what does the Elon win mean? Plenty. We're now 3-0, all against the North. We're proving we can beat the North teams, which is huge to getting the bye that matters so much to winning the tournament.

Elon is one of the teams that could be a darkhorse for the title. But their road to having a better seed than us in the tourney just took a huge hit. They are now three games behind us and have lost at home to us. If we beat them at home later on this year, that would put us basically five games ahead of them. That is going to be very difficult for them to make up.

So what did the Elon game mean? It meant that we now have a huge edge on Elon, and have probably put them in the rearview mirror in terms of standings. And that's a good start.

Come one- answer me seriously. When I said that the Mocs would go 5-2 in the month of December, you probably thought that I was being too optimistic. Well, now I see absolutely no reason that they shouldn't get to 6-1. Yes, they need to show up against Reinhardt (who has lost to two D1 teams already, and both times they've been within single digits in the second half) and Montreat. They will absolutely need to play well against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or Georgia State. But they will be favored to win all three of those games.

And so the Mocs roll on- looking like they could be 8-6 heading into January. They will be 3-0 in SoCon play heading to UNC-Greensboro on January 8.

And if you had told me back on the Sunday after Thanksgiving that the Mocs would be 3-0 in the SoCon right now- I would have taken it in a heartbeat. I was worried about 0-3- though I thought that 2-1 was a real possibility. I really didn't think 3-0 was in the cards. I thought there would be a loss to Murray State and Appalachian State, and hopefully we would beat Elon and Western Carolina. So here we are. 3-0.

And it feels good.

Odem Out

Josh Odem did not play tonight for the Mocs. Currently, there is no information other than that he is not injured and he is on the team. That means that something has happened. But we're not sure what. Is it lack of dedication in practice? Is it breaking curfew?

Clearly, he has made it into Shulman's doghouse. If anyone remembers what happens once you are there, think Ridge McKeither last fall. He couldn't ever get consistent minutes after finding his way there, and McKeither has transferred.

I hope this is not the end of the Odem era in Chattanooga. I'm not sure that it is by any means. But it may be.

Let's not let this put a damper on the Mocs huge road win tonight. They are 3-0 in the SoCon now. So I don't want to get too caught up in this for tonight at least, but I felt like I would be remiss not to mention it at all.


SoCon North Standings

Through Friday, December 17:

1) Chattanooga 3-0
2) Appalachian State 1-1
3) Samford 1-1
4) UNC-Greensboro 0-2
5) Western Carolina 0-2
6) Elon 0-3

Tie between Appalachian State and Samford is broken by the Mountaineers head-to-head win over Samford.
Tie between UNC-Greensboro and Western Carolina is broken by their North Division record. UNCG is 0-0 against the North. Western Carolina is 0-2 against the North.


Mocs 71, Elon 65

After all my talk about how much I wanted to beat Elon, I am very satisfied to come away with a win. I did not feel like the Mocs played particularly well. But they came up with the big plays.

The Mocs dominated the boards, 46-29. That was one of the biggest differences in the game. Jefferson came up with ten, and no starter came up with fewer than the five that the Bell had. Wattad and Early both had seven, Saffore and Taylor both came up with six.

Early and Jefferson were hampered by foul trouble, as both had four fouls. That really presented problems to the Mocs.

But Bell came up with 23 points, with Wattad had 16 and Jefferson adding ten. Maybe most importantly, they held one of the Top 50 teams in the nation in scoring to just 65 points. The Phoenix shot just 39% from the floor as well. Yes, Isenbarger exploded for 22 points. No one else on Elon hit double digits. Spradlin was the only Phoenix player to collect more than three rebounds, and he had ten.

The Mocs, of course, were also exposed from the free throw line again. They shot 17 of 29 from the free throw line. Wattad and Bell combined to go 10 of 12. The rest of the team shot 7 of 17. Watson also played entirely too many minutes with nine- but with Early and Jefferson both with four fouls, he was forced to play some. Burroughs could have gotten more than five minutes, but he had three fouls.

The Mocs were down two at halftime, in a half that they did not play well. They played significantly better in the second half, and that was why they won.

The referees called far too many three second calls and carries. I didn't see the game, but I have rarely heard a game with so many of those calls. The Mocs were lucky to survive that.

