Monday, January 31, 2011

Something to Whisper

Can I whisper this on this site? I hate saying things like this, because I'm afraid I'll put a jinx on the Mocs. But, I'm doing what I'm doing to put things out there so that people know.

So here goes:

The Mocs need only to win their next three games to clinch the North Division. If they beat Georgia Southern, Davidson, and Western Carolina (a tough task, no question), then the Mocs will have the tiebreaker over Western Carolina, and won't be able to lose more than six conference games- which is the same number the Catamounts would have if they won their games prior to the game against the Mocs and then lost at home to the Mocs. No other team would have less than seven conference losses.

This is no time to let up. A 1-2 or 0-3 record over the next three games (which is possible) could really open up the division and throw everything up in the air. But I just wanted to mention the things that you need to know.

If the Mocs win their two games this week (Georgia Southern and at Davidson), and Western Carolina loses at Elon and to UNCG, and Appalachian State beats UNCG, but loses to Elon, the Mocs will have clinched the division by the end of the week.

Of course, all that depends on the Mocs winning. This is no time to get complacent. The Mocs need to keep on winning. The next two weeks are really key for the Mocs and where this team is going.


January: Goals Defined

The Mocs just completed a 6-3 month. Not bad for a month that I originally predicted would be 4-5. The Mocs find themselves sitting at 9-2, tied for the best record in the SoCon, and three and a half games ahead of the second place team in the North.

The Mocs beat College of Charleston, and did not lose a home game during the month, going 4-0 at home. They won two conference road games, going 2-3 on the road in the month. Omar Wattad was voted SoCon Player of the Week. Ricky Taylor set a McKenzie Arena record with 41 points. Legends Weekend was a rousing success.

And yet, you can't help but be left wishing for a bit more. The Mocs lost three road games- all of them by more than 25 points. If those games had been just a bit closer, there would be nothing to complain about this month. But the blowouts still leave a bit of a sour taste in the fans mouth. Also, in their last two games, the Mocs blew a 20 point lead, only to survive in double overtime, and a 17 point lead, only to pull back away for a nine point win.

In the end, though, the Mocs have defined what they are setting out to accomplish. They plan to win to lock up a bye. They plan to win the North Division. They plan to finish with the best record in the SoCon and lock up a postseason bid to no worse than the NIT. They plan to get to the NCAA Tournament, and then make some noise.

And these are reasonable goals- even if I don't believe all of them are going to happen. The Mocs have laid the groundwork for all of these goals to be in play as the calendar turns from January to February. They can now conceivably hope to accomplish all those goals.

The loss to Austin Peay to start the month was about as low as I could get as a fan. Losing was not bad- but getting pounded badly was not what I had in mind. I was concerned that the Mocs might not find themselves in a position to win the SoCon North after all.

But they followed that up with much better than anyone realized wins over UNCG and The Citadel- the teams that have been the two hottest teams in the conference since those losses, pretty much. Then the Mocs came home and beat Samford, and then came the monumental win over College of Charleston. Suddenly, I was through the roof and thought the Mocs would never lose another game.

Then came the soul crushing losses to Furman and Wofford. After getting utterly destroyed, the Mocs came home. The losses left me low again. I wondered if the Mocs were going to roll over and die, or come back fighting. They came back fighting, playing two pretty good games, beating UNCG and Elon, to take complete control of the North Division, for the time being anyway.

The Mocs get a solid grade for the month. They played well for the most part, and they certainly left themselves in a position for their goals to be accomplished.

It's time to go out and accomplish them.

It's go time.

SoCon Standings

Only the South, since they are the only ones that had a game today....

1) Wofford 9-2
2) College of Charleston 8-2
3) Furman 8-3
4) The Citadel 5-5
5) Davidson 4-7
6) Georgia Southern 0-10

SoCon Monday

Davidson 73, Georgia Southern 66


Davidson beat Georgia Southern on the road, to probably guarantee that they will not finish in last in the division, and to keep the positive momentum rolling as they head into the Samford-Chattanooga weekend. If they can get two wins while The Citadel loses two to Furman and Wofford, suddenly the race for fourth would be on. We battle Georgia Southern on Thursday- the Eagles are playing much better. They nearly beat College of Charleston last Thursday and now Davidson today. The Mocs need to be careful, even if the Eagles have a ZERO in the win column in SoCon play.

SoCon BracketBusters Announced!

So, we now know the BracketBuster match-ups.

In the lone televised game:

Vermont at College of Charleston 5:00 ESPNU

In other match-ups:

Ball State at Wofford
Eastern Kentucky at Western Carolina
Davidson at Presbyterian
Appalachian State at High Point

These games are important to the national perception of the SoCon. If the conference can go 4-1 or 5-0 in these games, then the whole conference will get a bump. If the conference stumbles to 1-4 or 0-5 record, the conference will drop a notch in national perception.

OK- so maybe national perception is too strong of a word. But there is no doubt that it could affect RPI numbers, and it certainly could weigh on the minds of the selection committee as they try to determine seeding for whatever team winds up coming out of the SoCon and representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament.

So, these games matter.

Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, and Vermont all are good teams that would be quality wins for the SoCon to come up with.

Coach Shulman said that he does not like BracketBusters. Most of us probably remember the 30 point annihilation at the hands of Creighton back in 2005. That trip to Nebraska was sandwiched between battles with Western Carolina and (I believe) Appalachian State. Those were important conference games. So a trip to Nebraska on Saturday in between playing key conference games on Thursday and Monday was tough.

Both have improved since then. The BracketBusters now try to prevent the longer trips as much as possible. This year the SoCon has done a little bit better job of trying to make sure the teams are off before their BracketBuster game. For example, even the Mocs only play one game between February 12 and February 21. That game is a road trip to Georgia Tech.

Next year's Mocs will be experienced and may benefit from a game like this one heading into the end of the season. I think next year may be a good year to get back involved with this thing if they can.

I wonder if Coach Shulman thinks the same thing. He may- or he may not. He may still be opposed to it. But I, for one, would like to see the Mocs get back involved next year. Maybe not every year. But next year...


Sunday, January 30, 2011

SoCon The Week Ahead

Davidson at Georgia Southern 7:00

Western Carolina at Elon 7:00
Appalachian State at UNC-Greensboro 7:00

Georgia Southern at Chattanooga 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Wofford at College of Charleston 7:00 (ESPNU) (SoCon Monster Game of the Week)
Furman at The Citadel 7:00
Davidson at Samford 8:00 (Battle of North vs. South)

Samford at Georgia Southern 1:00 (SoCon Saturday on SportSouth) (Battle of North vs. South)
UNCG at Western Carolina 2:00
Furman at College of Charleston 4:00 (CSS)
Chattanooga at Davidson 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Appalachian State at Elon 7:00
Wofford at The Citadel 7:00


The Battle of North vs. South could be interesting this week, as there are four match-ups. Two of them feature currently winless in the SoCon Georgia Southern. Once they are at home- once they are on the road. The other games have Davidson, the current fifth place team in the South, even though they have beaten Furman and College of Charleston. The South leads 16-11 right now, but it could tighten up if the South teams have bad weeks this week.

The Wofford-College of Charleston game is very interesting. If CofC wins, they will own the tiebreaker over Wofford, and be in some control of the division. That is particularly true if they follow it up with a win over Furman. If Wofford wins, then the division, which I have been assuming would go to CofC, suddenly becomes open to the top three, and if Furman stuns CofC a few days later, then the Cougars have to start worrying about not even getting a bye in the conference tourney. Win both, and CofC will look like they are in great shape for a bye and will be in good shape for winning the division.

The battle for the byes in North could be intersting this week. Chattanooga still looks like they are in good shape for a bye. Battling for second is the rest of the division. Western Carolina and Appalachian State have long been the favorites for the bye spot. UNC-Greensboro and Elon look like they could steal the bye from Western or Appy. UNCG and Elon battle Western and Appy at home. This is a great chance for the Spartans or the Phoenix to get into position to get the bye. The Spartans are playing the best basketball of anyone in the division (possibly excluding the Mocs), and are right in the thick of the bye race. Win two this week and the Spartans would be .500 in the conference and in second place in the division. Given their 0-15 overall start and 0-5 conference start, this is impressive. They are really coming around.

The Citadel has an outside shot of jumping to third in the division, but they need to beat Furman this Thursday, and they could get back in the bye race with a win over Furman and Wofford this week. This is the week that defines The Citadel's season.

Every week just seems to get more interesting right now in the SoCon. Right now, the intrigue in the conference is just getting higher and higher.


RPI Rankings:

According to

1) College of Charleston 96
2) Furman 116
3) Wofford 150
4) Chattanooga 178
5) Davidson 201
6) Western Carolina 222
7) Appalachian State 234
8) The Citadel 246
9) Elon 253
10) Samford 274
11) UNC-Greensboro 275
12) Georgia Southern 340

SoCon Rank: 22

Predicted Overall Record: 16-15
Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 101
2) Wofford 103
3) Furman 111
4) Davidson 164
5) Western Carolina 199
6) Elon 216
7) Appalachian State 227
8) The Citadel 241
9) Chattanooga 278
10) UNC-Greensboro 287
11) Samford 302
12) Georgia Southern 328

SoCon Rank: 20

Predicted Overall Record: 15-16
Predicted SoCon Record: 11-7


Saturday, January 29, 2011


Well, in the North the Mocs are now 7-0. So how are the tiebreakers shaping up?

Obviously, the Mocs have swept Elon and UNC-Greensboro so they have the tiebreakers against them.

What about Samford? The Bulldogs already have lost to the Mocs once, but could come up with a split against the Mocs. However, they have already lost four North division games. The Mocs could not possibly lose more than three. So the Mocs will hold the tiebreaker over Samford as well.

Western Carolina? The Mocs could split with Western Carolina still with a game in Cullowhee coming up. If that happens, then the division record becomes the tiebreaker. Western Carolina has two North division losses so far. So they need to lose two more division games for the Mocs to clinch the tiebreaker.

