Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February in Preview: Building Momentum...From Nothing

The Mocs have no momentum. They actually have the opposite of momentum. They have deceleration. They are way off right now, having lost a bunch of really close games in recent weeks.

But with the month comes a new chance at gaining momentum- a new chance to win. The Mocs were not good in January, at least in the win-loss column. But they have an opportunity to turn some of those losses into wins in February. And if they do, they could still move up in their seeding and get in position to make a big run in the SoCon Tournament in Asheville in March.

Toughest Game: at Davidson, February 4. The Mocs provided a serious challenge to Davidson in Chattanooga last Thursday. But the Wildcats are the far superior team. They are 9-1 in SoCon play, while the Mocs are 3-7. Davidson has been nearly impossible to beat at home in recent years, as the Wildcats have been tough for any SoCon team to beat. Chattanooga will have an almost impossible time trying to go into Davidson and come up with the win.

Easiest Game: The Citadel, February 18. It is certainly true that the Mocs could lose to anyone on their schedule at this point. But the safest win for the Mocs has to be considered a home game against a 1-9 team. The Bulldogs feature Mike Grosselle, who just might be the most under-appreciated player in the SoCon. Grosselle should legitimately be an All-SoCon player. Hopefully he gets there. He has earned. Voters may go another way because of his playing on a poor team, but he is as deserving as any player in the SoCon. Still, the Mocs have to be considered the heavy favorite in this one since it is a home game. They haven't made anything easy this year though.

Most Important Game: at Western Carolina, February 2. With the current losing streak the Mocs are on, and with the way the last three games have ended, it would be easy for the Mocs to pack it in. Are they going to pack it in? Was Saturday's last second three pointer by Georgia Southern the "dagger to the  heart" like Drazen Zlovaric and John Shulman called it? Will they be able to fight back? If they are able to fight back, they will show it in this game. Cullowhee is never an easy place to win in the SoCon, but the Catamounts played Monday and were beaten by 26 by Wofford on the road. They have lost eight of nine to D1 teams. The Mocs beat Western by 16 in Chattanooga. If the Mocs show heart and come up with a win on Thursday night, they may well be able to right the ship for the rest of the year. If they lose against the Catamounts on Thursday night and don't show the effort that has been the hallmark of this team, then the Mocs may well be in trouble in every game the rest of the year.

Predicted Record: 3-5. I'm going to beg the Mocs to prove me wrong here. I'm calling for a home win over either Elon or UNCG, and home wins over The Citadel and Samford. Since the Mocs have not won a road game yet, I'm not picking them to beat Western Carolina, Davidson, Appalachian State, or Furman. I'm also picking them to lose one home game to either Elon or UNCG. The thing is, the Mocs are good enough to go 7-1 if everything breaks right here. If things break wrong, a winless month or a 1-7 month could happen as well. Huge couple of weeks here.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week Preview- Davidson at Furman

Could it be?

Is it possible?

Is there really any chance at all that Wofford catches Davidson in the South Division race?

Davidson, presumed to be the South Division champ for the last several weeks, suddenly has a loss to Samford. Then Wofford beat College of Charleston and Georgia Southern. Suddenly, the Wildcats are up just one and a half games on the Terriers. A loss to Furman would push the lead down to just one game.

That's not to say that this game is meaningless to Furman. After all, since the Paladins pulled off the shocker over College of Charleston last Thursday, they suddenly find themselves just two games out of the bye in the South. A win would put them right in the race for the bye, and certainly put them in contention for the third seed against Georgia Southern. College of Charleston is hot on their tail too- just one half game back. So this game is critical to the Paladins seeding opportunities in the coming weeks as well.

Furman has won four out of five, losing just at home to Wofford by seven during that stretch. They have a very good defensive team. In January SoCon play, just once have they allowed more than 66 points. The Paladins defense is what keeps them in games.

The reason that I have been down on the Paladins in recent weeks is that they don't really have an offensive star. When they are in a deep rut, they have no one to really turn to for that critical basket. That makes them a team that could go into a deep dry spell and be beaten. They are capable of winning games with the strength of their defense, though.

For example, the Paladins had three players in double figures against The Citadel in their win over the Bulldogs over the weekend. Colin Reddick scored 12, Charlie Reddick scored 11, and Brandon Sebirumbi scored 10. Bobby Austin scored 9, Bryson Barnes 8, and Jordan Lloyd 7. In other words, they were a very balanced group, but there is no stand out player.

Sebirumbi leads the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game and rebounds with 5.3 boards per contest. He is shooting about 53% from the floor. Charlie Reddick is the second leading scorer with 10.1 points per game, and second in rebounding with 4.9. He is also the leading three point shooter at 39.4% from behind the arc. He also  leads the team in steals with 1.1 per game. Bobby Austin averages 1.7 assists per game.

On the other hand, Davidson is a tremendous offensive team. De'Mon Brooks is averaging 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Jake Cohen is averaging 14.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Nik Cochran averages 11.8 points and 3.3 assists per game. Tom Droney averages 2.7 assists per game.

Davidson is a very good offensive team. Brooks and Cohen both are very good shooters. But, over the last two games against Chattanooga and Samford, the Wildcats have seen their post players double teamed. They have been daring the Wildcats to shoot from long range, and they have not been successful doing it. So, Brooks and Cohen either need to come up with a way to score out of the double team, or against the zone, or the shooters need to start hitting shots. Can they hit shots on the road?

Davidson shot nearly 53% from the floor in their 86-65 win over Furman back in December. Cohen and JP Kuhlman scored 16 points. Brooks and Cochran scored 15 points. Chriz Czerapowicz scored 13 points. They also won the battle of the boards. Sebirumbi was held scoreless in twelve minutes. Bryant Irwin scored 21 points, which was the most points he has scored all year in a game. He has been up and down throughout the season, having scored 14 against College of Charleston in 29 minutes, before scoring two against The Citadel in twelve minutes.


--Rebounding. Davidson is the better rebounding team and needs to have a good night on the boards against the Paladins.
--Figuring it out. Davidson needs to figure out how to score with Brooks and Cohen being a heavy point of emphasis for the defense.
--Sebirumbi. He was held scoreless against Davidson the first time around. That's not a way for the Paladins to win. He needs to have a solid game to offset Brooks and Cohen.


--The Paladins will be much more competitive than they were against Davidson in December.
--Cohen and Brooks will play significantly better than they have the last two games.
--Sebirumbi will get into double digits this time.
--Davidson 69, Furman 62. The Wildcats are the better team and are hungry for the win after the deflating loss to Samford. But the Paladins home court and defense are good enough to keep this game close. The problem is that they don't have the offensive firepower to get this done at this point. Wildcats win a close one.

January in Review: Agonizingly Close

The Mocs just completed a 3-6 month, but never has there been a 3-6 month where the Mocs were closer to going undefeated.

The Mocs were within single digits, and not out of any game with five minutes left. The 13 point loss to Tennessee was probably their worst performance overall, but the trip to Samford was a close second. Yes, the Bulldogs have played better as of late, and were up just two late in the game, but the Bulldogs pulled away for an eleven point win.

The Mocs lost their last three game to Elon, Davidson, and Georgia Southern (who are a combined 21-8 in SoCon play) by a total of five points in gut wrenching fashion. They just could not come up with the clutch win in any of those three very tight games. The Mocs did beat Appalachian State and Wofford by a combined five points earlier, and the win over the Mountaineers was a come back miracle, but against the Terriers, the Mocs had been in the lead most of the game.

The loss to UNC-Greensboro is hardly embarrassing at this point, with how the Spartans have played. The Mocs were down just two points late in the game, but could not complete the comeback.

The month was also full of injuries. Omar Wattad is suffering through his back injury. Ricky Taylor has a beat up wrist. Z Mason has an injured knee. Jahmal Burroughs has a pulled hamstring. That is four of the top six players that are battling legitimate injuries at this point. Has there ever been a team this beat up before March? It's hard to imagine.

That's not a cop out either. Or an excuse. It is merely stating facts. The Mocs have had a ton of injuries. They seem to be a little snake bitten right now. If everyone gets reasonably healthy and the bounces bounce their way, they could still make a run in Asheville. But they need to start turning things around now to put themselves in position to make that run.


Double Dribbles- 1-31-12

1) The BracketBusters are set. On the weekend of February 17th and 18th, four SoCon teams will participate in the annual event. Davidson hosts Wichita State in a televised game that will be a big one for the SoCon and the Wildcats. Appalachian State hosts Winthrop. Wofford plays at Charleston Southern. College of Charleston goes to Kent State. Whew. Winthrop is 9-14, and 6-6 in the Big South. Charleston Southern is 14-7, 8-3 in the Big South. Kent State is 14-6, 4-3 in the MAC. Wichita State is 18-4, 9-2 in the MVC. The Shockers may be able to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Appalachian State will be favored, but I'm not sure if any other team from the SoCon will be. A 2-2 or 3-1 mark would be wildly successful for the SoCon in this event.

