Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mocs 74, Utah Valley 59

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 57.6%
Utah Valley- 38.9%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 14.9%
Utah Valley- 9.9%
Advantage- Utah Valley

Mocs-  28.6%
Utah Valley- 30.4%
Advantage- Utah Valley

Mocs- 28.3%
Utah Valley- 23.8%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 86.7%
Utah Valley- 66.7%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 43.4%
Utah Valley- 54.0%



1) Ricky Taylor 30.9
2) Omar Wattad 30.8
3) Keegan Bell 25.5
4) Drazen Zlovaric 20.0
5) Jahmal Burroughs 15.0
6) Rico White 7.1
7) Dontay Hampton 6.6
8) Z Mason 5.4
9) Jared Bryant 1.7

Per 40

1) Omar Wattad 41.1
2) Ricky Taylor 38.6
3) Dontay Hampton 29.3
4) Rico White 28.4
5) Keegan Bell 26.2
6) Drazen Zlovaric 24.2
7) Jahmal Burroughs 24.0
8) Z Mason 14.3
9) Jared Bryant 9.7


This performance may not have been quite as good as Thursday night's against Longwood, but it was still a solid performance. A nice 15 point win over Utah Valley is hardly cause for concern.

The Mocs won the Dr Pepper Classic, and that is good news for the Mocs. These were critical games that the Mocs needed to win. They did that. The Mocs had some hot shooting in these tournament- finally turning into the type of offensive team that I have been hoping that they would be this year. Combine that with the excellent defense they played, and it is easy to see why they won two games by an average of 25 points, when the other two games were decided by a total of five.

Keegan Bell had too many turnovers (four) but came up with 15 points and seven assists. Omar Wattad and Ricky Taylor both scored more, with 19 and 16, respectively. Zlovaric finished with 11 and 10.

As you watch this team, you can actually see Zlovaric, Mason, Bryant and Burroughs getting better each time they take the floor. The game against Kentucky was a bit of a turning point for those guys. The outside shooters are only being helped by the better inside play. Rico White and Dontay Hampton continue to play well, and Bell, Wattad, and Taylor are getting more open looks and knocking down more shots.

This team is getting better each time they play it seems like right now. They are going to be a very tough out for anyone in the SoCon for the remainder of this year, if they start playing with the consistency that they have been lacking in recent years. There should be a sense of determination here, as the Mocs are 0-2 in SoCon play. They have a huge hole to dig themselves out of. They got into on their own. Now it's time to work their way out.


Mocs 85, Longwood 50

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 55.3%
Longwood- 30.8%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 21.4%
Longwood- 20.1%
Advantage- Longwood

Mocs- 42.1%
Longwood- 18.1%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 31.8%
Longwood- 36.7%
Advantage- Longwood

Mocs- 57.1%
Longwood- 59.1%
Advantage- Longwood

Mocs- 40.9%
Longwood- 58.3%



1) Keegan Bell 40.9
2) Omar Wattad 26.6
3) Drazen Zlovaric 24.1
4) Z Mason 19.1
5) Jahmal Burroughs 18.4
6) Ricky Taylor 15.0
7t) Rico White 9.6
7t) Dontay Hampton 9.6
9) Jared Bryatn 8.5
10) Drew Baker 7.6
11) Trey Brown 0.6
12) Martynas Bareika -1.4

Per 40

1) Drew Baker 76.0
2) Omar Wattad 48.4
3) Keegan Bell 48.1
4) Jahmal Burroughs 46.0
5) Z Mason 40.2
6) Drazen Zlovaric 35.6
7) Rico White 27.4
8) Jared Bryant 26.2
9) Ricky Taylor 26.0
10) Dontay Hampton 18.3
11) Trey Brown 8.0
12) Martynas Bareika -14.0


This was a tremendous performance by the Mocs. They hung around in the first half when they were not playing well, and then put together a near perfect second half performance. Sure, it was just Longwood, but the Lancers played Virginia and Vanderbilt just about to the same margin as the Mocs. That makes this an impressive win.

The most impressive thing was the way the Mocs dominated the boards. They completely dominated them. They won the battle of the boards by 25. Rebounding like that will make the Mocs very difficult to beat the rest of this season.

Ricky Taylor scored his 1000th point in this game, and that made this game special for him. On top of that, Keegan Bell was dominating. He scored 10 points, had 16 assists (one short of a school record) and nine rebounds. That means that he was one rebound from his second triple double of the season, which would have been something for this game.

The biggest problem here is that the Mocs did not shoot free throws well. They are going to have to shoot free throws well to win more consistently. But the Mocs will take this. This was their best performance of the year, and it is hard to complain about it honestly. I know people aren't exactly excited about beating Longwood, but this was a team that was capable of beating the Mocs, and with how they played against Gardner-Webb and Kennesaw State, and even Savannah State, coming up with a 35 point win is incredibly satisfying.


Friday, December 30, 2011


Due to travel, I will not be able to analyze tonight's performance against Longwood tonight or preview tomorrow night's game.

I will be breaking down the performance on Friday morning and previewing the game as well, but the posts will be a little smaller and a little less, despite the hugeness of the Dr Pepper Classic for the Mocs this year.

I should also note that Double Dribbles will not be out tomorrow for a change. That's the first time this year I will have missed a Monday-Friday on that. The holidays have thrown a major wrench into my plans for this week.
Thanks for reading. I apologize for the delay.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Double Dribbles-12-29-11

1) Western Carolina's win was a good one for the SoCon. The other performances- not so much. Wofford lost to South Carolina, and were again unable to score points against a team from a major conference. The game resembled the Georgia game from earlier this year. Samford also was completely dominated by Sam Houston State. The Bulldogs should have been able to compete against SHSU, but they were beaten badly. That was not a good performance by Samford. All in all, a disappointing night for the SoCon, on a night that big things could have happened, especially since Western Carolina won against UNC-Asheville.

2) A somewhat interesting night is coming up for the SoCon on Thursday. Chattanooga gets Longwood at home. Elon travels to North Carolina, in a game that is probably too tall of an order for the Phoenix. Davidson heads to Penn and continues to look for some consistency. This seems to be the type of game that the Wildcats struggle in this year- a road game against a team that they are slightly better than. The Citadel heads to Tennessee. The Vols have not been able to hammer anyone in recent weeks. If they struggle with the Bulldogs, it really will be a sign of bad things that are to come. If the Bulldogs can pull off the upset, it would be a huge win for the Bulldogs as they head into SoCon play.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dr Pepper Classic Preview- Utah Valley vs. Hampton

This is not going to be an in-depth preview, but the player to watch for Utah Valley is Geddes Robinson. He is only 6-5, but he is averaging 10.9 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. The Wolverines will hope that he is able to contribute at that level. Isiah Williams is the  leading scorer, and averaged 14.5 points per game.

Darrion Pellum and his 17.6 points per game lead Hampton. But the player most Chattanooga fans will be focused on is Jasper Williams. Williams is averaging 7.8 points per game, and shooting 34.4% from three point range, along with 1.4 assists per game.

This should be a very compelling game. I believe that Utah Valley is the slight favorite to win the Dr Pepper Classic, but don't think that Hampton is too far off. This is a big tournament for the Pirates, as they look to right the ship as they go into MEAC play. I look for Utah Valley to come up with a close win, 68-65. This should be a very entertaining game. Hopefully some of Chattanooga shows up to watch this one.

Longwood Preview: Now Is The Time!

It's a huge week for the Chattanooga Mocs basketball team and their fans. This is the week the Mocs have been pointing to since the loss to Mercer more than two weeks ago. In between, the Mocs hammered Spalding and Hiwassee and were beaten by Kentucky. No big surprises there. Now they face teams more their own size. If the Mocs don't come out and show up in these two Dr Pepper Classic games, then the season really could start sliding drastically.

The Longwood Lancers are their first opponent, and the Lancers are not a bad team. They play slightly up-tempo basketball, rankings 80th in the country in scoring and are 24th in the country in assists per game. Life as independent is not easy, and they have played a challenging schedule. They did beat VMI by 21 points just a couple of weeks ago, and the Keydets are not a bad team.

Antwan Carter is 6-6 and has been a dominating force for the Lancers. He is averaging 17.1 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game. This is down slightly from his numbers a year ago, when he scored 18.2 and averaged 9.5 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 54.8% from the floor. He will be tough to handle for anyone, but Drazen Zlovaric will draw the task. Zlovaric has been getting better defensively and could also present some real size challenges offensively. That's true nearly every game though, and Carter seems to hold his own.

Jeremiah Bowman is the second leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points per game. He also averages 5.6 assists per game. He is shooting 49% from the floor. His defensive challenge will be Keegan Bell. That should be an interesting match-up of point guards, with Bell ranking eighth nationally in assists per game.

Tristan Carey is third on the team in scoring, but second in rebounds and assists. He is averaging 11.8 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game. Carey is 6-4.

This is a Lancers team that shoots nearly 40% of their shots from three point range and make 37% from behind the arc.

The Mocs should have the big size advantage on Longwood and are starting to creep up in points per game. The Mocs now rank 127th in the country in points per game. Of course, playing Hiwassee and Spalding will help in that regard.


--Rebounding. The Mocs have the size advantage. They just have to take advantage of that edge, which they have failed to do on several occassions this year.
--Controlling Carter. He is one tough cookie. The Mocs will need Zlovaric, and possibly Mason or Burroughs to step up and shut down Carter. They can do it. They just need to step up and do it.
--Bell vs. Bowman. Both like to dish the ball. Bowman likes to dribble drive a lot, as well. This could be a very interesting match-up of two very good point guards.
--Desire. The Mocs are the better team. But they have played up and down to their D1 competition this year. They need to show that they can beat a D1 team that they should beat and not play down to the competition.