Appalachian State? The Mocs could split with the Mountaineers. They have to go to Boone. The Mountaineers have three division losses. If they lose one more division game, then the Mocs will have clinched the tiebreaker over Appalachian State.

The Mocs have not gotten to the point that the best any team could do is get a tiebreaker against them. If the Mocs beat Georgia Southern, UNCG beats Appalachian State at home, Western Carolina wins at Elon, and Davidson beats Samford in Birmingham in the midweek games this week, then the Mocs would have clinched finishing no worse than third in the North thanks to the tiebreakers.

In other words, the Mocs need to keep on winning. If they do that, they will be just fine. It's still early to figure things out completely, but as long as the Mocs keep on taking care of business, they will be fine.


Mocs 85, Elon 76

This game feels good.

Part of it is our constant struggles with Elon. We were 9-8 all-time against them heading into this game. Barely leading the series against them after we nearly always finish ahead of them in the standings is so frustrating. But this year, we beat the Phoenix. Twice. And it feels good.

The Mocs were ahead by double digits in the first half. Just like against UNCG on Thursday, they let the lead completely evaporate. But the Mocs pulled away in the end.

How about Keegan Bell? He collected seven assists and had one turnover. On Thursday, he had eight assists and just one turnover. That is a remarkable stretch for Bell. He has turning into one of the top point guards in the conference, and he may be turning into one of the better ones in the country. He just is not turning the ball over anymore. Throw in the 15 points he had tonight, and the 23 he scored against UNCG, and is there anything Bell is not doing for the Mocs? He even had four rebounds tonight. Bell is the most important player on this Mocs team. No question asked.

That's not to say that Omar Wattad and Ricky Taylor are important. Wattad played just 29 minutes tonight (showing that his back may still be bothering him a bit), but he scored 19 points. He halso had five rebounds and five assists. Taylor followed up his 41 with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

Dontay Hampton played some of the most important minutes early in the game. He played 10 minutes, scored four points, two assists, two steals, and a rebound. The boxscore really does not quite indicate how well Hampton played in the first half. Hampton was huge in the first half.

Jahmal Burroughs is something else. I know most people don't seem to like him as much as I do. But I love his effort. He played just nine minutes- but collected eight rebounds, including six offensive boards. He can't make free throws (36% heading into tonight and went 0-2 tonight), and didn't make a shot tonight, but his eight rebounds were important.

DeAntre Jefferson also collected eight rebounds. He scored just six points, but those rebounds were huge.

Now onto Chris Early, who had a huge night. He scored 21 points. He made 7 of 10 from the floor, and 2 of 3 from three point range. He made 5 of 8 from the free throw line. He also had four rebounds and two assists. Early has really turned into a very good player, and one of the Mocs most important players.

Want to hear how much of a "TEAM" this has become? They had 29 field goals tonight. They had 23 assists. This team is remarkable in that way. They were 69th in the country in assists per game heading into this game with 14.7 per game. They may move up some after tonight in that category.

The Mocs also collected 42 rebounds- 13 more than Elon. The Mocs dominated the boards. They were 22nd in the country in rebounds heading into this game, and could move up more after this performance. In the same way, they scored 85 points, and could move up from their 91st rank in scoring offense.

This team is slowly developing into a good team. Sure, they aren't great. Sure, there are major flaws, and they don't know how to hold onto a lead. But they know how to win close games. And they obviously are a team, in every sense of the word. They need to take that to another level over the next couple of weeks as they go on the road and look to clinch the North Division and put themselves in the best position possible for the postseason.

I know I may be in the minority- but I like this team. I like this team a lot. They are really starting to grow on me.


SoCon Power Rankings

1) Wofford
2) College of Charleston
3) Furman
4) Chattanooga
5) The Citadel
6) Western Carolina
7) Davidson
8) UNC-Greensboro
9) Appalachian State
10) Samford
11) Elon
12) Georgia Southern

OK- things are as muddled as they have been all year. How do you sort out the power rankings? Wofford and Chattanooga are tied for the best record, but have gone just 1-2 against the others of the big four. Wofford lost at home to both College of Charleston and Furman. But both CofC and Wofford have losses to 3-7 Davidson. Chattanooga was battered on the road by Wofford and Furman. For now, Wofford, with no bad losses and both losses being very close, jumps to number one. College of Charleston beat Furman head-to-head, but lost to Chattanooga. But the Mocs blowout losses on the road put them behind the other three, and CofC having the better record than Furman puts them on top.

The Citadel is ahead of Western Carolina because of their head-to-head win- a 22 point blowout just over a week ago. Western has the quality win over Furman, though, that The Citadel doesn't have. That win makes it very close on who gets the number five spot.

Davidson is also very strange. They are 1-6 against teams not in the Top Four. But they are 2-1 against the Top Four. UNCG is 4-6, and owns a head-to-head win over Davidson. However, Davidson's big wins put them just ahead of UNCG. The Spartans nearly had a high quality win on Thursday night at Chattanooga, but lost in double overtime.

Appalachian State is next based on where they probably fit at this point. You could make a case that they belong ahead of Davidson since they beat and have a half game better record in conference play than them.

I believe Elon is better than Samford, but Samford just beat Elon on Thursday night. So, for now, Samford is ahead of Elon, despite what I believe.

Georgia Southern has to be last.

So there is very little separation between 1 and 4. There is also not much separation between 5 and 11, but the biggest gaps are between 6 and 7, and 9 and 10. The number 12 team is clear at this point.


SoCon Standings

1) Chattanooga 9-2
2) Western Carolina 5-5
3) UNC-Greensboro 4-6
4) Appalachian State 4-7
5) Elon 4-7
6) Samford 3-7

1) Wofford 9-2
2) College of Charleston 8-2
3) Furman 8-3
4) The Citadel 5-5
5) Davidson 3-7
6) Georgia Southern 0-9

TIEBREAKERS: Appalachian State beat Elon on January 17 at home, 79-71. That is the Mountaineers only win in their last seven games. They play Elon again next Saturday.

Battle of North vs. South

South 12, North 3

North 8, South 4

South 16, North 11


Saw some stats breaking down the SEC West vs. East today. Everyone believes the East is far superior to the West, much the way people believe the South is far superior to the North. The East had gone 27-9 last year against the West. So far this year, according to this stat, the East had gone 12-5 against the West. So, a proper expectation if the South is way better than the North is for them to go about 32-16 over the 48 total games. That may happen- but it does not appear likely at this point. We'll have to wait and watch it play out. In other words, it does not look like the South is as dominant compared to the North as we expected it to be. Is it better? Absolutely. Is it far far superior? Nope.

SoCon Saturday

Davidson 75, College of Charleston 64
Furman 81, Appalachian State 61
UNC-Greensboro 91, Samford 72
Chattanooga 85, Elon 76
Wofford 75, Western Carolina 66

A Day For The Ages

Huge day for the Mocs.

Playing in front of legends in a key SoCon game.

This is why you come to Chattanooga to play basketball. For big games in front of nice crowds. It should be both tonight.

Let's see how the Mocs respond to the pressure tonight!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Elon Preview: Legendary

It's Legends Weekend. And in honor of the 1996-97 Sweet Sixteen team, here's the song that reminds of that year. I think it is mostly thanks to Chris Mims.

This weekend will be legendary if for no other reason than the Mocs will be welcoming back so many of their all-time greats. I hope that the current Mocs will be able to play like legends in front of the old legends and give us all new memories to go home with.

Elon started conference play 0-3 with losses to Furman, Wofford, and Chattanooga. Since that time, they have gone 4-3, with a 3-0 record at home, and just a 1-3 record on the road. The lone win came over UNC-Greensboro, while the losses were to Western Carolina, Appalachian State, and Samford on Thursday night.

But while Elon was losing a gut-wrenching one to Samford 69-67 on Thursday night (on a missed three by Jack Isenbarger at the buzzer), the Mocs were coming from ahead to beat UNC-Greensboro 111-110 in double overtime. Both teams will be scrambling a bit emotionally. The Mocs may be a bit tired as well after having to play ten extra minutes.

Elon and Chattanooga's first meeting was very similar to a lot of the Mocs wins this year. Elon jumped out to a double digit lead, but the Mocs fought back. They dominated the glass, and Keegan Bell scored 23 points. Omar Wattad had 16 and DeAntre Jefferson had 10 and 10, a double-double. Isenbarger was the only Phoenix player in double figures with 22. Drew Spradlin collected ten rebounds, the only Phoenix player with more than three. Chris Long only made 2 of 10, 1 of 6 on threes, and had nine points. Not a- wait for it- legendary day for Long.

It was not a great night for the Mocs, but they pulled out a win on the road to move to 3-0 in the SoCon, and the Phoenix dropped to 0-3.

Lucas Troutman had only scored double digits in three games prior to the previous five. In the last five games, he has scored 11.8 points per game, scoring in double figures four times. He had just one point and three rebounds against the Mocs the first time around. He has started playing much better.

Roger Dugas is the leading rebounder for the Phoenix. He had played well, but did not play much in the three games against Davidson, Appalachian State, and Georgia Southern, playing a total of 20 minutes. He played 23 again against Samford, and was back to getting boards, collecting five, but scored just three.

The Phoenix feature three players that score in double figures. Drew Spradlin is averaging 14.5 points per game, Chris Long 13.8, and Jack Isenbarger with 12.2. Isenbarger has hit a bit of a wall, scoring just 8.7 points per game in the last seven games, all SoCon games, scoring in double figures just twice. He also scored zero against Davidson. He made 6 of 11 three pointers the first time he played the Mocs.

Chris Long is averaging 5.4 assists per game. He is averaging 7.8 assists over the last five games. That is a really good stretch for Long. He scored 21 at UNCG and at Samford in recent weeks. He did it two different was. He shot 6 of 12 from three against Samford. He shot 16 of 20 from the free throw line against UNCG.

Drew Spradlin has not scored in single digits since the Duke game when he scored six- the game after he scored just six against Chattanooga. He is averaging 19.4 points per game in the seven games since SoCon play restarted. He is averaging 18.2 points per game in all SoCon games. He might just be the elite scorer that the Phoenix need to be a really serious player in the SoCon Tournament.

