Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Georgia Southern Preview: Opening Day....Again

The Mocs would like nothing more than to start over again.
So here we go. It's opening day....again.

The Mocs need to forget that this season has started. They need to forget that any of the early season struggles have taken place.

They are 0-0.

And they are.

In SoCon play, the Mocs are 0-0. They get a chance to get to 1-0 with a win over Georgia Southern on Thursday night. Coming up with it may be easier said than done.

Georgia Southern won just one SoCon game a year ago, but was still picked to finish third in the South this year. They have won only one game so far this year, but played Wake Forest close. They were unable to do the same against South Florida. The Eagles are trying to prove that they are better than they were a year ago, and will get a golden opportunity against the Mocs on Thursday night.

Willie Powers is one of the top players in the SoCon. He has not been unstoppable, but he is the best player that the Eagles have, and he is the heart and soul of the team. He is averaging 10.6 points per game. He is second on the team in rebounding with 4.8 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 4.8 assists per game, and is second on the team with 1.8 steals per game. He is shooting nearly 56% from the field and 40% from three point range, while shooting 75% from the free throw line.

Ben Drayton III also averages 10.6 points per game, while being second on the team in assists with 3.0 and first in steals with 2.0.

The best three point shooter is Jelani Hewitt. Hewitt is shooting 43% from three point range, while shooting 83% from the free throw line. He is averaging 11.6 points per game, with 3.8 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game.

Eric Ferguson is shooting 51.6% from the field. He leads the team in scoring with 16.0 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game.

The four players mentioned so far all are guards. Ferguson is 6-7. Ferguson is a tremendous player, and will be a valuable piece of the puzzle throughout the year. But let's not kid ourselves, the key to this team is how Drayton and Powers perform.

The key to this game is how Drayton and Powers perform when they are matched up with Keegan Bell. The Eagles last year had a terrible time with turnovers. They have struggled at times with that this year as well. That's the main reason that they rank 101st in field goal percentage while being 219th in scoring.

The Mocs are only 262nd in points per game, and 317th in field goal percentage. The Mocs have played solid defense, and caused plenty of turnovers in their win over Savannah State. They have rebounded the ball reasonably well. They did not come up with the big rebounds against Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon. They will need to come up with the big rebounds in this game.


--Rebounding. The Mocs were dominated on the boards in the key moments against Gardner-Webb. They have to come up with the big rebounds to win this game.
--Turnovers. The Mocs need to force plenty of turnovers to be able to find a way to slow down this Eagles offense.
--Bell vs. Powers. This could be the best point guard match-up in the SoCon.
--Drazen Zlovaric. He needs to dominate on the inside. He should be able to in this match-up.
--Ferguson vs. Chris Early. This should be a match-up that Early likes. Ferguson may like it too. Should be interesting.


--The Mocs have not looked good yet this year, but let's not be confused. Georgia Southern has only beaten Webber International, a non-D1. Both teams will play better than they have played yet this year. They will need to in order to win.
--Zlovaric will have his best game. (Do I have to say this every game?)
--Ferguson will beat out Early in the head to head match-up.
--Bell and Powers will both play well.
--Omar Wattad will not still not play as well as he is supposed to be playing.
--Georgia Southern 67, Mocs 61. The Mocs are not playing well enough to find a way to win a road game right now. The Eagles will play inspired basketball in front of their home crowd and come up with a solid win over the Mocs at home. This will hurt the Mocs a lot in their quest to come up with a split on this road trip. They could come up with the win, but it would take their best performance yet.


Battle of North vs. South

Wednesday Scores in North vs. South
Furman (S) 70
Elon (N) 77

at South
South- 0
North- 0

at North
South- 0
North- 1
North- 1
South- 0

Rankings- 11-30-11


1) Davidson 30
2) College of Charleston 61
3) Elon 121
4) Wofford 152
5) Furman 211
6) Western Carolina 224
7) Samford 252
8) UNC-Greensboro 297
9) Georgia Southern 302
10) Appalachian State 310
11) Chattanooga 323
12) The Citadel 332

SoCon Rank: 23


1) Davidson 80
2) College of Charleston 97
3) Elon 204
4) Appalachian State 220
5) Furman 229
6) Wofford 232
7) Western Carolina 242
8) Chattanooga 267
9) Samford 273
10) The Citadel 286
11) Georgia Southern 293
12) UNC-Greensboro 295


1) Davidson 40
2) College of Charleston 41
3) Elon 165
4) Furman 193
5) Appalachian State 204
6) Wofford 214
7) Western Carolina 229
8) Samford 275
9) Georgia Southern 295
10) The Citadel 310
11) UNC-Greensboro 311
12) Chattanooga 321

SoCon Rank: 23


The rankings are gaining more and more meaning. College of Charleston and Davidson are clearly the class of the conference, just in case anyone was wondering. The SoCon is ranked 23th and 24th, which is very low. The SoCon needs to move up in the RPI rankings for Charleston or Davidson to really be able to get an at large bid. That means that all these teams need to start winning. Chattanooga has lost to some bad teams, and that has really hurt the overall conference rank. Are the Mocs really the worst team in the SoCon? So far, it's hard to argue with it. Elon as the clear third team in all the rankings. Clearly, the Phoenix are very good and a real threat to win the SoCon.

SoCon Monster Game of the Week Preview: Davidson at Wofford

Time: 7:00
TV: None (ESPN3)

Wofford is the proud, two-time defending SoCon champs, even if they return virtually no one from last year. The Terriers have rotated back and forth with wins and losses so far this year. They lost to Georgia, then beat Emory & Henry, then lost to Wisconsin, beat Bradley, lost to UMKC in overtime, then beat Prairie View. So far, they have had an interesting twist.

Davidson beat Guillford, then Richmond, before losing to Duke after leading at halftime, then beat Presbyterian and UNC-Wilmington.

Wofford is relying on Kevin Giltner and Brad Loesing. Giltner is averaging 38.8 minutes per game, while Loesing is playing 39.5 minutes per game. That is a lot of minutes.

Giltner is averaging 14.3 points per game and is shooting 40.3% from the field. Loesing is averaging 11.7 points per game, and leads the team with 5.3 assists per game and with 1.8 steals per game. Lee Skinner leads the team in rebounds with 6.0 rebounds per game, and is second on the team with 2.5 assists per game. Giltner has made 12 out of 39 threes on the year, which is not a good percentage, but is the most makes of any player on the team.

The Terriers are 329th in the country in scoring and 310 in field goal percentage. They are great defensively, allowing a season high 69 points to Wisconsin.

Davidson will try to play solid defense. They have allowed more than 67 points only once, when they allowed 82 to Duke.

De'Mon Brooks is the Wildcats leading scorer. He is averaging 15.8 points per game, and 7.0 rebounds per game to lead the team. He is only playing 22.6 minutes per game, which is sixth on the team. Still, Brooks has established himself as one of the better players in the SoCon, even if he does not often get mentioned in that breath.

JP Kuhlman was the SoCon Player of the Week last week. He is averaging 14.2 points per game. Nik Cochran is averaging 10.4 points per game, with a team high 2.8 assists per game. Chris Czerapowicz is the teams second leading rebounder and has made more three pointers than anyone else on the team. Jake Cohen is tied for second in rebounding with 5.6 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 1.6 blocks per game to lead the team, along with 9.2 points per game.

Davidson is a team that does not appear to have a lot of superstars, but they have plenty of guys that are very talented.

This game looks to be a good old-fashioned defensive battle. Both teams should find scoring difficult. In the SoCon opener for both schools, Wofford should come ready to make a statement that they are ready to defend their crown. Davidson needs to make a similar statement that they are ready to win the SoCon. Beating the two time defending champs in their building would be a nice opening statement.


--Can Wofford play off their home crowd with energy and help come up with the win for the Terriers?
--Will Davidson be able to score against the Terriers defense?
--Giltner and Loesing need to have tremendous efforts for the Terriers to win.
--Cohen needs to step up for the Wildcats. He is supposed to be their best player, and the numbers don't add up...yet.


--Cohen will have his best game of the season.
--Neither team will get into the seventies in points.
--Loesing will show why he is the senior leadership for the Terriers.
--Davidson 63, Wofford 58. The Terriers will put up a fight all the way to the end, proving that they are going to be a tough out in SoCon play, but Davidson will come up with a way to get a big road win.

Double Dribbles- 11-30-11

1) Davidson's JP Kuhlman won the SoCon Player of the Week Award- probably the least deserving winner to date. I mean, let's face it. His team just played one game. He scored 21 points in that game (not like he put up 30), had seven rebounds, two assists, and had a huge rebound and two free throws in the final seconds against UNC-Wilmington to clinch the victory. Kuhlman is a solid player, but really got lucky to win it this week. He could easily wind up on the All SoCon team at the end of the year, so this is not a rip on Kuhlman- just on his credentials.

