Thursday, March 31, 2011

Potential Signees: Lance Stokes & Jared Bryant

So, according to sources, there are two new signees:

I'll start with the more confirmed of the two.

Lance Stokes is rated two stars by, and is a given a score of an 87, which is the same rating that Emmanuel Ochenje has. So, needless to say, this looks like a good find.

Watch this video. It is Lake Highland's highlights. Stokes is number 23. If there is one thing that jumps out at you it has to be this- he has a very quick first step, and he looks like the best athlete on the floor whenever he makes a move.

ESPN says that he has a very impressive wingspan, which is true, and that he has focus and desire that drives his team. He scored 11.1 points per game, and had 6.3 rebounds per game. The rebounds were a team high. Jeff Turner, a former Magic player and current head coach of Stokes, talks about how athletic he is.

This is the highlight reel on the school's website. Seriously- watch it. He looks like an athlete. He could be fun to watch play- even though he only averaged 11.1 points per game. I'm really looking forward to seeing him as a Moc.

Jared Bryant is a power forward. He might want to add a little bulk to his body, but he's got ability. ESPN comments that he is not an athlete. That's not the best thing to hear, but he is a solid rebounder. Look- this guy may or may not be a truly valuable player. In the long run, Bryant may be a back-up at the 4 spot. Or he may become a starter and be a great player.

This is a nice player on the roster.

Combine these two with Trey Brown, Xavian Rimmer, and Emmanuel Ochenje, and it's easy to say that this recruiting class appears to be the best that John Shulman has ever brought in. All five are freshman. Throw in Zlovaric and Bareika, both of whom redshirted last year, and the Mocs should be much more athletic and a much more dangerous team than they were just a year ago.

We'll see if these two actually sign here in a couple of weeks.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Final Four Of Hope

Butler is in their second straight Final Four.

VCU is going to the Final Four.

One of them will play for the national title.

And this gives me hope for the Mocs yet.

Look- I know that the Mocs are not perfect. I know that there are plenty of imperfections. What I also know is that Keegan Bell is a top grade point guard, Omar Wattad is an excellent shooter, Ricky Taylor and Chris Early are nice pieces, Drazen Zlovaric is a talented center, Emmanuel Ochenje is a very solid recruit, Xavian Rimmer should be a good point guard, and there may be three more top recruits coming in this year.

Are there warts? Sure there are. But that doesn't mean that there isn't hope.

Watching VCU and Butler over these last two weekends has reminded me why there is always hope for a college basketball program like ours. Don't forget- the CAA had never had two teams in the NCAA Tournament before just five years ago. Now they've had two different programs reach the Final Four.

Can the Mocs reach those heights? I'm not sure. I have faith that some day the Mocs will see that level. I'm not sure if we're closer to that or further away from that than we were in 1998.

But I do know one thing- I feel better about our chances than I did two weeks ago at this time.

Of course, the sting of the first round loss to Furman is wearing off a little bit. So maybe it's just related to that.

Look- here's what I'm expecting next year. I'm expecting big things. I'm hoping for an RPI in the Top 90, a SoCon regular season and tournament title, to go along with a 12 or 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If all that happens, then the Mocs could win a couple of games in the NCAA Tournament. And, as VCU proved these last two weekends, all it takes is getting there and there is a chance for anything to happen.

I want the Mocs to be working hard this offseason. I want some great recruits to sign up. The signing period will go a long way to determining my feelings in the coming months.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Join the Pool on!

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Bracketology: Predicting the Field of 68

OK- so I'm no genius when it comes to this. I haven't studied in supreme detail. But here's my best shot at the bracket at 4:00 Eastern.

Selection Sunday is here. Thiis assumes that Ohio State beats Penn State in the Big 10 Championship Game.

1 Ohio State
16 UA-Little Rock vs. Alabama State

8 George Mason

5 Georgetown
12 St. Mary's vs. Alabama

4 Kentucky
13 Indiana State

6 Florida State
11 Richmond

3 Texas
14 Oakland

7 Washington
10 Penn State

2 Notre Dame
15 St. Peter's


1 Duke
16 Cal-Santa Barbara

8 Tennessee
9 Gonzaga

5 Kansas State
12 Butler

4 Purdue
13 Bucknell

6 Arizona
11 Utah State

3 Syracuse
14 Akron

7 Cincinnati
10 Michigan State

2 San Diego State
15 Long Island


1 Kansas
16 Hampton vs. Texas- San Antonio

8 Temple
9 Michigan

5 Vanderbilt
12 Clemson vs. USC

13 Memphis

6 Texas A&M
11 Villanova

3 Florida
14 Morehead State

7 Missouri
10 Marquette

2 Connecticut
15 Boston


1 Pittsburgh
16 UNC-Asheville

9 Old Dominion

5 St. John's
12 Belmont

4 Wisconsin
13 Princeton

6 Xavier
11 Colorado

3 Louisville
14 Wofford

7 West Virginia
10 Michigan

2 North Carolina
15 Northern Colorado

1 Ohio State
2 Kansas
3 Pittsburgh
4 Duke

Alabama is the last team in. Virginia Tech is the first team out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Only One More

Look- I have no desire to write a blog post every day about Shulman and his job status. So this is the last time I will post something about his job status without some official news to report- or at least some substantiated reports, rather than just internet buzz.