Here's the deal- Wofford, the reigning champs, struggled to beat Elon at Elon a few weeks ago. The Mocs now have three road wins for the win- more than they had all of last year. The Mocs have now won one conference road game- equalling the number from a year ago. The Mocs are 3-0 in Southern Conference play. All of those have come against North teams. Yes, the South is better than the North. But the Mocs play in the North, so the tiebreakers will come down to how they perform in the division. They have played very well so far.

The Mocs move to 5-6 on the year, with two games against non-D1's coming up before they are playing a D1 team again in the Dr Pepper Classic. If the Mocs could win all three of those, they would be 8-6 overall, and 6-6 against D1 teams. That would be impressive given where they were about three weeks ago.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Unusual Start Time

Don't forget- tonight's game starts at 6:00 which is a very unusual start time for a Mocs game!


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 93
2) Davidson 109
3) Wofford 114
4) Appalachian State 158
5) Furman 176
6) Samford 220
7) The Citadel 224
8) Western Carolina 229
9) Chattanooga 244
10) Elon 252
11) Georgia Southern 313
12) UNC-Greensboro 315

SoCon Rank: 18

Predicted Overall Record: 13-17
Predicted SoCon Record: 8-10


RPI Standings rankings through Thursday, December 16:

1) Appalachian State 54
2) Davidson 79
3) Wofford 103
4) College of Charleston 112
5) Furman 173
6) Chattanooga 220
7) Western Carolina 238
8) Samford 250
9) Elon 272
10) The Citadel 283
11) UNC-Greensboro 306
12) Georgia Southern 331

SoCon Rank: 21

Predicted Overall Record: 10-20
Predicted SoCon Record: 6-12


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elon Preview: Rising From the Ashes

Can a phoenix rise from it's own ashes?

The Mocs need to rebound from a very disappointing loss to Murray State at home last Saturday night. They desperately need to come up with a win so that the momentum that they gained from winning against Appalachian State and Western Carolina earlier this month is not totally lost.

However, Elon also desperately needs a win after starting 0-2 in conference play. A loss here would put the Phoenix at 0-3. With the Mocs at 3-0 and owning a road win over the Phoenix, Elon would be a full three games behind the Mocs and in trouble in any tiebreaker with them. Could they own a first round bye if they fall to 0-3?

And so it begins. A game that is absolutely critical to both teams at a very early portion of the conference season. This game is as important as any game the Mocs have played yet this year. It's also especially critical to the Phoenix.

Elon has been a bit of a house of horrors for the Mocs over the years. They have gone 3-4 at Elon, including losing the last two years up there- both in fairly painful fashion. That followed 2008, when the Mocs won at Elon to close the regular season- then lost to Phoenix in heartbreaking fashion in the SoCon Tournament Quarterfinals.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Elon on here? Probably not. Let me just say it now- I hate Elon. Not because they have obnoxious fans (or a big number of fans). The problem with them is that they ALWAYS beat the Mocs right when I least want them to. They should not be able to beat the Mocs consistently, and yet they are 8-8 all-time against the Mocs.

With an eye on this game, Jack Isenbarger is the Phoenix leading scorer. He comes off the bench. In three games (South Carolina, College of New Jersey, and Maryland), he has averaged 24.3 points per game. In the other six, he has averaged 8.8. Againsy Lynchburg in their last game, he scored 15, and shot 4 of 6 from the three point line. He had eight assists against Hampden. He is shooting 43.8% from three point range, and has 3.8 rebounds per game, along with being second on the team in assists, averaging just over 3 per game. Not bad. The freshman has been one of the real pleasant surprises of the conference so far.

Chris Long is one of the players that has given the Mocs problems in the past. He leads the team in assists with just over 4 per game. He is averaging 13.3 points per game. He is shooting 54.7% from the floor. He is shooting 38.2% from the three point range. He is also shooting 86% from the free throw line. Long is a senior, and is a good leader. Honestly, if Elon is going to make a run in the SoCon Tournament in Chattanooga, look for Long to be a major reason why.

Drew Spradlin is the other Phoenix player to score in double figures, averaging 13.1 points per game. The 6-5 junior guard is shooting just under 40% from the floor on the season. Spradlin has the ability to get hot. He needs to get going for the Phoenix to put together the type of SoCon season that they are hoping to build on.

The leading rebounder is Roger Dugas. He is 6-8, and is getting 6.1 rebounds per game. He also is shooting 45.2% from three point range, which is tops on the team. Scott Grable also averages 4.3 per game. Grable is 6-9. Those two both start. But freshman Lucas Troutman averages 4.6 rebounds per game. In one of the more odd stats of the early season, he has 21 offensive rebounds, and just 20 defensive rebounds. His problem? He shoots just 38.5% from the field. For a big guy who is getting a lot of offensive rebounds, he needs to be shooting at a higher percentage than that.