2) So is Wofford that hot? Or is Western Carolina that cold? Maybe some of both. Wofford has won six straight since losing in Chattanooga, and has won eight of ten overall. Western Carolina has lost eight of nine against D-1 teams. The lone win in that stretch for the Catamounts was over Wofford at home. But Wofford certainly got their revenge on Monday night. Their dominating 82-56 win shows that Wofford is certainly hot on the tail of Davidson for the South title and that the back-to-back champs will not go quietly this year, like so many thought they would. Western Carolina on the other hand has two more huge games this week. They battle Georgia Southern and also Chattanooga this week. If they can't win either of those games, they will have a very difficult time getting out of the cellar in the North this year. Amazing for a team so many people expected to contend for the North title.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Battle of North vs. South- 1-30-12

Monday's Scores

College of Charleston (S) 68
Samford (N) 52

Western Carolina (N) 56
Wofford (S) 82

at North
North- 6
South- 7

at South
North- 3
South- 9

North- 9
South- 16


Charleston's win was unexpected and exciting. It also provides a huge chance for the South to beat the North handily. Charleston's trip to Elon and The Citadel's trip to UNC-Greensboro on Thursday mark two more games in this battle. On Saturday, there are six more match-ups between North and South. If the South were to sweep all eight, they would have no worse than a tie clinched for the battle. Hard to believe that on Saturday when Samford won, this was looking like it might get really interesting, but the Mocs loss to Georgia Southern and these two have turned it upside down. It's looking more and more like the South is going to win.

Through the Heart

"A dagger through the heart."

"A stake through the heart."

The first quote is from Drazen Zlovaric. The second is from John Shulman.

There is one thing this team has done tremendously well all year long, and that is play with heart. The Mocs have not done a lot well, especially during this five game losing streak, but they have played with a lot of heart throughout the whole year, including in this losing strreak. This team has fought back from double digit deficits and hung around in games that they have had no business  hanging around in given how they have played.

Last year's Mocs team would have been blown out several times this year. But this team has heart and does not give up.

And that may be the most disturbing thing about the quotes from Zlovaric and Shulman. Was that really what Saturday's game was? Was it the kill shot to the heart of this team? If it was, that is really dangerous. This team may suddenly find themselves getting blown out. Will they be able to win any games the rest of the year if they start playing with a little less effort or a little less heart?

The short answer is no. So the real question is if the Mocs can bounce back. This is the moment that the Mocs must bounce back. They are battling Western Carolina in a winnable but tough game on Thursday night. Can they win the Thursday game?

Honestly, winning and losing is not what I am looking for on Thursday. It's the effort. It's the heart. That's what I'm looking for. If they can play with effort and heart, I won't worry as much about winning or losing.

But another close loss may be the kill shot to the heart.

So, maybe I will worry about winning and losing. After all, let's face it, I always worry about winning and losing.


Double Dribbles- 1-30-12

1) A game that would have gotten little attention last Wednesday suddenly looks really interesting. Tonight, Charleston travels to Samford. The Cougars are in bad shape for a bye in the South. They are without Bobby Cremins on the sideline for at least the remainder of the season. On the other hand, Samford is suddenly right in the thick of the bye race in the North. They are 4-5, just one game behind Elon for the bye in the North and one and a half games back of UNCG for first in the North. Who would have guessed that Samford would be more in the race for a bye than Charleston just last Wednesday? The Bulldogs upset of Davidson on Saturday was huge. A win over the Cougars on Monday? That would serve notice that Samford was in the race to stay.

2) There's a ton to talk about on this Monday, but with two Monday games, the Western Carolina trip to Wofford has to get mentioned. Can the Catamounts trip up the Terriers? That would be their second win over Wofford this year. They won just that game in their last eight against D1 opposition. Western Carolina is in desperate need of a win to get back into the bye race in the North. Wofford, on the other hand, can close the gap to just 1.5 games on Davidson for the South division lead and push their lead to one full game over Georgia Southern for the bye. This is a huge week for Western Carolina, who plays Wofford, Georgia Southern, and Chattanooga this week. A 2-1 or 3-0 week would get them back into the division race. A disastrous 0-3 week would get them in real trouble and possibly push them towards last in the division to stay. Big week for the Catamounts.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scanning the SoCon- Week Thirteen

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


Monday, January 30
Western Carolina at Wofford
College of Charleston at Samford

Wednesday, February 1
Davidson at Furman

Thursday, February 2
Chattanooga at Western Carolina (ESPN3)
The Citadel at UNC-Greensboro
College of Charleston at Elon
Samford at Appalachian State

Saturday, February 4
Georgia Southern at Western Carolina
Samford at Wofford
College of Charleston at Appalachian State
UNC-Greensboro at Furman (SoCon Network/ESPN3)
Chattanooga at Davidson
The Citadel at Elon

1) Davidson 48 (4)
2) Wofford 44
3) UNC-Greensboro 36
4) Georgia Southern 35
5) Elon 34
6) Appalachian State 29
7) Furman 21
8t) College of Charleston 18
8t) Western Carolina 18
10) Samford 15
11) Chattanooga 10
12) The Citadel 4


Sum up your team.

DavidsonCats- The Wildcats are now 15-5 overall and 9-1 in the conference after splitting the road trip to Chattanooga and Samford. Clint Mann returned to the rotation this week. Jake was less effective in these two games, but Nik, JP, De'Mon, and Chris Czerapowicz all had solid road trips. The Wildcats have a tough road game coming up on Wednesday against Furman and then have a very important home stand against Chattanooga and Wofford. 

MocsMania- The Mocs lost two heartbreakers this week, allowing four combined points in the final one and a half combined seconds in their two games this week. They both were losses, by a combined total of four points. In other words, they played Georgia Southern and Davidson to a dead even tie for the first 39 minutes and 59 seconds of both games, and got outscored 4-0 in the final second, which means the Mocs lose both games. The Mocs may well be the second best team in the SoCon, but after three losses by a combined five points, the Mocs have nothing to show for it. They could be a major surprise in the SoCon Tournament, but they have to gain some confidence before then. It does not look good.

TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel lost three more games this week, although the Bulldogs were competitive in all three and arguably unlucky not to win at Georgia Southern, losing in double-OT, with a noticeable disparity in free throw attempts. Competitive is nice, but The Citadel needs to start winning. Despite the team's record, Mike Groselle has continued to put together what has to be an All-SoCon season. I am concerned the SoCon media that votes on such honors may not see fit to honor a player on a team with a poor record, but in Groselle's case that would be an enormous travesty.

UNCGBasketballFan- UNCG is currently enjoying its biggest resurgence since Kyle Hines donned his cap and gown. The Spartans have really perfected the art of winning very ugly, but exciting games. While G has lacked a killer instinct in closing games out the past few weeks, they have shown a knack for still finding a way to win the games. The past weekend UNCG had to go to overtime to beat App State and Western Carolina. Both games saw the visitors come storming back to force overtime only to have UNCG come out aggressive in the extra period and play with confidence. Trevis Simpson and Derrell Armstrong are leading the scoring parade, with Armstrong coming off the bench exclusively. This week will see UNCG to have to play its first road game in almost 3 weeks. They will have to continue to win there to stay in contention for a tournament bye.

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

DavidsonCats- Thursday's Chattanooga at Western game has my attention. Chattanooga's next opponent after WCU is Davidson, and I'd like to see Chattanooga get their first road win of the season before arriving at Belk.

MocsMania- I'll go with Davidson's trip to Furman. Can the Paladins get into the bye race? Will the Wildcats give up some ground on their race to winning first in the South? Will the Wildcats offense soar? Or will the Paladins defense dominate? Should be a quality game.

TheSportsArsenal- Most of the games this week are cross-division games. None truly stand out. Western Carolina has three games this week, two of which are against Wofford and Georgia Southern, and thus may play the most impactful schedule in terms of the standings.
UNCGBasketballFan- Davidson at Furman. I'm interested to see how the Wildcats respond to a tough loss. Samford really couldn't miss on Saturday and the Wildcats still found a way to crawl back into the game. Can they get over the disappointment and bring the intensity on a quick turnaround?

Who do you think is the best sixth man in the league?

DavidsonCats- There are several players who have primarily come off the bench this year, but have started a few games. Guys like Jack Isenbarger and Derrell Armstrong. My top sixth man would be Chris Czerapowicz. He hasn't started any games and has been Davidson's best scorer off the bench. Through 20 games, he's scored 183 points and grabbed 88 rebounds. 9.2 points and 4.4 rebounds. He's getting better rapidly.

MocsMania- I'd love to be a homer here and pick Z Mason, who I think will be a force in the SoCon starting next year, and already has proven to be one of the Mocs better players. But in the end, you really can't go wrong with UNCG's Derrell Armstrong at this point. He is one of the main reasons that the Spartans have started winning. I know he hasn't played that well all year, but at his current level of play, there really is no going wrong picking him.

TheSportsArsenal- Right now I would slightly favor Derrell Armstrong of UNCG as the league's top sixth man.

UNCGBasketballFan- Well, it's kind of hard to decide who is really coming off of the bench for some teams. This week I watched Omar Carter (ASU) and Harouna Mutombo (WCU) not start for their teams. However, I'm going to be biased and say that right now, UNCG's Derrell Armstong is the best pure bench player. He's scored 23 or more points his part 4 games is one of the leading catalysts to UNCG quick climb up the standings.

At the halfway point of the conference season, which four teams do you expect to earn byes for the SoCon Tournament?

DavidsonCats- Davidson, Wofford, Elon and ASU.