However, today on MocFans there was something about Shulman wanting to quit because he was done with it all. There is probably nothing to this. That being said, if it is true, this provides an interesting option.

I am supporting Shulman. I want him to stay, at least for this next year. The Mocs need to have a nice year. If he meets that expectation, then there will be no problem.

That being said, there are a ton of people who are frustrated. Obviously. But there is no way that anyone is buying out his contract. The only way he is not here next year is if he accepts another job or if he decides to resign on his own. Will that happen? Your guess is as good as mine. But this is the option that people who really want him gone should really be hoping for.

Or they should be hoping for the Mocs to not succeed next year. Because a successful year next year will hurt the chances of getting rid of him in the long run.

I don't honestly believe that the people who want Shulman gone really want that though. That would be slightly out of control.

Now, I will do my best to keep my mouth shut on Shulman and his job security until the fall, unless some real news surfaces. If some real news is going to surface, it probably will sometime in the next two weeks. That's my bet.


Wofford RPI Comparisons

All Automatic Bids as of March 9, 2011:

1) Old Dominion 22
2) Butler 36
3) Oakland 52
4) Belmont 53
5) Gonzaga 55
6) Long Island 77
7) Morehead State 78
8) Indiana State 84
9) St. Peter's 95
10) Northern Colorado 99
11) Wofford 110
12) UNC-Asheville 146
13) Arkansas-Little Rock 192

Looking more and more like a 15 seed to me. There is a shot at a 14, and also a shot at a 16, but a 16 is unlikely. And they have earned respect based on their performance last year in the NCAA Tournament against Wisconsin. The committee probably remembers that, and though they say that doesn't matter, you can't tell me that that does not help them at least a little bit with getting a higher seed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Heat-O-Meter: Where Are We?

So it's a tough sell. The loss in the first round of the SoCon Tournament left a bitter taste in the mouths of most Moc fans.

And it should have. After all, that was not pretty. The falling behind 13-0. The lack of ability to stop the Furman offense at key points. The inability to make big shots when it mattered most. The complete lack of ability to make free throws.

So what's the problem? Is it Shulman's fault? Maybe. There should be at least some blame on Shulman. It would be sticking your head in the sand if you do not put at least some fault on Shulman.

He has three years left on his contract. There is no way that the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga can afford to buy him out. So he's here. That being said, the Mocs need to win big next year.

The Mocs need to win so that Shulman can keep his job. The Mocs may be more likely to buy him out if he has just two years left on his deal. If they do not have a monster year, then Shulman may have a major problem on his hands.

HEAT-O-METER: 5. He's right in the middle. The fan base is sick of Shulman. Not me. He deserves one more year. Particularly with the four big seniors (Chris Early, Keegan Bell, Omar Wattad, Ricky Taylor) all coming back, this is the time for a big year. If he does it, then Shulman will be safe again, no matter what anyone thinks should happen. If it doesn't happen, then the pressure will be amped up, and Shulman just MIGHT be in big trouble. The question- the buyout. But that's a question for next year....

Wofford RPI Comparisons

The RPI of the teams who are automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Tournament, through Tuesday:

1) Old Dominion 22
2) Butler 35
3) Oakland 52
4) Belmont 53
5) Gonzaga 55
6) Morehead State 77
7) Indiana State 87
8) St. Peter's 95
9) Wofford 107
10) UNC-Asheville 146
11) Arkansas-Little Rock 191

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't forget- there are now six (count them- SIX) 16 seeds. So it is tougher than ever to get out of the 16 seed line. Wofford should be able to avoid it and should get a 14 or 15 seed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What the Mocs Need? Cameron Rundles

The Mocs need Cameron Rundles. Or they need a guy like Cameron Rundles.

I watched Rundles on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. His enthusiasm, desire, and passion for the game along with the skill set and leadership ability make him a near perfect player.

Look- the Mocs have talent on the roster. Yes, I realize that the talent may not be quite as high as some of the other teams in the SoCon, but there is talent. Keegan Bell is good enough to start on virtually every team in the SoCon. Omar Wattad could play on most teams, while Chris Early could start on some. Ricky Taylor may be able to start on some teams as well. Drazen Zlovaric looks like he may be a good big man.