2) Davidson and College of Charleston both find themselves in the Top 70 in RPI according to But it is more interesting than that when you dig a little deeper. Both are projected to be in the Top 60 according to the RPI Forecast on the same site.That means that both teams could find themselves squarely on the at large bubble this year if they can come up with any out of conference victories. Richmond was a nice win for Davidson, but beating Vanderbilt next week or Kansas on December 19 would be gigantic, and getting a win in the BracketBuster would also be nice. For the Cougars, Louisville, Tennessee, and the BracketBuster still loom. People think that the best way for the SoCon to get an at large bid is to have two deserving teams, and one to knock off the other one in the SoCon Final. This situation may be coming together with these two teams. They need to avoid bad losses. That's the most important thing at this point for them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

December Preview: A Hint?

Sometimes a hint is all the wrapping a gift needs.

OK- so that's a little cheesy, but what I wouldn't do for just a hint that the Mocs were on their way to turning this ship around. I don't even have a hint at this point. It is completely empty at this stage.

Of course, there is always hope. It begins Thursday. The schedule is not easy this month though. Spalding and Hiwassee are at home, while trips to Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, Mercer, and Kentucky all come before the Dr Pepper Classic, which will feature Longwood and then either Hampton or Utah Valley.

Easiest Game: Hiwassee, December 21. This game against an in-state team may not be simple, but it is not going to be difficult either. Let's put it this way- Warren Wilson beat Hiwassee 84-80 in overtime. Given that the Mocs beat Warren Wilson by 52, this should be a reasonably easy game for the Mocs to come up with the win. The most difficult thing could be that it is a noon start on the last day before Christmas break.

Toughest Game: at Kentucky, December 17. This is a no-brainer. The Wildcats are the best team in the country at this point, and  they have taken out plenty of teams by a lot of points. Kentucky may take the Mocs lightly, but the Wildcats still have infinitely more talent than the Mocs. There could be something strange happening that day, but the Wildcats are by far the toughest opponent the Mocs face all year- much less in December.

Most Important Game: at Georgia Southern, December 1. The only reason this game sneaks in ahead of the Dr Pepper Classic is because it is a conference game. The Mocs desperately need to find a way to come up with a split on their opening road trip of conference play against Georgia Southern and College of Charleston. This is the more likely game to win. If the Mocs were playing better then the College of Charleston game would be more important, but they are not playing well enough to think at the moment that they can beat the Cougars. They will have to play their best game of the year to beat the Eagles.

Predicted Record: 3-5. Wins over Hiwassee and Spalding are givens, as is a loss to Kentucky. The other five games are at least partially up in the air. The way the Mocs have played so far, there is no reason to think they can win more than one  more game- probably coming against Longwood in the Dr Pepper Classic. But with their current play, beating Utah Valley, Hampton, Mercer, College of Charleston, or Georgia Southern is a stretch. I picked them to go 4-2 last month, and they came up way short of that. If they come up way short of my expectations this month, then this season will be completely in the tank by the time the calendar turns to 2012.

Dear Mocs,

Prove me wrong. After all the preseason expectations, now is the time to prove me wrong.


The Administration

Just give me a hint that some good things are coming.


Double Dribbles-11-29-11

1) Really, UNCG? Really? That was not a good showing at all against North Carolina A&T. They got beat in a road game in their home stadium by 22 points. They allowed the Aggies to shoot over 57% from the floor. The Spartans have not advanced as far as I expected them to this year. They are still struggling to find themselves, and could find themselves in serious trouble this week when they go to both Appalachian State and Western Carolina. This is a must win week for the Spartans, to at least split the two games. Unless there is improvement, they will be hard pressed to get that split.

2) Furman's trip to Elon on Wednesday night will open SoCon league play. The Paladins and the Phoenix are two of the more pleasant surprises in the  league right now. Only one can maintain that level of excellence. Furman has played excellent defense so far, but have not really played a challenging scheduling. Elon has played a much tougher schedule, but has also played good defense and showed that they are a real threat to win the league. The Battle of North vs. South will also get underway in this game. The South won fairly big last year. The North was expected to win it this year in the preseason, but based on performances so far, there is little reason to think that the North will be able to turn it around against the South this year. But it should at least be more interesting this year. Maybe we should come up with a name for some mythical trophy between the North and South. Ideas?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Heat-O-Meter: Trouble Lurks Yet Again

Coach John Shulman has found himself in plenty of tight spots before. But he may have never been in a situation quite this tight.

An underachieving 2-4 team. Next three games on the road against three decent teams. Two years left on his contract. Fewer than 2500 fans at each of the last three home games.


Apathy seems to be setting in to a degree for the Mocs fanbase. And this is the most dangerous thing to Shulman's tenure.

At 2-4, the Mocs would be OK- if they could find a way to win 2 of these next 3 on the road against Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, and Mercer. This is a very difficult task.

The team is playing with the same inconsistency that has plagued them in recent years. Actually, I take that back. They are playing very consistently now for the first time in years- it's just consistently not good basketball. It has been brutally ugly for the Mocs so far.

This does not bode well for Shulman. He will obviously not be gone until the end of the year at the earliest. He would probably be able to get another year with a mildly successful season. But mildly successful may have meant 20 wins this year. And the Mocs seem like a far cry from that at the moment.

HEAT-O-METER: 9.0. Shulman is in big trouble at the moment. The apathy is the thing that seems most troubling to me for him. The Mocs have come back from bad Novembers before, and they will need to get off to a great start this December. Can they beat Georgia Southern and/or College of Charleston? That could change the trajectory quickly. But right now, Shulman may be in trouble. I hate this, because I like Coach Shulman and think that he has taken an undue amount of flack for certain things that have happened. That being said, this season has not been acceptable yet. He knows he is on the hot seat. It's time for the team to show up and play like they know there is pressure.


November Review: Reset Button

The Mocs need a reset button.

The season that was supposed to be full of so much promise and so much hope has fallen on impossibly bad times. After the Mocs showed decent efforts against Indiana and Butler, they were coming home, expecting to win four straight home games against inferior competition.

Then it happened. The Mocs lost to Kennesaw State. Suddenly, all the air was let out of the Mocs balloon. They have not been able to get it back.

Not only have they followed that up with a nail-biter win over Savannah State, but also lost a close one to Gardner-Webb. The Mocs find themselves 2-4, when they were supposed to be 4-2. Not only that, but the close loss to Butler doesn't look so impressive right now. The Bulldogs barely beat Gardner-Webb, and struggled with Savannah State as well.

In other words, the close loss to Butler does not look so good right now.

The Mocs have already had two different starting lineups, from a team that was supposed to have one starting lineup all year long.

The Mocs have not been able to throw a ball into the ocean from five feet. They have struggled tremendously.

The Mocs have played good defense, but failed to box out at critical moments in the loss to Gardner-Webb. This was an especially difficult loss.

GRADE: D. There is no way to sugar coat this. The Mocs have not played well. They have not even played average basketball. They have played well below average. The only thing saving them right now is their solid defense, and the fact that they gutted a close win against Savannah State. There is some positives here- they are 1-3 in games that were within five points with five minutes left, something that the Mocs have done very well at under Coach Shulman. There is not an imminent turnaround here or anything, but the Mocs could be sitting here are 5-1 right now with a couple of shots falling, and we'd all feel pretty good. But with a couple of shots not falling, they could be 1-5 right now and they'd have an F grade. There are major concerns here that should not be washed over. In some ways, it is lucky that they are not 5-1, because then they would be ignoring their current ails. They need to turn it around- starting now.


Double Dribbles- 11-28-11

1) After the loss to UCF to open the Battle 4 Atlantis, Charleston played well, finishing fifth, beating UNC-Asheville and hammering Massachusetts. On top of that, UCF beat Connecticut before losing to Harvard in the championship game. So, College of Charleston had a very nice showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the end. They are continuing to prove that they probably deserve to be receiving votes in the AP and Coaches Poll at this point. Not saying they should be ranked, but they are certainly moving up in the college basketball world quickly. This really might be Bobby Cremins best team in Charleston.

2) Samford came up with their first win of the year on Saturday when they beat UT-Arlington 71-69. It was a road win, which was not bad for the Bulldogs. They had been ahead by as many as 22, but wound up blowing nearly the whole thing. The Bulldogs held on to win. When they shoot 51.1% from the field, they are not easy to beat. It was nice to get a win for the Bulldogs, but they proved that they need to shoot well to succeed in the SoCon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Davidson at Wofford

This week's SoCon Monster Game of the Week will be Davidson at Wofford. It is the SoCon opener for both teams, and Wofford is the two time reigning champs, taking on the preseason favorites. Can the Terriers come up with an upset at home against the Wildcats? This is a great opportunity for the Terriers, who beat Bradley last week. Davidson has been off to a red hot start. It would be good for them to come up with a win as well.

Huge first game in the SoCon for these two teams.

Scanning the SoCon- Week Four

With SoCon play beginning next week, things are beginning to heat up.