MocsMania- Whew. In the South, I'll take the obvious choice (Davidson) and go with Wofford for the second seed. I'm not convinced the Terriers are as good as their record indicates, but I'd be surprised if any other team from the South has what it takes to make a run at the second seed. Charleston has the talent, but without Cremins, and already trailing the Terriers by three games and the tiebreaker, it's hard to envision them catching the Terriers. The Paladins and Eagles are too inconsistent. In the North- I have no idea. Chattanooga is the most talented team in the division I believe, but they are too far out of it to get a bye at this point, I think. Western Carolina appears too flawed to me (and are struggling right now). Samford is just not good enough, even though they are hot right now. That leaves Appalachian State, UNCG, and Elon. UNCG is the team I like the most of those three, so I'll go with them for one bye. I'm less than convinced that Elon can keep on playing at their current level, and I am also less than convinced that Appy has what it takes to get a bye. They just don't seem to play well together at times. I'll take Appy, but feel more than a little apprehensive when I do it.

TheSportsArsenal- The four byes will go to Davidson, Wofford (since the CofC is now in freefall), and...oh, boy, the north. Might as well throw darts while blindfolded. I suppose picking UNCG to get a bye would be trendy. I'm not quite so sure about the Spartans, at least not yet, but I guess I'll go with Elon and UNCG.

UNCGBasketballFan- I still think UNCG has a tougher 2nd half schedule than most teams. So, in the North I'll go with Elon and App State. In the South, I think Wofford just looks like the stronger of the "rest of the pack". So I'll pick them to get a bye, along with Davidson.

With Bobby Cremins announcement of a leave of absence and possible retirement, share some thoughts on Cremins career.

DavidsonCats- I hope that Cremins returns to the bench at CofC. He's been fantastic for the conference.

MocsMania- Cremins has been great for the Southern Conference. He has brought national attention to the conference that used to get it only when a team pulled an upset in the NCAA Tournament or was a popular pick to pull an upset in the NCAA Tournament. Not saying that people follow the SoCon now- but Cremins brought more national attention to it. That was great. All in all, he has been a great coach for many years. He deserves all the respect he has received. He is a fine man and I hope that he makes a full recovery.

TheSportsArsenal-  Bobby Cremins did a great job of building the Georgia Tech program (after a solid stint at Appalachian State). Nobody can ever question Cremins' ability as a recruiter, and his teams were often very entertaining as well, which in a major metro area like Atlanta is important. As the head coach of South Carolina, Cremins had a short but memorable run...I think his tenure at the CofC is a mixed bag, to be honest. He was a great comeback hire for that school after the Gregg Marshall debacle (which was the CofC's problem, not Marshall's), but I think most CofC supporters anticipated regular trips to the NCAA tournament, and Cremins went 0-fer in that category despite bringing in very good talent.

UNCGBasketballFan- How amazing is it for a guy to be credited for resurrecting a program with the status of Charleston after already having a court at an ACC school named after you? If Cremins actually retires, you've got to be impressed with the shap he left that program in for the next coach. I do wish him the best and hope that he gets well soon from whatever is ailing him.

SoCon Monster Game of the Week- Davidson at Furman

The Paladins are 5-5 in SoCon play and are making a sudden push at one of the first round byes in the South. If they are going to get there, they need to keep on winning.

Davidson is 9-1 in the South, and up two games on Wofford for the division lead. They are still in great position to have the best record in the conference. Of course, that wiggle room can shrink substantially with a loss to the Paladins on Wedneday night.

This game will certainly help shape exactly where teams are going to fall in the South race. This should be a very interesting match-up between Davidson's high flying offense and the Paladins top notch defense. Will Davidson lose their second straight? Or will Furman find a way to keep on winning?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Battle of North vs. South- 1-28-12

Saturday's Scores

Davidson (S) 74
Samford (N) 77

Georgia Southern (S) 75
Chattanooga (N) 72

at North
North- 6
South- 6

at South
North- 3
South- 8

North- 9
South- 14


The North had a real chance to gain ground today until the Mocs blew a 16 point lead to Georgia Southern, including a three pointer at the buzzer.

Davidson was stunned at Samford. That was almost impossible to predict that it was coming. The Bulldogs win gave some real hope to the North in gaining ground today. In the end, it wasn't enough, because the Mocs could not hold up their end of the bargain.

Georgia Southern 75, Mocs 72

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 51.7%
Georgia Southern- 50.8%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 23.9%
Georgia Southern- 18.3%
Advantage- Georgia Southern

Mocs- 32.4%
Georgia Southern- 23.7%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 25.4%
Georgia Southern- 30.0%
Advantage- Georgia Southern

Mocs- 73.3%
Georgia Southern- 77.8%
Advantage- Georgia Southern

Mocs- 37.3%
Georgia Southern- 40.0%


1) Drazen Zlovaric 31.0
2) Keegan Bell 24.8
3) Omar Wattad 16.9
4) Dontay Hampton 12.0
5) Rico White 11.8
6) Ricky Taylor 9.5
7) Jared Bryant 7.7
8) Drew Baker 7.5
9) Lance Stokes 6.4

Per 40
1) Jared Bryant 43.7
2) Drazen Zlovaric 37.6
3) Rico White 36.3
4) Keegan Bell 34.2
5) Dontay Hampton 23.9
6) Drew Baker 21.4
7) Omar Wattad 19.9
8) Lance Stokes 18.1
9) Ricky Taylor 11.5


And the hits just keep on coming. This was one of the most painful losses of the year...in a year with plenty of very painful ones.

The Mocs played without Jahmal Burroughs and Z Mason. Is that what contributed to this loss? They could not play either of their best fours. Yes, Lance Stokes was still available and he played adequately. But Stokes is more like a three than a four, in my opinion. Drew Baker played fine, but he is not a scholarship athlete. That put a giant hole in the Mocs lineup.

All that being said, there is no excuse for blowing a sixteen point lead in the final ten minutes. The Mocs lost focus, they lost intensity, and they lost the game. They were up two with a minute left, and gave up five unanswered points. This is unacceptable.

The problem the Mocs have this year is losing close games. In their last three games, the Mocs have lost by a combined total of five points. Three of those were on the last second three pointer in this one. There is still plenty of time for a miracle turnaround this year, but it is looking less and less likely by the  game. With a week of road games against Western Carolina and Davidson on the horizon, the Mocs are going to struggle to get going now.

Drazen Zlovaric continued to play very well. He had another double-double. Ricky Taylor played well at the end, but scored just 9, while Omar Wattad scored just 5. That's the two leading scorers coming up with 14 combined points. Keegan Bell seemed to snap out of his slump, though  he scored just three points in the second half.

I still firmly believe that the Mocs can go far in the SoCon Tournament. They have to get this turned around, though. I'm not really sure that they can win the tournament without a bye, and it is really difficult to find a path to the bye at this point. There was still a chance heading into today. After today, it's hard to find that path.


Cremins Leave of Absence: A Cougars Response

Bobby Cremins has taken a leave of absence from Charleston, as reported earlier. I thought that sending some questions to a Cougars blogger would be a good way to get some insight into the situation there.
Hopefully, this answers some of the questions and provides some insight into the situation. Hope you enjoy it.
Here's a link to his blog- KingKresse.
What is your best memory of the Cremins era at College of Charleston?
There are a lot of memories that come to mind when reminiscing about Coach Cremins. He was truly ingrained into the CofC community. The guy lived just off campus and it was not uncommon to run into him walking his dogs or doing some shopping downtown. But when it comes to the most salient of memories there was one that stood out above the others for me personally. In December of 2008 (the first season that Carolina First/TD Arena was open), Cremins was going for his 500th career victory against Coastal Carolina. With the Cougars up at halftime, a couple friends and I knew we had to do something to commemorate the occasion. We ducked out of the arena, ran to CVS and bought some poster board and magic markers. We made a large digit on each poster, 5-0-0. When the final buzzer sounded we proudly displayed our work for Cremins and the TV cameras. While walking to the locker room with the team, Bobby came up to each of us and shook our hands. He thanked us for coming to the game and spending 10 bucks on supplies. No mention of his milestone. Just a moment that really gave me a glimpse into his character and one I still remember vividly.
Do you think that the recent struggles had anything to do with Cremins taking his leave of absence now? Did Cremins health problems lead to some of the recent struggles?
I think the recent struggles of the team are at least partially attributable to Bobby's exhaustion. Last year he had a senior-laden squad that could effectively coach themselves. Bobby never even had to stand up from the bench. This year he had to rebuild with a largely inexperienced roster. Add to that the drama with Baru's eligibility earlier this year and the key injuries to Willis Hall and Anthony Stitt and you can imagine the undo stress on a 64 year old. Looking back at his last few post-game press conferences, you can see that Bobby looks just beaten down.
Mark Byington has been named the interim head coach. Most people around the SoCon don't know much about Byington, except that he was on Tom Herrion's staff. What is your initial reaction to Byington being in this position?
I believe I speak for many Cougar fans when I say we want all remnants of the Herrion era to be forgotten and pushed as far from CofC as possible. Byington is still here and has been Cremins' right hand man since 06-07. For the most part he has quietly remained under the radar. He's active on the recruiting front (showing kids campus, facilities etc) and is in charge of developing the guards and wing players. I don't know what to expect from him as the leader of this team. Byington's coaching style is much different than Cremins. Very much an X's and O's kind of guy while Bobby mostly lets his players do their thing. Does he have what it takes to command the respect and attention that a 30-year vet like Cremins does? Will he hold players accountable? We shall see.
If this is the end of the Cremins era in Charleston, do you think Mark Byington will be named the permanent head coach?
The remainder of the season is going to be an extended tryout for Mark Byington. Based just on the endorsements he has received from John Kresse and Coach Cremins, it seems to be his job to lose. I think we as a program need to explore all of our options before we name him the heir apparent. If the team responds well to Coach B and turns things around, he'll have a leg up as the incumbent. Should things stay the way they are, there are probably a few other coaches who would make their case for the job.
If Cremins leaves, how do you see that impacting the program on the whole? Recruiting, scheduling, talent development, etc.
No doubt there will be at least some impact on all of those activities. Scheduling UNC, Louisville, Clemson; that doesn't happen without Cremins and his connections. Off the top of my head I can think of 3-4 players on the roster right now who wouldn't be here without Bobby. Andrew Lawrence and James Carlton are both sons of players Bobby recruited at Appalachian State. Trent Wiedeman's mom was a star on the Georgia Tech women's team and Trent grew up idolizing and rooting for Bobby. Adjehi can be added to the mix simply because he instantly fell in love with Coach's demeanor and personality. Coach Cremins was a fantastic recruiter and his coaching legacy afforded the Cougars a lot of scheduling benefits. But he also helped restore the entire program from a very moribund state. Hopefully that still bears some weight when it comes to exposure and recruiting.
Assuming Cremins leaves, and Byington is not the answer, are there any names that jump out at you as potential replacements?
The NCAA coaching landscape is so vast that it's hard to think of a handful of names that could be considered candidates should our coaching search come to that. Athletic Director Joe Hull needs to earn his keep this spring because this should be one position in the mid-majors that draws considerable attention. Brand new arena and training facilities, no football so basketball is the main priority, access to nearby recruits in Atlanta and Charlotte and best of all: a young, talented squad that can be molded into a contender. I'd like to see us go after a Greg Marshall-type of guy (who previously coached the Cougars for a few hours). Someone with a history of developing teams and one who is still young enough to take a hands-on approach with players. Anyone resembling the antithesis of Tom Herrion would also be a reasonable candidate.
The Cougars have been struggling lately (not as much as some SoCon teams, but in a surprising way given where they were less than a month ago). With this coaching change, do you think this team can rebound and make a run at a bye out of the South and go far in the SoCon Tournament? 
There's this phenomenon that seems to happen in sports when a coach is removed. Players seem to rally and play with a rejuvenated energy. Sometimes the feeling lasts, often times it does not. Bobby Cremins left such a large footprint on this program that I would expect the players, at home in TD Arena, to really come out inspired against Wofford. Win or lose we'll probably see more energy from the Cougs Saturday night. The trick for Byington and his job security will be to keep the momentum going into March.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Georgia Southern Preview: Do or Die

