Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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.

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