Spradlin vs. Wattad? Isenbarger vs. Taylor? Long vs. Bell? Now this could be interesting.

The Phoenix are 56th in the nation in scoring, and 240th in field goal percentage. The Mocs rank very well in assists, scoring per game, and rebounds per game. But they are awful in field goal percentage.

--Rebounding. Always. Rebounding. The Mocs dominated the glass against the Phoenix the first time, and that's why they won.
--Wattad's health. Will he be able to shoot consistently? If he can, then great. If he can't shoot consistently, Ricky Taylor will have to take over again, just like he did on Thursday night.
--Shutting down Spradlin. Spradlin has been exploding. It's time to shut him down. And the Mocs haven't played great defense lately and they will need to come up with a plan to stop Spradlin and Isenbarger.
--Bell vs. Long. Which point guard does a better job controlling the game?

--I'll consider it legen-dary.
--Yes- legendary.
--Celebrate sweeping Elon- which never seems to happen. I do not like Elon.
--Be glad that the Mocs will finish no worse than .500 in the SoCon.

--Wonder if we will EVER sweep Elon again. Will we ever beat Elon again?!?!? Will we ever be able beat Elon when I think we should?
--Doubt that the Mocs will be able to win the North...but probably just for the night.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, and try to remember that tomorrow is another day.

--Wattad will play about 20 minutes and will be relatively ineffective. Uh-oh.
--Taylor will not score 41 again.
--Spradlin or Isenbarger will go off.
--Mocs 78, Elon 73. This feels like the sort of game that Bell will go off in, and the Mocs probably need him to. With Wattad struggling and Taylor using up a lot of made shots on Thursday night, Bell will need to have a big one. It wouldn't hurt my feelings any if Jefferson also had an explosive game. And just as this post started by talking about Chris Mims, I'll end with this. Jefferson can be this team's version of Mims. And he needs to start doing that train dance now.


RPI Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 90
2) Furman 117
3) Wofford 151
4) Chattanooga 180
5) Western Carolina 216
6) Davidson 225
7) Appalachian State 238
8) The Citadel 246
9) Elon 247
10) Samford 255
11) UNC-Greensboro 295
12) Georgia Southern 340

SoCon Rank: 23

Predicted Overall Record: 16-15
Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 98
2) Wofford 102
3) Furman 117
4) Davidson 176
5) Western Carolina 204
6) Elon 209
7) Appalachian State 221
8) The Citadel 240
9) Chattanooga 283
10) Samford 293
11) UNC-Greensboro 298
12) Georgia Southern 329

SoCon Rank: 20

Predicted Overall Record: 15-16
Predicted SoCon Record: 11-7


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mocs 111, UNC-Greensboro 110, 2 OT

The Mocs played their best twenty minutes of the whole year. After falling behind 11-2, the Mocs went on a 57-28 run to take the 59-39 lead. Then the Mocs proceeded to blow it. And blow it. And blow it. In unbelievable fashion.

When Keegan Bell hit the three to tie it up at the end of regulation, the Mocs had to be thrilled. Trevis Simpson made a layup at the end of the first overtime to tie it up for the Spartans.

Then, Ricky Taylor made the big shot with 15 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Mocs the lead and the win.

I didn't get to hear a lot of the game (All-Access cut out at some terrible moments for long stretches), but here are the facts that I know.

Omar Wattad had an ailing back, and was nowhere near being himself. He played 42 minutes, but scored just six points. It was a disastrous game for Wattad. He needs to get his back right, because the Mocs are not nearly as good without him at 100 percent.

Keegan Bell stepped up and scored 24 points with Wattad ailing. He had eight assists and just one turnover. Bell played great and made a huge basket. He has a knack for doing that (as he did against The Citadel at home last year). Chris Early finished with eleven points and eleven rebounds, but made just one basket. He shot 9 of 12 from the free throw line. DeAntre Jefferson scored ten points and had six rebounds. Jahmal Burroughs played with plenty of energy (especially in the first half), as he scored eight points and collected five rebounds.

The Mocs committed too many turnovers- committing 19 over the 50 minute game. They did not dominate the boards like they needed to, outrebounding UNCG, but not by as much as you might expect.

Brandon Evans scored 0 in the first half, but wound up with 28 points. He shot 7 of 10 from three point range. Kyle Randall had 18, Trevis Simpson had 13, and Korey VanDussen ended up with 33. Aaron Brackett, Aloysius Henry, David Williams, and VanDussen all fouled out.

Now onto Ricky Taylor, who had one of the great nights in Chattanooga basketball history. He scored 41 points. He made 12 of 18 from the field, 4 of 7 from three point range, and 13 of 15 from the free throw line. Brilliant. Taylor stepped it up in a big way with Wattad struggling badly.

Here's the problem. This team has no killer instinct. They have no comprehension of how to put your foot on the throat of an opponent and put them away. When the Mocs were up 20 in the second half, the Mocs should have won big. There is no excuse for this. The Mocs need to prove that they can win a game in blowout fashion. It sure would help to do it on this homestand against Elon or Georgia Southern.

The Mocs know how to win. They've proven that to us. Now they need to learn how to put a game away. They haven't done that yet.

Back to .500 against D1 opponents overall. Up 2.5 games on WCU at this point for first in the North. Up 4 games on third and fourth place for the bye. Up 4.5 games for fifth and sixth place. Take care of business at home in the next two, and the Mocs will look good for the bye.


SoCon Standings

1) Chattanooga 8-2
2) Western Carolina 5-4
3) Appalachian State 4-6
4) Elon 4-6
5) Samford 3-6
6) UNC-Greensboro 3-6

1) College of Charleston 8-1
2) Wofford 8-2
3) Furman 7-3
4) The Citadel 5-5
5) Davidson 2-7
6) Georgia Southern 0-9


Battle of North vs. South

South 10, North 3

North 8, South 4

South 14, North 11


SoCon Thursday

Western Carolina 65, Furman 41
Wofford 74, Appalachian State 65
Chattanooga 111, UNC-Greensboro 110
Samford 69, Elon 67


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

UNC-Greensboro Preview: Get Back On That Horse

Get back on your horse and try again. The Mocs desperately need to get back up off the ground, dust themselves out, and try to ride that horse again.

It was a "Lost Weekend" for the Mocs. After getting destroyed by Wofford and Furman, the Mocs need to get back on their feet and come up with a win over the Spartans on Thursday night.

When the Mocs played UNCG a couple of weeks ago, the Spartans had not won a game. Now they have won three straight over Appalachian State, Davidson, and Georgia Southern, winning in Boone and at home for the other two. Suddenly, they are right in the thick of the North bye race (only one game behind Western Carolina for second) and can get right into the North Division race if they can just beat the Mocs in Chattanooga. A win here would pull the Spartans within three games and not give the Mocs the guaranteed tiebreaker, and continue the Mocs spiral.

In the Mocs 70-65 win, Aloysiuss Henry, Kyle Randall and Brian Cole all scored in double figures for the Spartans. The Mocs totally dominated the boards, but there were too many fouls on the Mocs inside players. Chris Early, Jahmal Burroughs, Jeremy Saffore, and DeAntre Jefferson combined for eight points, and eighteen rebounds. Take out Burroughs, and the other three combined for four points and ten rebounds. Not good. But Omar Wattad scored 26 points, Keegan Bell had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Ricky Taylor scored 19.

Aaron Brackett and Trevis Simpson, who have been great in their three wins, combined for eight total points.

Henry is averaging 10.4 points per game. Korey VanDussen scored 9.7 points per game. Kyle Randall and Simpson are averaging 9.6 points per game. Simpson has scored 53 points in the last three games, on 20 of 26 shooting. Aaraon Brackett has scored 47 points and corralled 34 rebounds in the last three games. Those two players stepping up is the reason the Spartans have turned things around. Ironically, Henry has scored just 15 points and gotten 10 rebounds total in the last three games, in a total of 39 minutes. Those are his fewest minutes of the year- but it seems to be working for the Spartans.

Don't forget that Simpson just got a shoulder brace off just before this hot streak started. He is a solid player, and has gotten even better. Slowly, he is becoming one of the best players in the SoCon, and he may be a real threat to carry the Spartans to the SoCon semis in Chattanooga.

--Rebounding. As usual. The Mocs need to dominate the boards again. Brackett is a handful underneath the basket getting boards right. The Mocs need to do a great job against him.
--Hold down Simpson. If he shoots that big of a percentage, the Spartans will be tough to stop.
--Stay out of foul trouble. All the fouls in the first game held down Saffore, Jefferson, Burroughs, and Early. With Sam Watson injured, there is no one else to turn to. The Mocs need them to stay on the floor and be productive.
--Wattad to find his shooting tough again. After two horrid road games, Wattad has got to get back on track.
--Bell needs to control the team and keep them together.
--Which team comes out strong? The Mocs have struggled out of the gate a lot over the course of this year, but that is UNCG's story as well.

--Be glad that the Mocs snapped out of their slump.
--Think about Legends Weekend.

--Wonder if the Mocs will ever win again.
--Wish that some of those legends could suit up for us this weekend. (C'mon- who doesn't wish Brandon Born had some eligibility left?)
--Sigh, take a deep breath, go to bed and realize that tomorrow is another day.

--Wattad will shoot better. Come on- this can't keep up forever. Can it? CAN IT???
--Simpson will score 20+ points.
--Brackett will collect 10+ rebounds, but the Mocs will win the rebounding battle overall.
--Mocs 73, UNC-Greensboro 67. The Mocs can't ever win easy. They will win this game somehow, but they won't make it easy. The Spartans have a great chance to pull off the upset, but the Mocs should play one of their best games in a while. They will find a way to gut one out.