Two teams that lost by a combined total of three points on Thursday night battle in an absolutely critical game to both teams on Saturday night.

The Mocs need a win to get back in the good graces of  the win column. They need to find a way to get out of the cellar in the North. They have to win games, particularly home games, at this point. This is an absolute must win game for the Mocs.

Georgia Southern, on the other hand, is down by half game a game in the race for the bye in the South. The Eagles are up by a game and a half on Charleston and Furman. The outcome of the Charleston-Wofford game earlier in the day will have a huge impact on GSU. If the Cougars win, the Eagles can move into second with a win. If the Terriers win, the Eagles can move up by two and a half games on the Cougars with a win.

Georgia Southern is one of the most athletic teams in the SoCon. That is not necessarily a great thing. They sometimes play out of control. They come up with sixteen turnovers a game. They are also one of the worst defensive teams in the league. They are fun to watch when they are clicking offensively, though.

Against the Mocs earlier this year, Jelani Hewitt and Ben Drayton III scored 20 points each. Willie Powers scored just ten, but came up with six assists. Drayton had six assists as well. Hewitt had three steals. Eric Ferguson had 17 points, six rebounds and three steals. They shot nearly 52% from the floor, and Hewitt shot 6 of 8 from three point range, as the Eagles made 48% from three point range. They also won the battle of the boards. Georgia Southern pulled away to a 16 point lead, and the Mocs battled back to make it a game in the final minutes, before falling by eight.

Ferguson is the leading scorer, averaging 15.8 points per game to go along with seven rebounds per game. He is shooting 57% from the floor. Drayton averages 11.5 points per game with 3.3 assists per game. Powers averages 10.9 points per game with 5.3 assists per game. Hewitt rounds out the four double digit scorers with 10.1 points per game and leads the team with 40.4% shooting from three point range. He has made 40 threes on the year.

As a team, the Eagles are shooting 46.7% from the field and 34.6% from three point range. The Mocs defense has been much better at home than it has been on the road. In SoCon games, the Mocs have given up 84.2 points per game on the road, while giving up 59.3 points per game at home. The Mocs are allowing 25 points per game less at home than on the road. That is truly an amazing stat.

In SoCon games, Georgia Southern has scored 71.4 points per game at home and just 63 points per game on the road. The Eagles are a much better team at home than on the road. The Mocs are a  much better team at home than on the road. What happens when those two worlds collide?

Keegan Bell and Omar Wattad have been in a bit of a slump lately. Bell, in particular, has been struggling lately. He made a couple of huge shots at the end of the game against Davidson, and has been a clutch shooter despite his slump. Ricky Taylor has been slumping a bit too, even though he has scored decently. His injured wrist has been hurting his production. Drazen Zlovaric also has been scoring in double figures. He has been solid. Z Mason has been hampered by injury, even though he had been playing well before the Davidson game.


--Rebounding. Mocs have to outrebound Georgia Southern. They got beat on the boards in their first match-up. That can't happen again.
--Home court advantage. Georgia Southern has been playing poorly on the road. The Mocs have been playing great at home. Can Georgia Southern reverse those trends?
--Controlling Powers. Contrary to what the stats say, Powers gets this team going. The Mocs need to keep him in check to keep the rest of the team under control.
--Zlovaric and Bryant. Pound the ball into Zlovaric and Bryant. They need to be a dominant forces.


--Ferguson will get his points.
--Bell will continue to be poor shooting, while he will do a good job distributing.
--Jared Bryant will have another stellar game.
--Zlovaric will be good, but not fantastic.
--Mocs 73, Georgia Southern 62. The Mocs are good at home and are in a must win. Georgia Southern is poor on the road and it is not quite as critical that they win. That seems to add up to a Mocs win, in one of their more complete performances in a win this year.


Cremins Taking Leave of Absence

Bobby Cremins is taking a leave of absence from his head coaching position at College of Charleston. Mark Byington has taken over as interim coach for the suddenly struggling Cougars.

Byington is a leftover from the Tom Herrion era. That's never a positive thing to bring up to Cougars fans. However, to this point, it appears that Cougar fans are trying to stay positive and unite behind the team.

But let's take a moment and talk about Cremins. He said that his leave of absence is due to health concerns. Is it serious? I certainly hope not. Cremins is a good guy and a good coach who I wish nothing but the best to.

Let's suppose for a moment that Cremins is gone. I think Cremins' leaving is huge to Charleston. Can they find someone to replace him? It's hard to know at this point.  Will Byington be able to replace him? He could. But he's got big shoes to fill and the pressure will be immense for him. I'm not sure if he will be successful or not. Cremins leaves a giant hole. Sure, everyone likes to think they'd be able to hire some big name coach to come in and take over. (EVERY school thinks this- it doesn't matter what school you are.) But in the SoCon, it is really hit or miss.

So we'll all be playing it by ear for now. It's a sad day for the SoCon, losing their biggest name. But all in all, it is a very interesting time.

I'm trying to contact someone from CofC to answer a few questions for us (in the Dement/UNCG vein). Not sure if it's going to work out yet or not. I'll keep you posted.

Rankings- 1-27-12


1) Davidson 49
2) College of Charleston 119
3) Wofford 179
4) Elon 205
5) Furman 231
6) Western Carolina 236
7) Appalachian State 250
8) UNC-Greensboro 251
9) Georgia Southern 269
10) Chattanooga 287
11) Samford 311
12) The Citadel 330

SoCon Rank: 23


1) Davidson 59
2) College of Charleston 130
3) Wofford 184
4) Appalachian State 236
5) Furman 237
6) Chattanooga 240
7) Western Carolina 244
8) Georgia Southern 259
9) Elon 263
10) UNC-Greensboro 291
11) Samford 294
12) The Citadel 332

SoCon Rank: 25


1) Davidson 71
2) College of Charleston 151
3) Wofford 179
4) Chattanooga 218
5) Furman 224
6) Appalachian State 232
7) Elon 260
8) Western Carolina 265
9) Georgia Southern 270
10) UNC-Greensboro 280
11) Samford 283
12) The Citadel 328

Davidson has never been further ahead in these rankings. They are a dominant force at this point. I am truly not sure that if they lost all the rest of their games if they would fall out of first in these rankings. That is how far ahead they seem to be at this point.

The problem is that they are losing steam they more they play in the SoCon. The good news for them in their quest to get an at large bid is that they have a 40 in OOC RPI. Their overall RPI is falling a bit, but their OOC RPI is going to remain strong- if not get stronger. They also have a virtual road win over Kansas. Their case is compelling, but really only if they go unbeaten in SoCon play to the at least the semifinals.

Furman is a team on the rise right now after their road win over College of Charleston last night. Could they still be a darkhorse to get a bye? It's almost too late, but maybe not quite yet.