This will be a big challenge for Chris Early, DeAntre Jefferson and Jeremy Saffore down low. They will be challenged by Elon's bigs. How will they respond to this challenge?

Elon averages 78.6 points per game, good for 42nd in the country. They collect 35.8 rebounds per game, which puts them at 183rd. They give up 38.6 rebounds per game. They also are 50th in the country in assists.

After a week off, the Mocs also have finished up their finals. They have been totally focused on basketball this week. They are some of the few students on campus this week. They should look better in the early going than they did against Murray State, when they looked like a team that hadn't thought about basketball for most of the week.

--How will Early, Jefferson, and Saffore respond to playing a team that has some bigs that can play pretty well? Elon's bigs are not unbelievably good, and this is an area that the Mocs need to win the battles. And it should be a battle.
--Can Bell, Taylor, Wattad, and Odem play the defense necessary to contain the guards? Elon's guards control the game, and set everything up. The Mocs guards will need to play good defense on them to prevent the open looks.
--Rebounding. Always critical.
--Free throw shooting. Yes, Jefferson stinks. We know that. The rest of the Mocs need to make theirs, and he needs to make an acceptable percentage.
--Hurried patience. This is my new catch phrase. The Mocs need to run some. Bell plays the best in the open floor. But they also need to be patient in this game. Elon wants to score in bunches. The Mocs need to weather storms, especially on the road, and show that they can play with good pace in a game like this one.

--Breathe the contented sigh of someone who just listened to his team beat an arch-nemesis.
--3-0 in the SoCon North! Until January 8!
--Relax and enjoy my weekend.

--Stomp around the house with a very disgruntled look on my face. The same look that normally encompasses my face after the Mocs lose to Elon. One of these probably describes it.
--Wonder if 2-1 is a good enough start to hold up for one of the North's byes in the SoCon Tournament.
--Wish that we could have been 3-1 heading into Reinhardt and Montreat on the month of December.
--Sigh, go to sleep, and remember that tomorrow is another day.

--The Mocs will start fast, playing significantly better than they did against Murray State in the first half last week.
--Long, Spradlin, and Isenbarger will get in more than their fair share of shots on us.
--Wattad will make some open threes in transition off of nice passes by Bell.
--Taylor will play especially better than he did against Murray State.
--Jefferson will miss a few free throws that will make us want to bang our heads against the wall.
--Mocs 81, Elon 77. Please let this be right. Please, please, please. I want to beat Elon so bad. I get so frustrated by Elon. Please let us beat them. Please. Fast paced game suits Bell, and he is the engine that helps us win this one.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Around the SoCon

(According to RealTimeRPI- through Tuesday's games. Record vs. D1 through Wednesday's games.)

Appalachian State 2-4, 57
College of Charleston 8-3, 117
Davidson 5-4, 78
Elon 1-5, 277
Furman 5-2, 174
Georgia Southern 0-8, 332
Samford 5-4, 234
The Citadel 2-5, 282
UNC-Greensboro 0-9, 304
Western Carolina 3-8, 241
Wofford 4-6, 105


OK, so not too in depth.

Let's talk about a handful of teams, beginning with UNC-Greensboro. After watching the Spartans tonight against Wake Forest, I come away impressed with UNCG. The Demon Deacons won by two, and UNCG remains winless, but the Spartans are not that bad of a team really. Their schedule has hardened them some. They will win some games in the SoCon this year. They may get up to fourth in the North. Of course, they may be fifth or sixth. It's hard to know. But this team will not go winless in conference play. There's no way. In fact, they'll be better than some people think.

Let's also talk briefly about the other team that is winless against D1 teams- Georgia Southern. This team is a real mystery. They were young last year and supposed to be better this year. But they aren't. In fact, they may be worse. They recruited well last year and have a solid group coming in next year. The Eagles should improve. But so far, Charlton Young is proving he recruit, but there have to be some questions about whether or not he can coach. Of course, the Eagles have been close in several games, and are sure to win a few conference games. Their next four opponent's have an RPI of 249 or higher. South Alabama (249), Georgia State (272), and Eastern Kentucky (300) are all at home. Auburn (324) is on the road. They may only win a handful of games, maybe even a handful of conference games. They won't be able to get out of the cellar of the South, though. Better days SHOULD be ahead.