But what they do not have, is the leader...the one guy who gets people excited....the guy who can get the team fired up when nothing else seems to be going right. Look, Jahmal Burroughs might be able to bring energy, but he isn't at the talent level that it works out the way it should. The Mocs need someone who could start for them that brings that energy level.

Is he on the Mocs already and just needs to grow into it? Possibly. Wattad could. Bell could. But the Mocs need that guy.

Until he shows up, this team will probably continue to be the wildly inconsistent team that they were this year. The team really needs to work this offseason to get better and more consistent. Will they? I'm not sure yet- we've got to let it play out a little bit.


Wofford is the Champions!

Wofford won the SoCon Tournament on Monday night against College of Charleston as nearly everyone knows by now.

The Terriers were the best team in the SoCon during the tournament. Make no mistake. Yes, they lost by 25 to the Cougars a month ago. They came back and won behind Cameron Rundles, Noah Dahlman, Jamar Diggs, and Tim Johnson.

How good can the Terriers be in the NCAA Tournament? They can be very dangerous. Wofford has an RPI of 107 right now, and is projected as a 15 seed by Joe Lunardi on If somehow BYU is a 2 seed, and Wofford was playing them, they would have a chance. The Cougars do not have a huge height advantage over Wofford.

That's what the Terriers need. They need to go up against a team without a huge height advantage. The Terriers can compete with anyone who does not have a massive height advantage on them. They are very good and capable of taking out a couple of teams.

Let me tell you- if I were a 2 or 3 seed, I would not want to battle the Terriers in the first round.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Battle of North vs. South- Tournament Style

North vs. South- Tournament
South 5, North 3

North vs. South- Regular Season
South 27, North 21

North vs. South- Overall
South 32, North 24

South wins against the North hands down. But it wasn't a blowout. It was relatively close overall, even in the tournament. But the top teams are better than the top teams in the North. The lower teams are more even, but the top teams are better in the South- as evidenced by tonight's championship game.

Three Point Play

1) Wofford's win over Western Carolina was dominant and impressive. The Terriers showed why they have been the best team in the conference over the last two weeks. If it can keep up for one more night or not remains to be seen. After all, they have lost twice to College of Charleston so far this year. But Cameron Rundles is playing great ball, and Noah Dahlman is just flat out good. Tim Johnson is pretty good too. This bad rebounding team has been excellent job of hitting the boards.

2) College of Charleston's thrilling come from behind win against Furman was the sort that makes the Cougars feel like a team of destiny in this tournament. Down eleven halfway through the second half the Cougars rallied big time. Goudelock was amazing as usual. Their defensive effort stepped up big time. Furman was ready to play, but just couldn't finish off the Cougars.

3) Tonight's Championship Game is going to be a great game. Wofford and College of Charleston are the conference's two best teams. Wofford is probably heading for a 15 or 16 seed if they win, while Charleston may get as high as an 11 or a 12 with a win. The Cougars are good enough to win a couple of games in the NCAA Tournament with a couple of breaks and good match-ups, while Wofford is good enough, but their draw will probably be too much to overcome. Who wins? I'll take Wofford just because they are playing at such a high level, but the Cougars comeback last night makes that feel of "team of destiny" come out. Not sure if that's real or not. We'll find out tonight.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Three Point Play

1) The Mocs loss will surely drive down the crowds for the semifinals and finals, but College of Charleston, Furman, Western Carolina and Wofford all have brought pretty good crowds. That will be good for the attendance numbers. People in Chattanooga still need to turn out in decent numbers for the semifinals and the championship game. We'll see if they do or not.

2) Today's theme- "The Best." These are the best teams in the conference, almost beyond any doubt. The Mocs are the only other team that can lay claim to one of those spots, but they lost to Furman last night. Western Carolina against Wofford is a 12-6 team against a 14-4 team. College of Charleston against Furman is a 12-6 team against a 14-4 team. Should be a couple of tremendous semifinal match-ups.

3) The SoCon Monster Game of the Day is Western Carolina against Wofford. The two teams are tremendous. In my opinion, the winner of this game will win the tournament. That's been what I've been saying all along. This semifinal should be something special. Wofford has been playing great lately, but Western Carolina has been playing phenomenally as of late. The first semifinal should be great.

Furman 61, Mocs 52

This one hurts. For every reason.

It's the end of a season. And the end of DeAntre Jefferson's, Jeff Smith's, Troy Cage's, and Jeremy Saffore's career.

We didn't win the SoCon Tourney on our home floor.

And the Mocs are out in their first game.

A season that had some promise has now gone by the wayside.

It hurts. It hurts a lot. It's been about 16 hours, and it still stings. I guess if it stops stinging, then I'd stop caring, and I'd stop writing this blog. There would be no point if it didn't hurt a little.

There have been questions about the Mocs desire and passion. I tend to agree. The passion is not there. There was no urgency in this game. The Mocs played tight. Why were they tight? Before the game as I sat there in the stands, I wondered if they would be tight playing in front of the home crowd and if the pressure would be too much for them.