SoCon Standings

1) College of Charleston 8-1
2) Furman 7-2
3) Wofford 7-2
4) The Citadel 5-5
5) Davidson 2-7
6) Georgia Southern 0-10

SoCon Wenesday

College of Charleston 65, Georgia Southern 61
The Citadel 85, Davidson 75

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OOC Opponents


Tennessee- 12-7, 18
Austin Peay- 11-8, 130
Kennesaw State- 4-14, 312
Marshall- 11-6, 75
Louisville- 15-4, 39
Jackson State- 8-9, 177
FIU- 6-11, 283
Murray State- 11-6, 140
Georgia State- 8-11, 221
Georgia Tech- 9-9, 154


Tennessee is showing some signs of life after a bad stretch. They have won back-to-back SEC games over Vanderbilt and Georgia. With four winnable games before the Vols take on Kentucky, Tennessee could really help the Mocs SOS over the coming weeks.

Austin Peay had lost two in a row before beating Jacksonville State over the weekend. That has really weakened their RPI. With Morehead State and Murray State still ahead, the Governors have some room to win some big games. Sitting at first place in the OVC, the Governors are a solid team on the Mocs schedule.

Kennesaw State had won two in a row, but now has lost two in a row and is back to their losing ways. With Mercer up next, the Owls could get back to their winning ways. This game looked good at the time since they had just beaten Georgia Tech. Now- it isn't that pretty. At least the game with Belmont can't hurt the Mocs too much.

Marshall is the Mocs best win, but the one point loss to East Carolina was devastating. Still, the Thundering Herd are one of Conference USA's best teams, but they need to start proving it because their 1-3 record isn't showing it. But they did beat West Virginia last week.

Louisville is 4-2 in Big East play. If they keep that up, the Cardinals will easily find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia, Connecticut, and Georgetown are the Cardinals next three games. They can make or break their season here.

Jackson State finds themselves at 6-1 in conference play, with their lone loss to Texas Southern- but their RPI keeps on dropping because of the weakness of the conference. Still, the Tigers are the favorites to win the SWAC and go to the NCAA.

FIU has lost four straight games after starting off 3-0 in Sun Belt play. Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee come to play them this week, but the Golden Panthers have already fallen into a deep hole. When they were 3-0, this was looking like an OK loss for the Mocs. Now, it looks bad again.

Murray State is one of the tri-favorites for the OVC title, with Austin Peay and Morehead State. They'll be favored in every game but one the rest of the way, as they go to Austin Peay, but get Morehead State at home. But their home loss to Eastern Illinois last week proves that anything is possible.

Georgia State has now lost six out of seven games and five in a row overall. The CAA is tough, and it is rearing its head against these Panthers. The problem is that there are not a lot of winnable games left on the schedule. Towson, UNC-Wilmington, Northeastern, and William & Mary are the best chances for a win, but none of those are guarantees at this point.

Georgia Tech seemed to be finding themselves, with blowout wins over North Carolina and Wake Forest. But they came crashing back to reality over the weekend with the disappointing loss to Virginia. Home dates with Virginia Tech and Maryland loom this week, and so the chance for some more quality wins is out there. They are a good team- but not an elite ACC team.


RPI Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 80
2) Furman 110
3) Wofford 161
4) Chattanooga 179
5) Davidson 204
6) Appalachian State 226
7) Western Carolina 232
8) Elon 240
9) Samford 253
10) The Citadel 270
11) UNC-Greensboro 288
12) Georgia Southern 340

SoCon Rank: 23

Predicted Overall Record: 16-15
Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 91
2) Furman 103
3) Wofford 105
4) Davidson 162
5) Elon 202
6) Appalachian State 222
7) Western Carolina 241
8) The Citadel 262
9) Chattanooga 280
10) UNC-Greensboro 297
11) Samford 298
12) Georgia Southern 333

SoCon Rank: 20

Predicted Overall Record: 14-17
Predicted SoCon Record: 10-8


Monday, January 24, 2011

SoCon Midseason Report

The SoCon has been up and down this year, and now only four teams (College of Charleston, Furman, Wofford, and Chattanooga) sit above .500 in conference play. One team (Western Carolina) is sitting at .500 and seven teams are below .500.

Six teams are halfway through the conference season, while the remaining six all have played eight of their eighteen conference games.

So this is as good of a time as any to evaluate where every time stands in the conference race. Some teams have a real chance to improve their standing over the last half of the season. Some could go in the tank.

Let's start though by looking at players.


These players could single handedly carry their teams all the way to the tournament title.

Cameron Wells, The Citadel- A great player that is one of the top players in the conference. If he gets going on the first weekend in March, the Bulldogs will be tough to beat.

Amu Saaka, Furman- This big man is a dominant force, and can will the Paladins to victory on his shoulders.

Noah Dahlman, Wofford- Another big man that totally dominates a game. He has carried the Terriers to a tournament title before- and he could do it again.

Donald Sims, Appalachian State- If he gets hot- look out! All it takes is one weekend in March, no matter how bad the Mountaineers are struggling right now.He can certainly shoot them a long way.

Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston- The Cougars are a force no matter what, but when he is hitting, the only way to beat the Cougars is to out shoot them. And that is very tough to do. Much easier to beat them the way Morehead State did- by hoping they are missing shots.

Omar Wattad, Chattanooga- Yes, he has struggled since being named the SoCon Player of the Week. But when he is on, he is almost unstoppable. He can take over a game as well as any shooter in the SoCon, and he can carry the Mocs all the way to the title.


Let's look at the upcoming home-road splits for each team:

Appalachian State- Home 6, Road 3
Chattanooga- Home 5, Road 4
Elon- Home 4, Road 5
Samford- Home 6, Road 4
UNC-Greensboro- Home 3, Road 7
Western Carolina- Home 6, Road 4

College of Charleston- Home 4, Road 6
Davidson- Home 6, Road 4
Furman- Home 4, Road 5
Georgia Southern- Home 6, Road 4
The Citadel- Home 4, Road 5
Wofford- Home 3, Road 6



Chattanooga is up by a wide margin and is 5-0 against the North. They have to go on the road, though, to play Western Carolina and Appalachian State, along with Samford. There is still plenty of time to blow this lead. The Mocs schedule shapes up decently, but not perfectly.

Western Carolina has six home games, and Appalachian State does too. These two teams both have a chance to make a run, but it needs to start this week when they battle Wofford and Furman. If both teams get swept, they could find themselves hopelessly out of winning the division, while also finding themselves in potential trouble in getting the bye. Appy gets five straight home games to end the year, and that is when they could make their big run.

Elon and UNC-Greensboro are the two most dangerous teams in the division right now. Most people have written them off, but they have road trips to Samford and Chattanooga this week. they are both playing very well right now. If either sweeps this week, while WCU and Appy are getting swept, they will become one of the favorites to get the bye, and possibly even sneak away with the division. It's too bad for UNCG- they are playing so much better, but have only three conference home games left. Very tough stretch coming up.

Samford is tough to play and tough to guard. They could be a tough out in the tournament, but they right now look like a team that is destined to finish sixth in the division.


College of Charleston has been tremendous. They get both Wofford and Furman at home down the stretch, and have already beaten both once. That is why they are the clear cut favorite to win the division even though they play more road games than home games the rest of the way, including trips to Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Davidson, and The Citadel.

Furman is in second and gets Wofford at home later in the year, having already beaten the Terriers (once- on Monday night). They also have one more home game than Wofford the rest of the year. Furman and Wofford get to play Appalachian State and Western Carolina this weekend home and road. This should be an interesting weekend...and an important one in sorting out these two in the standings.

The Citadel and Davidson are interesting. Davidson has more talent- The Citadel has the better individual player in Cameron Wells. Davidson plays a great system. The Wildcats beat the Bulldogs earlier this year and get them at home on Wednesday night. That is a key game for fourth in the division. Davidson also has six home games down the stretch, compared to just four for The Citadel.

Georgia Southern is not good. Likely, they will win a conference game. They have six home games down the stretch. But they are not good. In fact, they are awful.

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

Breakdown: The Mocs have too big of a lead to overcome. Appalachian State has the most home games and easiest schedule and will pass everyone else eventually. Western Carolina has more home games than Elon, and a slightly easier schedule. UNC-Greensboro has the fewest remaining home games, which is unfortunate because the Spartans probably could get to the second place and the bye in the North. Samford is clearly the worst team in this bunch at the moment.

1) College of Charleston
2) Furman
3) Wofford
4) Davidson
5) The Citadel
6) Georgia Southern

Breakdown- College of Charleston won't lose at home to Wofford or Furman, and that will make it almost impossible for either team to catch the Cougars. Furman will beat the Terriers at home to give them the edge over Wofford in the South. Davidson will beat The Citadel giving them the all important tiebreaker over the Bulldogs- which will probably come into play. Georgia Southern is the worst team in the whole conference- by far.


SoCon South Standings

1) College of Charleston 7-1
2) Furman 7-2
3) Wofford 7-2
4) The Citadel 4-5
5) Davidson 2-6
6) Georgia Southern 0-8

Furman owns the tiebreaker over Wofford due to their head-to-head win.

SoCon Monday

Furman 73, Wofford 68

BRIEF RECAP: Furman came back to win in overtime. Rundles missed a two point layup that would have won it for Wofford. Amu Saaka made two free throws with 16 seconds left in OT to give the Paladins the five point lead. Saaka ended with 22. Dahlman had 24 for the Terriers. The game lived up to the hype.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Furman at Wofford

These two teams are not separated by a lot in terms of distance. They are not separated by much in terms of the standings in the South Division, either.

Furman hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1980, which capped a decade (1971-1980) of going to the Big Dance six times. They won just one game in that stretch- a win over South Carolina to advance to the region semifinals, where they lost to Pitt by three.

Wofford has only been to the NCAA Tournament once, and that was last year, when they narrowly lost to Wisconsin in the first round.

Both teams appear to be teams that have a real shot at advancing to the NCAA Tournament this time around. However, no team has ever advanced to the NCAA Tournament out of the SoCon having to win four games in four days. With College of Charleston and these two teams separated by just one game for the top spot in the South, it is clear that one of those three will get left out and will not garner a bye. That means that one team will have a much tougher path to the NCAA Tournament.