Those are the two teams to focus on for now. There will be a full SoCon preview in the coming weeks just before the bulk of the conference play gets going.


Renew the Glory- Part I

Here's the point of this post- to get ideas for ways to build the Chattanooga basketball program into a bigger brand. These posts will be made throughout the year, and each one will have one suggestion. These will come up mostly during the dead periods of the year. Right now is one of those dead periods. A lot of these things will be costly monetarily- so it is hard to know if these things would ever be considered seriously. But these are just suggestions.

Things that will not be considered at this time as suggestions:

1) A coaching change. Some people are talking about a coaching change. I refuse to mention that as part of that. This is not the time or the place to discuss that.

2) Simple things like "Win" or "Play better." Too simplistic. Can't work.

I'm sure there are more, but we'll stop there for now.

Without further ado- my first suggestion.

What is one of the problems that the Mocs have? Their home court advantage has evaporated. They are not as good at home as they once were. They have three home losses already this year. Their home court has turned into a neutral court.

Why? A big reason is that attendance is down. In an arena that sits around 11,000, it is unusual for more than 4000 to show up for a game. That gives an empty feeling to the arena and may contribute to the team coming out a little flat at times at home.

We have one of the bigger stadiums in all of D1. According to, it ranks at 73rd. That is a big stadium for a team on our level.

So what should the Mocs do about their attendance problem? Well, they certainly can't get more people to come (without the things that I am assuming are off the table, such as "Win"). The marketing department has done a tremendous job.

So what the Mocs need to do is build another arena- a smaller one. Build an arena that holds about 5000. Will we sell fewer tickets when we play Tennessee or Steph Curry? Sure. Will we have a more full arena and create a better atmosphere at home games? Yes. If the same 3000-4000 people show up, that makes it 60% to 80% full, and creates a good atmosphere.

A new arena would cost less in upkeep, though the initial cost would be far more than the Roundhouse. The cost could be big. BUUUUTTT.....

If the Mocs start winning (oops...bringing up wins) at home because of the home court advantage that they could get from having the better atmosphere, the Mocs could sell out the arena, which makes the tickets more valuable, which drives up the cost. (It's Supply and Demand.)

College basketball isn't the same as it was 20 years ago. The Mocs are competing on a nightly basis with Duke, Kentucky, and Tennessee. On Saturday, when the Mocs were playing Murray State at home, they were directly competing with Tennessee's trip to Pittsburgh, and prior to that, Duke was hosting Saint Louis, and right after it, Kentucky hosted Indiana. It is hard to get the average Chattanoogan excited about seeing the Mocs when they are competing with that.

A new arena? Hey- I love the Roundhouse as much as anybody. Some great childhood memories are there. But, it may be time to get a smaller arena, and see where we are going.

And if you wanted to play Tennessee, we could still play in the Roundhouse for that game.

More of these will follow- probably with one next week.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

KenPom Rankings

According to in games through Monday, December 13:

1) College of Charleson 89
2) Davidson 109
3) Wofford 112
4) Appalachian State 153
5) Furman 177
6) Samford 219
7) The Citadel 222
8) Western Carolina 230
9) Chattanooga 244
10) Elon 252
11) Georgia Southern 297
12) UNC-Greensboro 322

SoCon Rank: 17

Mocs Predicted SoCon Record: 8-10
Mocs Predicted Overall Record: 13-17


RPI Rankings

According to games through Monday, December 13:

1) Appalachian State 58
2) Davidson 79
3) Wofford 108
4) College of Charleston 115
5) Furman 173
6) Chattanooga 192
7) Samford 236
8) Western Carolina 248
9) Elon 277
10) The Citadel 284
11) UNC-Greensboro 301
12) Georgia Southern 342

SoCon Rank: 21

Mocs Predicted SoCon Record: 6-12
Mocs Predicted Overall Record: 10-20


Western Carolina Talk

OK- the Catamounts lost by 23 to Campbell and everyone is ready to bury Western Carolina. People said the Mocs win over Western Carolina meant nothing because of that game.

Comparative scoring is dangerous. Here's why. Western lost on Sunday to Ohio State by 25. That's only two more points than Western lost to Campbell by. Therefore, clearly, Ohio State is two points better than Campbell. Campbell should be in the Top 5, right? Not hardly.

What about this? The Mocs lost to Tennessee by 20 and lost to FIU by 21. So FIU should be ranked ahead of the Vols right? Not hardly.