They played like it was.

According to the Times Free Press, Keegan Bell cried after the game. They also said that the team was silent before the game- a sign of a tight team.

The Mocs came out and could not rebound. They could not stop Furman, and before anyone knew it, the score was 13-0 Furman. The Mocs battled back, and Ricky Taylor had a breakaway dunk to tie the game. He missed it. Furman went on a 10-4 that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second hald, taking a 32-24 lead.

The Mocs continued to fight and struggle, but never could make the big shot. That included free throws, where the Mocs were a pathetic 15 of 29, including 12 of 25 in the second half. It was bad.

Very bad.

Yes, the officiating was awful. One official actually followed Coach Shulman into the huddle to argue with him, which was more than a little outrageous.

The Mocs rebounded better in the second half, but still couldn't get shots to fall.

Sam Watson played the game of his life. His defense was very good. He brought it against Furman. He only scored two points and got two rebounds, but he was a spark of energy. No one else provided that. No one.

Furman's Jordan Miller scored 21 points. He did not play well against the Mocs in the first two games, but he has now played well in the both games in the SoCon Tournament. If he keeps on playing like that, and Saaka adds 15 and 10 (like he did last night), Furman will be tough for College of Charleston to beat tonight. Of course, playing their third game in three nights will make it extraordinarily difficult.

Chris Early was awful. He fouled out. He did not bring any energy to the game, and was clearly not completely into the game. His head was not there. Why not? I'm not sure. Was it the pressure? I'm not sure.

DeAntre Jefferson was not good in the first half, but played much better in the second half, even though he scored just four points. His seven rebounds and second half energy helped spark several surges.

This is the time of year to evaluate the season, the coaching situation, and where to go from here. But not now.

For now, I'm just letting it sting for a little while.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Three Point Play

1) Saturday's Theme? "Mismatches and Perfect Matches." In the early games, there is one "mismatch," where Western Carolina (the heavy favorite) will play UNC-Greensboro, the surprise winner against Davidson on Friday. The Spartans are more than capable of beating the Catamounts, but people believe that it is a mismatch. Appalachian State and Wofford are two good teams. The Terriers beat the Mountaineers by nine at Boone earlier this year, but that was in the middle of Appy four game losing streak. Now they have won eight of nine. In the night games, Chattanooga and Furman match-up in an evenly matched showdown. The two teams have played two blowouts this year- one that went each way. In the nightcap, College of Charleston will battle Elon. The Cougars beat Elon by 18 earlier this year, but the Phoenix have pulled upsets in the past in the SoCon Tourney. Still, this one feels more like a mismatch, even if I think the Phoenix have a real shot.

2) The SoCon Monster Game of the Day for Saturday has to be the Furman-Chattanooga game. The Paladins and the Mocs should be a great match-up between two teams that have brought out the best and the worst in each other. This has the feel of a close game written all over it. This should be the best game of Saturday for sure.

3) The UNCG-Western Carolina has the feel of the second best game of the day. The Spartans have played the Catamounts close this year. I've been saying for weeks that the Spartans have the feel of Elon 2008, who advanced to the championship game after playing in Round One. Yes, other teams have done it, but Elon was one of the bigger surprises to ever do it. This Spartans team has that same feel to it. I'm very interested to see what this team is capable of tomorrow afternoon against Western Carolina.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Battle of North vs. South- Tournament Style

South 27, North 21

North 3, South 1

South 28, North 24

We'll know more after tomorrow's games. There are three North vs. South battles tomorrow. Appalachian State-Wofford, Chattanooga-Furman, and Elon-College of Charleston are the three match-ups. The South could be ahead 4-3 at the end of the day tomorrow for sure. Still, today just showed again why the North is not quite as far behind as you might think from the South. Furman dominated Samford, but Elon beat The Citadel handily. UNC-Greensboro handled Davidson relatively easily, and Appalachian State did not exactly have a tight battle with Georgia Southern. The North outscored the South by 13 points. The North five seed beat the South four seed for the second time this year, showing that the North may be a touch closer to the South than people think. The 28-24 mark for the South is just a 53.8% winning percentage- hardly worth bragging loudly about. Like I said, tomorrow could change everything if the South wins three games, which they are more than capable of.

SoCon Friday- Tournament Style

UNC-Greensboro 71, Davidson 64
Appalachian State 65, Georgia Southern 57
Furman 61, Samford 48
Elon 85, The Citadel 74

Furman Preview: So We Meet Again

The Paladins advanced to the quarters by beating Samford 61-48 on Friday night. They were lead by Jordan Miller. Miller scored 23 points. Brandon Sebirumbi was the only other player in double digits, with ten points. Amu Saaka was held to nine points, and had seven rebounds. Miller finished with four rebounds and four assists as well. Noah States and Darryl Evans both were held scoreless. That's two out of five players that did not score.