Double Dribbles- 1-27-12

1) Wow. What a night! Four road teams won on Thursday night, and Samford won by two at home and UNCG won in overtime. So it could not have been a more thrilling night of basketball in the SoCon. The most stunning result had to be Charleston's loss at home to Furman, a team they hammered in Greenville by 23 just under three weeks ago. Could it really be that the Cougars are going to finish fifth in the South? This team that about a month ago I was saying could earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament? Look- I've been high on the Cougars all year, but there is no doubt that this has been a stunning turn of events. How about Furman? They are playing well, and should not be ignored, though. They probably can not finish higher than fourth. They will have a tough time staying ahead of Charleston, though.

2) Elon has turned the corner. After losing seven of eight games, the Phoenix have now won two straight, beating Chattanooga and on Thursday winning at Western Carolina. Beating the Catamounts was huge. The 71-63 win kept the Phoenix in first place in the North, and suddenly created some separation. Suddenly, they are up 1.5 games on Appalachian State, 2 games on Western Carolina and Samford and 2.5 games on Chattanooga. The Phoenix are still up just one half game on UNCG, but are looking better and better for a bye at the halfway point of the conference schedule.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Davidson 64, Mocs 63

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 45.2%
Davidson- 48.2%
Advantage- Davidson

Mocs- 15.6%
Davidson- 19.9%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 20.0%
Davidson- 18.4%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 22.6%
Davidson- 28.1%
Advantage- Davidson

Mocs- 50.0%
Davidson- 56.3%
Advantage- Davidson

Davidson- 63.2%


1) Jared Bryant 23.9
2) Ricky Taylor 20.9
3) Dontay Hampton 16.7
4) Drazen Zlovaric 15.4
5) Keegan Bell 13.9
6) Omar Wattad 12.8
7) Rico White 5.2
8) Z Mason 2.4
9) Jahmal Burroughs 0.7
10) Lance Stokes 0.0

Per 40
1) Jared Bryant 53.1
2) Ricky Taylor 31.0
3) Dontay Hampton 29.0
4) Drazen Zlovaric 28.0
5) Rico White 18.9
6) Omar Wattad 16.0
7) Keegan Bell 14.6
8) Z Mason 6.4
9) Jahmal Burroughs 2.2
10) Lance Stokes 0.0


So close. Yet so far away. That's how this game feels.

The Mocs horrific finish and the tremendous Davidson win leave a bitter taste in the Mocs mouth. The Mocs foul with less than a second left after the dramatic tying three really hurts.

All of that being said, the Mocs proved a lot tonight. They played Davidson even on the boards, something that I was not sure was possible heading into the game. Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks (the two best scorers on the Wildcats) combined to score 15 points. A team that averaged scoring 80 points per game heading into the game scored just 64. The Mocs held Davidson to just 38.6% shooting from the floor. They forced Davidson into a remarkable 36 threes out of their 57 shots. The Mocs only turned the ball over eleven times, and forced fourteen turnovers.

They hung in the game when Z Mason scored just two points, and Omar Wattad and Keegan Bell combined to shoot 6 of 19, or 31.6%.

In other words, this does not feel like a fluke. This felt like a game that the Mocs were playing their game. They answered every run with a run. They played great defense. They hung tough when they could have folded.

I know- after tonight, the Mocs are sitting in last place in the North. They have now lost four straight. If they don't start winning on the road, they will struggle to get anywhere close to a bye in the North.

But, if this team does not quit and keeps on fighting (remember they have not been blown out yet if you take Indiana and Kentucky out of the equation), they can eventually do some good things. I believe that if this team can earn a bye that they might just be the second best team in the SoCon (behind Davidson, of course).

I would be remiss to not mention that Jared Bryant had a great game. He continues to show tremendous promise. I really like the front line with Mason, Zlovaric, and Bryant next year. That will be a very tough front line. There is hope for the future still.

All in all, heart breaking loss. But it's one that reveals so much promise. The Mocs need to build on this and win Saturday night against Georgia Southern.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week Recap- UNCG 77, Appalachian State 73 (OT)

I was wrong. Sorry everyone. My analysis was wrong.

I predicted at the end of my preview that the winner of this game would be leading the North division at the end of the night and that winner would be UNCG.

So I was right about the Spartans, but the Elon upset of Western Carolina on the road made it so that the Spartans are not in first. They'll have to settle for second all by themselves.

I think the Spartans will take it.

Derrell Armstrong continued his red hot play. He scored 27 points- which means he lowered his average over the last three games to 27.7 points per game. He also collected eight rebounds. He did turn the ball over six times. Trevis Simpson scored 24 points, and was a dominant force.

The interesting player in this game was Taylor Hoffer. He scored ten points for the Spartans and collected ten rebounds, including five huge offensive rebounds.

The Mountaineers did not start Ike Butts or Omar Carter again. Butts scored eight points but came up with just one rebound. I really have no idea what's going on with him. Carter on the other hand, scored 19 points and had seven rebounds. They turned the ball over twenty times.

The Mountaineers are considered one of the major favorites in the North. They are clearly struggling to find themselves right now. Carter and Butts don't look right. Obviously, they aren't right, which is why they continue to not start.

The Spartans on the other hand may just be the favorite in the North at this point. Can they carry this momentum over to Saturday? They have failed to do that the last two weekends. Yes, they came up with two wins, but nailbiters over The Citadel and Samford  are not what the Spartans have in mind. They will need to play a solid game at home against Western Carolina on Saturday to continue their five game winning streak and stay right in the hunt in the North.

Battle of North vs. South- 1-26-12

Thursday's Scores

Davidson (S) 64
Chattanooga (N) 63

Georgia Southern (S) 55
Samford (N) 57

at North
North- 5
South- 5

at South
North- 3
South- 8

North- 8
South- 13


Georgia Southern had two chances in the closing seconds to take the lead at Samford, and come up short both times. Chattanooga had a chance to send the game to overtime against Davidson, and came up short. The South was expected to win both games on Thursday night, and they split 1-1. The North is now just 5-5 at home, while the South leads on their home floor 8-3. They lead the overall 13-8, which sounds fairly dominant.

But let's talk real quick about Davidson. Two of the three teams to play Davidson close have come from the North (Appalachian State and Chattanooga, Wofford being the other). In fact, Davidson is 4-0 against the North, while the rest of the South is 9-8 against the North. In other words, with Davidson out of the equation, the North and the South are very similar divisions. Davidson still has four more games left against the North. There are 27 games left between the North and South overall. Should be an interesting finish to the season in this battle.

More Davidson and Georgia Southern against Chattanooga and Samford on the road on Saturday.

Double Dribbles- 1-26-12

1) UNCG and Appalachian State have a huge week, but an equally huge week belongs to Georgia Southern. The Eagles are looking to get the bye from the South. To pull that off, they need to start winning some road games. This week they go to Samford and Chattanooga, the fifth and sixth place teams in the North. The Eagles need to come up with at least one win this weekend. Can they beat the Bulldogs or the Mocs? That remains to be seen. But there has not been a bigger weekend for the Eagles in recent memory. It's opportunity time.

2) What about Wofford and Charleston? Those two teams have big weekends too. Thursday is not quite as huge. Wofford's trip to The Citadel should not be impossible for the Terriers, and the Cougars SHOULD handle Furman on Thursday  night. Wofford heads to Charleston on Saturday. In the battle for second place in the South, that will be a huge game. With a win, the Terriers will have swept the Cougars, and have a huge leg up in the race for second in the South. The Cougars basically have to sweep this weekend, which is something they have not done in the last three weeks of conference play.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Davidson Preview: Unbeaten and Unstoppable?

Davidson is unbeaten in SoCon play. They are 8-0. However, they are just 5-17 against the Mocs in McKenzie Arena. Can the Mocs possibly do the unthinkable and pull off the stunner against Davidson?

There is nothing in the Mocs recent play to suggest that it is possible. After all, Keegan Bell is really struggling. He looks afraid to shoot, and he also has been struggling with his assists-to-turnover ratio (until Elon at least). Bell needs to snap out of it for the Mocs to have a chance.

They have allowed over 81 points in three straight road defeats to Samford, UNCG, and Elon. Now they take on the best offense in the SoCon in Davidson, who average 80 points per game.

The Mocs have lost three straight, and really did not look good in the process. Sure, they were in all three games until the closing minutes, but they did not perform as well as they are capable of performing in any of them. Sure, the Mocs are unbeaten at home in SoCon play, but there is little reason to think that they are suddenly going to be able to turn it around and beat Davidson.

Is there?

Maybe. Maybe  not.

Jake Cohen has turned into one of the leading candidates for the SoCon Player of the Year. He is the team's second leading scorer, but has won Player of the Week three times, and could have easily won it last week. He is averaging 14.9 points per game, and 6.4 rebounds per game. He is shooting 51.8% from the floor and nearly 88% from the free throw line. He is also making 39.6% from three point range. Cohen is the team's leading rebounder. He also has 1.3 assists per game.

De'Mon Brooks is surprisingly underrated. Most people around the conference do not talk about him nearly enough it seems like. Brooks is averaging 15.5 points per game, the team high. and 6.1 rebounds per game, the second most on the team. He is shooting 52.2% from the field.

Nik Cochran also scores in double figures. He scores 11.8 points per game, and leads the team in assists with 3.0 assists per game. He also averages 2.1 turnovers per game. He shoots a very solid 41.9% from three point range.