--Omar Wattad will put up his best numbers in a while after having over a week off.
--Keegan Bell will continue to add to his all time assist total, coming up with at least eight.
--Zlovaric won't be able to control Carter, but he will score enough points to balance him out.
--Z Mason will have another big game.
--Mocs 80, Longwood 68. The Mocs should win this game, but they have not been playing well against teams they should beat this year. But something tells me that this is the game where they show what they should do. They have been waiting to take on some team that was their own size since Mercer. They have been slowly getting better, and this game it should show up, at least to some degree.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week Recap- Western Carolina 86, UNC-Asheville 67

Western Carolina accomplished something significant in dominating the Bulldogs on Wednesday night. They finally looked like a team capable of not only contending for a bye spot out of the North, but they finally looked like they could be a real challenger to Elon for the North title. Everyone has been looking for that contender for the North title to come up and challenge Elon, and the Catamounts looked like that team on Wednesday night.

Haroumba Mutombo scored 18 points and collected 13 rebounds. Brandon Boggs made 7 of 9 from the floor and put in 17 points. Keaton Cole added 13, and Ishmael Hollis poured in ten. Boggs scored 14 of his points during a stretch in the first half that saw the Catamounts go from down two to up by 17.

The Catamounts beat down a pretty good UNC-Asheville team. This was a great win for Western Carolina. This boosted their RPI up into the Top 170, and they clearly now the second team to beat for a bye in the North along with Elon. With Chattanooga, UNC-Greensboro, and Samford all struggling, and Appalachian State just getting by so far, this may not be a huge compliment, but it is critical as conference play gets going again in just about a week.

Rankings- 12-28-11


1) Davidson 35
2) College of Charleston 45
3) Elon 145
4) Western Carolina 180
5) Furman 199
6) Wofford 218
7) Appalachian State 265
8) Georgia Southern 304
9) UNC-Greensboro 305
10) Chattanooga 310
11) Samford 312
12) The Citadel 317

SoCon Rank: 24


1) College of Charleston 78
2) Davidson 80
3) Wofford 204
4) Furman 206
5) Western Carolina 215
6) Elon 221
7) Appalachian State 252
8) Georgia Southern 266
9) Chattanooga 279
10) Samford 291
11) UNC-Greensboro  329
12) The Citadel 330

SoCon Rank: 25


1) Davidson 92
2) College of Charleson 109
3) Wofford 207
4) Furman 217
5) Western Carolina 222
6) Elon 223
7) Appalachian State 233
8) Chattanooga 248
9) Georgia Southern 273
10) Samford 289
11) UNC-Greensboro 292
12) The Citadel 312


All of the rankings still have a solid top six that are all the same, but the strangest occurrence in the last week to me is that Elon has fallen from the top three. The Phoenix are in the top three in the RPI, but are now falling behind in both Sagarin and Pomeroy, and are sixth in both. It may be time to reconsider my stance that they are clearly the third best team. Maybe they aren't.

The RPI is very fluid at the bottom of the rankings. Numbers 8 through 12 are separated by a total of 13 spots. So all sorts of crazy things could happen- at any moment! There's no telling. Appalachian State is starting to separate from the pack a little bit and are getting much closer to the top six. The Mountaineers may find their way that high as soon as this week if things break right for them.

There are still only two teams from the North in the top six. That means that Western Carolina and Elon are the clear favorites for the byes, while Appalachian State is inching closer to the competition. In the mean time, Samford, Chattanooga, and UNC-Greensboro appear to be prepared to fight it out for the bottom spot. Can any of these teams turn it around?

Double Dribbles- 12-28-11

1) It should have been mentioned before, but the Cousy Award Watch List was announced for the nation's best point guard. Four SoCon players are on the list. Chattanooga's Keegan Bell is on the list, and is ranked in the top ten nationally in assist. College of Charleston's Andrew Lawrence, Davidson's JP Kuhlman, and Western Carolina's Trey Sumler are the other three. None of these four are likely to win the award, but it is a good honor for the four SoCon players.

2) Antwaine Wiggins is averaging 18.1 points per game to lead the SoCon, while averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, which is fourth in the league. That is why he is PROBABLY the favorite to win the SoCon Player of the Year at this point. He has always been known as one of the league's best defenders, and statistically, he is near the top of these two key categories. He is the main reason that the Cougars are sitting where they are in the SoCon pecking order at this point.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dr Pepper Classic Fun Revs Up

It's getting close to gametime for the Dr Pepper Classic.

This tournament should be one of the more entertaining ones in recent years for the tournament. In the first game, Hampton takes on Utah Valley. Utah Valley may be considered the favorite in the whole tournament. Hampton has Jasper Williams returning to McKenzie Arena. That makes it a truly interesting match-up, even for the Mocs fans. Chattanooga fans should find that game highly entertaining to watch.

In the second game, Longwood takes on Chattanooga. The Lancers are a high scoring team and a team that is very capable of beating the Mocs, especially if they play like they did against Kennesaw State and Gardner-Webb and Savannah State. The Mocs need to perform extremely well to instill some confidence in the fans and continue to build toward SoCon play.

In the second round of games, Hampton and Williams against Chattanooga would be very interesting, while a Utah Valley-Chattanooga game would be a huge challenge to the Mocs to come up with the win. Longwood against either of them would also be an interesting offensive match-up.

This is a really interesting tournament. All four games should be entertaining. For the best attendance, the Mocs need to win on opening night, but if that happens, this tournament should get some decent attendance figures. This ought to be one of the more Dr Pepper Classics in many years.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week Preview- UNC-Asheville at Western Carolina

The Catamounts and the Bulldogs both are looking to make noise in their respective conferences. Both are undefeated in their conferences so far- UNCA at 1-0 in the Big South and WCU at 2-0 in the SoCon. Both are looking to get things going as they wrap up their out of conference schedules.

Western Carolina has Trey Sumler, and he may be the best player that the Catamounts have. He averages 11.8 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and 3.8 assists per game. That's second on the team in points and rebounds, and first in assists.

Harouna Mutombo is leading the team with 15.3 points per game, first in rebounds with 6.0 per game, and is second in assists with 1.6 per game.

The Catamounts rank 230th in the country in scoring and 256th in field goal percentage. Their 25 point loss to South Carolina was not good, and their 32 point loss to Iowa State, while Purdue and Kent State were only 5 and 2 point losses, respectively. In other words, Western Carolina has been playing better and better as of late.

Matt Dickey has been red hot shooting for UNCA. He is shooting 53.4% from the floor, and 44% from three point range, avergaing a team high 15.8 points per game. This from a 6-1 guard. He is also averaging 3.7 assists per game. JP Primm is averaging 14.1 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. Jeremy Atkinson and Chris Stephenson are the leading rebounders, with 6.1 and 5.9 rebounds per game, respectively.

UNCA has been very good this year. They lost by 16 to North Carolina and Connecticut by six. North Carolina State beat them by nine, and College of Charleston beat them by two. Tennessee also beat them by four. In other words, this is a team that has played plenty of good teams very closely. That being said, at 6-5, they have won three games against non-D1 teams.

This team is 9th in the country in scoring and 19th in the country in shooting. This Bulldogs team has been playing very well.


--The guards. Both teams lean towards being guard oriented. Which ones perform better? Can Sumler outplay the Bulldogs guards?
--Rebounds. UNCA has been good at rebounding, despite relying heavily on guards.
--Home court advantage. The Catamounts have been good at home. Can they build on that edge, because they are probably slightly behind UNCA on a neutral court.


--Close game. Guaranteed. Both teams play too close of games for this to be anything else.
--Sumler and Dickey will both shoot lights out.
--UNC-Asheville 82, Western Carolina 79. Too high scoring for the Catamounts in the end. They just can't keep up in the end. But this should be as exciting of a game as is played this week in the SoCon. This game is going to be thrilling from start to finish. Everyone should be sure to catch as much of this one as they can.

Double Dribbles- 12-27-11

1) Andrew Goudelock (former College of Charleston player, currently in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers) scored six points in the opener against the Chicago Bulls, but did not score against the Sacramento Kings last night. His biggest asset is being able to score. He will earn playing time for the Lakers if he is a scorer and can put the ball in the hole when he is in the game. That's why his first game was so encouraging for fans of Goudelock. His second game was less so. Going 0 for 4 from the field will not earn him a lot more playing time. With the Lakers thin bench, he could work his way up to a substantial role this year if he makes shots when he is in games. Should be an interesting thing to keep our eyes on.

2) Wofford's trip to South Carolina on Wednesday night should be very entertaining. The Gamecocks are not very good right now, as one of only two teams to be below .500 in the SEC right now. The Terriers are hoping to become the second SoCon team to knock off the Gamecocks this year, with Elon pulling the trick earlier. Wofford has been a pleasant surprise in the SoCon this year, and will be looking to advance even further with a win over struggling South Carolina. This should be interesting and a real chance for the SoCon to add another major conference scalp to their collection.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dr Pepper Classic at a Glance- The Best Players

Utah Valley has two very interesting players to watch. Isiah Williams is averaging 14.5 points per game. But Geddes Robinson is probably the most interesting player. The 6-5, 230 pound senior is averaging 10.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He is a dynamic player, and had 16 points and 17 rebounds against Georgia State back on December 17. He should be fun to watch in this mid-major tournament.