Furman shot nearly 58 percent from the free throw line. They held Samford to 35 percent shooting from the field, and just 23.5 percent from three point range. They also forced sixteen turnovers.

Ten players played double figure minutes, while three others played. The Paladins should be fairly well rested heading into this game- at least as well rested as anyone could hope they would be heading into games on back-to-back games.

The Mocs and Paladins have played twice this year already. Chattanooga won by 16 in McKenzie Arena on February 21. On January 22, Furman won by 26 in Greenville.

The Mocs completely dominated the boards in their win, while losing the battle of the boards in their loss. The Mocs shot 49% in their win. States scored 20, while Saaka was the only other player with double digits, with ten. Miller scored just two points in the loss. In Furman's win, Saaka scored 30, and only Colin Reddick was in double digits, with ten. Miller scored just six, States had nine.

Miller has really struggled against the Mocs this year, scoring just a total of eight points. However, he scored 23 against Samford, so is he playing well right now? Or will he come up flat again? Will Chris Early match his career performance that he had against Furman a couple of weeks ago? Will Wattad finally come out and play really well against the Paladins? We'll see.

--Rebound. If the Mocs rebound well, they will have every chance to win this one.
--Miller. He was great against Samford. Can he carry that over to Saturday night? He's struggled against the Mocs this year.
--Bell. He has to play well. His play in this tournament will be the key to the Mocs performance.
--Shooting. Furman's defense has been great over this season, but the Mocs shot so well against Furman the last time out. The Mocs need to shoot well.
--Inside play. First time, Saaka dominated. The second time, Early was great.

--Get ready for the semis.
--Celebrate winning the season series against Furman.
--Be psyched!

--Start dreaming about what next year should be.
--Be frustrated.
--Wonder if Furman can win four games in four days.
--Sigh, take a deep breath, go to bed and remember that tomorrow is another day. But not until next year.

--Wattad goes off. He has to in this tournament, and this seems like the situation when he goes off for at least one night.
--Bell has a great game. This is his time to step up.
--Saaka and Early both will have good games.
--Mocs 76, Furman 73. After two blowouts, we are due for a close match-up between these two teams. This game will be nip and tuck down until the end. And what do the Mocs do in close games at home? They win them. The Mocs will win this one in dramatic fashion, somehow, someway.


Three Point Play

1) The theme of this day will be the "Favorites Try To Avoid Upsets." Appalachian State, Davidson, and Furman all won double digit games in the SoCon. All three teams will be looking to get to the quarterfinals. Who wants these teams to win? People who want to see great basketball on Saturday. We want to see Donald Sims and Omar Carter square off with Wofford and Noah Dahlman. We want to see the league's two hottest teams in Davidson and Western Carolina square off. We want to see Furman and Chattanooga battle to find out which blowout was more real. Of course, a Cinderella team never hurt anyone's feelings- the SoCon in general is probably rooting for The Citadel-Elon winner to be the most likely Cinderella- even if College of Charleston does present the best NCAA Tournament option.

2) When Elon and The Citadel hook up, it will be the last game of the day, and will be the least anticipated, but there is a lot to look forward to. The match-up is the only one between two All SoCon players, in Cameron Wells and Chris Long. It is the match-up between the two teams with the closest SoCon record. And the winner will be one of five teams with a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament when they tip-off on Saturday night against College of Charleston. This game has potential to be the best game of the day, even if it does hold the least appeal of any game in a lot of respects.

3) The SoCon Monster Game of the Day is between Davidson and UNC-Greensboro. Are you going to be in Chattanooga? Then make sure that you get to the first game of the day, because it could be really good. The Wildcats are good, but they lost once to the Spartans, and nearly lost at home to the Spartans last weekend. This game should be a great game, and could easily produce the upset of the first day. I wouldn't mind seeing it- I think the Spartans are grossly underrated. But, the Wildcats are the hottest team. This should be a great game. I can't wait for this one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

SoCon Tournament Picks


Davidson and UNC-Greensboro is a very good match-up. The Wildcats are the better team, obviously. But Trevis Simpson and Brandon Evans are capable of carrying the Spartans nearly single-handedly. But the Wildcats are more balanced and will find a way to win this one by four points.

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern is not as good of a game. But the Eagles are not very good. They are capable of beating the Mountaineers. But they need everything to break just right. Donald Sims and Omar Carter will not let the Mountaineers go down this early. And that is good for the SoCon Tournament. Appalachian State by thirteen.

Furman is clearly the superior team to Samford, but something just tells me that the Paladins are done. They have not played well in recent weeks, and losing the bye was really bad for this team. This team's confidence appears shaken. Amu Saaka is good, but he can't carry the Paladins any further unless they start playing better. Samford in the upset by seven.