So, look at it this way. Teams play different on different nights. It's a different team every night. That's why they play the games. Our win over Western Carolina should not be diminished because they lost by 23 to Campbell. Because they lost to Campbell? Sure. Because they lost by 23 to Campbell? Not hardly- especially since it was a six point game with eight minutes left.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?

The Mocs have won two of their last three games. However they lost their most recent game to Murray State.

So where do the Mocs go from here? It's been a frustrating season so far in a lot of ways. They are 4-6. This is not a good start.

However, it's important to remember two things. First, the Mocs team back in 1997 that went to the Sweet Sixteen- they had won two D1 games at the beginning of January of that year. So, the Mocs may be struggling, but they are ahead of those Mocs already. These Mocs can still achieve great things.

Second, in a shocking twist, the Mocs have played one of their most difficult schedules ever to start a season. What does that mean? For the first time ever, the Mocs will have played their first eleven games against D1 teams. They have never played more than their first six games against D1 competition before. So the Mocs have actually challenged themselves here, even though people think they have not played a terribly tough schedule.

So what does it mean? They just need a winning streak. That was what was so disappointing about the Murray State loss. They could have put together three in a row heading into this week.

Here's the deal- with Reinhardt and Montreat coming up (who are not guaranteed wins, but are the closest things to sure thing wins on the schedule this year), the Mocs have a good shot at two straight wins. If they can beat Elon prior to this Friday and then beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or Georgia State in the Dr Pepper Championship Game on December 30, and also win the two non-D1 games, they will have a four game winning streak. Then they go to Austin Peay, whose second leading scorer is out for the year. That may not be a sure fire win either, but it's not bad. And then comes a road trip to UNCG, who has yet to win a game this year. Yes, the Spartans will eventually figure it out, and the Mocs are far from a sure thing ever on the road, but this isn't an awful trip.

The Mocs schedule is not simple, but there is a real possibility of going on a winning streak if the chips fall right here. That makes Elon a huge game. It's a chance to keep some of the momentum of the second half against Murray State and the two games prior to that going.

That's why this game is so important. The Mocs need to win to start the winning streak.

Here goes.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

KenPom Rankings

According to through Saturday's Games:

1) College of Charleston 91
2) Davidson 109
3) Wofford 113
4) Appalachian State 144
5) Furman 188
6) Samford 214
7) The Citadel 220
8) Western Carolina 232
9) Chattanooga 239
10) Elon 252
11) Georgia Southern 298
12) UNC-Greensboro 321

SoCon Rank: 17

Mocs SoCon Predicted Record: 9-9
Mocs Overall Predicted Record: 13-17


RPI Standings

According to through Saturday's Games:

1) Appalachian State 64
2) Davidson 86
3) Wofford 109
4) College of Charleston 116
5) Chattanooga 184
6) Furman 192
7) Samford 228
8) Elon 267
9) Western Carolina 268
10) The Citadel 289
11) UNC-Greensboro 306
12) Georgia Southern 339

SoCon Rank: 21

Mocs SoCon Predicted Record: 7-11
Mocs Overall Predicted Record: 11-19


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Murray State 73, Chattanooga 65

During the first half, the Mocs looked like a team that had taken finals all week and had not concerned themselves much with basketball. Of course, that might just be true.

Because of the horrid first half, the Mocs fell behind by as many as 19, and trailed by 15 at the half. That left a huge uphill battle to overcome. Amazingly, the Mocs almost overcame it, pulling within four with plenty of time left, and pulling within five in the final minute after a mini-Murray State run.

The most deadly shot of the night- BJ Jenkins was left open on a double team with the lead at 6, and drained a three. Can't leave Jenkins open.

The first half was dominated on the boards by Murray State. The Racers won the battle 17-11. After that, the Mocs won the battle 22-14, to take the overall edge, 33-31. They committed just fourteen turnovers, and forced sixteen. They held the Racers to 31.6% shooting in the second half, after allowing them to shoot 61.3% in the first half.

The Mocs shot just 54.5% from the free throw line. Of course, they shot 80% if you take out Jefferson and Watson, who combined for 4 for 12. Ouch. In reality, this free throw shooting didn't really cost them completely, because even if they made four more free throws, then they probably would still have been facing a smaller uphill battle.

In the end, this is a strange game. The Mocs played so bad in the first half, I was ready to come on here and write a scathing review of the game. But they played so well in the second half, I was ready with about five minutes left to come out and write about how good the Mocs comeback win was. But they couldn't complete it. So what are you left with?