The loser of this game will be in a bit of a hole in getting that bye. That's why this game is massive.

The Paladins are a very good offensive team, and relies on Amu Saaka, who has become one of the best players in the whole conference. Jordan Miller, Noah States, Darryl Evans, Brandon Sebirumbi, Justin Dehm, and Colin Reddick all provide plenty as well. That makes this team one of the deepest in the whole conference, and one of the reasons that they are dangerous on the first weekend in March. States and Miller both average in double figures along with Saaka. Saaka has developed into a good long range shooter, and also is averaging 6.5 rebounds per game.

This team is in the top 100 in the country in scoring, and in the top 50 in field goal percentage.

Wofford has a similar set of numbers, ranking in the top 100 in scoring, ant top 50 in field goal percentage. They are not a good rebounding team. Tim Johnson is the best rebounder in the conference. He has 8.7 rebounds per game. Noah Dahlman is the best player possibly in the whole conference. Dahlman averages 19.6 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. Jamar Diggs and Cameron Rundles each also have a lot of offensive firepower. Brad Loesing is one of the top shooters in the whole conference, though he is not required to do much offensively. But Loesing is a guy that can go off for a big night at any moment.

--This game will be closer than what either team faced last week against Samford and Chattanooga. (Sigh.)
--Dahlman vs. Saaka- does it get any better than that in the SoCon?
--This game might just be worth the price of buying the package from Wofford to watch the game. This game really should be something.
--Neither team likes to go fast- but both teams are exceptional offensive teams.
--Wofford 78, Furman 75. Watch Loesing hit the big three late in the game that wins. Call it a gut feeling. But this game will be nip and tuck the whole way. In the end, Furman's chances of getting a bye will be severely hurt, while Wofford's chances of winning the division will have gone up substantially.

SoCon The Week Ahead

Furman at Wofford (7:00) (SoCon Monster Game of the Week)

The Citadel at Davidson (7:00)
College of Charleston at Georgia Southern (7:00)

Wofford at Appalachian State (7:00) (Battle of North vs. South) (Special SoCon on SportSouth)
Furman at Western Carolina (7:00) (Battle of North vs. South)
UNC-Greensboro at Chattanooga (7:00)
Elon at Samford (8:00)

College of Charleston at Davidson (2:00) (SoCon Saturday on SportSouth)
Appalachian State at Furman (4:00) (Battle of North vs. South)
UNC-Greensboro at Samford (5:00)
Elon at Chattanooga (6:00)
Western Carolina at Wofford (7:00) (Battle of North vs. South)


Furman's trip to Wofford will go a long way tp determining which two teams get a bye out of the South Division. That makes it a massive game.

Four battles between North and South- the South team is the heavy favorite in all four games. Two are at Norh teams and two are at South teams. Both involve Appalachian State and Western Carolina from the North and Furman and Wofford from the South.

Davidson is in a virtual must win on Wednesday against The Citadel. A loss would put them 2.5 games behind The Citadel in the standings. A win would pull them within half a game, and give them the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs as the two teams fight it out for fourth in the division.

UNCG and Elon both could find themselves right in the heart of the North Division race with two wins this week. They visit Chattanooga and Samford, while Western Carolina and Appalachian State are playing Wofford and Furman. If Western and Appy both lost two, and either UNCG or Elon pulls off the sweep, they will be solid position for a bye, and possibly even to make a run at the Mocs for the North Division title.

The North Division race really gets straightened out this week. This week will help provide a little clarity to the remainder of the season as we get past the halfway point in conference play.


RPI Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 80
2) Furman 125
3) Wofford 146
4) Chattanooga 181
5) Davidson 205
6) Appalachian State 226
7) Western Carolina 229
8) Elon 241
9) Samford 253
10) The Citadel 265
11) UNC-Greensboro 285
12) Georgia Southern 340

SoCon Rank: 23

Predicted Overall Record: 16-15
Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 91
2) Wofford 99
3) Furman 107
4) Davidson 160
5) Elon 201
6) Appalachian State 219
7) Western Carolina 242
8) The Citadel 259
9) Chattanooga 277
10) UNC-Greensboro 292
11) Samford 295
12) Georgia Southern 331

SoCon Rank: 20

Predicted Overall Record: 14-17
Predicted SoCon Record: 10-8


Furman 85, Chattanooga 59

I'm not going to lie. I don't want to write much about this game.

I didn't get to write yesterday- I had out of town guests this weekend, and was only able to listen to the game, but not write about it.

And the further away from the game I get, the less and less I want to write about it, and the more and more I just want to forget it ever happened.

Remember how I said Ricky Taylor, Keegan Bell, Omar Wattad, DeAntre Jefferson, and Chris Early had to play better? I think I was wrong. Jefferson did score 10 and collected eight rebounds, as the Mocs outrebounded the Paladins. But the other four combined for 26 points. Wattad scored just six, including going 0 for 10 from three point range.

Furman shot just under 50% from the field. Look- when the Mocs beat The Citadel, the Bulldogs shots 50% from the field, and I said that it was a bad sign. Others thought that we limited their number of shots so it didn't matter, but I was concerned by the fact that we let such a poor shooting team shoot so well, even if we kept their point total down.

Since that time, I think the facts have borne out that we should have been concerned by that. The Cougars, Terriers, and Paladins all shot very well from the floor, and all put up of 85 points. It's going to be hard to win games when teams are scoring over 85 points, especially when Wattad is really struggling like he did over the last two games.

Saffore deserves some credit, with his eleven points to lead the Mocs. But the Mocs are clearly in a funk again. The good news for the Mocs- the rest of the North got battered this weekend as well. The Mocs are now 7-2, and still two and a half games up on Western Carolina for first in the division. But they are three games up on Elon and Appalachian State, and three and a half games up on UNC-Greensboro. Elon and UNCG are at home on the next homestand with a real chance to cut into that lead.

The Mocs desperately need to get back home, get some rest and get back to the way they had been playing.

Where do the Mocs stand after Definition Week? It is just as muddled as ever. I said I would be very pleased with 1-2, but with the way the week started (beating College of Charleston) and the way ended (getting humiliated at Wofford and Furman) it is hard to be satisfied with this week.

The Mocs have a huge three game homestand, and then follow that up with three very tough road games that they need to perform better in, before they play Wofford and Furman at home again. The Mocs need to win at least one of those two games, and play close in the other one just to establish that they can before the tournament. The Mocs are not as bad as they have shown over the last two games- but they are not as good as they showed over the previous four either.


SoCon Power Rankings

1) College of Charleston
2) Wofford
3) Furman
4) Chattanooga
5) The Citadel
6) Western Carolina
7) UNC-Greensboro
8) Elon
9) Appalachian State
10) Davidson
11) Samford
12) Georgia Southern

From 5-12 are all very jumbled. The number four team (Chattanooga) is pretty clear after their humbling losses to #2 and #3, and they have beaten on the road #5, #7, and #8, and have beaten #6, #9, and #11. I think Charleston and Wofford are very close right now, because Wofford is playing some really good basketball right now.

SoCon Standings

1) Chattanooga 7-2
2) Western Carolina 4-4
3) Appalachian State 4-5
4) Elon 4-5
5) UNC-Greensboro 3-5
6) Samford 2-6

1) College of Charleton 7-1
2) Wofford 7-1
3) Furman 6-2
4) The Citadel 4-5
5) Davidson 2-6
6) Georgia Southern 0-8

Battle of North vs. South

South 10, North 3

North 7, South 3

South 13, North 10

SoCon Saturday

Wofford 81, Samford 43
Furman 85, Chattanooga 59
The Citadel 68, Western Carolina 46
College of Charleston 73, Appalachian State 64
Elon 84, Georgia Southern 62

Friday, January 21, 2011

Furman Preview: Time To Prove It Again

The Mocs had established themselves as one of the main contenders in the SoCon- maybe even the favorite to win the tournament.

That is, until Thursday.

On Thursday night, the Mocs were smashed by 32 points on the road to Wofford. Of course, the Mocs have done this before, but this was the first time they've done it in conference play.

Suddenly, the Mocs are reeling again. And it doesn't get any easier, as the Mocs head to Furman to take on the 13-5 (5-2 in SoCon play) Paladins. Can the Mocs prove again that they belong among the best in the SoCon?

The Mocs came out from playing an emotionally draining home game on the road against Wofford and was flat. They also clearly were suffering from overconfidence.

They have not arrived.

Having faced Andrew Goudelock and Noah Dahlman over the last two games, this game they take on Amu Saaka, yet another of the conference's best players. Saaka is a handful inside yet again, averaging 16.2 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game. He also shoots 87% from the free throw line. Saaka is a 6-6 senior, and has been very good. Over the last two games, against Samford and Georgia Southern, Saaka has shot 6 of 9 from the three point line. In the three games prior to that (The Citadel, College of Charleston, and Davidson), he may just 2 of 12 from behind the arc. He has scored over 20 points in eight out of eighteen games this year.

Jordan Miller is a very good player. He averages 12.7 points per game, along with 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He is a 37.6% shooter from three point range. Miller has been a solid contributor for the Paladins for the last four years, and has seen some pretty lean years. It has to feel good for the senior to finally be having some success.

Noah States averages 11.9 points per game, with 5.3 rebounds per game. He shoots 55.5% from the field, and an unbelievable 52.3% from three point range. He has made 23 of 44. He's never shot better than 36.4% for the season, and never made more than the 25 he made his freshman year. He is yet another senior enjoying his best season. He has made a big jump forward this year in terms of production.

Darryl Evans has averaged 3.7 assists per game. Evans scored 8.8 points per game. He has been a very solid point guard for the Paladins.

Brandon Sebirumbi and Justin Dehm have also been very productive for the Paladins and could have explosive games against the Mocs as well.

The Paladins are 66th in the country in shooting and are 197th in the country in rebounding. The Mocs are one of the top rebounding teams in the whole country. They like to slow things down a little bit down. The Mocs like to speed things up. The Mocs will need to make shots against Furman in order to win. Furman has only allowed 56 and 55 points in the last two games (against Georgia Southern and Samford).