DavidsonCats- Davidson Wildcats fan.
MocsMania- Chattanooga Mocs fan.
TheSportsArsenal- Citadel Bulldogs fan.
UNCGBasketballFan- UNCG Spartans fan.


Sunday, November 27
Gardner-Webb at Chattanooga (Hoosier Classic)
Georgia Southern at SMU
Monday, November 28
UNC-Greensboro at North Carolina A&T (I think this is technically a road game, even though it is in the Coliseum- you guys correct me if I am misunderstanding)
Wedensday, November 30
Furman at Elon
Thursday, December 1
Chattanooga at Georgia Southern
The Citadel at College of Charleston
Davidson at Wofford (ESPN3)
Western Carolina at Samford
UNCG at Appalachian State
Saturday, December 3
Navy at Elon
Chattanooga at College of Charleston
UNCG at Western Carolina
The Citadel at Wofford
Furman at Davidson
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
1) Davidson 46.5 (2.5)
2) College of Charleston 45.5 (1.5)
3) Elon 39
4) Appalachian State 34
5) Wofford 26
6) Western Carolina 25
7) Furman 24
8) Chattanooga 23
9) UNC-Greensboro 20
10) Georgia Southern 16
11) The Citadel 9
12) Samford 4
Sum up your team.
DavidsonCats- I like Davidson's start. 4-1 with wins over Guilford, Richmond, Presbyterian, and UNCW and the loss at Duke. I saw the Presbyterian game but missed today's road win at UNCW. Davidson's top 3 post players fouled out of today's game, but the other guys pulled together for an important road win. We've seen the same starting lineup in every game. Brooks, Cohen, Cochran, Droney, and Kuhlman. The leading scorer so far is De'Mon Brooks. If he can avoid the foul trouble, he'll have a breakout sophomore season. The Wildcats have two conference games this week. We're at Wofford on Thursday and home for Furman on Saturday. The Wildcats then finish December with 5 tough OOC games (Vandy, Charlotte, Kansas, UMass, and Penn).
MocsMania- The win over Savannah State may be enough to get them going. They struggled with the Tigers, but eventually pulled it out. This is not a good team right now. They are truly struggling with their shots right now. The Mocs are playing decent defense, and that is their calling card right now. Their zone against Savannah State forced a lot of turnovers and basically single-handedly won the game. They will need to keep up that defensive effort until the shots start falling consistently. Omar Wattad is not playing well right now, and he was supposed to be the Mocs best player. He needs to get much better.
TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel defeated Florida Christian on Monday night, an easy victory over a non-Division I team. It was a nice confidence-builder after the difficult game against Clemson. I'm not crazy about playing non-D1s, but a couple of such matchups aren't so bad for a young team. Playing those games also doesn't hurt the league's RPI, since such games aren't counted. On Saturday, the Bulldogs lost 80-72 at High Point, in overtime. The Citadel competed well against a HPU team that narrowly lost to Purdue earlier in the year. The Bulldogs took too many three-pointers, and need to work on shot selection. The Citadel remains on the road for its first two SoCon matchups, against the College of Charleston and Wofford.
UNCGBasketballFan- This week was more of an off week for UNCG. The Spartans shook off a bad first half to beat up on a very bad Towson team. Freshman sharpshooter Nick Paulos was the main catalyst for the offensive explosion as he hit 6 3-pointers on the way to 25 points. After that game, the Spartans have taken a week off before playing cross town rival NC A&T this coming Monday. The offense has been UNCG's problem so far this year. However, you could almost feel the entire team relax after Paulos had made a couple of 3's. You could also feel the entire fan base start to relax too.
What is the game you are looking the most forward to this week that does not involve your team?
DavidsonCats- I'm looking forward to UNCG's mountain swing and Chattanooga's trip South. UNCG and Chattanooga are both teams that under-perfomed expectations. Both have the opportunity to make statements on these road trips.
MocsMania- I'm very interested in Davidson's trip to Wofford. I had not been impressed by Wofford, but then they came up with a win over Bradley, and appear to be a solid team. They can establish themselves as a threat to win the SoCon with a win over favorite Davidson in the SoCon opener. As the two time defending champs, this game will really tell a lot about where both teams are heading. 
TheSportsArsenal- Chattanooga at the College of Charleston is probably the key matchup in the league. Chattanooga has some questions to answer, given that it has only one D-1 win as of Saturday night, and that was a two-point victory at home over Savannah State. The preseason favorite in the north could make its fans feel better with a good showing against a College of Charleston team that has started the season very well.
UNCGBasketballFan- The Chattanooga-Charleston game seems interesting based on preseason predictions and the animosity that exists between the two fan bases. However, the Mocs haven't really been impressive early in the season. It'll be interesting to see how they play against a very good team on the road.
What do you think of playing conference games this early in the season?
DavidsonCats- I don't like the early season conference games, but if we are going to play 18 conference games there isn't much choice.
MocsMania- I don't really care for it. I think that SoCon games are much more important than out of conference games, and these games stick with you. For example, last year, the Mocs went 3-0 in SoCon play in December. They beat Elon, who probably would have beaten them later on in the year. If the Mocs lose that game, they do not finish tied for the SoCon North. It could have had an impact on the standings later in the year- and the teams are really nothing like they were earlier in the season. Too much importance for this time of year.
TheSportsArsenal- I would prefer the league season not start until January, which may be impractical. What would be more practical, and would make starting the conference campaign later more feasible, is a 16-game league season. That would give SoCon teams more scheduling flexibility.
UNCGBasketballFan- I'm not a big fan of these games being played so early in the season. I think that these games are vitally important and it's too early to throw in a few of these games. I wish the conference would just wait until after new year and then play them all as one big block of games.
Which team stands to lose the most this week with the SoCon games? Why?
DavidsonCats- WCU, Davidson, Citadel, UNCG, and Wofford all have a lot on the line in this week's games. All five of those teams have two games in their division. Starting 0-2 in the conference is rough. Starting 0-2 in your division of the conference is disastrous.
MocsMania- Furman, Chattanooga, UNCG, and The Citadel all play two road games. Looking at the match-ups and the teams expectations, I'll call this the biggest week for UNCG. They go to Western Carolina and Appalachian State. That is two division rivals that they could be battling for a bye with. The Spartans started off slowly last year and was never able to get back on track completely. They will need to avoid that kind of slow start this year. An 0-2 start would be dangerous for this club. They have a lot to lose this weekend.
TheSportsArsenal- I guess the teams that have the most to lose this week are the three that play twice at home in league play: Wofford, Georgia Southern, and the College of Charleston.
UNCGBasketballFan- UNCG, WCU and Davidson. All three teams are playing two games within their own division. Any of these teams can either get a quick start on the rest of the division or fall far behind early.
What are some things you are thankful for in college basketball?
DavidsonCats- I'm thankful for so much. A wife and children who enjoy going to games with me. Lots of friends who are passionate about the game. I've had the same favorite team for nearly 40 years now. I'm thankful for the recent successes of that team. When I first started going to Davidson games, the team had bad records, lost by big margins, and never made the post-season. I never thought I'd see an Elite Eight run. Even though it was 3+ years ago, that run still impacts the program.
MocsMania- I'm thankful right now that it is a long season, since the Mocs look a little out of sorts right now. But I'm also thankful for March Madness, the greatest time of the year (particularly the first weekend). I'm thankful for being able to watch the SoCon this year, and I am enjoying watching CofC and Davidson in each game.
TheSportsArsenal- I am thankful that Division I basketball is not split into I-A and I-AA.
UNCGBasketballFan- I'm thankful that college basketball is the most democratic of all sports. Starting in March, your favorite team can keep playing as long as they win. Everyone has a chance to be the National Champion. Just continue to survive and advance.

Gardner-Webb 76, Mocs 74 (OT)

FOUR FACTORS (plau two)

Mocs- 43.1%
Gardner-Webb- 41.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 19.0%
Gardner-Webb- 12.2%
Advantage- Gardner-Webb

Mocs- 31.8%
Gardner-Webb- 37.5%
Advantage- Gardner-Webb

Mocs- 33.9%
Gardner-Webb- 36.1%
Advantage- Gardner-Webb

Mocs- 81.8%
Gardner-Webb- 65.4%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 49.2%
Gardner-Webb- 36.1%


1) Ricky Taylor 30.7
2) Keegan Bell 24.9
3) Drazen Zlovaric 22.6
4) Chris Early 14.4
5) Omar Wattad 8.9
6) Rico White 8.3
7) Jared Bryant 7.9
8) Dontay Hampton 3.4
9) Z Mason 2.1
10) Jahmal Burroughs 0.0

Per 40
1) Ricky Taylor 39.6
2) Jared Bryant 39.3
3) Drazen Zlovaric 29.2
4) Keegan Bell 23.3
5) Chris Early 21.3
6)  Rico White 20.6
7) Omar Wattad 14.2
8) Z Mason 12.0
9) Dontay Hampton 6.5
10) Jahmal Burroughs 0.0


Wow. The Mocs could not come up with an offensive rebound when it mattered, and the Mocs dropped to 2-4 overall, and went just 2-2 on a homestand that most people expected the Mocs to go 4-0 on.