You're left with Wattad scoring 23 points. You're left with the Mocs outplaying a good Murray State team in the second half. You're left with the Mocs outrebounding and committing fewer turnovers than Murray State. The Mocs were awful in the first half- but much better in the second half.

Here's what it all boils down to- the Mocs game against Elon becomes much more important. It always was more important. Getting to 3-0 in conference play is critical, and if the Mocs can win out this month (which is possible, especially if they beat Elon) then they will be back to .500 against D1 teams, and be 8-6 overall. That is critical. The Mocs need to win out this month.

This game against Elon has become critical. They need to look like a team that has focused on basketball at some time over the last week next week, after having six more days off before playing again.

The Mocs RPI may not be hurt too much by this loss. But if they want a good seed in the NCAA Tournament, they need to start winning some more games.


Doubleheader Day

There has been plenty of mention of the Mocs home game against Murray State today. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the second half of the doubleheader- the Lady Mocs take the court against a Top 15 Kentucky team.

The state of Kentucky is raiding us from the North today! Let's hope that we can represent the school well today!


Western's Bad Night

Western Carolina did the conference no favors tonight- losing by 23 to Campbell. The Camels improved to 5-3 on the year, but the Catamounts should have been able to keep it close. The score was 56-50 with 8:30 minutes left, and then Campbell scored the last 17 points. Ouch.

This makes the Mocs win over the Catamounts not look as good. It also makes the SoCon look pretty bad- especially if Western is going to be one of the better teams in the North. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that at this point, Western is pretty far out of it. Already two games back of the Mocs, they are not looking good either.

Of course, the Mocs were looking pretty bad a couple of weeks ago with a 21 point loss to FIU. And they have bounced back just fine, so maybe WCU has a similar turnaround in them.


Friday, December 10, 2010

For Those Who Care About Such Things...

In a quick glance at the betting odds, Murray State is favored by five in Chattanooga tomorrow.

Of course, the lines on some of these smaller games are not quite as accurate as on the bigger games, because so much relies on name recognition. Everyone perceived preseason that Murray State was great, and it is hard for people to come off of that perception when betting, at least this early in the year.


Murray State Preview: Pace Yourselves!

Everyone hold your breath, because this is the ultimate battle of the wills. Murray State is one of the lowest rebounding teams in the country, and one of the lowest scoring teams in the country. Yet, they don't shoot the ball too poorly and they actually generally outrebound their opponents.

That's because the Racers are not about racing. They are much more about slowing the tempo down, and playing solid defense for 40 minutes, and figuring that will be enough.

The Mocs on the other hand want to get up and down the floor. If anyone has ever watched Keegan Bell play, they know that he wants to run- and running is what the Mocs try to do. Particularly in a game like this.

People want to say that Murray State is picked to finish first in the OVC and Austin Peay was picked to finish somewhere between third and sixth- and the Governors beat the Mocs in Chattanooga.

This is not the same Mocs team, though. They played much better over the last two games. They have figured out how to play with each other, and played substantially better defense against both Western Carolina and Appalachian State. They also showed a lot better shot selection.

One quote stuck out to me from the Times Free Press story today. Shulman was quoted as saying, “We started the season thinking that we were going to shoot a bunch of 3s and be a guard-orientated team. It wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be."

That is very true. The Mocs still shoot a lot of threes- but they now seem to like getting the ball inside more. Has anyone seen Ricky Taylor's stat line? He is 8 for 27 on threes- and 22 of 32 from two point range. Taylor has a great mid-range game. The rest of the Mocs seem to be trending in the same direction- taking the mid-range game over the long game.

Jefferson and Saffore are also more critical with this new found inside presence. Jefferson has done an excellent job shooting as of late, even though he is not doing a great job of shooting free throws.

The Racers leading scorer is Isaiah Canaan with 11.6 points per game, while BJ Jenkins is averaging 10.3 points per game. Jenkins is the best shooter of the bunch. He is shooting 43.8 percent from three point range, and nearly 96 percent from the free throw line. Canaan is shooting 78 percent from the free throw line. Ivan Aska leads the Racers in rebounding with 4.8 rebounds per game. Isaac Miles averages 8.1 points and 3.3 assists per game. Miles, Jenkins, and Canaan are not exactly tall (all listed at 6'2 or shorter), but Miles and Jenkins are seniors and should not be bothered by playing on the road. Canaan had an inspirational story on ESPN about surviving Hurricane Katrina, so he too will not be bothered by a tough crowd.