Longwood also relies on two top players. Jeremiah Bowman averages 13.3 points per game and 5.6 assists per game. Antwan Carter may be the best player in the whole tournament. He is averaging 17.1 points per game, to go along with 9.0 rebounds per game. Not only that, but he has made 10 of 23 threes on the season. The 6-6 senior center will be a tough match-up for anyone in this tournament to handle.

Hampton will count on Darrion Pellum to score 17.6 points per game, shooting just 38.5% from the floor. David Bruce averaged 11.9 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game. He shot 53% from the floor so far this year. Bruce is a big time player for the Pirates. The 6-10 freshman needs to step up.  Jasper Williams is also returning to McKenzie Arena- which should be very entertaining for Mocs fans.

Bruce, Carter, and Robinson will make this a tremendously interesting tournament down low, in my opinion. People should really enjoy watching those guys go at it. Should be a great Dr Pepper Classic.

Scanning the SoCon- Week Eight

Five questions, four guys, three struggling teams, two weeks until conference play, and one fun conference to cover.

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


Wednesday, December 28
UNC-Asheville at Western Carolina
Wofford at South Carolina
Samford at Sam Houston State

Thursday, December 29
Longwood at Chattanooga (Dr Pepper Classic)
The Citadel at Tennessee
Elon at North Carolina
Penn at Davidson

Friday, December 30
TBA at Chattanooga (Dr Pepper Classic)
UNC-Greensboro at Richmond
Furman at UNC-Wilmington
Appalachian State at Miami, FL
George Mason at College of Charleston
Georgia Southern at Auburn

Saturday, December 31
Samford at Maryland
Western Carolina at North Carolina State


1t) College of Charleston 46 (2)
1t) Davidson 46 (2)
3) Elon 37
4) Western Carolina 34
5) Wofford 33
6) Furman 27
7) Appalachian State 26
8) Georgia Southern 21
9) Chattanooga 18
10) Samford 9
11) The Citadel 8
12) UNC-Greensboro 7


Sum up your team.

DavidsonCats-  Davidson is now 7-4. Losses are at Duke, at UMass, at Charlotte, and home to Vandy. The Wildcats have four home wins (Furman, Richmond, Presby, and Guilford) and three road wins (Wofford, UNCW, and Kansas). I'm very happy with that. The Wildcats were picked by many to win the South this year. Not by me. I thought they'd be 2nd to CofC and the 4th or 5th best team overall in the conference. I still expect several of the North teams to improve sharply, but I'm not sure they'll pass the Wildcats. De'Mon Brooks is having a superb season. Tyler Kalinoski is coming along quickly and will be an impact player in the conference season. The Wildcats have just one game (home against Penn on the 29th) in the next two weeks. That gives the coaches plenty of time to get the team ready for conference play in January.

MocsMania- The Mocs played Hiwassee last week. Of course, it didn't mean a whole lot because they were playing Hiwassee. This week, the Mocs will play in the Dr Pepper Classic against two other mid-majors. This will go a long way to determining just how good the Mocs will be this year. It's really time to figure it out.

TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel's one game this past week was a 70-58 loss at Denver. The defense was again problematic, and the Bulldogs also suffered from an epidemic of turnovers late in the first half, leading to a huge run by the Pioneers that basically iced the game. The Citadel played better in the second half, but it's hard to tell whether that was improved play by the Bulldogs or Denver coasting with a big lead. Still, it wasn't a terrible performance, as the Pioneers look to be a very solid outfit. This week The Citadel plays at Tennessee and also hosts non-D1 Virginia-Wise, the latter a must-win for the Bulldogs

UNCGBasketballFan- Even though UNCG didn't break through with any landmark victories this week, it was a decent week for a Spartan team that has had a bunch of outside distractions recently. The week started with a trip to Cameron Indoor. UNCG took the fight to the #7 team in the country for the entire first half before finding out why they were ranked that high. Thursday night, UNCG had a bad 4 minute stretch against VCU's press and it cost them the game. However, Coach Miller is really getting the guys to bring the energy to the court every night. I think that will pay dividends come 2012.

What game are you looking the most forward to this week that does not involve your team?

DavidsonCats- I'm interested in two of the games on the 30th. ASU at Miami, Fl and Furman at UNCW.

MocsMania- The George Mason-College of Charleston game is critical. If the Cougars are going to find a way to get an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament, they absolutely must win this game. There are several other interesting games this week, but this one takes the cake.

TheSportsArsenal- Penn-Davidson and George Mason-College of Charleston both should be good tests for the league leaders. Both will be favored to win at home.

UNCGBasketballFan- George Mason versus Charleston should be an interesting match up. If the Cougars have any thought of an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, they must win this game.

What is on your Wish List for your team this holiday season?

DavidsonCats- Health, joy, and some strong recruiting.

MocsMania- Consistent shooting, and for all Twitter accounts to be monitored closely. The Mocs need to start shooting consistently if they want to contend in the North this year. It may be coming- but it better start soon.

TheSportsArsenal- My wish would probably be for the Bulldogs to have a game in which the opponent does not go on an extended run (27-3, 25-5, etc.).

UNCGBasketballFan- My wish is for a better shooting performance night in and night out from the Spartans. UNCG hasn't been able to consistanly knock down shots most of the year. I feel like if UNCG averaged shooting 45% for the season instead on 37.5%, the record would look a lot better.

After the performances by Davidson (beating Kansas and losing to Massachusetts) and College of Charleston (losing a close one to Louisville and beating Coastal Carolina on the road), can either team get an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament? What set of circumstances do you think need to come together for this to happen as we move forward?
DavidsonCats-  I don't see an at-large as a possibility for Davidson. They have four losses already and are going to lose some Southern Conference games. CofC has fewer losses, but a much lower Strength of Schedule (228 according to Sagarin, compared to Davidson's 28). CofC will be very hard for Southern Conference teams to handle. They could have an outstanding record by March. If they win out in OOC games and lose no more than 2 conference games, I could see them getting an at-large with a loss in the Championship game in Asheville. The Southern will eventually get a second team in the Dance. It'll be a great day for the league when it finally happens.
MocsMania- I believe the Cougars can get an at large bid still, but they need to have a huge SoCon season to pull it off. The Wildcats probably can not, even though they have the better win over Kansas. They simply have too many losses- with the loss to UNC-Charlotte and Massachusetts. Now,  if the Wildcats go unbeaten in SoCon play to the final and then lose a close game, MAYBE they could get one. But the SoCon is so weak this year overall, that it really hurts both these teams.
TheSportsArsenal- No SoCon team has received an at-large bid to the NCAAs since 1950 (NC State). It won't happen this year either. A SoCon team would have to post multiple impressive non-league victories, win the SoCon regular season and then lose in the conference tourney (semis or finals) to have a shot. One problem the league currently has in this respect is that the conference power rating is so low, a great run in the SoCon itself is not nearly enough to garner at-large consideration.

UNCGBasketballFan- Those 2 teams certainly have made the discussion interesting. However, I think Davidson's losses to Charlotte and UMass probably take them out of at-large discussions. Charleston probably needed that win at Louisville to give them the signature win required to get on the at-large radar. So, I don't think either can get the bid. I think in order for a SoCon team to have a legit shot, they need to avoid the bad loss, get a signature win and run the table in conference.
Furman and Wofford both are in the top half of the conference according to the RPI. Few people expected them to be there at this point in the season. Is this a result of the schedule? Coaching? Higher talent level than expected? Something else?
DavidsonCats- I thought Furman and Wofford would both reek this year. I was wrong. Wofford has the 4th best Sagarin rating. And the weakest Strength of Schedule. Weak schedule and excellent coaching are getting the job done for the Terriers. Furman has the 3rd best Sagarin rating and 7th best SOS. I like their freshman class a lot and Charlie Reddick has emerged as a player. They just got Bryson Barnes back. They have been a very pleasant surprise.
MocsMania- It probably has a touch to do with the schedule, especially for Furman. Wofford's schedule has been a touch easier, but the Terriers have slightly better wins at this point. They also have been tremendously coached up at this point. Furman does not look great and may wind up finishing fifth in the division. The Terriers are probably the current favorite to get to the third seed out of the South.
TheSportsArsenal-  Furman and Wofford have both been respectable so far, and that is probably a mild surprise. I don't put a lot of stock in RPI right now because part of that is simply what teams they have played, not necessarily beaten. I am more impressed with what Wofford has done, to be honest (Furman's best win is probably at Columbia, in a game in which the Lions' best player got hurt). The Terriers have wins at Bradley and against Tulane, which aren't great but are just as good, if not better, than anyone else in the league has outside of Davidson/College of Charleston.
UNCGBasketballFan- I think that you have to give credit to coaching in both cases. I don't think anyone doubts that Mike Young is a good coach for Wofford. Although I have never been a big fan of Jeff Jackson at Furman, it does appear he has been able to sustain some success despite losing a lot from last season due to graduation. I think both of those coaches deserve a lot of credit.

Double Dribbles- 12-26-11

1) Every team in the SoCon has off until at least Wednesday, which makes for some down time as we look around the SoCon. Really, it has become clear that the South is really a two team race for first (Davidson and College of Charleston) and a three team race for second (Georgia Southern, Furman, and Wofford). The North is much more confused. There is a clear favorite at this point (Elon) and the next five teams are fairly jumbled, with every team having their moments this year, but no team showing that they clearly want to jump up and grab the bye by the horns. The North is going to be the more interesting division to watch as we race into SoCon play, but the South is the superior division at this stage in the game.