--Rebound. The Mocs did not rebound against the Terriers. They have to do a lot better against Furman.
--Scorers score. The Mocs had none of their best players in double figures against Wofford. The only player that scored in double figures was Troy Cage. The Mocs need Wattad, Bell, Jefferson, Early, and Taylor to score significantly more than they did against the Terriers.
--Fast start. The Mocs fell behind 15-0 against Wofford, and then couldn't ever get back into the game. Against Charleston, the Mocs fell behind 11-1. It's time for the Mocs to actually start a game fast. It's time to take the Furman crowd out of the game to get themselves back into the game.

--Feel relieved to have escaped with a 2-1 week.
--Get that good feeling back.
--Start looking forward to the Mocs three game homestand.
--Realize that Wofford was a bit of a fluke.

--Wonder why a team that wears purple with a mascot represented in the classic Song of Roland could really be one of the best team's in the SoCon.
--Be angry about starting 1-0 on the week but finishing 1-2.
--Wonder if the 7-0 start was a fluke.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, and realize that tomorrow is another day.

--Wattad, Early, Jefferson, Bell, and Taylor will play better. Let's face it- they can't play any worse.
--The Mocs will play with more energy- let's face it. They sure didn't use any on Thursday night.
--The Mocs will outrebound Furman.
--States and Saaka will dominate the Mocs.
--Furman 74, Mocs 71. The Mocs finally lose a really close one. The Mocs will play better, but their head won't quite be there. This will be Furman's first really good win of the conference season.


RPI Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 82
2) Furman 127
3) Wofford 159
4) Chattanooga 173
5) Davidson 206
6) Western Carolina 219
7) Elon 232
8) Appalachian State 235
9) Samford 257
10) The Citadel 264
11) UNC-Greensboro 288
12) Georgia Southern 340

SoCon Rank: 22

Predicted Overall Record: 16-15
Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 93
2) Furman 116
3) Wofford 119
4) Davidson 172
5) Elon 212
6) Western Carolina 222
7) Appalachian State 229
8) Chattanooga 270
9) The Citadel 279
10) Samford 282
11) UNC-Greensboro 292
12) Georgia Southern 330

SoCon Rank: 20

Predicted Overall Record: 15-16
Predicted SoCon Record: 11-7


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wofford 88, Mocs 56

OK. I'll give them this one for a hangover game.

But this is getting old.

The Mocs are 5-5 on the road this year, but have gotten pounded in their five losses. Absolutely pounded. It was a 32 point loss to Austin Peay earlier this month, and now this one.

Let's make one thing clear- this does not mean that the Mocs can not beat Wofford in the SoCon Tourney. They certainly can. A different day and maybe things would have been different.

How do we know that things weren't going right? The Mocs got outrebounded by Wofford. This is a Mocs team that has been tremendous in most games in rebounding. But they were hammered tonight on the glass by one of the worst rebounding teams in the SoCon. They shot 36.2% from the floor. Only one Mocs got into double figures- Troy Cage, with 19. How Omar Wattad, Chris Early, Keegan Bell, DeAntre Jefferson, and Ricky Taylor can all fail to score in double figures is beyond me.

The team was not ready to play.

That is not to take anything away from Wofford. They are the defending champs and for good reason.

The Mocs have shown several bad things consistently. Teams shoot too well against them in recent games. Tonight, Wofford shot over 57% from the floor. The Terriers were really dominated by three players. Cameron Rundles had 23, Jamar Diggs had 24, and Noah Dahlman had 22. The rest of the team scored 19 points. Those three combined to shoot 27 of 35, or 77.1%. The rest of the Terriers shot 7 of 24, 29.2%.

Wofford and College of Charleston are the favorites in the conference at this point. CofC walked into Wofford and won earlier this year.

The Mocs have responded well previously to these types of performances. After the embarrassing loss to FIU, they beat Appalachian State and Western Carolina. After the humiliating loss to Austin Peay, they beat UNC-Greensboro, The Citadel, Samford, and College of Charleston. I'll forgive one this horrid performance coming off the nice win over College of Charleston. But they need to play much better against Furman on Saturday night- or else all the momentum gained by beating Charleston will be lost.

The good news- both Appalachian State and Western Carolina lost. The Mocs still lead the Catamounts by 2.5 games, and they lead Appalachian State by 3 games. They not lead Elon and UNC-Greensboro by 4 games, and Samford by 4.5 games. So the Mocs are still in good shape in the division race. This game does not damage the Mocs too badly- as long as they respond well against Furman.


SoCon Standings

1) Chattanooga 7-1
2) Western Carolina 4-3
3) Appalachian State 4-4
4) Elon 3-5
5) UNC-Greensboro 3-5
6) Samford 2-5

1) College of Charleston 6-1
2) Wofford 6-1
3) Furman 5-2
4) The Citadel 3-5
5) Davidson 2-6
6) Georgia Southern 0-7

Battle of North vs. South

South 6, North 3

North 6, South 3

South 9, North 9

SoCon Thursday

Furman 74, Samford 55
Wofford 88, Chattanooga 56
College of Charleston 93, Western Carolina 64
Elon 77, Davidson 70
UNC-Greensboro 87, Georgia Southern 75
The Citadel 81, Appalachian State 63

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Holy....Suddenly GT Is Better....

Georgia Tech, who has been remarkably average this year, has now hammered North Carolina by 20 and Wake Forest by 35 in consecutive games.

Wake Forest- tonight. Wow. They outrebounded the Demon Deacons by 12, and held them to 25.3% shooting.

I know, I know. Wake is terrible. But suddenly beating Georgia Tech, something I thought was possible just a week ago, is looking like a taller task.


Wofford Preview: Haven't Arrived Yet

The Mocs have not arrived yet. The win over College of Charleston on Monday night was exhilirating. It proved that the Mocs were a good team, and will be a threat to win the SoCon Tournament in Chattanooga in March.

But, they have not arrived. They have not even come close.

The Mocs have plenty of room for improvement. Coach Shulman certainly said that on Monday night. The question is, do the players believe this or not? Do the players think they can just show up and win now? Or do they realize that Monday was about Monday, and they will need to show up with equal intesnity the rest of the year to win?

The game against Wofford, the reigning league champs on the road, is as good of a chance as any to find out just how good this Mocs team is.

Everyone should know about Noah Dahlman by now. He is one of the best players in the league. He is averaging 19.5 points per game on 58.5% shooting. He also collects 5.6 rebounds per game. He also shoots 78% from the free throw line. This guy is good. He is hard to guard.

Tim Johnson leads the SoCon in rebounding, averaging 8.4 per game, 6.4 points per game. Johnson is not a great shooter or scorer, but he is an amazing rebounder. He will pose a challenge for Saffore and Jefferson.

The Mocs inside guys will be challenged by Dahlman and Johnson. Chris Early, Jeremy Saffore, DeAntre Jefferson, and Jahmal "Energy Ball" Burroughs will be given an incredibly difficult task of rebounding against them and holding Dahlman's offense down.

An amazing stat- despite the fact that Dahlman and Johnson are coming up with 14.0 rebounds per game and Johnson is the leading rebounder in the SoCon, the Terriers are the 325th best rebounding team in the country. According to, the Terriers rank 208th in offensive rebounding percentage. They rank 260th in defenive rebounding percentage.

Cameron Rundles has been a very pleasant surprise, averaging 13.2 points per game. He has turned into one of the better players in the SoCon. He has scored twenty or more points five times already this year. Against Davidson, he scored 22 and shot 4 of 8 from three point range.

Jamar Diggs is averaging 3.3 assists per game, while scoring 12.6 points per game. Brad Loesing is averaging 3.2 asssists per game and 7 points per game, while shooting a scorching 48% from three point range. Also, in 16 free throw attempts this year, he has not missed.

--Rebounding. The Mocs will need to stop Johnson, but are the top rebounding team in the conference. It has become really important for the Mocs to dominate the boards.
--Turnovers. The Mocs have been doing a much better job of not committing turnovers in recent games. But Wofford does a good job of forcing turnovers.
--The inside presence. The Mocs don't need to score with Dahlman to win this game. But they need to control Dahlman with Early, Saffore, Burroughs, and Jefferson. They can do it.
--Don't let Rundles or Loesing go off. The Mocs have a habit of letting someone explode from outside the arc. But they need to try to control Rundles and Loesing and keep them from doing that. This is particularly true if Dahlman gets his 20-25 points. Control everyone else. Just like the Mocs did with Sims from Appalachian State and Goudelock from College of Charleston. They both scored over 25, but the Mocs still managed to win by controlling the secondary players.

--Start to really think that the Mocs might just be the favorites in the SoCon after all.
--Try to keep expectations under control.
--Celebrate beating Cats (Cougars) and Dogs (Terriers).

--Remember that 7-1 is better than I thought they would be at this point.
--Chase some small dogs around my neighborhood.
--Believe that Wofford may truly be the team to beat in the SoCon still.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, go to bed, and realize that tomorrow is another day.

--Wattad will score over 20 again.
--Keegan Bell will have another good game. Maybe not almost triple-double good, but good nonetheless.
--There will be an early hangover from the win against College of Charleston for the Mocs.
--Dahlman will get 20 points, and Rundles will add 15+.
--Wofford 73, Mocs 68. I believe in the Mocs winning a close game, but this will be too much. Believe it or not, the Mocs don't match up real well with College of Charleston, but match up much better with Wofford. But going on the road after that emotional win is too much for the Mocs to overcome. They will have a much better chance against Furman on Saturday and could win that one, but won't quite be able to come away with this one.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Davidson at Elon

OK- so this game isn't some magical game between two of the top teams in the SoCon. Both teams are 2-5 in SoCon play. Both, at this point, are hoping for fourth in their own division in the SoCon Tournament.

But, these two teams play good, hard basketball. They are known for their fundamentals, even if Davidson's have been more lacking than usual this year. On top of that, Matt Matheny is the head coach at Elon. He was an assistant coach at Davidson. Many Davidson fans say that the reason for Davidson's struggles the last two yeas is related to Matheny leaving.

