Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Way Too Early 2012-13 Predictions


The season is barely over (in fact, it isn't over, really), there are plenty of coaching changes to come in the conference, and plenty of player movement, and recruiting season all still to happen, and I'm already looking ahead to next year. So here it is- the way too early look at next year.


1) UNC-Greensboro- No reason to think that Spartans can't repeat with Simpson and Armstrong back another year.
2) Western Carolina- The way they played down the stretch has to leave them feeling pretty good. Mutombo is the only one gone.
3) Elon- The Phoenix got the bye this year, but they will miss Spradlin. Still, that is the only contributor leaving.
4) Samford- The Bulldogs are losing Merritt. But Windler, Hood, and Kelly all return, and Hood and Kelly should be even better with a year under their belt.
5) Chattanooga- I can't help but think they'll be better. Maybe I'm an optimist. Mason and Zlovaric are ready to be major players in the SoCon.
6) Appalachian State- Butts, Carter, and Williamson are all gone. Sure, Hamilton and Nealy are back, and they won't be awful, but they won't be great either.


1) Davidson- The scary thing is they were a year away this year. Should be even better next year.
2) College of Charleston- So young this year. They lose Wiggins, who was great, but they should be improved if they can stay healthy.
3) Georgia Southern- The Eagles will miss Drayton and Powers, but they have plenty of talent. Ferguson is one of the best players in the league.
4) Wofford- I know that Giltner and Loesing will be gone, but I love Cochran. I think the Terriers will still be formidable.
5) Furman- They lose a bunch, and really need to find an offensive player that scares other teams. If they do that, they can be dangerous.
6) The Citadel- The Bulldogs were young this year, and seemed to be  learning late in the year. Groselle will be back, and this team will be improved. But they were so far behind Furman, they have a long way to go.

To me, the North will again be more balanced, but the South will have the strongest team in Davidson. I think the conference 2-7 will be reasonably balanced. Wofford is the clear #8 at this point in my mind. They have proven that they can reload, but they need to prove it again. The Mocs, Mountaineers, Paladins, and Bulldogs are not a bad bottom four, but they are pulling up the rear at this point, unless things change.

We'll see what happens from here. I obviously reserve the right to change my mind many times between now and then.

Championship Review- Davidson 93, Western Carolina 91 (2OT)


That game may go down as the best game of all of Championship Week. It was truly a remarkable game. It would have been tough to beat this game.

Davidson turned the ball over way too  may times. They committed fifteen turnovers, which was more than they had combined for in the first two games of the SoCon Tournament. They made just 5 of 21 from three point range, which is one of the ways to beat this Wildcats team.

How did Davidson win this game? They won it because they outrebounded the tired Catamounts. Western Carolina hung tough in the rebounding category, but the Wildcats controlled the category. Clint Mann was huge in this one, scoring ten points, including a monster jam in the second overtime after he replaced Jake Cohen when he fouled out. De'Mon Brooks and JP Kuhlman scored 19, while Cohen scored 17, and Nik Cochran scored 16. Chris Czerapowicz, who had been knocking down so many shots in the first two rounds of the tournament, scored just eight points, and six of those were after regulation.

How did Western Carolina stay in the game? They stayed in the game because they were knocking down huge threes. Keaton Cole, Trey Sumler, and James Sinclair made 9 of their 15 three point attempts. Harouna Mutombo scored 20 points and was everything that the Catamounts needed him to be. Tawaski King scored 20 points and had ten rebounds. King was especially great. He was brilliant in throughout, and just got better the later in the game it got.

When the Catamounts jumped out to a 12 point lead early in the game, I thought that maybe Western could pull it off. When Davidson went on their run, I was prepared to start writing this article. In fact, I started it with about two minutes left. Then, Simclair drained the three with about a minute left to cut it to seven, and I paused, and started to wonder if there was any chance Western Carolina could come back. And come back they did. With tremendous heart and intensity, and urged on by their fans, who were constantly shouting, "We believe!" the Catamounts kept on charging, and Davidson started cracking, turning the ball over consistently. Davidson still had a shot at the end of regulation to win it and missed the shot. They had a shot to win it at the end of overtime, and missed it. Finally, with a two point lead at the end of the second overtime, Davidson rebounded the Catamounts missed wide open three to clinch the victory.

