Sunday, November 27, 2011

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.

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