Elon and The Citadel features Chris Long against Cameron Wells. This should be a fun game, even if the two teams are not all that good. The Bulldogs have been playing some downright bad basketball lately, other than one half against Western Carolina that produced the stunning upset of the Catamounts. Elon wins this one by twelve.


Western Carolina and Davidson should be a tremendous game. The Catamounts and the Wildcats are the two hottest teams in the league. Davidson will play well early since they will have some of the early jitters out of the way, but in the end, the Catamounts are too good. Trey Sumler hits a big late three and produces the win for Western Carolina by two.

Sims and Carter will have to go off for the Mountaineers to have a chance against Wofford. The Terriers are playing great right now. They will show up and play well from start to finish. Sims could go off for 40 plus points and pull the upset, but barring that, the Terriers will win behind Noah Dahlman's big game inside. Wofford by nine.

The Mocs will tip off against Samford in a rematch of a game that went to overtime just last weekend. The Bulldogs run a really unusual offensive attack. The Mocs will play well, but it will be a close game down to the end, just like the Mocs-Samford game will always be. Mocs win by six.

Elon will battle College of Charleston in the nightcap. The Phoenix have a chance in this one if the Cougars do not come to play at a top level. Andrew Goudelock is a great player, and he won't let the Cougars lose. It will be fairly close. College of Charleston by ten.


Wofford does not have the depth to match Western Carolina. The Terriers are the slightly better team, and both teams are red hot. This should be a great game. In fact, the winner of this game is the team I think will win the title. I'm taking Sumler, Gordon, and Williams, even though Dahlman has another brilliant showing. Western Carolina by one.

College of Charleston will be playing Chattanooga for the second time this year. Goudelock will go off, and this time the Cougars will play a more complete defensive game. They do not have a lot of depth, but they will be ready for revenge in this game. The Cougars will win by nine over the Mocs.


Western Carolina and College of Charleston will battle in a classic final. The Cougars lack depth, and the Catamounts have the defensive prowess to shut down College of Charleston. Goudelock is a great player, but the Cougars just won't have enough and will come up short in the tournament yet again. Western Carolina by five.


All SoCon Tournament Team

Here are my picks to make the All SoCon Tournament Team:

Noah Dahlman, Wofford
Richie Gordon, Western Carolina
Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina
Mike Williams, Western Carolina

MVP- Mike Williams

These picks are obviously reflective of which teams I think will succeed in the tournament beginning this Friday.


All SoCon Media Picks

All-Conference First Team
Donald Sims, Appalachian State
Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston
Cameron Wells, The Citadel
Amu Saaka, Furman
Noah Dahlman, Wofford

All-Conference Second Team
Omar Carter, Appalachian State
Chris Long, Elon
Keegan Bell, Chattanooga
Omar Wattad, Chattanooga
Mike Williams, Western Carolina

All-Conference Third Team

Donavan Monroe, College of Charleston
Jeremy Simmons, College of Charleston
Ben Drayton III, Georgia Southern
Tim Johnson, Wofford
Cameron Rundles, Wofford

All-Freshman Team
Trent Wiedeman, College of Charleston
Jack Isenbarger, Elon
Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern
Trevis Simpson, UNCG
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina

Malcolm U. Pitt Player of the Year
Andrew Goudelock, Sr., G, College of Charleston

Freshman of the Year
Trey Sumler, Fr., G, Western Carolina

Anton Foy Coach of the Year
Bobby Cremins, College of Charleston


My biggest complaint again is about Cremins getting Coach of the Year. I just don't see how Jackson from Furman does not get the Coach of the Year Award. His team clearly overachieved by the most, in my opinion.

Davidson, UNCG, and Samford are the only teams that do not have a player on the first, second, or third team. Samford finished last, and UNCG finished fifth in the North, but Davidson is one of the favorites to win the tournament. So it is a little surprising that Jake Cohen did not make an All SoCon team.

Keegan Bell deserved to be on the All SoCon team. I'm very pleased that he was selected. He was more deserving than Omar Wattad. He has been more important to the Mocs success than Wattad- and that's not to take anything away from what Wattad has done.

De'Mon Brooks of Davidson should also have been selected to the All Freshman team. I have felt like Brooks is one of Davidson's best players, and he deserves that spot. But he didn't get it. He may make up for it in this tournament.