2) As we prepare for Wednesday, let's start by taking a look at Samford-Sam Houston State. The Bulldogs are more than capable of going down and winning that game in Texas. In fact, this game is big for the SoCon, as they continue to try to raise their overall profile. This is a Sam Houston State team that lost to Mercer by 22. That same Mercer team was taken to overtime by Samford. So the Bulldogs have every opportunity to win that game. The Bulldogs need to come up with this one from a confidence standpoint as well. Samford has this one before a trip to Maryland to wrap up non-conference play. This would be a big win for the Bulldogs to come up with to start trying to get their house in order for SoCon play.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

SoCon Monster Game of the Week- UNC-Asheville at Western Carolina

The SoCon is trying to make sure that they pass the Big South in the RPI standings, which are very modest hopes for the Southern Conference.

Every match-up between the two conferences becomes elevated because of that. UNC-Asheville is off to a 6-5 start and really challenged Tennessee before losing a couple of nights ago. The Bulldogs are ninth in the country in scoring, and 19th in field goal percentage and assists per game. So this is a really powerful offensive team. Western Carolina will not enjoy playing this team.

As this blog continues to makes it way and ensure that every team gets covered at least once during the course of the year, there is not much concern that the Catamounts would eventually have a game in the Monster Game of the Week. But, it is better to go ahead and get them a game. This game leaves just Samford and Appalachian State not having a game on the Monster Game of the Week yet. (Hmmm...those two teams meet on January 5....hmmmmm.)

This game ought to be fun- and it is the first game after the Christmas Break ends for the SoCon, starting at 6:00 PM on Wednesday evening. Should be fun.

Dr Pepper Classic at a Glance

There will plenty of coverage of the Dr Pepper Classic in the coming days, to prepare everyone for what is a huge couple of days in Mocs basketball, and maybe a couple of other teams too.

It's an interesting mish-mash of teams. Looking at the RPI's some things stand out instantly:

Utah Valley- 279
Longwood- 286
Chattanooga- 310
Hampton- 329

So, if two things stand out. First, if this thing was being seeded based on RPI right now, the first round match-ups would feature Utah Valley taking on Hampton, and Longwood taking on Chattanooga, with the Wolverines and the Lancers being the two favorites, based on RPI. Somewhat interestingly, that is the exact first round match-ups.

However, let's face it- the games matter more to Hampton and Chattanooga.  Utah Valley is in the Great West Conference, which means that they are only eligible for the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. That's not going to happen. Longwood is an independent, which means they are only eligible for the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. That's not going to happen.

However, in the preseason, Hampton was picked to finish second in the MEAC, and the Mocs (as we all know) were picked to win the North of the SoCon, and were likely to finish second in the SoCon. So these two teams that so much were expected from, have both struggled as this year has begun to take shape. Hampton lost to Savannah State by 16 at home. That should tell you plenty about how very average the Pirates have been so far. The fact that the Mocs needed a big comeback to beat them by two at home tells you plenty about the Mocs struggles so far.

Both teams still have a chance to get to the NCAA Tournament, and could improve their seeding by starting to play better basketball. That's what needs to happen. So this tournament provides a real opportunity for both Hampton and Chattanooga to start turning things around. Utah Valley is probably the favorite to win the tournament at this point, though. The Mocs are the home team. Hampton are an underachieving team looking to turn things around. That makes Longwood the wildcard. They are good enough to win this thing, though.

The Dr Pepper Classic may lack some star power in terms of big name teams, but this tournament does not lack intrigue. There are four evenly matched teams, two of which are desperate to come up with the tournament win. The other two are hoping to continue to improve and make a name for themselves on a mid-major level. This should be very interesting.

Tomorrow, I'll try to look at some of the stars on each of the three visiting teams as we all continue to prepare for what should be a wildly entertaining Dr Pepper Classic.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from MocsMania!

Here at MMHQ (MocsMania HeadQuarters), I'd just like to take this time and wish you  and your family a Merry Christmas.

This  year has been a very special year for me here on MocsMania, as this blog has taken off in a lot of ways in the last year. There have been good times following the Mocs, and there have been some rough times. But we've all shared it through it all.

Also, there has been a lot of fun covering Southern Conference issues, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the new feature of Scanning the SoCon. We've broken news and shared stories together, and it has made some headlines along the way, which has been a lot of fun.

So it's been a good year, and we couldn't have done it without you all reading. So I really appreciate all of your support, ideas, and reading.

So Merry Christmas!  May you and your family be blessed in every way in the coming year! Thank you for sharing with me on this blog. I really am thankful for all of you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SoCon Monster Game of the Week Recap- Georgia 64, Furman 50

If this were a blog focused on the SEC, I would be talking about how quickly Georgia is improving. Their win tonight was far from a thing of beauty, but with three straight wins heading into the holiday, it's pretty clear that the Dawgs are doing good things. They shot nearly 49% from the floor, and held the Paladins to 32.7% shooting.

The Paladins outrebounded the Dawgs 29-22, including 12 offensive rebounds to just 3 for Georgia. They forced just nine turnovers, and committed 14. Furman played well in spurts, but was not able to sustain anything. They cut the lead to single digits several times in the second half, but were never able to come up with the run to put them over the top. The 12-4 run late in the game that pushed the lead to 64-45 was the final straw. Only Brandon Sebirumbi got into double digits with ten points.

The Paladins showed the ability to control the boards against Georgia, which is a very positive sign for Furman moving forward. Their offense is still lacking, as this team lacks someone who they can count on to score on a consistent basis. Until they find a consistent scoring threat, this team is likely to struggle offensively. Bryson Barnes, who appeared to be that in his first game back when he scored 26, scored just 5 points tonight, following up his ten point effort in his second game back. He now has 41 points in 3 games, or 13.7 points per game. However, since his opening outburst, he is averaging just 7.5 points per game.

Furman can be a contender in the SoCon South this year. They will need everything to break right for them though. After watching this game and comparing it to earlier games seen involving Wofford and Georgia Southern (not to mention College of Charleston and Davidson), I think they are probably the fifth best team in the South. They just don't have the weapons necessary to get to third in the South. But they play hard and they play good defense. They may be more of a threat in the SoCon Tournament because of their defense. Then again, a lot of times one hot scorer can carry a team in the SoCon Tournament, and it is hard to imagine Furman finding that guy this year. This is a good team that is capable, but is probably not quite where they need to be in order to be wearing the home whites on the first day of the SoCon Tournament as a higher seed.

Double Dribbles- 12-23-11

1) The SoCon experienced a disappointing 2-5 day against the tough competition they were facing yesterday. The loss by Davidson against Massachusetts was the most disappointing performance, in a lot of ways. Yes, this was clearly a trap game for the Wildcats, but I really had hopes that Davidson would be able to build on the win against Kansas. Georgia Southern's loss to Georgia State, UNCG's loss to VCU, Elon's loss to San Diego State, and The Citadel's loss to Denver were not really unexpected. Appalachian State's win over Campbell was a good win for the SoCon, as the Camels had been 8-4. But the best win of the day belonged to College of Charleston, over Coastal Carolina on the road. The Cougars won by seven to prove that they are the best team in the state of South Carolina.

2) Furman's battle against Georgia has been discussed in some depth here. This should be a very good game, and give the SoCon a shot at a fifth win over a Big 6 conference team. The Paladins would have beaten the Bulldogs a couple of weeks ago probably, but the Dawgs are hot right now, having beaten USC and Mercer in their last two games. The Paladins have been one of the SoCon's pleasant surprises so far. They could pull off the upset here. This should be an interesting game right before Christmas break.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SoCon Monster Game of the Week Preview: Furman at Georgia

Furman is going to take their shot at an SEC team on Friday night- the last game before Christmas Break for the Southern Conference.

The Paladins have made an interesting addition in the last couple of games. Bryson Barnes (a 6-6 senior who played just 7.5 minutes per game and scored 2.5 points per game last year) has played the last two games, averaging 24 minutes and 18 points in those two games, including 26 in the win over Western Kentucky. Combine that with his eight rebounds per game and it is easy to see that he has been a huge addition. He not only had 26 points against the Hilltoppers, but also eleven rebounds, shot 3 of 3 from three point range, and made 11 of 14 free throws. He also had two blocks. In the loss to Presbyterian, he went 0 for 1 from three point range, while scoring ten, collecting five rebounds, and one block. So, Barnes is an interesting part of the equation for the Paladins at this point. He had been a valuable part of the team in his freshman and sophomore years, before fading last year. He's already scored more points than he scored all of last year.

Richard Brown is averaging 10.2 points per game, and is the leading scorer other than Barnes. He is also the team leader in assists, averaging 3.3 per game. He is shooting 47.5% from the field. Bryant Irwin is averaging 10 points per game, with 4.8 rebounds per game. Three more Paladins average over eight points per game. Charlie Reddick averages 9.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. Brandon Sebirumbi averaged 9.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 50% from the field. Bobby Austin is averaging 8 points per game, three rebounds per game, and 1.8 assists per game.

Furman ranks 184th in the country in scoring and below 213th in field goal percentage. That looks high scoring and hot shooting compared to the Bulldogs. They rank 310th in scoring and 313th in field goal percentage. Ouch.

Gerald Robinson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope lead the Bulldogs in scoring. They are both averaging 13.6 points per game. Robinson averaged 3.3 assists per game. Caldwell-Pope averages 1.6 steals per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. Donte Williams averages 5.5 rebounds per game. Marcus Thornton leads the team in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game. Thornton is a really strange case. He is averaging 6.3 rebounds per game, but is shooting 13 of 52 from the field, or 25%, in 24 minutes per game.