This team is just not very good right now. They nearly found a way to win this afternoon, but in the end they were undone by allowing Mike Byron to dominate the boards. He finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds. They just had to find a way to get an offensive rebound, but could not do it.

The Mocs did not shoot the ball very well again, but Ricky Taylor did get going a little bit. The Mocs made a big 14-0 run with Jared Bryant in the game. Bryant played very well. He is a little bit undersized defensively, it seems. However, I was impressed with his play, and think that he should get more playing time. He continues to impress me.

Omar Wattad did not have a good night. I really have to believe that his back is still bothering him. He just does not look like himself.

Drazen Zlovaric still looks pretty good. He's not as good as he will be, but he will continue to improve as the seasn progresses. I like what I am seeing from him.

Jahmal Burroughs seems to be struggling now. He is not playing as well as he was a couple of weeks ago. He has started to be a virtual non-factor when he is on the floor it seems like. He is OK defensively, but is not making any other significant impact. At the moment, I'd like to see Bryant get about half of Burroughs minutes.

The Mocs look like they may be in some trouble. They have not been able to beat some of the more beatable teams on the schedule. They have a huge set of SoCon games coming up this week, which could be bad for the Mocs. We'll see what happens.

The Mocs have to come up with more offensive production, and have to find a way to keep the defensive pressure on. They need to find a way to come up with some wins. It's a long season, and this is just the beginning, but this game was particularly painful. The Mocs had Gardner-Webb beat, and found a way to lose in overtime. They need to come up with better performances.

Only ten guys played tonight, and one of them was not Drew Baker. So that experiment does appear to be over- for better or worse.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gardner-Webb Preview: Getting to .500?

The Mocs are trying to get back to .500 and need to desperately find a way to come up with a win. They have to beat this Gardner-Webb team to get back to .500 overall, even if one of them is against a non-D1.

Gardner-Webb lacks a lot of height. Mike Byron has blocked 1.2 shots per game, and has 4.3 rebounds per game. He is the only player that plays over 6-6.

The Runnin' Bulldogs best scorers are both under 6-1. Max Landis averages 13.2 points per game. Jason Dawson is averaging 12.5 points per game. Dawson is shooting 47% from three point range, while Landis is shooting 44% from three. Stefon Johnson leads the team in rebounding with 5.0 rebounds per game.

Savannah State outrebounded the Runnin' Bulldogs by just three, compared to fourteen over the Mocs. They shot 62% from the field against Gardner-Webb, which is an unbelievable shooting night. The Mocs defense did a better job against the Tigers, but did not control their shooting really well.

The Mocs will need to continue with their defensive intensity that they showed in the final ten minutes against Savannah State. They will also need to rebound well. The Mocs need to get going offensively against this average Gardner-Webb defense, but they have not done it yet.

Gardner-Webb has lost four games in the last week, to South Carolina State, Indiana, Butler, and Savannah State. Only one of those was by more than six points, when they lost to Indiana by 24. They lost to Butler by just two points.

--The Mocs were dominated on the boards by Savannah State. They must rebound better against Gardner-Webb if they are going to find a way to win.
--Tired legs. Gardner-Webb will have played 20 hours before tip off. The Mocs will have played 42 hours before tip off. Who has the fresher legs? Who can bring more energy?
--Getting some shooters going. The Mocs have not been able to get their shooters going. Someone needs to get hot- and stay hot. Chris Early and Keegan Bell both shot reasonably well against  the Tigers on Friday night. They need to maintain their hot shooting, and hope someone else gets hot as well. Omar Wattad or Ricky Taylor need to get hot.
--Drazen Zlovaric vs. Mike Byron. Byron has the height advantage, but Zlovaric is slightly more skilled offensively at this point. How those two match-up could easily define this game.

--The Mocs will not shoot over 80% from the floor, as Savannah State did in the second half against Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon.
--The Runnin' Bulldogs will get off to a hot start and put a real scare into the Mocs fans that are at the game.
--Wattad will find the range a little bit in this one, while Bell and Early will struggle with their shooting.
--Taylor will not find himself yet.
--Zlovaric will score his points, but Byron will play his game as well.
--Mocs 61, Gardner-Webb 58. This game will be very close. The Runnin' Bulldogs may  have lost four straight, but they are not playing poorly. The Mocs desperately need to win this game, and will come up with a way to pull it out. Count on Wattad to make a big shot down the stretch that pulls it out.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Mocs 65, Savannah State 63


Mocs- 52.0%
Savannah State- 54.9%
Advantage-Savannah State

Mocs- 18.8%
Savannah State- 31.3%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 18.8%
Savannah State- 39.4%
Advantage- Savannah State

Mocs- 38.0%
Savannah State- 25.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 68.4%
Savannah State- 46.2%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 56.0%
Savannah State- 40.4%


1. Chris Early 33.3
2. Keegan Bell 31.2
3. Drazen Zlovaric 25.2
4. Omar Wattad 11.9
5. Dontay Hampton 11.1
6. Ricky Taylor 2.7
7. Jahmal Burroughs 1.5
8. Rico White 0.2
9. Drew Baker -0.5
10. Z Mason -2.3

Per 40
1. Chris Early 44.3
2. Keegan Bell 36.7
3. Drazen Zlovaric 31.5
4. Dontay Hampton 29.6
5. Omar Wattad 14.8
6. Jahmal Burroughs 5.8
7. Ricky Taylor 5.4
8. Rico White 0.3
9. Drew Baker -4.0
10. Z Mason -30.7


Sometimes, getting a win is enough. This may be one of those times.

It was a bad day for the Mocs in a lot of times. They did not shoot the ball particularly well, they did not defend the three point line well, and they did not rebound the ball well. Yet the Mocs found themselves with the win over Savannah State at the end of the date.

How did that happen?

It probably started with defense in a lot of ways. They forced twenty turnovers. Their zone defense disrupted the Tigers offense just enough to force a lot of turnovers and to win the game.

The Mocs continue to struggle shooting, though Chris Early (and to a lesser degree in some ways, Keegan Bell) started to find the range. Omar Wattad did not shoot the ball very well, but he did a very good job coming up with some rebounds and playing tight defense late in the second half.

Early has to be the story of this game, and in a lot of ways, and the Drew Baker experiment may be over. He played the first handful of minutes but did not play after that. He brought just enough energy to the game, but he also looked more outmatched against Savannah State. Early did not look overmatched. He made four of five three pointers.

Keegan Bell lead the team in scoring. He turned the ball over a little bit too much. Dontay Hampton did not have a particularly strong game statistically, but he played well. He brings a calming presence to the floor. The same can be said for Rico White. He continues to struggle statistically, but the team looks more calm with him on the floor.

Ricky Taylor had a disastrous game. He is reallty struggling right now. The Mocs desperately need to get him going in the right direction.

The Mocs need Early and Taylor, along with Bell, Wattad, Hampton, White, and Zlovaric, all playing well if they are going to get done what they want to get done.

I believe Zlovaric may be the team's best player right now. Wattad is struggling (I believe he is still suffering from some back problems), and Zlovaric can play solid defense, and has some nice touch. His hands are not great, but they are better than the Mocs had last year. I think he is the team's best all around player at the  moment, though Wattad may be able to get that title back once he gets healthy. Bell, Early, and Taylor also could lay claim to that title if they can get going.

The bottom line is that a year ago, the Mocs would have lost this game. They fell behind by double figures early, fought back, fell back behind by double digits in the second half, and had to fight through a poor shooting night early in the night. But they did it, and they found a way to win the game. In the end, that's a positive for the Mocs.

There is still PLENTY to work on for the Mocs. They need to get better in all aspects of the game. But a win is a win. They need to move on to Sunday, and come up with a win over Gardner-Webb that day to get back to .500. The Mocs may be slowly improving. They need to improve more.

Great to win. Exciting win.


Double Dribbles-11-25-11

1) How do you beat the Cougars? Apparently, after the loss to UCF on Thursday, shutting down Antwaine Wiggins and Adjehi Baru combined for four points and six rebounds against the Knights. Wiggins looked like the league MVP early this season, but was not impressive offensively in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. If you can slow down Wiggins and Baru, you've got a chance to win against this team. Of course, Baru was in foul trouble. There was a bit of a blueprint for how to beat the Cougars provided on Thursday. They'll play UNC-Asheville on Friday.

2) Furman leads the SoCon in defense so far, which is why the inexperienced Paladins have been a pleasant surprise so far this year. They are blocking 4.5 shots per game, holding opponents to 39 percent shooting, and allowing just 56 points per game. This Furman team has been a pleasant surprise so far in the SoCon, and they visit Clemson on Friday night. With College of Charleston pulling off the upset over Clemson earlier this year, we should get a better indication of how good the Paladins are on Friday night.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Savannah State Preview: Who's The Turkey?