RPI Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 74
2) Furman 121
3) Wofford 127
4) Davidson 156
5) Western Carolina 174
6) Appalachian State 179
7) Chattanooga 192
8) Elon 268
9) The Citadel 282
10) Samford 295
11) UNC-Greensboro 300
12) Georgia Southern 341

SoCon Rank: 19


KenPom Rankings

According to

1) College of Charleston 77
2) Wofford 96
3) Davidson 150
4) Furman 159
5) Western Carolina 186
6) Appalachian State 204
7) Elon 236
8) The Citadel 275
9) Chattanooga 276
10) UNC-Greensboro 283
11) Samford 310
12) Georgia Southern 327

SoCon Rank: 21


Three Point Play

1) Ten players made the All SoCon team. Omar Carter, Donald Sims, Andrew Goudelock, Donavan Monroe, Cameron Wells, Chris Long, Amu Saaka, Omar Wattad, Mike Williams, and Noah Dahlman all are on the team. Who was left off? Keegan Bell and Jake Cohen are the ones most deserving who were left off the list. As first and foremost a Mocs blog, I will just say that Bell deserved the spot on the All Conference team over Wattad. Cohen it's harder to find a place for. Still, this is a solid list of contributors. The first day will feature one match-up between the two teams. Wells will take on Long when The Citadel faces Elon at 9:30 on Friday night.

2) The All Freshman team features Trent Wiedeman, Lucas Troutman, Eric Ferguson, Trevis Simpson, and Trey Sumler. That means that only two teams do not have representatives on the All SoCon team or the All Freshman team- Davidson and Samford. The Bulldogs clearly don't deserve to have people on here- they finished in last place in the North division. But Davidson is a team that plenty of team pick to win the SoCon Tournament title this Monday. So, the fact that they don't have anyone on these lists is a little surprising. De'Mon Brooks deserves to be on the All Freshman team.

3) The Coach of the Year Award should not have gone to Bobby Cremins. I would have voted for Jeff Jackson at Furman. He seems to be the clear favorite on this list. Larry Hunter at Western Carolina was the coach I would have voted for second. After that comes John Shulman at Chattanooga, Bob McKillop at Davidson (who really turned things around in the second half of the season), and then Cremins. Cremins was a fine choice, but the Cougars succeeded at exactly the rate most people expected them to in the preseason.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

OOC Opponents

Tennessee- 17-12, 34
Austin Peay- 17-12, 127
Kennesaw State- 7-22, 320
Marshall- 18-9, 51
Louisville- 22-7, 20
Jackson State- 13-13, 240
FIU- 8-18, 286
Murray State- 21-7, 106
Georgia State- 11-18, 232
Georgia Tech- 11-17, 181


Tennessee continues their up and down twists and turns. The Vols still look like they are in good shape for an NCAA Tournament bid. If they win two games over the next couple of days, the Vols should be into the dance, even with all of their struggles.

Austin Peay has gone just 7-6 since January 15, and that includes a two game winning streak to end the season. Can the Governors get it back together in time to win the OVC Tournament? It's possible as they are probably the third best team in the conference behind Morehead State and Murray State. But they are no longer viewed in quite the same light as they were just a month and a half ago.

Kennesaw State had won three in a row, and now have lost five in a row, including a 47 point loss to Belmont in their final game. They will probably lose tonight to Belmont in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament as well. The Owls just have been a major disappointment this year.

Marshall is the Mocs best win. The Thundering Herd won their last five games and is teetering on the bubble of the bubble. No one really mentions them, but if the Herd comes back and wins their final two games (currently down 4 at UTEP). If that happens and they find their way to the Conference USA Tournament Championship Game, the Herd could be on the bubble.

Louisville has turned into one of the best teams in the Big East and is a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. They will be a high seed in the Big Dance as well, and could go all the way to the Final Four if things really break right for them. Louisville is that good.

Jackson State has turned into a bit of a disappointment down the stretch. They traded wins and losses throughout the month of February, and are now considered one of the teams to beat in the SWAC, but not the team to beat in the SWAC anymore. They are slighly back of the top teams in the conference, and will need some luck to win the conference tournament.

FIU is 2-11 in their last thirteen games. The Golden Panthers beat Troy twice during that stretch, but has lost all of their other eleven games since January 13. FIU has really fallen apart and been a major disappointment in the Sun Belt.

Murray State is the top seed in the OVC, finishing just ahead of Morehead State for the title. They should be able to reach the final, where they would face off against likely Morehead State. They are 11-1 in their last twelve games. The Racers are one of the teams most likely to reach the NCAA Tournament on this out of conference schedule.

Georgia State fired Rod Barnes, their head coach heading into the CAA Tournament. They lost their last four games, and the Panthers were way up and down this year. Sometimes, they were very good, such as the night they beat the Mocs. Sometimes, they were very bad, such as the night they lost to Georgia Southern.

Georgia Tech has lost eight out of nine games, with the lone win being the Mocs, even though Chattanooga really outplayed them for much of the night. Georgia Tech is highly unlikely to get to a postseason tournament- they would likely have to win the ACC Tournament. That's just not going to happen.