Georgia has scored over 70 points only twice- in wins over South Dakota State, and in a win over Mercer on Tuesday night. The win over Mercer came on the heels of the win over USC over the weekend last weekend. However, that followed five losses in six games against California, Colorado, Cincinnati, Xavier, and Georgia Tech (the losses), while beating Notre Dame. The win over Wofford at the beginning of the year by 13 was a solid win for the Bulldogs as well.


--Does Barnes play like he did against Western Kentucky or Presbyterian?
--Rebounding. The team that collects more offensive rebounds could be huge, because offensive possessions are going to be big in this game, since both teams are struggling offensively.
--Offensive efficiency. Again, not turning the ball over will be key because possessions are one key to this game. Both teams just need to get their hands on the ball. Scoring the ball is going to be tough in this game, so not losing possessions to offensive rebounds or turnovers could be key.


--Robinson and Caldwell-Pope will have solid games.
--Thornton will present problems to Furman's defense, particularly their defensive rebounding.
--The Paladins balance will cause problems for the Bulldogs defense.
--Georgia 61, Furman 54. The Bulldogs are starting to play a bit better, coming up with their two best wins of the year over USC and Mercer in their last two games. They should continue to play solid basketball and that should be just enough to prevent the SoCon upset.

Rankings- 12-22-11


1) Davidson 25
2) College of Charleston 62
3) Elon 149
4) Western Carolina 173
5) Furman 184
6) Wofford 194
7) Appalachian State 300
8) Georgia Southern 311
9) Samford 318
10) UNC-Greensboro 322
11) Chattanooga 324
12) The Citadel 328

SoCon Rank: 26


1) Davidson 66
2) College of Charleston 84
3) Furman 194
4) Wofford 196
5) Elon 203
6) Western Carolina 206
7) Appalachian State 266
8) Georgia Southern 268
9) Chattanooga 280
10) Samford 299
11) UNC-Greensboro 330
12) The Citadel 331

SoCon Rank: 26


1) Davidson 82
2) College of Charleston 109
3) Wofford 209
4) Elon 212
5) Furman 215
6) Western Carolina 222
7) Appalachian State 228
8) Chattanooga 250
9) Georgia Southern 272
10) Samford 291
11) UNC-Greensboro 296
12) The Citadel 321


Davidson's RPI ranking (following their win at Kansas on Monday night) puts them squarely in the conversation for an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. College of Charleston's RPI puts them just on the oustide looking in for the at lagre bid.

The rest of the rankings do not really suggest that either team is in contention. The closest is Sagarin ranking Davidson 66.

When you look at the individual conference rankings, the top six teams are always the same. Davidson, College of Charleston, Elon, Wofford, Furman, and Western Carolina are the top six in all the rankings. In the RPI, there is a really wide gap between number six and seven- a 106 spot difference. The other two are just a 60 spot difference and a 6 spot difference. Still, Appalachian State (who is number seven in each) is far behind the top six.

Elon's fallling RPI puts a big damper on the SoCon's chances of having any team other than Charleston or Davidson getting a seed higher than 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Double Dribbles- 12-22-11

1) It's a big day for SoCon teams. Charleston visits Coastal Carolina in a game that likely determines the best team in the state of South Carolina. Davidson must come down from their win over Kansas as they head to Massachusetts. Appalachian State hosts Campbell, who is 8-4. Georgia Southern goes to Georgia State of the CAA, who is 8-3. UNCG hosts one of last year's Final Four participants, VCU. Elon heads to 10-2 San Diego State. The Citadel is on the road against 9-2 Denver. Honestly, the SoCon coming up with any wins today will be considered solid. They should win at least a couple of games, but with the way this preseason has gone, who knows?  Huge chance for the SoCon to jump in the conference standings.

2) Wofford lost at High Point on Wednesday night. This was a disappointing loss for the Terriers. They had won four straight, all at home, prior to this performance. Their trip to South Carolina a week from today just took a small hit in expectations. The Terriers still will have every opportunity to beat the Gamecocks. That being said, Wofford was exposed a bit. High Point jumped out to an 18 point lead and was dominating the Terriers early. The Terriers trimmed it to a four point game with four and a half minutes left, but were not able to get any closer, before falling 87-79. This was a very poor start to the game for the Terriers, but an OK finish.  They'll need to play much better to beat the Gamecocks, or make any real noise in the SoCon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mocs 95, Hiwassee 41

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 64.3%
Hiwassee- 31.6%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 21.6%
Hiwassee- 31.1%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 36.4%
Hiwassee- 19.1%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 60.7%
Hiwassee- 10.5%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 67.7%
Hiwassee- 83.3%
Advantage- Hiwassee

Mocs- 32.1%
Hiwassee- 61.4%



1) Ricky Taylor 29.8
2) Dontay Hampton 25.8
3) Jared Bryant 23.1
4) Lance Stokes 20.9
5) Drazen Zlovaric 16.7
6) Rico White 16.3
7) Keegan Bell 14.4
8) Jahmal Burroughs 10.4
9) Martynas Bareika 9.9
10) Z Mason 7.2
11) Trey Brown 6.9
12) Drew Baker 3.0

Per 40

1) Ricky Taylor 85.1
2) Dontay Hampton 57.3
3) Drazen Zlovaric 44.5
4) Lance Stokes 41.7
5) Jared Bryant 37.0
6) Jahmal Burroughs 34.5
7) Martynas Bareika 33.0
8) Trey Brown 30.4
9) Keegan Bell 26.2
10) Rico White 26.0
11) Z Mason 22.2
12) Drew Baker 7.9


The dominating 24-0 run by the Mocs was the Tigers undoing. It was 19-9 Mocs when the run started, and was 43-9 when the run finished over ten minutes later. Ricky Taylor scored 11 points during the run and put on a show.

All in all, this was an unusual game. Z Mason, Jared Bryant, Lance Stokes, Keegan Bell, and Ricky Taylor were all in the starting five. The Mocs unusual starting five lead to some unusual minutes played as well.

Bryant, who played well aaginst UK, had his best game. He scored 14 points, matching Dontay Hampton for the second highest on the team, only behind Taylor's 21. Bryant also collected seven rebounds. Was this a case of Drew Baker against Warren Wilson- a player dominating a lesser foe? Or was it a case of Bryant really turning a corner? Bryant has a lot of talent, and the freshman has been showing some small steps. If he continues to develop, he could be a big part of this team's second half of the season.

Z Mason had a very disappointing game. He scored four points and had four rebounds, as opposed to his eight and eight against Kentucky. I was hoping to see a similar effort against a lesser foe to prove that he could do it. It was not consistent effort, but maybe Mason is turning a corner.

The Mocs only had five players shoot a three pointer for the game. Keegan Bell missed his only attempt, as did Rico White. Trey Brown made one of two. Dontay Hampton made 4 of 5 from downtown, while Taylor made 5 of 9.

This continues to show that Hampton (known for effort and defensive intensity a year ago) has turned into a pretty good shooter. He really is a very good player. White did not have his best game, but he was OK.

Drazen Zlovaric played pretty well. Not as well as he did against Kentucky, but he also played a lot fewer minutes. Not a bad night.

Keegan Bell was- well a different sort of Keegan Bell. He took one shot in 22 minutes. He had eight assists and no turnovers. I can't complain about his effort. I only hope that he takes and makes a few more shots in the coming weeks.

All in all, probably didn't learn a ton about the Mocs today. But they won by over 50 points for the third time this year. I know Spalding, Warren Wilson, and Hiwassee don't spark a lot of attention, but a win is a win.

On to the big ones- the Dr Pepper Classic!


Double Dribbles- 12-21-11

1) Nik Cochran was named the SoCon Player of the Week, and it is hard to argue it given the way that Davidson beat Kansas. Cochran made the key three pointer that clinched the game. He made 4 of 5 from three point range for the game, and 5 of 6 overall. He also made 7 of 8 free throws. Cochran's 21 points, three assists and two rebounds. He played just 21 minutes, which means that he really dominated in his time in the game. Cochran was very good. Well deserved. Congratulations to him.

2) College of Charleston put up a valiant fight against the fourth ranked team in the country on the road on Tuesday night. Louisville defeated the Cougars 69-62. The Cougars proved that they can play with the best teams in the country- on the night after Davidson took out Kansas. This has been a very rewarding week so far for the SoCon. Unfortunately, these top two teams are the teams making all the noise. The Cougars and Wildcats both have shots at getting at large bids to the NCAA Tournament, but the problem is that the rest of the conference is going to drag them down? This could be a real problem, and it is really unfortunate, because both teams are excellent.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hiwassee Preview: Last of the No Doubters

Before the year, there were four games that the outcome was nearly pre-determined. The Mocs were going to lose at Kentucky, and they were going to beat Warren Wilson, Spalding, and Hiwassee.

This is the last of those four games.

That's not to say that there is not reason to watch this game from a Mocs perspective. Omar Wattad is out with concussion symptoms. Who will step up in his absence? Chris Early is still suspended. Do Jahmal Burroughs and Z Mason continue to step up in his absence? Can Drazen Zlovaric continue to build on what he did against the Kentucky Wildcats?

All those questions will be interesting to watch as we figure out just where the Mocs will be heading into the Dr Pepper Classic next week.

Justin Browner is Hiwassee's leading scorer. He is scoring 16 points per game and has two assists per game. The 5-8, 175 pound freshman is a scorer. It will be more difficult to get his shots off agains the Mocs length and size, but he has potential to put on a show shooting from long range against the Mocs perimeter defense.