Time: 7:00
TV: None (MocsVision)

Savannah State comes to Chattanooga to play two games, the first of which will be Friday night against the Mocs.

The Mocs desperately need to come up with the win to get back on the winning track. Sure, they beat Warren Wilson on Monday night, but the loss to Kennesaw State still lingers. Savannah State, who did have lower expectations than the Mocs in the preseason, could use a good weekend against the Mocs and Gardner-Webb to show that they can competitive in the MEAC.

The Tigers have won one game so far this year, and it was their lone home game, against Jacksonville 73-70. They lost by 29 to Georgetown, five to North Florida, 29 to Indiana, and 15 to Butler. They also beat Armstrong Atlantic by six and lost to Benedict College by seven in their two exhibition games.

Rashad Hassan is the only Tiger to average in double figures scoring the ball, and he has scored in double figures in every game so far this year. He is averaging 12.4 points per game. He is shooting 50% from the floor, and has yet to try a three pointer. He is 6-7 and likes to play inside.

Hassan will provide an interesting challenge to whoever the Mocs have playing power forward. Drew Baker is likely to get the start again, and Hassan will be a challenge for him to guard. Chris Early will probably get some playing time as well, and he too will have to do a good job covering Hassan. How effective can Baker be against the best player on the other team? Hassan is also averaging 4.8 rebounds per game.

Deric Rudolph is the team's three point shooter. He is only shooting 28.1% on the season from three point range, but has attempted more (32) and made more (9) than any other player on the Tigers. Joshua Montgomery is making 82% of his free throws and scoring 7.6 points per game. Preston Blackmon is the second leading scorer, at 7.6 points per game, and leads the team in assists with 3.6  per game. Arnold Louis leads the team in rebounding with 6.6 per game.

The Tigers are 313th in the country in scoring and 304th in shooting. They are only 275th rebounding. They are allowing 73.2 points per game and opponents are shooting 53.5% from the floor against the Tigers.

The Mocs rank 80th in rebounding, 72nd in assists, but are 286th in scoring and 313th in field goal percentage. The Mocs do rebound the ball well, but they are not shooting the ball well. Still. They are playing a team who allows opponents to shoot nearly 54% from the floor. They do not have a big huge guy on their roster. The Mocs need to show that they can score inside in a game like this.

Jyles Smith is the tallest player on the Tigers roster. He is 6-8 and averaging 20.8 minutes per game. Louis is 6-7 along with Hassan. The Mocs should be able to score inside. Drazen Zlovaric should be able to have a good game. This will be a critical match-up.


--Rebounding. As always, the Mocs must rebound well to be able to come up with a win.
--Zlovaric needs to dominate on the inside. He's the best inside player, and Cody Zeller dominated against the Tigers. Zlovaric can have a big game, and it is important to get him going.
--Stopping Hassan. Who will do it? Will Zlovaric get the assignment? Will Early step up? Can Baker continue to do it?
--Omar Wattad and Keegan Bell. Neither are shooting the ball well. It's time to find the range.
--Will the Tigers break out of their shooting woes? Rudolph is a shooter and will eventually snap out of it. Will it be on Friday night?
--Ricky Taylor played well against Warren Wilson. He needs to keep it going.


--Baker will not be as effective as he was against Warren Wilson.
--I keep on waiting for Zlovaric to break out. This is the night.
--Bell will continue to struggle shooting the ball.
--So will Wattad.
--The Tigers will struggle to get anything going offensively as well, as the Mocs have proven to be a decent defensive team.
--Mocs 57, Savannah State 50. The Mocs will continue to struggle on the offensive side of the ball but the Tigers will too. The Mocs come up with a hard fought, tough win in  game that they really need to come up with.


Double Dribbles-11-24-11

1) Just so the Wofford lead does not get buried, their win over Bradley was very impressive. If they can come up with more performances like that and improve as the season goes along, there is no reason this team can not contend for the SoCon Tourney title this year. The Terriers are a feisty bunch and are already making a good first impression to me. They could three-peat, though it is a big time longshot still.

2) I just wanted to make sure to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Try not to eat too much turkey. We all have so much to be thankful for. Hope you guys all take time to be thankful for all that you have received this past year and all that you will receive in the future! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things I'm Thankful For

On MocFans, there is a topic about things they are grateful for.

I just wanted to throw out some things that I was thankful for involving the Mocs.

--I'm thankful to have the Mocs to follow.
--I'm thankful for MocsVision so that I can follow the Mocs from Kentucky.
--I'm thankful for JR, who has made my visions of Mocs basketball come alive for all my years of following the Mocs. He's made my love for the Mocs real. He's a great voice who has been magnificent calling the games over the years.
--I'm thankful that the Mocs will hopefully make some shots in a game against a D1 team at some point this year.

There's plenty more where that came from, but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.


Rankings: 11-23-11

As of the beginning of the day, Wednesday, November 23, 2011:


1) Wofford 18
2) Davidson 19
3) Elon 34
4) College of Charleston 68
5) Georgia Southern 148
6) Western Carolina 195
7) Appalachian State 237
8) Furman 258
9) The Citadel 270
10) UNC-Greensboro 283
11) Chattanooga 312
12) Samford 323

SoCon Rank: 16


1) Davidson 60
2) College of Charleston 63
3) Wofford 141
4) Elon 167
5) Appalachian State 181
6) Western Carolina 197
7) Furman 210
8) UNC-Greensboro 258
9) Georgia Southern 295
10) The Citadel 304
11) Chattanooga 309
12) Samford 320

SoCon Rank: 21


1) Davidson 74
2) College of Charleston 117
3) Elon 197
4) Appalachian State 215
5) Wofford 217
6) Furman 239
7) Western Carolina 243
8) Chattanooga 249
9) UNC-Greensboro 268
10) Georgia Southern 277
11) The Citadel 287
12) Samford 296


These still don't mean much, but when you look at the rank inside the conference according to RPI, you get a pretty good feel about where the teams should be ranked right now.

It's still really early. Wofford should probably be behind Davidson and College of Charleston, but the Terriers win over Bradley was impressive.

It's an interesting snapshot. I'd say in about two weeks these rankings will really start meaning something.

SoCon Monster Game of the Week Recap: South Florida 66, Georgia Southern 46

Georgia Southern showed some effort, collecting twelve offensive rebounds, but it just was not enough. They simply could not contain the Bulls offense, which shot 61% from the field. In fact, every single starter made at least fifty percent of their shots.

Ironically, they would have been better off fouling. The Bulls shot only 50% from the free throw line. The Eagles defense will have to do a better job than allowing their opponents to 61% shooting.

All that negativity aside, Powers showed why he is one of the best players in the SoCon. He scored 14 points, with eight rebounds and six assists. He is clearly one of the best players in the conference and will be a tough player for any team to contend with.

The Eagles will be fine, but were outclassed by their Big East opponent tonight. They will be an OK team in the SoCon, but need to advance on both defense and offense to be a real threat to go far in the tournament. They are putting the effort in, which is good to see.

Double Dribbles- 11-23-11

1) Antwaine Wiggins of College of Charleston deservedly won Player of the Week in the SoCon this week. He averaged 19.5 points per game and six rebounds in two big wins for the Cougars last week over Morehead State and Clemson. He is on his way to SoCon Player of the Year if he keeps this up, even though last week's Player of the Week, Mike Grosselle of The Citadel, leads the league in both scoring and rebounding. Since the Cougars are so much better than their city-mates, Wiggins is considered the favorite over Grosselle at this point.

2) Appalachian State was embarrassed at home by East Carolina in a 67-47 loss. Samford lost to Georgia State at home, although they had a decent performance. Western Carolina was hammered by Northern Iowa on the road. Chattanooga has looked lost and UNC-Greensboro has not looked good. But Elon picked up another solid win, this time a road win at Princeton. Sure, beating Princeton was not a great win, but a road win against an Ivy League team that lost by two on the road to North Carolina State is not a bad thing. The Phoenix are the North favorites right now- there is no doubt about it. Let's not blow off Wofford- who played huge against previously undefeated Bradley. The Braves lost to the Terriers, the two time reigning champs, showing they will not go down without a fight.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

OOC Opponents

Every two weeks, we will look at the out of conference opponents of the Mocs. The non-D1's that have already been played will not be on the list. The RPI numbers are from as of Tuesday night.


Indiana (5-0, RPI 120)- The Hoosiers have taken down Stony Brook, Chattanooga, Evansville, Savannah State and Gardner-Webb. Not exactly  a Who's Who of college basketball. With Butler, North Carolina State, and Stetson coming up before the next review, there is a good possibility that the Hoosiers will remain undefeated for the next few weeks. They have won so far by 30, 25, 21, 29, and 24 points. They have been dominant. The Mocs fit right squarely in the middle of that mix right now.

