WHY IT MATTERS
After the Mountaineers surprising home loss to UNCG on Thursday night, both Appalachian State and Western Carolina find themselves 3-2 in SoCon play and two games behind the Mocs in the SoCon North race. The winner will be in the lead for the second bye out of the North. The loser will still be third to fifth in the North, and will be two or three games behind the Mocs in the standings. This rivalry game becomes quite important for that reason.
The Mountaineers are lead by Donald Sims, one of the top players in the SoCon. He is averaging nearly 22 points per game for a team that is number 65 in the country in points per game. He is shooting just 33.6% from three point range, while shooting 84.2% from the free throw line. Sims has been wildly inconsistent, and that is why the Mountaineers have been inconsistent.
Omar Carter is averaging 15.9 points per game. He is shooting over 43 percent from three point range, and that is why he is scoring so well. The attention that has to be paid to Sims gives Carter a lot of open looks and that is what happens when the Mountaineers are playing well.
Western Carolina has been inconsistent too, but has won three straight over Georgia Southern, Davidson, and Elon. Mike Williams is a nominee for the Bob Cousy Award. He is averaging 15.2 points per game, and 3.8 assists per game. Richie Gordon leads the team in rebounding with 5.3 rebounds per game, and Harouna Mutombo is averaging 4.5 rebounds per game.
Western is a pretty good rebounding team. They are just outside of the Top 100 in the country in rebounding.
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--Sims and Carter will combine for half of the Mountaineers points.
--The Catamounts will play good defense on the rest of the Appalachian State offensive threats.
--Appalachian State is the better team- barely. Their loss to UNCG on Thursday made this almost a must win for the Mountaineers at this early point in the season.
--Western Carolina 74, Appalachian State 70. The Mountaineers have got to be struggling from lack of confidence right now. The Catamounts come up with the win. Yes, Appalachian State lost to King College last year and then wound up in the SoCon Championship Game- but the Catamounts barely sneak out with a win.