This will be an exciting, fun to watch game, even if it isn't between as good of teams as a lot of people would be used to watching. It's a shame that more SoCon fans won't be watching it even if it is on the internet somewhere, because all twelve SoCon teams are in action at the same time.

Jake Cohen is the Wildcats best player. He leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game. He is also the leading rebounder, averaging 6.6 per game. He shoots just 49% from the field, while shooting 83% from the free throw line and 36% from three point range. During the 1-5 stretch since New Year's, Cohen has only made it to double digits in points twice, and has fouled out twice. He's averaging 9.5 points per game in that span, and 6.7 rebounds. That's decent rebounding numbers, but he is not scoring as much as he needs to.

JP Kuhlman is the other Cat averaging double figures. He is averaging 12.7 points per game. During this stretch, he has scored in double figures four times and has been playing well.

Brendan McKillop was nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard (like Cameron Wells, Mike Williams, and Keegan Bell). I'd argue that McKillop has been the most disappointing of those four. He is averaging 2.5 assists per game, with 1.6 turnovers per game. He is scoring 9.6 points per game. He has come up with more than three assists in a game once since the loss to College of Charleston back on December 2.

For Elon, Chris Long, Drew Spradlin, and Jack Isenbarger have all averaged between 13.3 points and 13.7 points per game. Long is also averaging 5.2 assists per game, and is one of the biggest keys to Phoenix success. He is shooting 34% from three point range.

Spradlin is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 38% from three point range. He is a good shooter, and if he gets hot, he can be tough to control. Spradlin is always dangerous.

Isenbarger is a freshman and has been very good so far. He is averaging 3.7 rebounds per game and 2.2 assists per game. He is also shooting 43% from three point range. He shoots 87% from the free throw line.

These two teams both score more than people realize. They do not play the slow down offense that you might expect.

The physical effort of both teams (especially Elon) is what really sets the teams apart. These two teams will play a physical brand of basketball. They will hit and they will play hard.

--One of Elon's big three will go off for 25+ points, as has become a problem in recent weeks for Davidson.
--The two coaching staffs will not be surprised by anything the other one does.
--Cohen will have his best game in weeks as he goes against the Phoenix interior defense.
--Davidson 76, Elon 75. Davidson is not playing with a lot of confidence right now, and they are severely shaken. But beating Elon is not too much to ask of this group. They will play the most inspired game in a while in front of their former assistant. Yes, Elon will have one big scorer, but Davidson will shut the other shooters down, and the Wildcats will pull out the slim win in a tremendous game.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And a Compliment to Saffore

I just wanted to toss out a few kind words to Jeremy Saffore. He scored eight points last night, and he was very good. Yes, DeAntre Jefferson is better. But Saffore is capable of being a quality player. He is a good player. Not great. But good. He can be a good role player.

And I want to take back any of the negative things I said or thought about Saffore. I certainly have always thought there was potential there, and last night, he played with it. He didn't make all the plays I'd like to see him make. He has room to grow. I hope that he will continue to improve and will be in peak condition come tournament time. We're going to need him.


"This Is Who We Are."

Mocs players and coaches have been muttering this phrase for weeks. It means that this is a team that knows how to hang around in games, and then can pull it out in the final moments. They have a ton of confidence in close games. This is very good. They get in the huddle late in the game and believe they are going to pull it out.

At some point, this will likely bite the Mocs. But more often than not, this confidence will help them win the close ones, like the tournament games.

But this phrase started rattling around my head, and I thought, "Where have I heard this phrase before?"

And then suddenly it hit me. Somewhat embarrassingly, but it hit me.

In the mid to late 90's there was a television show named "Millenium." The basic principle can be found here- but basically, there is an ex-FBI agent who can see inside the criminal mind, and he works closely with a special group called the Millenium Group. They have secret knowledge about the coming millenium and are trying to gain power over the world, basically. It was always a little unclear how good or evil the group was, though by the end of the series basically, it was believed they were not good. But they often said as a slogan, "This is who we are." It even makes it into the Season Three theme song, which can be found here. (I recommend it- very nicely composed music.)

So are the Mocs some part of a secret religious sect that is proclaiming the coming millenium is fraught with danger? Or (as the end of the theme song says) that the time is near? I guess you could argue that. I mean, they believe that they have the "secret knowledge" that they can win the close games. They are a tight knit group that can't be broken apart. The time is near for a big run.

Of course, who was one of the main members of the Millenium Group? A guy by the name of Peter Watts, who is actually Terry O'Quinn.

Who is Terry O'Quinn? This guy. Yes, from Lost. A character known for saying things like, "Don't tell me what I can't do?" He also said, "It's our destiny!" And of course, he says, "Everything happens for a reason."

It's not exactly having a plane crash on a densely populated desserted island, but the Mocs have been through some rough patches, and it has only made them better in the long run, maybe. And, certainly, I believe the Mocs have come to believe that it is their destiny to win every single close game. It may not be quite as important as pushing a button so that the world doesn't end, but it's still importnat. And no one should ever doubt them again. Beating Charleston? Almost no one saw that coming. Don't tell them what they can't do. Not exactly going on a walkabout hunting boar in Australia while being handicapped, but you know.

So, maybe there is a connection there after all. Maybe the line, "This is who we are," is connected to Millennium, which is connected to Terry O'Quinn, which is related to LOST, which is related to the above phrases. Did we just play "Six Degrees of Team Slogans?"

Yes, we did.

This is who we are. A good team, with a closer instinct.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.


RPI Rankings

According to, through Monday:

1) College of Charleston 84
2) Furman 140
3) Chattanooga 161
4) Wofford 167
5) Davidson 189
6) Appalachian State 219
7) Western Carolina 220
8) Elon 239
9) Samford 260
10) The Citadel 264
11) UNC-Greensboro 276
12) Georgia Southern 339

SoCon Rank: 22

Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6
Predicted Overall Record: 16-15


KenPom Rankings

According to, through Monday:

1) College of Charleston 104
2) Furman 127
3) Wofford 135
4) Davidson 163
5) Appalachian State 193
6) Western Carolina 202
7) Elon 225
8) Chattanooga 248
9) Samford 269
10) UNC-Greensboro 286
11) The Citadel 292
12) Georgia Southern 327

SoCon Rank: 19

Predicted SoCon Record: 11-7
Predicted Overall Record: 15-16


Monday, January 17, 2011

Mocs 91, College of Charleston 88

What happened?

The Mocs outshot the Cougars and won. Amazing. I never saw the Mocs being able to allow the Cougars to score 88 points and win. The Mocs did that. They fell behind big early (down 11-1, and eventually behind 11) and then came back to take the lead by seven, 53-46, at halftime.

This was impossible. There was no way the Mocs could win this game. No way they should win this game.

But they did.



This night feels almost too good to be real. Omar Wattad poured home 27 points, Ricky Taylor had 16, DeAntre Jefferson added 15, and Keegan Bell scored 12. Jeremy Saffore and Chris Early had eight apiece. Keegan Bell lead the team in assists with eight, and also had eight boards. Wattad had six boards, while Jefferson and Taylor had five rebounds.

The Mocs were a perfect six for six from the free throw line. They shot 19 of 22 from the free throw line, and wound up 86.4% from the line for the night. They shot 53.4% from the field, and 45.5% from three point range. The Mocs outrebounded the Cougars a lot, and they turned the ball over just fourteen times, despite the pace the game was played at.

Andrew Goudelock scored 26 points. He is a dominant player. He scored 14 in the first half of the first half, but couldn't ever get going again. Jeremy Simmons scored 14 and had twelve rebounds.

Here's the deal on the game. The Mocs may not be able to win like that again against the Cougars in March. But the Mocs needed to prove to themselves and the conference that they could play with the Cougars- and they did that. Beyond any reasonable doubt- they did that. The Mocs beat them- not the way Morehead State did, by seeing the Cougars just miss shot after shot, but by making shot after shot themselves.

Jefferson played great. Burroughs brings a ton of energy to the game. Early does too, and is starting to play smarter basketball. Saffore was good tonight. When those guys play the way they are capable of, I'll take them against any other group of bigs in the SoCon.

Wattad has proven that he belongs among the elite in the SoCon, and Bell is proving that he is as good of a true point guard as there is in this conference. Ricky Taylor is developing into one of my favorite players. And Troy Cage has the talent to explode at any moment.

There is a lot to like about this team.

There is certainly more to like about this team than this time two weeks ago when the Mocs were coming off a 32 point loss to Austin Peay. Four conference wins in a row, and suddenly the Mocs are on top of the world.

This team is pretty well validated at this point.

Two huge games left this week. I said two wins this week would send me through the roof about this team.

I may have been wrong- it may only have taken one.


SoCon Standings

1) Chattanooga 7-0
2) Western Carolina 4-2
3) Appalachian State 4-3
4) Samford 2-4
5) Elon 2-5
6) UNC-Greensboro 2-5

1) College of Charleston 5-1
2) Wofford 5-1
3) Furman 4-2
4) Davidson 2-5
5) The Citadel 2-5
6) Georgia Southern 0-6

TIEBREAKERS: Elon beat UNCG head-to-head to lead the Spartans. College of Charleston beat Wofford head-to-head to lead the Terriers. Davidson beat The Citadel head-to-head to lead the Bulldogs.

Battle of North vs. South

North 3, South 2

North 4, South 3

North 7, South 5

SoCon Monday

Chattanooga 91, College of Charleston 88
Appalachian State 79, Elon 71
UNC-Greensboro 77, Davidson 69
The Citadel 61, Samford 50

It's Time...Almost....

This game tonight against College of Charleston has made some national news.

It is mentioned here as "What You Shouldn't Miss."

It is mentioned here as one the 34 Games To Watch this week.


So this game is garnering some national attention, even though College of Charleston is a 7.5 point favorite. The Mocs could sure use a nice performance tonight. We'll find out plenty about the Mocs over the remainder of the night tonight.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

College of Charleston Preview: Exposed or Validated?