On the Racers message board, there was a quote that said, "They also do a good job of defending the perimeter and are holding their opponents to 32.5% shooting from 3 range." This is certainly not the way Moc fans perceive their team. Our perception is that the Mocs are not good at defending the three point line and that good shooting teams can dominate us from there. Ha! FIRE works according to the Racer Fans message board. Did you ever think you'd see the day that someone would call a John Shulman coached Mocs team good at defending the perimeter? Shulman has even said that we don't want to defend the perimeter as much as the inside game. So the fact that opponents now think of this as a strength is a true oddity to this season.

This is a Racer team that relies on playing good defense and slowing the tempo down and getting off good shots to win games. But, Morehead State shot 59.5% against them, and Eastern Kentucky shot 54.8% against them. Those were their two most recent games. That is not good defense on the Racers part.

The game has been promoted extensively, partly because the women play a Top 15 Kentucky team in the nightcap of the doubleheader. There is no major college football (Army-Navy is it for FBS games). But there is the little problem of Tennessee playing a road game against Top 5 Pittsburgh team at the exact same time as the Mocs game. Ouch. That really hurts the Mocs chances of drawing a huge crowd for this game. This is the best home out of conference game of the year, though. So maybe that will draw some extra people to the seats. It certainly helps that the Mocs won their two conference games last weekend.

--Rebounding. As usual. Murray State is 336th in the country in rebounding, averaging just 28.5 boards per game. Yet their opponents are only getting 29.8 rebounds per game. So, they are not as bad as their rankings suggests. The Mocs need to win the battle of the boards. And Saffore needs to put his arms up. That would help.
--Wattad needs to take his shots, but not be selfish about it. He's gotten better and better at that over the last few weeks. He's now taking much more reasonable shots, and being much more responsible. That needs to continue.
--Bell needs to keep the team under control and not get frustrated if the game's pace is going too slow. Sometimes that can frustrate Bell and lead to unnecessary turnovers. The Mocs have limited turnovers (especially in the second half) of their two wins last weekened.
--Defend the three. Murray's guard-oriented offense will want to shoot some threes (though not as many as the Mocs probably). They will need to get out, particularly on Jenkins.

--Start looking ahead to Elon. (Can't ever enjoy the wins enough....)
--Wonder how we lost to Austin Peay, FIU, and and Jackson State. (No did they lose ALL THREE of those?)
--Do the dance of joy.

--Wonder just how weak the SoCon North is.
--Be mad at the whole state of Kentucky. (First Louisville, now Murray?)
--Be sad- but try to start looking ahead to Elon.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, and realize that tomorrow is another day.

--The Mocs will outrebound the Racers.
--Jefferson will have his best game yet. He will get a double-double.
--Early will also have a double-double.
--Jenkins and Murray State will shoot well from three point range.
--Bell will commit some early turnovers before settling into the game.
--Chattanooga 66, Murray State 59. In a game featuring this much contrast of styles, the home team generally has more success. Throw in the way Bell plays, and it is tough to see the Racers completely slowing down the Mocs. Also, when both teams have had a week off, the faster paced team tends to have more of an advantage. The Mocs performed much better when they had some time off heading into last week's game against Appalachian State. Also, after finals week, it is an advantage to be at home. Everything points to the Mocs, even if Murray would probably win more often than not on a neutral floor.


KenPom Rankings

SoCon Rankings According to

1) College of Charleston 93
2) Wofford 112
3) Davidson 121
4) Appalachian State 144
5) Furman 187
6) Western Carolina 212
7) Samford 217
8) The Citadel 218
9) Chattanooga 233
10) Elon 255
11) Georgia Southern 297
12) UNC-Greensboro 319

SoCon Rank: 17

Mocs Predicted SoCon Record: 9-9
Mocs Predicted Overall Record: 13-17


RPI Rankings

Here are the SoCon RPI Rankings through Thursday, December 9 according to RealTimeRPI.

1) Appalachian State 68
2) Davidson 93
3) Wofford 111
4) College of Charleston 130
5) Chattanooga 144
6) Furman 192
7) Samford 215
8) Elon 267
9) Western Carolina 269
10) UNC-Greensboro 295
11) The Citadel 296
12) Georgia Southern 336

SoCon RPI Rank: 20

Mocs Predicted SoCon Record according to RealTime: 7-11
Mocs Predicted Overall Record according to RealTime: 11-19 (assuming two wins against Reinhardt and Montreat)


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Maintenance- Sorting out the Future

The Southern Conference plays the vast majority of their conference games on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday. There are occassionally games on Wednesday, and even a few other strange days of the week. However, for this reason, I will be updating the RPI standings and the KenPom standings every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. After every day that has a North Division game, I will update the North standings. On Sunday, I will update the entire conference standings.