This Davidson team is probably a 13 seed at this point. They are a dangerous team in the tournament. After all, they beat Kansas earlier this year. But I'm beginning to think they can't really go far in the NCAA Tournament. Next year could be a truly magical year for the Wildcats, and they could spend part of the year in the Top 25. But this year's team is too inconsistent inside of games, and just aren't quite good enough to do much damage in the tournament. They will have to match up with the right higher seed to pull it off. Who is that right higher seed? I'll probably spend some time on that later on this week. I will try to find good potential match-ups for Davidson.

The Wildcats are a very good team. They are just a year away. They showed an inability to put Western Carolina away tonight, and that showed that they are really a year away from winning in the NCAA Tournament.

Western Carolina showed incredible heart in this tournament. That is about as close as any team has ever come to winning the SoCon title by winning four games in four days. The Catamounts were tremendous last night. It's hard to believe that is the same team that was tied for last in the North just a couple of weeks ago. What a turnaround in the tournament.

It was an incredible weekend for the SoCon Tournament. Congratulations to Western Carolina on a great season and playing a tremendous game on Monday night and showing they were a solid tournament team! Congratulations to Davidson on winning the SoCon Tournament title and getting to the NCAA Tournament!

I guarantee you one thing- I'll be rooting for Davidson to win as many games as possible in the NCAA Tournament. That would do nothing but help the SoCon in the long run. So good luck to the Cats!

More posts this week, including a predicted bracket of my own on Saturday night and a look at what sort of match-up suits Davidson. So check back....

Monday, March 5, 2012

SoCon Tourney Challenge Standings, Final

1) DrOldman 21
2) Jerry Love 20
3) bobby1119 18
4) TOK 14
4) Hugh Lee 14
6) Kevin 13
7) Kevin Cary 12
8) WildCock 11
9) Dynasty 11
10) JohnMoc1 11
11) GoalCat 11
12) David 9
13) Mike McCabe 8
14) TrustCommitsCaresForCats 8
15) Dash 7
16) Bill Casey 6

Ties are broken when necessary by tiebreakers. Only the #4 can not be broken by any tiebreakers. Wow.

Congratulations to DrOldman!

Battle of North vs. South- Tournament Edition, Final

North- 4
South- 4


What an unreal finish to get the South even in the Tournament Edition Battle. Of course, the South won the regular season and won the championship game. Therefore, the South has to be declared the winner. But the North put up a valiant fight in the Tournament.

MocsMania Official All SoCon Tournament Team

All-Tournament Team

De'Mon Brooks, Davidson
Jake Cohen, Davidson
Keaton Cole, Western Carolina
Harouna Mutombo, Western Carolina
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina

Most Valuable Player- De'Mon Brooks, Davidson

Sunday, March 4, 2012

SoCon Championship Preview: Davidson vs. Western Carolina

It's here. Two teams coming from opposite ways to get here.

Western Carolina has taken the tough road, having played three games in three days. In their win over The Citadel, they were less than impressive. Then, the Catamounts were completely dominant against the two-time defending champion, Wofford. That served notice that Western Carolina was really to make a run. Then, the Catamounts beat UNCG to get into the championship game.

Davidson took the easier road. They were able to take Friday off. On Saturday, they beat Furman handily. On Sunday, they put together a solid second half and beat Elon. The Wildcats have dominated throughout the year. They were 16-2 in the SoCon in the regular season. They are the best team in the SoCon and the best chance to advance far in the NCAA Tournament for the conference.

When Davidson and Western Carolina met on January 12 in Belk Arena, the Wildcats dominated from the beginning. They lead by as much as 27, before taking the win, 88-67. Jake Cohen scored 26 points and collected six rebounds. Harouna Mutombo scored 17 points and had eight rebounds. He was the only Catamount to play a really good game. Tawaski King scored nine points and collected eight rebounds. The two teams were basically even in rebounding the last time, which is impressive that Western Carolina was able to play them that close. Davidson turned the ball over just four times, while Western Carolina only turned the ball over nine times. Western Carolina shot 21% from three point range. Davidson shot nearly 48% from long range.