Cody Lewis is 6-5 and the second tallest  player on the Tigers roster. He is averaging 9.3 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. However, he is not going to be able to play, as he is sitting out with an injury. Lewis would have been one of the Tigers better players at getting rebounds. His presence will be missed in this one.

David Layne at 6-4 averages 11 points and four rebounds per game. He is an asset to the Tigers inside play as well. Cody Carson averages 5.7 points per game, while Brandon Carpenter (another 6-4 player) averages 6.1 points per game and 5 rebounds per game.

All in all, this is a team that is 4-10, with wins over Brescia, Huntingdon, and dominant victories over Boyd, and Johnson. The win over Johnson was 126-65. That's quite a performance. Of course, this team also has a loss to Warren Wilson on their resume. It was in overtime, and 84-80, but there has been discussion about whether or not Warren Wilson was the worst team to ever play at the Roundhouse. Of course, they were missing their best player. Lewis being out does not help Hiwassee, but is likely not as big of a deal as Warren Wilson being without their best player.


--Rebounding. The Mocs need to show that they are capable of hammering away on the boards. Against Indiana and Kentucky, the Mocs did a good job on the boards. Against other teams, it seems that the Mocs take less interest in rebounding. Showing desire and want to on the boards would be huge for the Mocs in this game.
--Intensity. The Mocs played a pretty good game against Kentucky on Saturday night. They need to bring the same intensity, the same desire to this one against Hiwassee. If they are focused, and not taking the game off due to Christmas break coming up and playing at noon, the Mocs should win easily.
--Zlovaric, Burroughs, and Mason. Those three had good games against Kentucky. What do I want to see? I want to see more. Prove that was not a fluke. Go out and perform against Hiwassee.
--Bench play. I want to see some of the bench players (like Dontay Hampton, Rico White, Lance Stokes, and Jared Bryant) have really good games and get some positive momentum going. They have played well this year in spurts, and I have been pleased with their performance. Let's see more of that.
--Shooting. I want the Mocs to get some shots to fall and get some confidence built up heading into the break.
--Knowledge of how they can perform against Warren Wilson. One knows that they can beat Warren Wilson. One only thinks they can. That could be a big difference.


--The Mocs come out flat and fall behind early.
--Browner scores 20+ points for the Tigers. Just seems like he is ready to become a hot shooter in this one and make a name for himself in a big game.
--Hiwassee will play closer than Warren Wilson did against Chattanooga.
--Zlovaric, Burroughs, and Mason will score a combined 40+ points.
--Keegan Bell will have another solid performance, and not allow the Mocs to take the night completely off.
--Mocs 85, Hiwassee 51. Not a great performance from the Mocs, but they get the job done in the end. And that's all that matters in the long run. Time to get things going for the Dr Pepper Classic.


Double Dribbles- 12-20-11

1) Davidson stunned Kansas last night in Kansas City. That loss to Charlotte is really going to leave a mark. The Wildcats would be right in the midst of an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they had beaten the 49ers. That loss could really bog them down as the season progresses. Regardless of that, the Wildcats win is a great win for the SoCon and a wonderful win for Davidson. They really played great, pretty much leading the whole way. The 80-74 win will resound for the rest of the year throughout the rest of the country.

2) It's your turn College of Charleston. The Cougars have a chance to one up Davidson by going into Louisville and beating a Top Five team. The Cougars have a real shot to pull off the win, but will need to play a near perfect game. In other words, they need to play the way Davidson played against Kansas. The Cougars, behind Andrew Lawrence and Antwaine Wiggins, have the potential to pull off the upset against a Louisville team that most people believe is overrated. Can the Cougars come up with the win? Maybe. Should be another exciting night in the SoCon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Z-Men

Remember the movie X-Men? Mutants fight to protect (or take over) the world. Lots of fun.

The Mocs have the Z-Men. Drazen Zlovaric and Z Mason. We've all been waiting for them to take over and turn into top notch offensive players. When they started playing like they did against Kentucky, it showed that the Mocs may be capable of something much more.

The Mocs have been struggling inside all season. Chris Early has not been great, but his suspension opened the door for Z Mason to get more playing time. Drazen Zlovaric has been struggling so far.

Then they battled Kentucky. And everything changed. Suddenly Zlovaric and Mason had incredible games. It was unreal. When the game finally ended, the Mocs had lost by 25, but somehow had made fans feel a little bit better. Sure, there was the loss. Sure, the shots still don't seem to be falling. But with the inside play of Z Mason and Zlovaric, suddenly there is renewed hope.

What needs to happen to keep that renewed hope alive? When the Mocs take on Hiwassee, the inside play of the Z Men needs to continue. The shooters need to take shots and start making them to help the Mocs become the team they are capable of being. If those things happen against Hiwassee, then that game will be a success.

But it doesn't really matter until they take on Longwood and Utah Valley or Hampton in the Dr Pepper Classic. The big men need to show up in those games. The shooters need to show up in those games. There is no one on the schedule that the Mocs can't beat if they play well in their games the rest of the season. Everyone left on the schedule is a team the Mocs can beat if they play well. It's time to start going.

One of the main reasons for optimism at this point in the season is what we saw from the Z Men on Saturday night. Let's hope that continues on Wednesday afternoon.


Double Dribbles- 12-19-11

1) Elon's loss to Dartmouth this weekend was thoroughly disappointing. The Phoenix shot under 30% from the field and that was what got them beat. I suppose a road game where the team did not shoot well should not be cause for concern for the Phoenix. However, with Elon moving towards the Top 100 RPI, I was hoping that they would become a third highly ranked SoCon team to help the conference RPI and give another viable candidate to get a 14 seed or better in the NCAA Tournament. This loss does not kill those chances- but it does put a damper on them.

2) Tonight is the last chance for Davidson to make a real splash on the national scene. The Wildcats will be heading to Kansas on ESPNU at 9:00 PM. There is a chance here for the Wildcats to pull off the shocker, but they really will have to play close to their best to win this one on the road against Thomas Robinson. With Samford's visit to Kentucky and Charleston's trip to Louisville on Tuesday night, the SoCon has three shots at Top 12 ranked teams over the next two nights. Big couple of days. The Wildcats give the SoCon their first (and arguably best) chance at a huge win.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SoCon Monster Game of the Week- Furman at Georgia

This week's SoCon Monster Game of the Week features Furman's trip to Georgia. The game will be Friday night and televised on CSS and ESPN3. The Paladins have been one of the conferences pleasant surprises so far this year, and are very capable of upsetting the 5-5 Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs beat USC this weekend, but prior to that had lost five out of six games. They also take on Mercer on Tuesday night.

Furman's defense can keep them in any game, even this one against an SEC school. Should be an interesting game and a chance for the SoCon team to get a win over an SEC team.

Scanning the SoCon- Week Seven

Four SoCon fans take a look around the league.

DavidsonCats- Davidson fan.
MocsMania- Chattanooga fan.
TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel fan.
UNCGBasketballFan- UNC-Greensboro fan.


Sunday, December 18
Jacksonville at Wofford
Monday, December 19
The Citadel at James Madison
UNCG at Duke (Fox Sport South/ESPN3)
Georgia Southern at South Alabama
Davidson at Kansas (ESPNU)
Tuesday, December 20
Samford at Kentucky (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Furman at Presbyterian
Western Carolina at Bradley
College of Charleston at Louisville (ESPNU)
Wednesday, December 21
HIwassee at Chattanooga
Wofford at High Point
Thursday, December 22
Davidson at Massachusetts
Campbell at Appalachian State
College of Charleston at Coastal Carolina
Georgia Southern at Georgia State
Elon at San Diego State
The Citadel at Denver
Friday, December 23
Furman at Georgia (CSS/ESPN3)


1) College of Charleston 47 (3)
2) Davidson 45 (1)
3) Elon 40
4) Wofford 33
5) Western Carolina 31
6t) Furman 25
6t) Georgia Southern 25
8t) Appalachian State 21
8t) Chattanooga 21
10) Samford 9
11) The Citadel 8
12) UNC-Greensboro 7


Sum up your team.

DavidsonCats- Davidson didn't play this past week. I hope that all the guys did well on their exams and are ready to get back to basketball. The Wildcats have a big week coming up. On the road Monday at Kansas and at UMass on Thursday.

MocsMania- The Mocs had their own Twitter controversy this week, as Chris Early has been suspended indefinitely following some tweets made on a private account back in mid-November just after he was benched by John Shulman. It makes me a little sick that we've got another Twitter controversy in the SoCon, and this one involves my beloved Mocs. Regardless, following that suspension, the Mocs actually played decent against a Kentucky team that has run several teams out of the gym this year. Yes, the Mocs lost by 25, but Z Mason (the former tight end recruit at Ole Miss) played very well, and Drazen Zlovaric had his best game of the season. If that carries over, then the Mocs could still contend for a bye in the North. Shots still really aren't falling for Keegan Bell and Omar Wattad, but if their shots start falling and Zlovaric, Mason, and in any other inside presence can play like they did against Kentucky, this will be one of the SoCon's better teams by season's end. Not anywhere near there yet. We'll know a lot more by New Year's after the Mocs play in the Dr Pepper Classic.

TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel played one game this week, losing badly at home to Charleston Southern. It was another disappointing performance for the Bulldogs, particularly on defense. As Chuck Driesell noted after the game, if The Citadel doesn't improve defensively, it won't win any more games. The Bulldogs now go on a tough three-game road trip (over eleven days), against James Madison, Denver, and Tennessee. The Citadel will be heavy underdogs in all three of those contests.