Tom Droney is the better ball handler. He averages 2.9 assists per game and 1.4 turnovers per game.  He is not a scorer, but is a starter. In SoCon play, he had 19 assists and six turnovers. That comes to an average of 2.4 assists per game and 0.8 turnovers per game in conference play. He hasn't scored in double digits against a D-1 opponent this year, so he is not a scoring threat. He also had eight rebounds against The Citadel last Saturday.

Davidson and Chattanooga are two of the better rebounding teams in the SoCon. The battle between those two in the paint should be very intense. The Mocs have been great at playing defense, particularly at home. But the Wildcats are one of the top offensive teams in the country. They are very efficient offensively.


--Rebounding. Two great rebounding teams. Which one comes out on top in this situation?
--The Z Men. Z Mason and Drazen Zlovaric need to have massively huge games if the Mocs are going to have a chance. Mason has been developing some consistency. Zlovaric struggled on the road trip, but has been great at home. They will need both to step up in a big way.
--Bell. He has to get going and not be afraid to shoot.
--Cohen. Can the Mocs slow down Cohen, who has been red hot over the last three weeks?
--Staying in the game. Davidson has been dominant against SoCon competition, especially lately. They have won their three road games by an average of 12 points (aided significantly by their 29 point win over UNCG). They have won their five home games by an average of 22.2, with none closer than Charleston, who lost by 18. The Mocs need to keep it close and put a little pressure on the Wildcats. The Wildcats need to capitalize on the current state of mind the Mocs have to be in after three straight losses and leave no doubt early.


--Cohen will have a huge game.
--Cochran will make quite a few three pointers that will leave the Mocs in some real trouble.
--Mason will score in double figures again.
--Ricky Taylor and Omar Wattad will make some big threes as well.
--Davidson 87, Mocs 76. The Mocs just aren't good enough right now to be able to win this game. Wattad and Taylor will keep the Mocs in the game, but Bell will continue to struggle. Until Bell gets right, the Mocs won't be right. Cochran will make too many big shots and Cohen and Brooks will do enough to keep the Mocs at bay the whole night.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week Preview- Appalachian State at UNC-Greensboro

Wow. Just a few weeks ago, no one could have seen this match-up coming as a huge game. But here it is- and it just about could not get any bigger.

The Spartans and Mountaineers are both 4-4 in SoCon play. They sit one half game behind Elon and one half game ahead of Western Carolina. Those two face off on Thurday night as well in Cullowhee. In other words, the winner of this game could certainly find themselves in first place in the North by the end of the night. The loser could find themselves in fourth.

Since Ike Butts came back, he has been wildly inconsistent. He has played 52 minutes. Against Davidson in his return, he played 21 minutes, and scored 10 points and had nine rebounds. Against Wofford, he played seventeen minutes, scored zero points with just two rebounds. He only took one shot. Then against Western Carolina over the weekend, he scored eleven points and had four rebounds in fourteen minutes. So which Ike Butts shows up against the Spartans?

Omar Carter has been equally inconsistent. The preseason SoCon Player of the Year has scored in single digits four times in the last ten games- two of those against SoCon foes (Furman and Wofford). Carter has to play better for the Mountaineers to reach their full potential.

Tab Hamilton went off for 22 against the Mocs, but has not even made it to double digits since then.

The Mountaineers had major problems turning the ball over early in the year, but have gotten much better at protecting the ball recently. They turned it over just 14 times against Western Carolina and six times against Wofford. They have not gotten  much better at shooting free throws. They are a poor free throw shooting team. They did make 30 of 36 against Western Carolina.

Omar Carter and Ike Butts did not start against Western Carolina. Butts has not started since his return. Carter? Who knows? He still played 30 minutes against the Catamounts.

The Spartans have suddenly won four straight games against College of Charleston, The Citadel, Chattanooga, and Samford. Derrell Armstrong is the reigning SoCon Player of the Week. He averaged 28 points per game last week, scoring 29 and 27. Can he remain that hot? Can he keep on producing at that high of a level? If he can, then the Spartans become a very dangerous team against anyone left on their schedule. If he can not, they will rely heavily on their other scorers.

Who are the Spartans other scorers? That begins and ends with Trevis Simpson. He is underrated and should be considered a darkhorse for SoCon Player of the Year. Can he continue to produce at such a high level? He scored just 20 points total over the weekend that Armstrong was going off. But he has proven that he is capable of putting up huge numbers time and again. I expect him to get back to his scoring ways in this game.

The Spartans have really picked up the pace since Wes Miller took over. They like to  play fast and frenetic. They have been much more effective since he took over and are playing with a world of confidence.


--Home court advantage? Look- the Coliseum has not been a source of a big home court advantage to UNCG over the last several years. The Spartans have really promoted this game- let's see if the fans turn out to get behind them here.
--Rebounding. The teams are very similar in their rebounding statistics. Which team outrebounds the other and wins the subtle edge?
--Butts. He can be as dominant as any player in the SoCon when he is motivated. He has not been truly motivated in a while. Can he be motivated in this one?


--Simpson and Armstrong will combine for 35 points.
--Butts will not play well.
--Carter will play well. He will score 20 points.
--UNCG 77, Appalachian State 71. The Spartans have played much better on Thursdays than on the weekend the last two weekends, even though they have won all four games. The Spartans show up well on another Thursday, the crowd is in full force for them, and the Spartans come up with the thrilling W- and take over first place in the North, if only for a while. (Yes- that was also a prediction that Elon would lose to Western Carolina. Call it a bonus pick.)



Cannot access Live-RPI at the moment. Will upate once I can access the website again.


1) Davidson 60
2) College of Charleston 129
3) Wofford 186
4) Appalachian State 235
5) Furman 236
6) Chattanooga 238
7) Western Carolina 243
8) Georgia Southern 258
9) Elon 267
10) UNC-Greensboro 293
11) Samford 294
12) The Citadel 332

SoCon Rank: 25


1) Davidson 64
2) College of Charleston 138
3) Wofford 173
4) Chattanooga 220
5) Appalachian State 226
6) Furman 240
7) Western Carolina 251
8) Georgia Southern 264
9) Elon 272
10) UNC-Greensboro 284
11) Samford 289
12) The Citadel 332


Davidson's lead has grow substantially over everyone else in the league. They are a borderline NCAA Tournament team at this point, even if they don't win the SoCon Tournament. College of Charleston and Wofford are the second and third best teams- though the Cougars recent struggles have really put a damper on them. UNCG is still being held back by their early season losses- seems they have the most room to grow.

Double Dribbles- 1-25-12

1) Thursday will be a huge day in the SoCon North. UNCG hosts Appalachian State in a game that will get a lot of coverage tomorrow night. The Spartans and the Mountaineers are tied for second in the North at 4-4. The winner could find themselves in first place if Western Carolina beats Elon in Cullowhee. Elon is in first place in the North at 4-3, while the Catamounts are a game back at 3-4. A win by Western would pull them into a tie with Elon for second, with the winner of the Appalachian State-UNCG game moving into first. A win by Elon would create some separation between them and Western Carolina and the Appalachian State-UNCG loser. This is a huge night for these four North teams.

2) UNCG's Derrell Armstrong won the SoCon Player of the Week. Jake Cohen was great and deserving, but it is really hard to argue with Armstrong, who scored 29 against Chattanooga and 27 against Samford. He also averaged five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Armstrong had a tremendous week and was probably the most deserving winner yet this year. It's unfortunate because there truly were two players who deserved it this week. Davidson's Cohen absolutely earned it as well and would have won it any other week. Of course, he had won it back-to-back weeks prior to this one. Excellent choice in Armstrong.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Consistency Missing

There is one constant for the Mocs right now. Only one consistent thing.

The fact that the Mocs are not consistent is the one constant this team has.

The Mocs have struggled to put together any sort of real winning streak this  year. After Christmas, things were looking up. But, all it took was one road trip for things to go south again.

So, now, the old bugaboo is rearing it's ugly head for the Mocs. The consistency factor. At some point, the Mocs have to learn consistency if they want to be able to win in the SoCon. If they plan to win the SoCon Tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament, they have to put together at least three games in three days (if not four games in four days with the way things are going).

Obviously, it all starts against Davidson and Georgia Southern this week. The Mocs need to win at home. But the following week includes trips to Western Carolina and Davidson. Those are the games that matter at this point.

Beating Davidson is a tough task. Beating Georgia Southern will not be easy either. The Mocs desperately need to find some consistency especially on the road. When will it come? Maybe not until 2012-13. At this point what am I betting on?

I don't bet.


Double Dribbles- 1-24-12

1) Great Thursday set of games. College of Charleston hosts Furman. The Paladins are 3-5 in SoCon play and have already lost to the Cougars. But that was before the massive number of injuries that have hit the Cougars. Stitt is out for several more weeks, and Baru may or may not play. How does a team that is not deep handle two injuries of this magnitude? Not overly well so far for the Cougars, who lost to Davidson and Georgia Southern last weekend. But Furman still does not have any real offensive firepower. A Furman win suddenly pushes them into a tie with the Cougars. This is an absolutely critical game for what is one of the favorites to win the SoCon title. The Cougars must win this game.