Butler (2-2, RPI 270)- Butler lost to Evansville in overtime, beat Chattanooga, lost to Louisville by 16 after being right in the game at halftime, then beat Savannah State by 15. The Bulldogs are struggling to find an identity right now. The Mocs had a real opportunity to beat them, and that may come back to haunt them later on in the year. Indiana, Gardner-Webb, and Valparaiso are the teams that are ahead for the Bulldogs before the next review. They COULD go 3-0 if they can find a way to take down Indiana on Sunday. This team will be one of the favorites to win the Horizon by season's end, even though they are struggling right now.

Kennesaw State (1-2, RPI 116)- The Owls blowout loss to Wisconsin and fairly close loss to Auburn, followed by their stunning win over the Mocs got their season off to an odd start. South Carolina State, Belmont, and Lipscomb are ahead for the Owls. There is a chance that with Cummings now playing with an improved attitude that this team is capable of approaching .500 this year. Regardless, this loss will definitely be an anchor to the Mocs RPI this year. This was a bad loss.


Savannah State (1-4, RPI 260)- The Tigers have not won a road game yet. They beat Jacksonville in their lone home game in overtime. They lost to Georgetown, North Florida, Indiana, and Butler on the road. They lost by 29 at Georgetown, 29 at Indiana, and 15 at Butler, while losing by just five at North Florida. The Tigers play Chattanooga and Gardner-Webb this weekend in Chattanooga, and battles Hampton and Norfolk State next week. This is not a particularly easy stretch for the Tigers, who won 10 of 11 last year at the end of the year.

Gardner-Webb (2-3, RPI 244)- The Running Bulls knocked off Kentucky a few years ago. That's their claim to fame. This year, they have lost to Clemson, South Carolina State, and Indiana. The loss to Indiana was by 24 points. They also won at Lipscomb. They have not played a home game against a D1 team yet. The five point loss to South Carolina State was a major disappointment. They play Butler tomorrow night, then take on Savannah State in Chattanooga before battling the Mocs on Sunday. Then they get home games against UNC-Asheville and Winthrop. This is not a bad team- their 21 point loss to Clemson was not great, but it was not that bad either.

Mercer (4-1, RPI 40)- The Bears win over Niagara tonight is not included in RPI tonight. They also beat Sam Houston State and hammered Furman by 20 points. They lost at Missouri by 18 points, and won over a DII team. They battle South Dakota State, Lipscomb, and Belmont in the next few weeks. This team looks like a really good team and a contender. This road game that  looked challenging before the season now looks like a really big test.

Spalding (0-2)- The Golden Eagles are a DIII team. They lost to Transylvania and Coastal Carolina. They will play in the Spalding Thanksgiving Tournament this week. Then they will play MacMurray, Westminister, and Indiana-Southeast. This is not a great team, but it should be a fun match up for the Mocs anyway.

Kentucky (4-0, RPI 7)- The Wildcats have rolled over Marist, Kansas and Penn State. They slipped by Old Dominion, but still look just as dominant as anyone could have expected. They battle Radford, Portland, St. John's, and North Carolina in the next few weeks. This is the best team in the country in my opinion. After they play North Carolina, we'll know a lot more. This game looks almost unwinnable at this point unless the Mocs play an absolutely flawless game. And they'll still need a few breaks at that point.

Hiwassee- The Tigers have not updated their website in several weeks. They were 2-3 at that point, along with Emory & Henry, Brescia, and Kentucky Wesleyan have all played them since that update. They are obviously a local team that will provide some interest to the Mocs.

Longwood (1-3, RPI 340)- The Lancers lone win came over a non-D1. They narrowly lost to Navy and Canisius, and got hammered by BYU. They are currently losing by four to Nevada at halftime right now. They are not as bad as RPI 340 really. Prairie View, South Carolina State, and Virginia are ahead on their schedule. This team is not awful. They played the Mocs close a few years ago. Antwan Carter have 17.8 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game for the Lancers. He's legitimately one of the best players the Mocs will face on an out of conference non-major conference team.

Utah Valley State- potential Dr Pepper Classic opponent (3-2, RPI 172)-  The Wolverines lost to Arkansas by eight tonight and to Houston earlier in the year. They beat Grambling and UMKC as D1 opponents and one non-D1. They have been very impressive so far this year. But from the Great West, which does not have an automatic NCAA bid, they probably needed to beat Arkansas tonight to have any shot at the NCAA Tournament. Still, this is a really good team. They play Oakland, Northern Illinois, and Wyoming in the next few weeks. There is no reason to think this team can't win the Dr Pepper Classic.

Hampton- potential Dr Pepper Classic opponent (1-3, RPI 203)- Here is another good team. They beat William & Mary, then lost to Richmond, Rutgers and Seton Hall. They lost to the two Big East teams by a total of 21 points, losing to Seton Hall at home by seven. High Point, Savannah State, Howard, and Fordham are in the next few weeks on the schedule. This team is probably the MEAC favorite at this point. The semifinal match-up in the Dr Pepper Classic between Utah Valley State and Hampton will be worth the price of admission. It should be a lot of fun.

Tennessee (2-2, RPI 141)- The Vols lost to Memphis in double overtime today and got beat by Duke in Maui yesterday in a close game. They are 2-2, and have clearly been better than people expected them to be. Chaminade, Oakland, and Pittsburgh are ahead on the Vols schedule in the coming weeks. The Vols could potentially finish in the top half of the SEC and get to the NCAA Tournament. This has become a dangerous opponent for the Mocs, whereas it looked like a potential upset in the preseason.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week Preview: Georgia Southern at South Florida

Time: 7:00

I get it. South Florida hardly qualifies as a serious contender at the Big East. They are 3-2, after losing in overtime to a solid Old Dominion team, and then losing to Penn State by four.

Augustus Gilchrist is one of the Bulls most important players. He is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 11.6 points per game. He is 6-10. He is only shooting 40% from the field. Ron Anderson Jr. also scores 8.4 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 60% from the field for the year. These two are the two biggest players on the team and are two of the best players that the Bulls have to offer.

Victor Rudd is the leading scorer with 14.0 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, and shooting nearly 35% from three point range. Blake Nash is shooting nearly 57% from the field. As a 6-0 guard, that is shocking. He is averaging 10 points per game, and is shooting 41% from three point range.

The Bulls are not a great shooting team, scoring team, or a rebounding team. Yet here is South Florida, a 3-2 Big East team, who has lost two hard fought close games against decent teams.

Georgia Southern enters at 1-2. However, they have close losses to Valparaiso and Wake Forest. The top four players in scoring and minutes played all are shooting over 50% from the floor. Eric Ferguson, Jelani Hewitt, Ben Drayton III, and Willie Powers all are shooting very high. Ferguson is the leading scorer with 18.7 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, and 2.3 blocks per game. Drayton has 13.0 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game, and 4.0 assists per game. Powers is averaging 11.3 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 5.3 assists per game and two steals per game.

In other words, Powers is doing it all for the Eagles, and the rest of the team is benefitting from it. This team has struggled in recent years, but looks ready to make a big jump this year. This game could be announcing that arrival. They will face a stiff defensive test in South Florida though. That being said, the Bulls may have trouble keeping up offensively with Georgia Southern.

--South Florida will score more than they have been scoring.
--Georgia Southern will score plenty of points as well.
--Powers will leave the Big East school very impressed.
--Gilchrist and Anderson will be successful on the inside for the Bulls.
--Too many turnovers will be committed by the Eagles, something they are still trying to get under control.
--South Florida 78, Georgia Southen 74. Again, just too many turnovers for the Eagles. But they will serve notice that they are a team to be reckoned with in the SoCon. This team may not be ready to contend for a SoCon title this year, but they will be a darkhorse in Asheville, and this game will get some people to notice.

Double Dribbles-11-22-11

1. Davidson beat Presbyterian by 14 points last night. The Wildcats win may not sound like much. After all, this is the second SoCon team (Western Carolina) to beat Presbyterian in a week. However, the Blue Hose had beaten a ranked Cincinnati team in between playing the two SoCon squads. This is not a high quality win for Davidson, but it is a nice win nonetheless. Still, Davidson and Western Carolina both came up with a win over a team that beat a ranked Big East team on the road. Really can't complain about that.