UNCGBasketballFan- After the events of this week (Mike Dement fired) I really had no idea what to expect when the team played ECU on Friday night. What we got to see was a team that played a very solid game for about 30 minutes. However, when ECU switched to a full court press late in the game, UNCG looked lost. In the post game press conference, Coach Wes Miller admitted that they just didn't get to spend any time preparing for that press based on all they were dealing with during the week. So all things considered, I wasn't upset with what I saw at the Greensboro Coliseum. I believe that G is improving. It is a shame though that UNCG's record is what is b/c I think Trevis Simpson is playing like the SoCon POY.

Which game are you looking the most forward to this week that does not involve your team?

DavidsonCats- I think CofC is the best team in the conference this year. They have a chance to make a national splash this week with games at Louisville and Coastal Carolina.

MocsMania- Well, for the purposes of the blog, the game I'll be previewing this week will be Furman at Georgia, because I think the Paladins have a real shot against the Bulldogs. For the purposes of this question, I don't know how the conference can't be looking forward to seeing what Davidson does against Kansas or what Charleston does against Louisville and Coastal Carolina. This should be a real fun week to follow the two conference frontrunners.

TheSportsArsenal- College of Charleston-Coastal Carolina should be a good matchup.

UNCGBasketballFan- I can't wait to see how Charleston plays against a top 5 team in Louisville. I thought the Cougars looked like a legit NCAA tournament team that could do some damage when they got there this week against UT. I'll openly eat crow that I thought it was going to be a down year for Charleston with all of their losses. I was very wrong.

What do you think about replacing a coach midseason, as UNCG just did?

DavidsonCats-  I hate to see a mid-season coaching switch. This one needed to happen. Several Spartan players were making idiotic statements in social media outlets, the team was stinking up on the court, and the fans were grumbling. Good luck to UNCG in their coaching search.

MocsMania- Not a fan. Seems like there is a really rare time to fire a coach midseason in college athletics, and that is when the team is engulfed in scandal. I'm talking serious, Joe Paterno/Penn State kind of scandal, not tweets from players saying fans don't know anything or that their coach shouldn't be coaching middle school kind of scandal. UNCG wanted to get a look at Miller, and so the move makes a little sense because they can find out what they have in him before the end of the year and figure out (virtually risk free) whether or not they want to do a full blown coaching search, so MAYBE this rises to level to be able to get away with it, but I'm virtually never in favor of mid-season coaching changes. I just don't see the necessity.

TheSportsArsenal- Generally, I believe replacing a coach at midseason is a mistake, and unfair to the players. I can see why UNCG decided to make a move now (assuming Mike Dement's resignation wasn't really voluntary), because UNCG's on-court results were starting to resemble a train wreck, but on the other hand, why not just fire Dement after last season? I guess it does give Wes Miller the chance to win the job.

UNCGBasketballFan- Normally, I think it's a bad idea. I think knee-jerk reactions should be left for the fans and not AD's. But with this situation, it may have been justified. UNCG was going no where fast and seemed to have to inside issues. Plus, fall recruiting had not gone as well as expected. I believe the AD made this move in order to spark the program on both fronts.
With the announcement of the SoCon television schedule for this winter, what are your thoughts on the SoCon's (relatively) new television deal?

DavidsonCats- I'm not enthused about the new TV package. We aren't going to attract any new viewers by hiding on public TV.

MocsMania- Well, here are the facts. In the states that are the SoCon's footprint, more homes have the public television station  than had SportSouth. So, that means that more people will have access to the SoCon games. Now, outside of the footprint, no one will have television access to these games and they did before. However, ESPN3 is a growing commodity, and more and more people have access to that. While most of the games were on there last year with SportSouth, what this means is that just as many people will have access as in previous years, if they will turn on their computers. So, I don't HATE the deal as some do. But I don't like it. It seems like a step back. The conference needs to find a way to get their product out there. The football product is excellent. The men's basketball product (despite what we seem to be seeing this year) is normally OK. There just needs to be better promotion. I don't quite know how to get there, though.

TheSportsArsenal- It is hard for me to be too excited about the league's TV deal, since my team is only featured once (which was also true for football). The only real benefit from a national perspective is the hookup. The SoCon needs to be on television as much as possible, so it's better than nothing, but it's not exactly setting a standard for mid- or low-major conferences.
UNCGBasketballFan- I hate to say this, but it's the kind of deal you get when your conference has been as down as the SoCon has been over the last 3 years. I actually think it's amazing that they've put together any kind of TV deal at all. Plus, with the ACC & SEC reaching massive TV deals in the past year, there just aren't many outlets for SoCon conference games to appear.

What do you think of the proposal to provide a $2000 stipend to each athlete, and the SoCon since they said they would not participate in this?

DavidsonCats- I understand why the $2000 stipend is unpopular, but if some schools are doing it and some aren't you don't want to find your school in the pool of those who choose to not compete. The stipend and other factors (like the ACC going to an 18-game conference schedule) will widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots. We need a strong commissioner.
MocsMania- I like the idea of a stipend in general, but what I see is cash strapped atheltic programs trying to put together enough money to support this and there just really isn't enough money. So that makes it difficult at the mid-major level to think this could work. That being said, if any major conference school participates in this, the SoCon absolutely must participate. Any school that does not will certainly be left in the dust here. The major conferences are likely to give it a go- so somehow the SoCon has to come up with a way to support this. I don't know what it is, but there has to be a way.

TheSportsArsenal- If the $2000 stipend had been approved, the league would have been at a serious recruiting disadvantage if it had not participated, regardless of the financial burden. It isn't the only league that would have been in that position, which is why the stipend has been more or less tabled for a few months.

As for what I think, why $2000? What is so special about that number? It's really a P.R. band-aid more than anything. It doesn't do anything to alleviate the real problem the Association has with regards to amateurism.
UNCGBasketballFan- I think the stipend idea totally stacks the deck in favor of the power conference teams. Schools like UNCG already have a razor thin margin in their athletic budget and this just makes it tougher. However, the SoCon choosing not to participate puts all of the league teams in an even tougher spot recruiting-wise. If you're an 18 year old kid (and all other things being equal) would you choose the school that will give you $2k spending money or the one that doesn't?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kentucky 87, Chattanooga 62

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Kentucky- 57.4%
Advantage- Kentucky

Mocs- 19.0%
Kentucky- 17.6%
Advantage- Kentucky

Mocs- 26.8%
Kentucky- 32.4%
Advantage- Kentucky

Mocs- 27.0%
Kentucky- 20.6%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 70.6%
Kentucky- 64.3%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 42.9%
Kentucky- 48.5%


1) Drazen Zlovaric 27.5
2) Ricky Taylor 21.6
3) Z Mason 16.5
4) Keegan Bell 10.6
5) Omar Wattad 8.8
6) Rico White 5.5
7) Dontay Hampton 4.8
8) Jared Bryant 3.8
9) Jahmal Burroughs 3.4
10t) Trey Brown 0.0
10t) Drew Baker 0.0
10t) Martynas Bareika 0.0
13) Lance Stokes -1.5

Per 40

1) Drazen Zlovaric 33.3
2) Z Mason 33.0
3) Ricky Taylor 31.9
4) Jared Bryant 21.4
5) Rico White 18.3
6) Dontay Hampton 16.0
7) Keegan Bell 12.9
8) Omar Wattad 11.4
9) Jahmal Burroughs 7.1
10t) Drew Baker 0.0
10t) Martynas Bareika 0.0
10t) Trey Brown 0.0
13) Lance Stokes -20.0


I fully realize that the Mocs should not be pleased with a 25 point loss to anyone, and that includes Kentucky.

I also fully realize that if the Mocs could have just gotten some shots to fall in the first half, there is no telling what would have happened.

The Mocs opened the first half shooting 25%. Omar Wattad was 1 for 8. Keegan Bell was 0 for 6. In the second half they combined for 4 for 12, which is not exactly lighting the world on fire, but it is far better than the first half was. Honestly, the Mocs could have been down single digits, possibly less than five, if Wattad and Bell (and maybe even Taylor) had shot just a little bit better.

But there was plenty to be impressed with here. Against one of the better rebounding teams in the country, the Mocs were outrebounded by just six. Drazen Zlovaric, who I thought would be totally outmanned, played his best game of the season. Yes, Antony Davis dominated the boards against the Mocs, with 18 total rebounds. But the rest of the Cats were nto doing that good of a job on the boards compared to the Mocs. Zlovaric really held his own. On top of that, Z Mason looked like he belonged out there banging inside. He played a tremendous game. If he continues to play like that, the Mocs will be in good shape at the power forward spot, even if Chris Early does not return to the team for a while.

Mason was on top of every rebound, he was playing great defense, and he was effective playing inside. Really- he was impressive. If he plays like that, he will be tough to contain in SoCon play, and could find himself with a big season. Same with Zlovaric.

Rico White and Dontay Hampton were not awful, but they were not quite as impressive as I was hoping they would be. They struggled at times, and did not look like the guys I thought they would be. Again, they were a bit of a calming influence at times. That was good.

And it would be completely remiss to not mention that Bell got four assists, and is now the all time leader in assists at Chattanooga. He struggled early against the Kentucky pressure, but to hold the school record for assists at a place that had guys like Tim Brooks, Chad Copeland, and Wes Moore playing, that is a solid set of stats.