So what happens in this match-up? Mutombo is the heart and soul of the Catamounts and has been playing like he does not want his career to end yet. He has been so impressive that he has made a believer of any doubters. Trey Sumler has also really stepped into his stardom in this tournament. He was struggling at the time that the Catmounts played Davidson the last time. He had four points with two assists and three turnovers against the Wildcats. During the tournament, he has averaged 15.3 points per game, with 7 rebounds per game, and 5.3 assists per game. During the Catamounts seven game winning streak, he has averaged 16.3 points per game, six assists per game, and 6.3 rebounds per game.

Davidson has Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks, the Media and the Coaches Player of the Year. Cohen exploded for 24 against Elon, after scoring just six against Furman. Brooks has put up good numbers in both games. But if you go back the Tournament Edition of the Scanning the SoCon, you'll notice that three out of four of the bloggers say that Cris Czerapowicz is the most likely player to do big things in this tournament that is a relative unknown. He scored 17 and 12 in the tournament so far, so people have pretty much been right. They have been doing OK on the boards, and have not been turning the ball over. Davidson has been brilliant so far, other than the first half against Elon.

These two teams will battle intensely for this championship. Davidson knows they have an NIT bid (that they desperately do not want to use) in their back pocket. The Catamounts have no such comfort. The next time this team loses a game, their season will be done....or it will end in a national championship. (That's a crazy thought, isn't it? Also, unbelievably unlikely.) The Catamounts actually have a little bit more in terms of senior leadership. Mutombo is a great leader. The Wildcats are a solid shooting team, but sometimes tend to go away from their strength (Cohen and Brooks inside play). If they are not hitting their outside shots, they are vulnerable. That does not normally happen, but it did happen during a stretch in the regular season. When they lost to Charleston in their most recent SoCon loss, they shot just 28% from three point range.


--Rebounding. The Catamounts are not a great rebounding team, yet Davidson is. That being said, in this tournament, Western Carolina has more than held their own, thanks to King, Mutombo, and even Sumler. If Western can keep the rebounding battle close, that will be a win for the Catamounts.
--Three point shooting. Sumler has been playing so well during the tournament. Can he shoot them all the way to the championship? Will Davidson tighten up on national television in a championship game setting?
--Tired? Neither Davidson or Western Carolina go terribly deep on their bench. The Catamounts have played three games already, and no SoCon team has ever won the championship playing four games in four days. Can they become the first? If they play like they have been, they will be a tough out. If they are tired, then they could be blown out.


--Cohen and Brooks will both score over 15 points.
--Mutombo will continue to show the solid leadership that has kept the Catamounts rolling so far in this tournament.
--Sumler won't quite have the legs in this game, and will struggle some from three point range.
--Czerapowicz will make at least one huge three pointer.
--Davidson 81, Western Carolina 73. The Catamounts have been a great story, but there is a reason that no team has ever won four games in four days in the tournament. Elon played them relatively close back the year Davidson went to the Elite Eight in the SoCon Championship Game. This will be a similar game. The Catamounts will keep it close, but in the end will fall.

Semifinals Review

And the final is set. Monday night should produce another thrilling night of basketball. Let's look back at Sunday night first.

Western Carolina (3N) 82, UNC-Greensboro (1N) 77

Trevis Simpson and Derrell Armstrong showed why there is so much hope for the future for the Spartans. Simpson scored 21 and Armstrong scored 14. Armstrong lead the team in rebounds (seven) and assists (four). But the Spartans were barely beaten on the boards and were not fouled as often as the Catamounts. Aloysius Henry, who I thought would be the key to the game, scored just six points and had three rebounds. Henry did not play well, and that may well have been the difference in the game. He did not produce at the  level that I was expecting him too.