2. A huge five game day for the SoCon today. Appalachian State is battling East Carolina, Samford hosts Georgia State, and Elon goes to Princeton. Those three are each winnable games for the SoCon team. Wofford's trip to Bradley and Western Carolina travels to Northern Iowa. Those are two very difficult spots for the SoCon team, especially since both have been beaten this weekend. With not many games until Friday after today's games, this could be a really nice momentum building day for the SoCon overall.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mocs 88, Warren Wilson 36

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 54.6%
Warren Wilson- 29.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 16.1%
Warren Wilson- 38.8%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 31.7%
Warren Wilson- 17.1%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 36.4%
Warren Wilson- 24.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 66.7%
Warren Wilson- 58.3%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 39.4%
Warren Wilson- 42.0%


1. Ricky Taylor 29.9
2. Drew Baker 24.6
3. Keegan Bell 22.0
4. Dontay Hampton 21.95
5. Z Mason 20.6
6. Omar Wattad 16.1
7. Rico White 12.4
8. Jared Bryant 11.8
9. Chris Early 10.9
10. Drazen Zlovaric 10.4
11. Martynas Bareika 5.2
12. Jahmal Burroughs 4.9
13. Trey Brown 0.0

Per 40
1. Ricky Taylor 59.8
2. Jared Bryant 59.0
3. Omar Wattad 58.6
4. Drew Baker 54.7
5. Dontay Hampton 51.7
6. Z Mason 45.7
7. Chris Early 39.6
8. Keegan Bell 35.2
9. Drazen Zlovaric 25.9
10. Jahmal Burroughs 19.6
11. Martynas Bareika 18.9
12. Rico White 18.3
13. Jared Bryant 0.0


What can we make of a blowout win over a team that is not even in the NAIA?

Maybe not much. The fact is that the Mocs should have dominated this game, and they did. What they did show was that Coach Shulman has been right about Drew Baker. He really does provide more energy to the game. He brought energy and excitement that the Mocs have been missing desperately. He was the second leading scorer and the second leading rebounder on the night in 18 minutes of action.

Of course, this was against Warren Wilson. Can he bring that against a D1 school? We'll know more when the Mocs take on Savannah State and Gardner-Webb this weekend. That will tell us a lot more about Baker and his role on this team.

Ricky Taylor seemed to have his attention grabbed by being benched at the start of the game. He scored a team high 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting. Dontay Hampton (who started in Taylor's place) scored 11 points and had seven steals. He played well as well.

Keegan Bell finally made a couple of threes, which was nice, but you still get the feeling that he is struggling shooting the ball. Omar Wattad only played eleven minutes, and I was reminded that his back was ailing him in the preseason. I have to wonder if that may be bothering him in season. He has not been hot shooting so far this year. Could the back be the reason?

Rico White played great defense, but could not get a shot to fall. Remember how hot he was against Tennessee Wesleyan? He can't find it in the regular season.

The Mocs dominated all of the Four Factors- which is as they should against a team like Warren Wilson.

All in all, we learned very little from tonight's game. But that's good. That's what we are hoping for. We didn't want to learn anything. If we had learned anything, then it would have been a really bad sign for the Mocs. They held an outmanned opponent to the lowest point output by an opponent since 1989. All in all, not bad. But nothing learned.


Double Dribbles-11-21-11

1) College of Charleston proved that they may be even better this year without Andrew Goudelock. They have looked great so far, but when they defeated Clemson this weekend, they proved that they are a serious threat to win the SoCon. Combine that with Davidson's halftime lead in Cameron against Duke, and the top two teams in the SoCon are indisputable at this point. In fact, under the right conditions, these two teams may be able to contend for an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They need to keep on winning and winning big, but it is at least a possibility at this stage. They have each performed well enough at this point to keep them in the discussion. Very interesting weekend for the confirmed two best teams in the SoCon.

2) On the other end of the spectrum, people were all excited about both Western Carolina, Chattanooga, Appalachian State, and UNC-Greensboro in the preseason. None have performed exceedingly well. The Mocs are one of two winless teams in the SoCon so far. Appalachian State beat Tennessee Tech, but lost to ETSU in a puzzling performance. UNCG was destroyed by Tennessee and Georgetown, before getting beaten by Middle Tennessee. They did beat Towson on Sunday. Then there's Western Carolina, who is 2-2, but was hammered by 25 by South Carolina (who turned around and lost to Elon) and by 32 by Iowa State. With Samford the other winless team at 0-2, is it any wonder that I think that Elon should be considered the North favorite at this point? Really- so far, outside of Davidson and CofC, the SoCon has been utterly disappointing so far.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Warren Wilson Preview: Getting Well

Time: 7:00
TV: None (MocsVision)

The Mocs are desperately trying to win a game. Any game will do. After three straight losses, the last one a most unexpected loss at home against Kennesaw State, the Mocs really need to find a team that they can shoot the ball against and get some offensive confidence.

Enter Warren Wilson.

The NAIA team is 3-4 overall now, including winning three of their last four games. They have beaten Johnson Bible College, Alice Lloyd College, and Hiwassee (in overtime). They played Pikeville, the reigning NAIA national champs and number one team in the country, and were hammered by thirty, 88-58.

Still, this is a key game for the Mocs. They need to come up with a big performance to instill some confidence into themselves and into the fan base. Not that the fan base will be encouraged by this game regardless of how much they win this game by, but they sure can hurt the confidence of that fan base with another sloppy, poor shooting performance.

Anthony Barringer scored 25 points and came up with nine rebounds and four assists against Alice Lloyd College. Rashad Ali had 18 points and six rebounds. Dan Jackson had 17 points and four rebounds. The team on the whole mad 28 of 33 free throws. Wow.

Prior to that Warren Wilson was making around fifty percent of their free throws, but Barringer and Ali both score and score well. Ali is 6-6, 185, while Barringer is a 6-0 point guard. This makes them a dangerous inside-out combo. It will be a challenge for the Mocs inside playerrs to contain Ali. That will be the job of Early- if he plays. Bell will be put to the task of containing Barringer- if he plays.

Coach Shulman has announced two changes to the starting lineup. Drew Baker and Dontay Hampton will be starting in the place of Ricky Taylor and Chris Early. Taylor has been the leading scorer in the last two games, but frustrated Shulman with his quick shot against Indiana at the end of the first half. Early has been lethargic on offense and defense so far, even though his numbers are decent. He's just not working hard, it has looked like.

So, Hampton and Baker, two walk-ons, have been inserted into the starting lineup. Will that motivate these Mocs to start performing better? It better. They need to start showing something, and let's face it, Baker and Hampton aren't going to win many SoCon games by themselves. Taylor and Early are required to get some playing time. Why Rico White is not starting is a little beyond me, but I guess we'll see how this works out.

--Rebound. Show energy on the boards and dominate the boards from the beginning of the game.
--Start shooting better. The Mocs have been ice cold shooting the ball so far. They have to start shooting better...and it has to start now. The Mocs have changed up their offensive sets, getting the ball to Zlovaric in a different spot on the floor, it sounds like. Should be interesting.
--Bell vs. Barringer. This is an interesting match-up. Barringer is a very good player and should be fun to see how Bell matches up with him. Maybe Bell gets some energy playing against a guy like him.
--Zlovaric. He should dominate. No one is taller on the Owls than Ari, who is 6-6.

--Early and Taylor do not get their wake up call. They continue to struggle.
--Zlovaric has a huge game.
--Bell plays well.
--Barringer throws a bit of a scare into the Mocs fans for the first half of the first half.
--Mocs 79, Warren Wilson 54. Omar Wattad will have a good shooting day, but Zlovaric finishes with 20 points, and the Mocs dominate the boards, playing their best game so far this year. They don't exactly inspire a ton of confidence in Mocs fans, but they quiet the complaints for at least a few days.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Georgia Southern at South Florida

In the interest of keeping to games featuring off the radar teams in the SoCon, Georgia Southern is one of the teams that people were talking about surprising in the SoCon this year.

So far, they have been a little disappointing, but they have a chance against one of the worst teams in the Big East. The SoCon loves to collect scalps from major conference teams. Collecting a Big East scalp to hang on the wall would be great for the conference, and Georgia Southern has a decent opportunity to do it.

This ought to be a good shot for an off the radar SoCon team to add another upset to the conference's resume. Should be a fun game on the day before Thanksgiving.

Scanning the SoCon- Week Three

Each week, four fans from around the league will be participating in this feature, answering questions about their team and other teams around the SoCon.

DavidsonCats- A Davidson fan.
MocsMania- A Chattanooga fan.
TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel fan.
UNCGBasketballFan- A UNCG fan.


Sunday, November 20
UNCG vs. TBA (Maui Invitational)
Western Carolina at Iowa State (ESPN3) (South Padre Invitational)
Loyola-Chicago at Furman
Monday, November 21
Warren Wilson College at Chattanooga
Florida Christian College at The Citadel
Presbyterian at Davidson
Tuesday, November 22
East Carolina at Appalachian State
Elon at Princeton
Wofford at Bradley (Chicago Invitational)
Western Carolina at Northern Iowa (South Padre Invitational)
Wednesday, November 23
Georgia Southern at South Florida (ESPN3)
Thursday, November 24
Central Florida vs. College of Charleston (Versus) (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Friday, November 25
College of Charleston vs. TBA (Battle 4 Atlantis)
UMKC vs. Wofford (Chicago Invitational)
Northern Colorado vs. Western Carolina (South Padre Invitational)
Savannah State at Chattanooga (Hoosier Invitational)
Elon at North Carolina State
Furman at Clemson (ESPN3)
Saturday, November 26
College of Charleston vs. TBA (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Wofford vs. TBA (Chicago Invitational)
Western Carolina vs. TBA (South Padre Invitational)
Milligan at Appalachian State
Davidson at UNC-Wilmington
The Citadel at High Point
Samford at UT-Arlington

1. Davidson 47.5 (3.5)
2. College of Charleston 44.5 (.5)
3. Appalachian State 36
4. Western Carolina 35
5. Elon 34
6. Chattanooga 26
7. Wofford 21
8. UNC-Greensboro 19
9t. Furman 17
9t. Georgia Southern 17
11. The Citadel 11
12. Samford 4


Sum up your team.