The Mocs had only fifteen turnovers for the game and forced thirteen. It really was the shots not falling for the Mocs and Anthony Davis for Kentucky that was the difference in the game. The Mocs really need to start shooting better. They continue to struggle from the field. As I said after the Mercer game, the Mocs are playing to be good by the Dr Pepper Classic. Spalding, Kentucky, and Hiwassee weren't going to tell us a whole lot. I still think that. What I think now (in a slight nuance) is that the Mocs are still not playing poorly. They haven't really played poorly since either the Georgia Southern loss or the Gardner-Webb loss. They certainly did not play well against Mercer for much of the game, but played well for a chunk of it. But there have been a lot of positive signs in recent weeks, even though wins against D-1 competition have not been coming. That needs to change in the Dr Pepper Classic.

All in all, not a bad night for the Mocs. It wasn't a great night. It wasn't a totally magical night. But it was not a bad night. Losing hurts. But the Mocs have nothing to be ashamed of.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Kentucky Preview: The Toughest By Far

This is the toughest test for the Mocs this year. No questions asked. The Wildcats are a dominant force in the country, and have dominated many of their games absolutely and dynamically.

Yes, I realize that Indiana (another Mocs previous opponent) just beat Kentucky last weekend. I also realize that the Hoosiers are not actually better than the Wildcats, regardless of the final score. Kentucky is probably one of the best five teams in the country.

This is an enormous challenge for the Mocs, who are struggling to find themselves offensively, and must walk into Rupp Arena without Chris Early, who was suspended for disparaging Twitter comments on Friday morning, and has been sent home to Huntington, West Virginia, for the time being. Shulman said he was out for at least the Kentucky game and the Hiwassee game on Wednesday. We'll see if he's back in uniform for the all important Dr Pepper Classic, where we'll find out if the Mocs can turn a corner or not.

As was stated before, Kentucky is good- really good. They lead the country in blocked shots with over nine per game. Anthony Davis (he of the great block against North Carolina to preserve the win) leads the team with 37 blocks. Terrence Jones has 22 blocks, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist  has eleven blocks. In other words, Drazen Zlovaric and whoever is taking Early's place (probably Jahmal Burroughs and Lance Stokes) will have a really difficult time getting shots in the paint. Early could have been valuable here with his outside shooting, but he is not available. Burroughs is more intensity and inside presence, and that is not necessarily a good combination for this game against Kentucky.

They also are one of the country's best rebounding teams. Davis averages 9.1 rebounds per game, while Kidd-Gilchrist averages 7.3 and Jones averages 6.8. The Mocs, when playing their best, are also a good rebounding team. They did very well against Indiana on that. They have not done a great job in recent weeks in this regard. The Mocs will need to try to control the Cats on the boards.

Doron Lamb is the leading scorer ar 14.9 points per game, while shooting an incredible 51.4% from three point range. He only is shooting 45.7% from the floor overall. Lamb has been something else, and has turned into one of the Wildcats best players. The biggest problem the Wildcats have had under John Calipari is that they have not had a consistent shooter in big moments. Lamb may be that guy at this point.

Jones is averaging 13.8 points per game and was a preseason All American. However, he struggled in the Indiana game. Sometimes Jones does not have his heart into the game. If he ever turns on his motor 100% of the time, he could be one of the best players in the country. He has not learned to do that yet.

Kidd-Gilchrist is really a special player. If you watch him play, you can see his special talent. He is averaging 12.8 points per game and shooting nearly 52%. Anthony Davis is shooting nearly 68% from the floor and averaging 11.6 points per game.

Marquis Teague has been the subject of a lot of discussion in Lexington. He is the latest in a long line of Calipari point guards. He is averaging 10.8 points per game. However, Teague looks like he sometimes struggles to keep possession of the ball. He should improve over the course of the year, but he is not a top of the line point guard at this point. That being said he may be the best point guard the Mocs face all year.


--Rebounding. As usual. The Mocs need to hold their own in rebounding to have any chance at all of keeping this close.
--Three point shooting. The Mocs have some shooters. Omar Wattad, Keegan Bell, and Ricky Taylor, not to mention Dontay Hampton and Rico White can all make the three ball. They were hot on Tuesday against Spalding. Can they keep it going? Can they force Kentucky to shoot (and miss) a bunch of threes? Against Indiana, they only shot seven. If they only shoot seven against the Mocs, it could be a long day for Chattanooga.
--Foul trouble. The Mocs depth is a little bit thinner without Chris Early so they can not afford to get into foul trouble. If the Cats get into a bunch of foul trouble, the Mocs may be able to keep it close.
--First half play. The Mocs have actually started well in recent weeks in games (even against Mercer when they went up 17-4), and Kentucky has really struggled in a couple of first halves. If the Mocs can play well enough in the first half to build up some confidence, maybe the Mocs can hang around in the second half.


--Call it a gut feeling, but Wattad and Bell are going to respond well to this game. Bell has won (while at Vanderbilt) in Rupp Arena. I feel like he will play a good game.
--Wattad makes a three on the first possession and the Mocs will take an early 3-0 lead. That will be the Mocs lone lead.
--The Mocs will hang around in the first half and will galvanize around the Chris Early suspension.
--Rico White and Dontay Hampton will show once again that they belong, even though the final stats may not bear it out.
--Zlovaric will be dominated inside by Davis and will score fewer than five points. Davis will score over 20.
--Kidd-Gilchrist will also score over 20.
--Kentucky 87, Mocs 52. The Mocs are going to hang around for a while, and losing by 35 in Rupp may not be embarassing, honestly, particularly since Kentucky is coming off a loss. The Mocs will hit a few more shots, but the lack of inside game to match the Wildcats will be their undoing.


Chris Early Update!

After looking at the tweets again, I realized that they were dated mid-November. Chris Early made this comments in mid-November- when he was in the middle of being benched for his lack of effort. He's played better since then.

I think this may be more related to that than originally thought. I don't blame him nearly as much for having these kinds of reactions since he was barely playing against Warren Wilson at that point in time. So there is that.


Chris Early Suspended Indefinitely

Chris Early has been suspended indefinitely for his Twitter comments regarding the year and Coach Shulman.

Honestly, this whole thing frustrates me quite a bit. I'm beginning to really hate Twitter.

This can not be just totally ignored, though. Early was a starter and an important part of the team. He has struggled to live up to the high expectations that he had when he transferred from Oklahoma following the year he was on the same high school team with Patrick Patterson and OJ Mayo. He's a good player that the Mocs need to contribute.

Too bad he hasn't figured out that it is a privilege to play college basketball. Maybe this will help him mature a bit.

I don't want to make any comments on the specific tweets. Honestly, players should never make comments like his. I am truly disappointed.


Double Dribbles-12-16-11

1) One game Friday night in the SoCon. It will be Wes Miller's first game as head coach for the Spartans after Mike Dement resigned/was forced out. East Carolina heads to the Coliseum to take on the Spartans for this one. The Pirates have dominated the recent games against the Spartans, and is the favorite to win again, but their RPI is in not very high, and the Spartans have a shot to win this game if they respond well to Miller. Personally, I have seen it too many times. I think that the Spartans play one of their best games. Remember the UCLA-Arizona football game this year the first game after Mike Stoops was fired? The Wildcats looked like a different team and dominated the Bruins 48-12. I look for an inspired effort out of the Spartans, even if it doesn't result in a win.

2) We all know that Elon is coming on strong. We all know that the Phoenix has done very well this year and become the favorite to win the SoCon North. Why? I give all the credit to the defense. They currently have allowed just 36% shooting from the floor, which is good enough to be in the Top 20 in the whole country. Make no mistake- the Phoenix begin with defensive intensity. This is why they are capable of making not just a run at the SoCon title, but also could win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament if they got the right match-ups.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rupp- Here We Come!

The Mocs are heading to Rupp Arena to take on the number three team in the country in the Kentucky Wildcats. The Mocs should be very excited about this opportunity.

There are few places in college basketball at special as Rupp Arena. The Mocs have already played at Indiana and at Butler this year. The Mocs played well early against Indiana and was ahead with four minutes left in the first half. The Mocs were within one score of Butler with three minutes remaining.

And now the Mocs are playing one in Rupp.

Honestly, regardless of what happens over the remainder of the year, this has been a memorable year for this group of Chattanooga Mocs players. They have played in truly special places this year. Rupp will add to that.

Look- no one is pleased with the way the season has gone to date- least of all these players who had hoped for so much more heading into this year. But playing college basketball is about life experiences and creating memories. No matter the result against the Wildcats, the Mocs will have something to tell their children and grandchildren after they perform in this game. They will have played in Assembly Hall, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Rupp Arena this year. They will have a lifetime worth of memories, and that's what college sports are supposed to be about.

So, as all of us have been frustrated by the start to the season, let's remember that these guys are making memories that will last a lifetime. It's been great to play in these special places.

I'm ready for some positive memories for myself. And those haven't come yet. But hey- this is the season for miracles, right? Maybe one sits right around the corner on Saturday night. Not likely, but you never know.

On top of that, let's make a note that Keegan Bell is likely to set the all-time assists record for the Mocs on Saturday  night. He just needs to come up with three assists to set the record and pass Tim Brooks and Wes Moore. After all the bashing of Bell that has been done over the previous two plus years by certain members of the Mocs community, the truth is that he has been one of the better Mocs in history. He's in the Top Ten nationally in assists and is second in the SoCon in assist-to-turnover ratio. So, while I'd like some memories, I think the memories of watching Keegan Bell play may be one of the fondest. At the beginning of last year, there were times when he drove me nuts, but I find him more and more appealing, and like him more and more all the time. He's developed into one of my favorites.

Let's go make some memories!