The Mocs and Cougars head into this game as the lone two unbeaten teams in the SoCon. They are a combined 11-0. They have combined to have beaten every single team in the SoCon so far. Only The Citadel has played both teams- the Bulldogs lost by one at home to the Mocs last Thursday and lost by 21 at College of Charleston on Saturday.

The Cougars best player is Andrew Goudelock. He may be the best player in the whole conference. Noah Dahlman has something to say about it, and Amu Saaka certainly could make an arguement too. But Goudelock should be considered the favorite. He is averaging 23.4 points per game, tops in the conference. He has 4.5 assists per game, and leads the team in that category. He is shooting 49% from the field, a remarkable percentage for a guy who shoots from outside as much as he does. He also shoots 43% from three point range, and 78.6% from the free throw line. Let's put it this way- this guy is good. Only once has he not scored in double digits this year. Not ironically, it is the most head scratching performance of the year by the Cougars- a 69-49 loss to Morehead State, in which he scored seven points.

Jeremy Simmons is the team's best inside presence. Simmons is averaging 13.2 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. Simmons is shooting nearly 60% from the field. He is a beast to handle on the inside, and will cause a headache for Saffore, Early, Jefferson, and Burroughs.

Donavan Monroe is a tremendous guard as well. Monroe is averaging 2.6 assists per game. He also averages 11.6 points per game. Monroe is a great guard, and a wonderful complement to Goudelock.

Willis Hall and Trent Wiedeman are the team's two leading rebounders, averaging 5.8 and 6.1 per game. Wiedeman is not a big scorer, averaging just 6.9 points per game. He is shooting 65.6% from the field. Hall is averaging 7.5 points per game.

Antwaine Wiggins is probably the Cougars best defender. He is long and quick. He is scoring 6.8 points per game with 5.1 rebounds per game. He's never been a tremendous scorer, but he's a solid player for the Cougars.

The Cougars are 46th in the country in scoring and 35th in shooting. They are not a great rebounding team, at 208th in the country.

The Mocs are the leading rebounding team in the league, and also the leading the SoCon in rebounding margin. They are clearly the best rebounding team in the conference, which is exactly what Shulman wants out of his teams. DeAntre Jefferson and Chris Early are tied for the team lead with 6.8 boards per game.

Ricky Taylor had his first career double-double on Saturday night, when he collected eleven rebounds and scored 16 points. He is second on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game. Omar Wattad leads the team with 15.1 points per game. In SoCon play, Wattad is averaging 19.5 points per game. Keegan Bell also leads the league in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.

--Rebounding. The Mocs need to dominate the boards and prevent CofC from getting any second chance points. They are too good of a shooting team. The Mocs can not allow the Cougars to take their misses and turn those into points, too.
--Bell. Keegan Bell needs to control the pace of the game. He needs to keep the turnovers to a minimum- the Mocs are averaging 8.5 over the last two games. He can slow the Cougars down if he can just prevent turnovers.
--Wattad. Wattad needs to have a huge game. He has the potential to score a ton of points at any moment. And he needs to for the Mocs to have a chance.
--Goudelock. The Mocs need to slow him down- to some degree. He's going to get his points. But they need to keep him from getting 25 or more.

--Get fired up! 7-0!
--Celebrate beating College of Charleston (the team that I consider the Mocs biggest conference rival).
--Get ready for two big road games this week.
--Really start believing that the Mocs could do a lot of damage in conference play.

--Realize that if Charleston can only lose once in Chattanooga this year, I rather it happen in March.
--Begin to think that the Mocs are exposed as not being that good.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, go to bed, and realize that tomorrow is another day.

--Wattad and Goudelock will both score...plenty.
--Bell will have a decent game.
--Jefferson will not have a good game...again. His disappointing stretch will continue against the athletic Cougars.
--How have the Mocs fared against the best mid-majors that have come to Chattanooga so far this year? Yep.
--College of Charleston 85, Mocs 71. The Mocs have played poorly in the first half against the top mid-majors that have come into Chattanooga this year. Then they have mounted second half rallies that have come up short. This is obviously with the exception of Appalachian State and Western Carolina. The Mocs will fall behind big early. Then they will mount a second half run to get back into it, but then not be able to complete the comeback. Think Murray State. Will that validate or expose the Mocs? Unfortunately, it will be more exposing- at least until Thursday.


RPI Rankings

According to, through Saturday's games:

1) College of Charleston 75
2) Furman 137
3) Davidson 163
4) Wofford 172
5) Chattanooga 189
6) Western Carolina 220
7) Appalachian State 227
8) Elon 231
9) Samford 239
10) UNC-Greensboro 279
11) The Citadel 289
12) Georgia Southern 339

SoCon Rank: 22

Predicted Overall Record: 16-15
Predicted SoCon Record: 12-6


SoCon The Week Ahead

Davidson at UNCG 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
College of Charleston at Chattanooga 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Elon at Appalachian State 7:00
The Citadel at Samford 8:00 (Battle of North vs. South)

Davidson at Elon 7:00 (SoCon Monster Game of the Week)(Battle of North vs. South)
Georgia Southern at UNCG 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Western Carolina at College of Charleston 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Appalachian State at The Citadel 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Chattanooga at Wofford 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Samford at Furman 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)

Samford at Wofford 2:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Chattanooga at Furman 4:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Appalachian State at College of Charleston 4:00 (SoCon Saturday on SportSouth) (Battle of North vs. South)
Georgia Southern at Elon 7:00 (Battle of North vs. South)
Western Carolina at The Citadel 7:00 (Battle of North vs South)


A remarkable fourteen games between North and South happen this week, with eight games at South teams, and six games at North teams. The North currently leads the battle rather surprisingly 5-4. If they still lead after this week, then it will be time to really start taking it seriously. There will have been 23 games between the two divisions after this week, of the 48 total by the end of the week.

Davidson's trip to Elon is the Monster Game of the Week. Why? Well, I am not picking any Mocs games, since we preview those games anyway. Also, I want to try to get as many of the decent teams as possible in a Monster Game of the Week. With Furman, College of Charleston, Appalachian State, and Western Carolina already having played in a game, then only Wofford and Samford will be left of the teams that I think have an outside shot at winning the tournament. I don't believe that UNCG, The Citadel, or Georgia Southern have any real shot to win the tournament, though UNCG or The Citadel could make some sort of a run. It is hard to imagine that Georgia Southern could even make a run. Combine with that the interesting coaching battle in the Davidson-Elon game and it becomes clearer why it was chosen for the Monster Game of the Week. Wofford-Samford was also considered. Appalachian State-College of Charleston, and Western Carolina-College of Charleston were also given consideration for this game.

This week has a very strange feel to it. With every game (outside of Monday's Elon-Appalachian State) being between the two divisions, the races are going to be affected mostly by how teams are faring against the other division. This week will be interesting. The divisions could go many different ways this week. It will be interesting.


Definition Week Is Here

Everyone around the SoCon has similar questions about the Mocs- are all these close wins a sign that the Mocs aren't really all that good, or is it a sign that the Mocs are just good at knowing how to win close games and playing up and down to their competition?

It's a tough sell. It's really hard to know for sure which way this goes. The general consensus is that the Mocs are not quite as good as their record would indicate. Good enough to finish second in the North Division...probably. That is the general feeling.

Then again, the general feeling seems to be that the four best teams in the conference are in the South Division, even though the North has beaten the accepted fourth best team in the South twice already. (Appalachian State and Western Carolina both beating Davidson). There even has been the idea that the second place team may not finish with a better record than the fifth best team in the South, if you go around to various message boards.

For the conference, this is a real defining week. The North leads the South 5-4 right now on the floor. The North and South are playing each other an incredible fourteen times this week. This week will go a long way to determinging which division is the better one- and just how good the North Division is compared to the South Division.

But for the Mocs, this is really definition week. This week, the Mocs play the top three teams from the South. On Monday, they host College of Charleston on Monday night. Then on Thursday, they head to Wofford. On Saturday, they go on the road to battle Furman.

Where do the Mocs stand? What does their 6-0 start mean? We'll know a lot more this week. Are they going to lose all three of those games by twenty points? If so, the Mocs aren't quite as good as we might be thinking. If they win all three games, the Mocs are better than we ever imagined.

This week tells everyone exactly where the Mocs stand. It will tell us all what the Mocs should expect as we move forward. It will tell us just how good the Mocs are.

If the Mocs can win a game or two, they will be clearly the team that everyone expects to get a bye in the North Division, and probably win the whole division. The Mocs can get there without winning any games- but it sure would make everyone around the program feel better if the Mocs come up with at least one game this week.


KenPom Rankings

According to, through Saturday, January 15:

1) College of Charleston 96
2) Furman 128
3) Wofford 135
4) Davidson 144
5) Appalachian State 201
6) Western Carolina 203
7) Elon 222
8) Samford 249
9) Chattanooga 262
10) UNC-Greensboro 294
11) The Citadel 295
12) Georgia Southern 326

SoCon Rank: 19

Predicted Overall Record: 14-17
Predicted SoCon Record: 10-8


SoCon Power Rankings

Through Saturday's games:

1) College of Charleston
2) Wofford
3) Chattanooga
4) Furman
5) Western Carolina
6) Appalachian State
7) Davidson
8) Elon
9) Samford
10) The Citadel
11) UNC-Greensboro
12) Georgia Southern

No question- CofC is the top team right now. Wofford is 5-1 and owns a road win over Davidson. Chattanooga is undefeated, and has beaten teams with a combined 13-16 record (if you take out the results of the Mocs games against them). Furman is 4-2, and has beaten teams with a combined 4-16 record (if you take out the Paladins games against them). That means that Furman has a worse record than the Mocs and has not beaten teams as good as the Mocs have to this point. We'll see what that means later on in the week. Western beat Appy, and Appy beat Davidson. Elon beat Samford. The Citadel and UNCG are close to equal. Georgia Southern is clearly the worst team in the conference at this point.