2) Mike Groselle scored 20 for The Citadel, but it wasn't quite enough as Georgia Southern beat the Bulldogs by six in double overtime. Willie Powers scored 19, and Ben Drayton III scored 18. The Eagles shot just 14 threes, but shot 31 free throws. The Eagles did not guard the Bulldogs well, but were able to come up with the win. This was a big win for the Eagles. This was their third games in five days, which is always a challenge for any team. But we may be seeing why getting a bye is critical for the Eagles. The Bulldogs were only playing their second game during that stretch and were the fresher team. The Eagles did not perform well with that extra game. If they are going to be trying to win four games in four days, it is going to be almost impossible for the Eagles. Getting a bye would be absolutely critcial for the Eagles- maybe more so than most teams. (Side historical note- no team has ever won four games in four days in the SoCon tournament, so therefore it is obvious that it is important. Just saying it may be especially critical for the Eagles.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ricky Taylor- Unappreciated Consistency

Ricky Taylor just keeps on doing the things he has always done. He's scored well over 1000 points now, and just never seems to have  truly bad game.

He also never seems to have a blow up game.

For example, last year against UNCG he scored over 40.

This year, though, has been anything but. He scored three in the loss to Indiana and thee games later scored two in a win over Savannah State. In the sixteen games since then (and the three games between those two), he has scored between 9 and 21 every game. The one non-double digit game was against Samford. The only game over 20 was against Hiwassee.

That is the definition of consistency. Everyone wonders what is going to happen with Keegan Bell and Omar Wattad on a nightly basis. No one has to wonder what will happen when Taylor steps on the floor. He will score some, he won't turn the ball over a lot, he'll get  a few rebounds and come up with a few assists every night and play good defense. That's what he does.

This team is really struggling overall right now and is desperately looking to come up with a win of any kind. Taylor is the one that comes out and consistently provides production to the team. He's not flashy. I forget about him too many times. Yet, he's the team's leading scorer. The Mocs need Taylor to keep on putting consistent performances together and hope the rest comes together. That's how this team will win big in the end.


Double Dribbles- 1-23-12

1) Relatively unusual event on this Monday night. The Citadel travels to Georgia Southern for a SoCon game. The Bulldogs were awful in their 29 point loss to Davidson on Saturday evening. But they get a shot at redemption against a slightly inconsistent Georgia Southern team. The Eagles have to be able to come down off the mountain after beating College of Charleston on Saturday night. The Eagles win put them up a game on the Cougars, and put the Cougars in fourth place in the South division. Can the Eagles come down off of that high and beat a team they should beat in the Bulldogs? That's the intrigue involved in this one.

2) The North is still just as crazy after the weekend's action. Elon leads the North at 4-3, while Appalachian State and UNC-Greensboro are 4-4. Western Carolina is 3-4, one game out of the lead, but in fourth place in the division. Chattanooga is 3-5, with Samford at 2-5 in SoCon play. Who will win this bizarre division? Personally, I think the Spartans current run is showing that they have a real shot at a bye in the North. Elon has done nothing to inspire confidence- even in their one point win over the Mocs. The Mocs haven't won on the road, so it's almost impossible to get excited about them. Western Carolina is flawed with their lack of an inside game against the likes of the Mocs Drazen Zlovaric and  the Mountaineers Isaac Butts. Could Samford make a run? Unlikely, but their one point loss at Greensboro shows that they may not be as far off as some think.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scanning the SoCon- Week Twelve

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


Monday, January 23
The Citadel at Georgia Southern

Thursday, January 26
Elon at Western Carolina
Davidson at Chattanooga
Appalachian State at UNC-Greensboro
Wofford at The Citadel
Georgia Southern at Samford (ESPN3)
Furman at College of Charleston (ESPN3)

Saturday, January 28
Elon at Appalachian State
Western Carolina at UNC-Greensboro
Wofford at College of Charleston (ESPN3)
Davidson at Samford
Georgia Southern at Chattanooga
Furman at The Citadel


1) Davidson 48 (4)
2) Wofford 41
3) College of Charleston 37
4) Appalachian State 33
5t) Elon 29
5t) Georgia Southern 29
7) Western Carolina 28
8t) Chattanooga 18
8t) UNC-Greensboro 18
10) Furman 16
11) Samford 8
12) The Citadel 5


Sum up your team.

DavidsonCats- Clint Mann missed this week's games. Frank Ben-Eze responded to the opportunity by thrilling the crowd with his performance. Prior to the CofC game, he'd had 2 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks in his senior season. He had 6, 5, and 5 against the Cougars and followed it up with 3, 3, and 2 against The Citadel. Davidson trailed CofC 2-0 and never trailed The Citadel. I don't think I've ever seen a 30-2 lead. It is hard to believe that The Citadel destroyed Davidson last year at our place. They were up 46-24 at halftime and the Wildcats were simply not competitive. There are many reasons why Davidson is playing such better ball this year. The most obvious one right now is the play of Jake Cohen. In his first 2 seasons, Jake had 6 games where he scored 20+ points. He went for 22 and 26 against Richmond and Wofford earlier this year to bring the total to 8 games. And now he's done it 5 games in a row, totaling 125 points and collecting 2 (probably 3) Player of the Week awards.
MocsMania- The Mocs are bumbling on the road. They just can't win on the road right now. Keegan Bell is really struggling and seems to have lost total confidence in his shot at this point. He played much better against Elon. The defense that had been keeping them in games suddenly betrayed the Mocs on the road, allowing 83.3 points per game in their three game road trip. Things are getting really interesting in Chattanooga. This week Davidson and Georgia Southern come calling- two of the better teams in the league. If the Mocs go 2-0, then a lot can be forgiven. If they go 1-1, then most can be forgiven. At 0-2, the Mocs will be in full tailspin mode.

TheSportsArsenal- The Citadel's only game of the week (it plays Georgia Southern on Monday night) was a terrible 80-51 loss at Davidson in which nothing went right (or in the basket) for the first 15 minutes of the contest. Next week the Bulldogs will play three games. After the Monday game at GSU, The Citadel will host Wofford and Furman. Someone besides Mike Groselle is going to have to provide some offense for the Bulldogs, and the team as a unit must improve defensively, for The Citadel to have a chance in any of those games. Having said that, as poorly as the Bulldogs played on Saturday (and so far this season), I wouldn't be surprised if The Citadel wins at least once this week. No team other than Davidson (and perhaps Wofford) has been consistent enough to avoid an upset loss in league play.

UNCGBasketballFan- The Spartans have made a dramatic turn around from a team that seemed to have no idea how to close a game out to one that takes advantage of every opportunity to win. The even stranger part is that it has only taken two weeks. This week, UNCG seemed on cruise control versus the free falling UTC Mocs and then managed to win while looking awful against Samford. Both wins came at home, a place UNCG hasn't really played well over the last three seasons. This week UNCG won on the strength of it's bench players. Derrell Armstrong had an outstanding weekend. After a 29 point, 5 rebounds, 4 assist night against Chattanooga, Armstrong followed up 27 points and 5 rebounds against Samford. Up next is a Thursday-Saturday rematch with App State and WCU. It'll take more wins to keep UNCG in the race for a North Division bye.
Which game are you most looking forward to that does not involve your team?

DavidsonCats-  I want to know who is going to win the North. I think ASU is the best team in that division, so I'm eager to see how they do at UNCG and against Elon.

MocsMania- I'm going with Thursday's battle between Appalachian State and UNCG. The winner of this game will have a leg up on at least a bye from the North, and possibly on the whole North division. Both teams are 4-4 in SoCon play. The winner jumps out in front. I think this should be a great game, and it will tell us a lot about both teams, who are trying to make runs at the North division title.

UNCGBasketballFan- I'm going to go a little off the grid with this one, but I'm interested in seeing the outcome of Ga Southern playing at Chattanooga. Their first meeting was a bit of head scratcher when the favored Mocs were upset. But this game with be played at the Roundhouse, a place where UTC has played well. The Mocs will need to win this one if they really are trying to position themselves for a bye from the North.

Which team will be the first to beat Davidson in SoCon play, or will they go undefeated heading into the SoCon Tournament?

DavidsonCats- The folks at rpiforecast figure that the Wildcats will most likely lose 1 or 2 conference games. Starting the year, I thought the Wildcats would lose around 6 conference games. I keep adjusting that as the team continues to improve. The Wildcats are 8-0 but have only played 3 road games. I expect to win the home games. If the Wildcats win the home games and split the road games, that would win the division. The scariest remaining games to me are at Chattanooga, at CofC, and at GSU. The Wildcats need to win the remaining games in January to get the best possible Bracket Buster game. I apologize for dancing all around the question, but I'm not willing to pick against Davidson in any one particular game and I'm certainly not interested in predicting an undefeated conference regular season.

MocsMania- I think Davidson loses one SoCon game before the tournament- but just one. It could be this Thursday at Chattanooga, or it could be at Georgia Southern on February 25 in the regular season finale. But, most likely, it will be at College of Charleston on February 11. The Cougars have quite possibly the best talent in the league, and the Wildcats could certainly struggle in a game that will be critical to the Cougars chances of getting a bye out of the South.

TheSportsArsenal- Davidson should be favored in every game it plays in the league going forward. Having said that, while I don't feel confident in picking any particular team to beat the Wildcats (including the CofC in Charleston), I don't think Davidson runs the table, simply because the odds are against it. There are too many games left, and thus too many chances for the Wildcats to have a bad night.

UNCGBasketballFan- I think they're going undefeated. That team just has too many weapons and runs it's system very well. If there's a trip up game for them, I'd expect Charleston to give them their best shot when they play them in the return game there. However, I don't see them losing that game either.

Which team on the rise has the best chance to earn a bye in the North- Samford or UNCG?