Three Point Play

1) Only one of the non "Big 7" is guaranteed to make it to Saturday, and they will be playing in the final game on both Friday and Saturday. Elon and The Citadel will battle late Friday night for the right to meet College of Charleston on Saturday. The Phoenix are dangerous, and The Citadel has Cameron Wells, so they are always dangerous. This is the best first round match-up if you look only at the similarity of the conference record to determine what makes for the best first round match-up. They will be one of five teams left with a shot at going to the NCAA Tournament by Saturday night. This game should be a decent game, and it is one that is not being remembered in a lot of circles right now.

2) Davidson is becoming a chic pick to win the whole thing. Pat Forde picked the Wildcats to win the SoCon Tourney on, and now suddenly the Davidson fans can't get enough. I agree with Forde in saying that this field looks like one that could go crazy. I just maintain that winning the tournament without a bye is going to be extraordinarily tough for any team. Could one of those teams get to the championship game? Absolutely. But beyond that seems like too much. So Davidson could advance to the title game, but getting beyond that seems unlikely to me.

3) I'm looking forward to the All Conference team being announced. Sims, Goudelock, and Dahlman are the clear first three choices. After that, things are much tighter. I'll be interested to see who is on the All Conference teams after that. I think the list will be announced today. It should be an interesting thing to look at closely.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Heat-O-Meter: Settling Down

Of course, Coach Shulman had to know that the last seven games were going to be very tough. The team responded by going 2-5, and the Mocs went 3-5 in February.

So where does that leave Coach Shulman? On a slightly hotter seat than before.

However, with the Mocs winding up 12-6 in SoCon play and tied for first in the SoCon North, there is really no way that Coach Shulman is going to be fired. He's going to be sticking around here, unless he leaves on his own. Shulman, even with a first round loss, will be here next year.

But Shulman can still be in a lot of trouble with the Mocs with a first round loss. Next year should be a special year for the Mocs and if things are not better next year than this year, then Shulman could start to feel a lot of heat, especially if there is not an NCAA bid at the end of the tunnel this year.

In other words, Shulman is completely safe for now. The talk should end about whether or not he should be gone this year, because it is a totally fruitless discussion at this point. The discussion can continue about where he will be next year, and a lot of that depends on what happens this weekend, and, of course, next year.

Seriously, the Mocs should be great next year. It really should be a magical year. The Mocs need to win big next year for Shulman. This has a chance to be the Mocs bestr year since 1996-97. And Shulman needs to capitalize on it.

HEAT-O-METER: 4.5. Shulman's seat heated up a little bit this month from a 3.5. The reason is that the Mocs went 3-5 during February, and they did not win the SoCon North title outright after having a huge lead. So Shulman's seat got just a little bit hotter than it was previously. It also did not help that the Mocs got killed by Wofford. But he's still reasonably cold. Of course, as I have said repeatedly, his hot seat is always a little cooler in my book. So he's cooler in my book than this. However, I will say I was as frustrated with Shulman as I have been all year after the Wofford game. The lone exception may have been just before the Appalachian State game. But I see no reason to get rid of him after this year. Absolutely none.


Three Point Play

1) The top half (or the afternoon half) and the bottom half (or the evening half) of the bracket are very similar. Five teams finished within two games of the best record in the SoCon. Of those five, two (Western Carolina and Wofford) are in the top half of the bracket, while three are in the bottom half. However, when the other two teams with winning SoCon records are included, the top half has four of the top seven, while the bottom half has just three. In fact, if you look at just the SoCon record, the top half has a 53-55 record, while the bottom half has a 55-53 SoCon record. If all the favorites win on Friday (Davidson, Appalachian State, Elon, and Furman), then the top half will have a 46-26 SoCon record by Saturday and the bottom half will have a 45-27 SoCon record. Yep- the top and bottom halves are pretty much dead even.

2) The North and South are fairly even. Yes, the South is better- there's no doubt about it. But preseason, people were saying that the second place team from the North would be lucky to have a better record than the fifth place team from the South. That just isn't true. The 4N actually has a better record than 5S. The biggest debate could be over who should get the byes, and Wofford and Charleston are obvious since they are 14-4. But of the three 12-6 teams, only two could get byes. Against the other four teams in contention for the byes, College of Charleston had the best record, at 5-2. Wofford was next at 4-3. Western Carolina went 3-3, Chattanooga 3-4, and Furman 2-5. Against the other two teams involved in the tie, Western Carolina went 2-1, Chattanooga 2-2, and Furman 1-2. So, it seems pretty clear that Furman should have been the odd team out in the bye race.

3) The thing that makes this tournament so interesting is that the top five teams were so tightly bunched, but also that there are two great X Factors in Davidson and Appalachian State. The Wildcats and the Mountaineers are both good teams capable of making big pushes in this tournament. They could possible win the whole thing if things line up right. The fact that Davidson is the hottest team at 8-1 in their last nine conference games and that Appalachian State has two of the most dangerous scorers in Donald Sims and Omar Carter is part of what makes this tournament so appealing. The X Factors this year are very dangerous.