The standings probably really don't matter. People go elsewhere for those for the most part. The RPI and KenPom standings can obviously be garnered elsewhere, but putting them means there isn't a need to go anywhere else.

I realize this stuff isn't really critical to the site, but in case you are looking for it, that is the schedule for it from this point forward.

Anyone ready for a game so that we can talk about something else? ANYTHING ELSE?

Also, after the December 21 game against Reinhardt, there will be plenty of coverage of the Dr Pepper Classic. Since this tournament is hosted by Chattanooga, I plan to spend some quality time on each team and previewing each game of it. I am really looking forward to this event and to giving it some front and center attention here in this space. Yes- this includes giving extra coverage to Montreat.


Future OOC Opponents

(Record is vs. D1 opponents only. RPI is according to RealTimeRPI. Only D1 opponents are included at this time.)

Murray State 3-4, RPI: 74
Georgia State (potential Dr Pepper Classic opponent) 3-3, RPI: 254
Texas A&M- Corpus Christi (potential Dr Pepper Classic Opponent) 1-6, RPI: 161
Austin Peay 5-5, RPI: 163
Georgia Tech 4-4, RPI:164


Murray State: The Racers losses have not been particularly bad- Ole Miss, UNLV, Oklahoma State, and Morehead State. They have beaten ETSU, Stanford, and Eastern Kentucky. They do not have another Top 100 team left on the schedule. Also, they beat the much-mentioned Reinhardt by fourteen points. For all the positive press that Murray State got in the preseason, the odds are that they will not get into the NCAA Tournament without winning the OVC Tournament. They don't have the quality wins, and they lost a conference game. Still, if they win out, the Racers may have a shot at an at large. This would be a quality win for the Mocs- no question.

Georgia State: Georgia State has played just one Top 100 team. Hampton beat them by four in that game. Two wins are over Troy and Utah Valley State who are ranked over 298. The best win is over James Madison who is ranked 120. There is also a nine point home loss to Samford from the SoCon. However, the win over James Madison is a conference win. VCU, Delaware, Old Dominion, UNC-Wilmington, and Drexel are all future opponents in the CAA who are ranked in the Top 100 currently. This team is going to have a very difficult time in the very tough CAA.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: TAMU-CC has played only two teams not ranked in the Top 100. One was Bethune-Cookman, their lone win against a D1 team so far this year. The other was a loss to Marquette, a Big East team. That was a 36 point blowout loss, and there is also the 41 point loss to Kansas. Of course, the Mocs have little room to say anything on this front. There is also a ten point loss to Oklahoma State and a 21 point loss to Texas A&M. Texas Tech is still ahead, along with Top 100 teams SE Louisiana and Sam Houston State.

Austin Peay: The Governors lost to Purdue, Oakland, and twice to Lipscomb- those are the only Top 100 teams on their schedule. They have two games coming up against Murray State still as another Top 100 opponent. Given that the Mocs have already played Austin Peay once and will play them again, the better the Governors play, the better it is for the Mocs.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have been wildly erratic. They lost to Kennesaw State in their second game- a team that hasn't won a game since then and has an RPI of 300. However, they only lost to Syracuse (an RPI of 10) and Georgia (an RPI of 47) by a combined total of five points. They got beat by 20 by Northwestern. Wins have come over Charleston Southern, Albany, Niagara, and UTEP- all teams with an RPI over 200. Not good. Can the Mocs pull an upset on the road against an ACC team? It's possible.


Who is the better opponent for the Mocs to play? Would they rather play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or Georgia State? Georgia State currently has the better record but the much worse RPI, due to the softer schedule. In the end, though, GSU's schedule will be much tougher, but their record may be much worse. So it's hard to know exactly what helps the Mocs the most. Obviously, the Mocs need a win. But I'd prefer that they get that win against the best possible team. So I am rooting for the Mocs to be playing the better of the two teams. I just don't know which one that is. I think at this point, we should assume that the team that wins is the better team and that is what we are rooting for.

So if you have tickets to that Dr Pepper Classic game, sit back and enjoy the game. Root for the team that impresses you the most.