DavidsonCats- I guess UNCG has a better chance than Samford, but I don't think it is a very good chance. I still expect them to both play on March 2.

MocsMania- I would be pretty surprised if Samford would be able to continue their recent hot play and actually earn a bye in the SoCon North. They could do it, but it would surprise me. UNCG would not particularly surprise me. Preseason, I expected the Spartans to contend for a bye in the North, and possibly even get one. Their early season play convinced me that I was wrong about them. But in the last two weeks, they have gone 4-0. I think with their new found confidence, and the lack of even one (much less two) dominant teams in the North, I think the Spartans may have to even be considered a favorite to get one of the two byes from the North.

TheSportsArsenal- I would say that I don't favor either Samford or UNCG to get a bye, but in the North I suppose anything's possible. If I had to pick one I would take UNCG because I think its remaining schedule gives it a slight advantage.

UNCGBasketballFan- With a now 2 game lead on Samford (in the win column) I think UNCG has a better chance to earn a bye. However, I think if the Spartans are really going to get a bye, it's gonna require them to win at least 3 of their 5 in division games left on their schedule (WCU, ASU at home & SU, Elon, UTC on the road).

Which arena is the toughest for a visiting team to play in?

DavidsonCats- Belk Arena at Davidson. And it is going to get harder. Fan support and enthusiasm are building. Some of the newer fans were spoiled by the Curry years and are slow to appreciate how good the 2011-12 Wildcats are. We were just 12-6 at home against conference opponents in the last two seasons, but we're 5-0 so far this year. And we've won 15 of the last 16 games at Belk overall. Historically, the hardest place to win in the Southern is the Roundhouse. The Wildcats were winless there for many years and are just 6-17 there against the Mocs. And we all remember how bad the Wildcats are there in the Southern Conference tournament. It has been our house of horrors.

Yes, McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga is not easy, and Belk Arena at Davidson is a tough place to play. TD Belk Arena at College of Charleston is not an easy place to win either. But the two that stand out to me for whatever reason are Western Carolina's Ramsey Center, where they almost never seem to lose, even if they are just a decent team, and Alumni Gym at Elon. The Phoenix gym is very small and really seems to create problems for opposing teams when they go in there. Again, that team doesn't always have the most talent, but it is a really tricky place to play.

TheSportsArsenal- For the Socon, the toughest arena to play in is the home arena of the best team in a given season. I don't believe the league has a real "oh, nobody can win there" place.

UNCGBasketballFan- I'm going to go with Wofford's Ben Johnson Arena. That place is tiny by high school standards and just has a very strange feel to it. I've only seen one game there and I repeatedly asked my traveling companion if that court was regulation size b/c it just looked small. I'm assuming that if it was even close to full for a gmae there that it would be very intimidating.

SoCon Monster Game of the Week- Appalachian State at UNC-Greensboro

Are you ready for a monster comeback? With the Spartans suddenly finding themselves right in the thick of the North division race, the Mountaineers are one of the teams that are in the best position to prevent UNCG from continuing their climb. Appalachian State is a very good team that is 4-4 in the SoCon North. So are the Spartans. Elon is 4-3 and leading the division, but these teams are half a game back. The winner will be putting themselves in the position for a bye out of the North.

This game is Thursday night. Should be a very exciting night in Greensboro, as the Spartans are in a position that no one thought they would be just two weeks ago.

Elon 88, Mocs 87

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 52.3%
Elon- 56.3%
Advantage- Elon

Mocs- 19.3%
Elon- 18.0%
Advantage- Elon

Mocs- 32.5%
Elon- 23.7%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 34.9%
Elon- 37.5%
Advantage- Elon

Mocs- 78.3%
Elon- 66.7%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 28.8%
Elon- 43.8%


1) Z Mason 30.9
2) Ricky Taylor 29.3
3) Omar Wattad 29.0
4) Keegan Bell 22.5
5) Rico White 15.5
6) Jared Bryant 10.1
7) Dontay Hampton 8.3
8) Jahmal Burroughs 4.5
9) Drazen Zlovaric 1.0
10t) Drew Baker 0.0
10t) Lance Stokes 0.0

Per 40
1) Rico White 56.4
2) Z Mason 49.4
3) Ricky Taylor 40.3
4) Omar Wattad 36.3
5) Jared Bryant 26.8
6) Dontay Hampton 25.5
7) Keegan Bell 24.3
8) Jahmal Burroughs 14.8
9) Drazen Zlovaric 1.5
10t) Drew Baker 0.0
10t) Lance Stokes 0.0


Quick question- where has the defense gone? In the last three games they have allowed an average of  83.3 points per game. That is totally unacceptable for a team that prides itself on their defense.

Beyond the defensive question marks, the Mocs did so many things right in this game. They shot free throws much better than they have in recent weeks, while still getting to the free throw line on a fairly frequent basis. They rebounded the ball reasonably well. Omar Wattad had a great game shooting the ball- the sort of game people have been waiting for from Wattad for a while. Keegan Bell had eight assists and just two turnovers. Z Mason had a double-double, and showed that he truly is developing into one of the top big men in the SoCon.

But a handful of other things were terribly, terribly wrong. Keegan Bell, while having a tremendous game throwing the ball, has developed a fear of shooting. Against UNCG, he didn't shoot much, and against Elon, he shot just twice. Two times. He looks tentative to shoot at this point. Ever since his shooting struggles started, the team has started struggling in other aspects. I could point out a relationship between these two things clearly in the previous three games, but it's harder in this one where the offense performed well and he actually had a decent game in other aspects. The Mocs need Keegan's offensive production.

The second really off thing was Drazen Zlovaric. He was not right on the defensive end, and he was not right on the offensive end either. He just looked totally out of sorts in this one.

The other thing is the defense, that had been playing so well this year just a couple of weeks ago. They allowed Elon to shoot over 48% from the floor. Really, four guys beat them, scoring between 15 and 21 points. The rest of the team other than those four shot 4 of 16 from the floor. Those four made 27 of 48 shots, or 56.3%. That tells you that there was bad team defense all the way around. If four different players are playing at that level, the defense was just not good- from everyone.

The Mocs should have gone 2-1 on this road trip, most people felt. They went 0-3. Ouch. The good news is that the Mocs are not out of the North division race. The bad news is that they are not exactly inspiring confidence in them with their performance on the road so far this year. The good news is the Mocs are coming home for a home stand.

The bad news? They are coming home to take on the unbeaten in SoCon play Davidson Wildcats. Can they possibly come up with a huge home win over Davidson? It sure does not seem likely from where we sit right now. It's time to see what the Mocs are made of.


Friday, January 20, 2012

UNCG 81, Mocs 72

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 47.5%
UNCG- 55.6%
Advantage- UNCG

Mocs- 23.4%
UNCG- 11.7%
Advantage- UNCG

Mocs- 39.5%
UNCG- 32.4%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 44.1%
UNCG- 30.2%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 61.5%
UNCG- 57.9%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 30.5%
UNCG- 54.0%


1) Drazen Zlovaric 27.0
2) Ricky Taylor 22.1
3) Omar Wattad 19.6
4) Z Mason 14.2
5) Jahmal Burroughs 10.5
6) Keegan Bell 9.3
7) Dontay Hampton 4.0
8) Lance Stokes 2.5
9) Rico White 0.0
10) Jared Bryant -0.8

Per 40
1) Lance Stokes 50.0
2) Drazen Zlovaric 30.9
3) Z Mason 27.1
4) Ricky Taylor 26.8
5) Omar Wattad 26.1
6) Jahmal Burroughs 24.7
7) Dontay Hampton 10.7
8) Keegan Bell 9.3
9) Rico White 0.0
10) Jared Bryant -6.4


There's a ton to say here. First of all, the Mocs gave up way too many offensive rebounds. The numbers don't completely bare that out, but at key moments (just like in other losses this year) the Mocs did not come up with the offensive rebounds. That's tough.

Secondly, the Spartans were red hot from three point range. They rarely missed it felt like. They shot 41% from three point range for the game. This from a team that had been cold shooting until two games ago. Are the Spartans turning into a good shooting team? (Answer: Yes. They are actually turning into the team many thought they'd be in the preseason, and the team I thought they'd be in the preseason, when I picked them to finish third in the North and expected them to make real run at a bye.)

Thirdly, the Mocs turned the ball over too much. When you turn the ball over 16 times, it's not good. It's even worse when you only force eight turnovers. The Mocs have gotten away with that number of turnovers previously, but they had forced roughly the same number of turnovers. The Spartans protected the ball- the Mocs did not.

Finally, Keegan Bell is really struggling. He has sixteen assists and sixteen turnovers in his last four games. When will he get going again? Until Bell gets going again, this team is just going to struggle. They are just an average team until he gets going again. It has not happened yet. It may not happen for the rest of the year.

How come the Mocs did not throw the ball to Zlovaric more? In the clutch, there were a lot of threes being taken, and Zlovaric did not seem to get a lot of touches. He did take the second most shots on the team, and he wound up with a double-double. Zlovaric needs to continue developing, and the Mocs need to pound the ball into him as much as possible.

The good news for the Mocs is that they are still just a half game out of first in the North. With Elon and Western Carolina tied at 3-3, the Mocs, Appalachian State and UNCG are all 3-4. Things continue to be very interesting in the North. But the Mocs have to win a road game if they want to get a bye. At some point, they have to win a road game.