DavidsonCats- I saw Davidson's win over Richmond. Davidson's frontcourt players are much better than Richmond's and dominated the game. I didn't see the Duke game, but Wildcat fans found a lot to be encouraged about after that game. The Wildcats had a halftime lead and were still up with 17 minutes to play. The Wildcats were not good enough to keep Duke from making a strong run. Duke built a large lead, Davidson regained some of it, and the final was 82-69. Nobody likes to lose, but there were definitely positives in this game. Chris Czerapowicz led Davidson in scoring and continues to rebound well. De'Mon Brooks had 12 points and 6 rebounds and continues to cause matchup problems for our opponents. Brooks could be a dominant player if he can avoid foul trouble. Davidson has two interesting games this week. We get Presbyterian on Monday and UNCW on Saturday. The Blue Hose won at ranked Cincinnati on Saturday. The Saturday coaching matchup is always interesting.

MocsMania- The Mocs had a rough week. A very rough week. They started by losing at Indiana. After keeping it close for the first 16 minutes, the Mocs committed too many turnovers and couldn't throw a ball into the ocean from two feet away. Against Butler, the Mocs again could not make a big shot, but hung in the game until the very end. Then, against Kennesaw State in the home opener, the Mocs laid a major egg. They still could not get any shots to fall. The Mocs have three more home games over the next eight days, and they desperately need to win all three just to get some positive momentum going. Honestly, if the shots start falling, this team will be a different looking team, but they are showing the same frustrating inconsistency that they have shown in recent years. I was hoping with a senior-laden team that we would see less of that, but it's just not happening yet. It's still early, but I have the Mocs ranked ninth in my power rankings right now. That's the lowest of anyone voting. That tells you how disappointed I am in the Mocs right now.

TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel's young players learned about high-major defending this week in a game against Clemson. It was a tough night for the Bulldogs, which was not unexpected. Mike Groselle continues to play well; he had 16 points (7-13 FG) and 11 rebounds against the Tigers. The Citadel plays non-D1 Florida Christian early in the week before travelling to High Point on Saturday. That latter game will be a good road test for the Bulldogs. HPU is 1-2 but narrowly lost at Purdue.

UNCGBasketballFan-  UNCG is just struggling to put the ball in the basket right now. Trevis Simpson is really struggling and he's the main scorer on the team. It's been a roller coaster week for the Spartans. Georgetown thoroughly thumped them on Monday. Their press was just tough and caused a lot of havoc. On Thursday, UNC-Pembroke was pesky for a half but G beat them more handily then the score sounds. The Saturday game at MTSU was close into the second half until the Spartans ran into that same ol' scoring wall. G gets a bad Towson team in the consolation game and then a full week off. Hopefully, the guys can get a win and then some rest.
What game, other than the ones your team is playing in, are you most looking forward to this week?

DavidsonCats- I want to see CofC in the Battle 4 Atlantis. I expect them to beat UCF. If so, they get the UMass/Florida State winner. A win there would get them a shot at UConn (or Utah, Harvard, or UNCA if something shocking happens.)
MocsMania- It is tough to pick out one game this week. I guess I'll go with Georgia Southern's trip to South Florida on Wednesday night. The Bulls are one of the weaker Big East teams, but a Big East team nonetheless. The Eagles may not be the best team in the SoCon, but they could add a major conference scalp here if they play up to their vast potential. They are going to be an inconsistent team it looks like. But their potential is very high, and they could pull of an upset against a Big East team- which would be awfully sweet for a SoCon team on the day before Thanksgiving.

TheSportsArsenal- Hard to say what specific games I might watch, given the number of different tournaments. I'll probably have an eye on the CofC's results at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

UNCGBasketballFan- The App State-ECU game in Charlotte will be interesting. So far ECU has lost at Campbell and then managed to beat a couple of non-D1's (a huge staple of their schedule every year). App is kind of one of those "pack" teams from the north that could easily win the division. Plus, UNCG gets to play both of these teams in the next few weeks. So, this game will give me an idea about both of those squads.

If you could choose to attend one holiday tournament with your team, which one would it be and why?

DavidsonCats- I guess the Hawaii tournaments are the most attractive, but they aren't possibilities for me. Even the Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Virgin Islands events are awfully expensive for most fans. I'd like to see Davidson in the Disney event. 

MocsMania- I'd like to go to a nice venue with fairly winnable games. To me, looking at the fields this year, that would be the Puerto Rico Tip Off Classic. There's obviously good competition out there (Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Wichita State, Purdue, Temple, Iona, and Western Michigan), but the Mocs could conceivably compete with any one of those teams. (I know- they just lost to Kennesaw State....which one of those teams could they possibly beat? And, on the other hand, I should have confidence that we could compete with a team like Duke out in Maui, but I just don't believe it right now.) Plus, Puerto Rico would be a nice destination trip. That's why I pick that one. At least for today. All the other ones are pretty nice.

TheSportsArsenal- If I didn't have to pay for the flight/hotel, I would go to Maui.

UNCGBasketballFan- Maui (the real one, not this mainland crap that G is playing at Middle Tennessee State). The reason is simple ... it's in Maui.

College of Charleston played at 8 AM this past Tuesday on ESPN. What do you think of playing a week day game at 6, 8, or 10 AM?

DavidsonCats- I love the ESPN 24-hr marathon event. I saw lots of empty seats in the arenas. Those games are tough for home attendance, but you get the national spotlight since no other games are going off in those early time slots.
MocsMania- The 24 hour marathon is one of my favorite ideas that ESPN has come up with. It was a very smart idea. If they did not play any games until they did the 24 hour event, and then had the Michigan State-North Carolina game on the aircraft carrier at the beginning of the 24 hour event, and continued it just the way they do, it would be perfect. The season needs a better kick off, and the 24 hour event is perfect. I would absolutely love it if the Mocs could play at 6 or 8. Not as much of a fan of the 10 AM tip, as that is a time that a lot fewer eyeballs are on it. But people watch the 6 AM or 8 AM games as they get ready for work and see teams they may not see any other time during the year.

TheSportsArsenal- I would like to see The Citadel play during the marathon, especially if it could host. The 6 am game might be a natural fit for The Citadel. Most cadets are up by that time anyway. The full corps of cadets at McAlister Field House for an early start time on ESPN would be something to see.
UNCGBasketballFan- Honestly, I thought it was a great way to get TV exposure. Rider and Drexel played at 6 AM and the place was absolutely packed. Sure, it's odd. But you are getting to play on ESPN in front of a national audience. What's that saying about any PR?

Elon's win over South Carolina is being called the biggest in school history. No one was particularly high on Elon in their preseason rankings. Where do you see the Phoenix going from here? Are they the favorite to win the North? Do you still think they are likely to finish in the bottom half of the North?

DavidsonCats-  How good is Elon? Here's what I said in the first installment of Scanning the SoCon-- "Which team do you think has the best chance to be the biggest surprise this year? Why?

DavidsonCats: I’ll go with Elon. The coaches picked them 5th in the North. I think they are better than that. They get Josh Bonney back this year and have brought in a nice freshman class. Last year’s freshmen were playing well at the end of the season. They took a European trip this year. When Coach Matheny’s Davidson teams went to Europe, they followed it up with very successful seasons. I think Elon will be better than 5th in the North and will be a tough out in March."
I'll stick with that. I don't expect them to win the North. Probably 2nd or 3rd, especially if they get Jack Isenbarger back and then stay fairly healthy. They have superb coaching and are building a strong program. Now they just need a better venue.
MocsMania- I have Elon as the North favorite right now. They played well against UMass in the opener, leading at halftime. Then they turned around and beat a South Carolina team that had beaten Western by 25 a few days earlier. The Phoenix will be a tough out for anyone this year, and they are proving that they deserve a lot of credit in the North. I've been very underwhelmed by every team from the North so far outside of Elon. So the Phoenix can certainly win the division, which makes them a serious threat to win the SoCon Tournament.

TheSportsArsenal- Elon could finish in the upper echelon of the north, but I don't know that I would read too much into the Phoenix beating a bad South Carolina team. On the other hand, that same bunch of Gamecocks beat WCU by 25, so Elon definitely should get some credit for that win.
UNCGBasketballFan- The north is all over the place. I thought UTC was the favorite until losing at home to Kennesaw. I thought G could be competitive, but they are struggling. App has some worts too. Western looks like the current best team there now, but Elon certainly has a shot. Beating any power conference team is a very good win. I think you have to weigh this win against getting blown out by UMass too, though.