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.
KEYS TO THE GAME
--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.
WHAT I'LL DO IF THE MOCS WIN
--Be glad to be over .500 for the first time this season.
--Start thinking about Thursday night's game.
WHAT I'LL DO IF THE MOCS LOSE
--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.
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--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.