Can the Catamounts win their fourth game in four days on Monday night? Trey Sumler played all 40 minutes, scored 16 points, had 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Sumler was the receiver of quite a bit of heat earlier in the year, but he has proven during this tournament just how good he is. Harouna Mutombo continued to provide his senior leadership to the team, though. He scored 17 points. Keaton Cole also scored 17 points. He made 5 of 8 from downtown. Tawaski King is playing very well for the Catamounts. Sumler and Cole are making shots? Can they win their fourth game in four days? If they stay hot from three point range and continue to not get beaten on the boards, why not? I do worry about Sumler having played so many minutes already. It is also important to remember that The Citadel was not exactly the most taxing first round opponent. So  maybe there is a little bit more left in the tank than some teams playing their fourth game in four days would have. Western Carolina looked really very average against The Citadel. They have looked like anything but average since then.

Davidson (1S) 83, Elon (2N) 67

Austin Hamilton was not able to contribute as much as the Phoenix would have liked him to and that was a big detriment to Elon's hopes. Next year when he is 100%, they will be a different team. Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman combined for 40 points. Elon was able to keep it close for a while, but it was not enough. They played hard, but just couldn't play defense in the second half well enough to come up with the win.

Jake Cohen, De'Mon Brooks, and Cris Czerapowicz combined for 56 points for the Wildcats. They shot nearly 47% from the field. They rebounded better than Elon, which was a big difference in the game. They also only turned the ball over five times. They only shot 30% from three point range, but they continued to get the ball inside and score from there. Davidson showed plenty of intensity in the second half as they went on their big run to put the game away. This was a good performance by Elon and will need to play with equal intensity against Western Carolina in the title game.

SoCon Tourney Challenge Standings Through Session 5

1) DrOldman 20
2) Jerry Love 19
3) bobby1119 17
4) TOK 13
4) Hugh Lee 13
4) Kevin 13
7) Kevin Cary 11
8) JohnMoc1 10
8) WildCock 10
8) GoalCat 10
8) Dynasty 10
12) David 9
13) TrustCommitsCaresForCats 7
13) Mike McCabe 7
15) Dash 6
16) Bill Casey 5

Just for the record, DrOldman has it clinched. Only two people did not pick Davidson at the beginning of the tournament to win it. Those two picked College of Charleston and UNCG. So, there are no points to be gained here except for points for Davidson.

Congratulations, DrOldman and Jerry Love, who both correctly picked the title game match-up! Congrats DrOldman for coming up with the win!

Battle of North vs. South- Tournament Edition, Day Three

North- 4
South- 3


After the way the South dominated the regular season, the fact that the North can do no worse than tie is still fairly amazing. If Davidson wins the title as expected, the South will be tied. If Western Carolina wins, the North will win. So the Battle for the Tournament title between the divisions hinges on the title game, too.

Just as it should be.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Semifinals Preview

Three North teams in the semifinals? Who saw that coming? Not many people around the SoCon could have predicted that. Yet,  here we are. That presents two very interesting semifinal match-ups to us for Sunday night ahead of Monday's Championship Game. Should be a great night of basketball on Sunday night.

And here...we...go....

UNC-Greensboro (1N) vs. Western Carolina (3N) (6:00 ESPN3/SoCon Sports Network)

The Story: The Spartans lost by four in Cullowhee back in December when they were struggling, and then won by three in Greensboro in overtime when they were playing better. Trevis Simpson will be the best player on the court, but Harouna Mutombo has shown a will to win so far in this tournament for Western Carolina. Trey Sumler also has been playing well. He is a good shooter, and if he can make some threes, the Catamounts hopes will be boosted. Look for Aloysius Henry to have a big impact on this game for the Spartans. At 6-10, he is a monster on the inside against Western Carolina. He should be able to control the game inside when he is in the game. If he does, the Spartans should do well. If he does not, the Catamounts will keep it close.

The Pick: UNCG 78, Western Carolina 72. The Spartans are ready for a big win and get to the championship game. Western Carolina should be tired playing their third game in three days. The Catamounts could win if Sumler is making shots and if Mutombo wills them to victory. There is a very good chance. But the Spartans played great against Appalachian State. Simpson is looking like he is closer to 100% than he was last weekend. This will be a hard fought, very interesting game.

Davidson (1S) vs. Elon (2N) (8:30 ESPN3/SoCon Sports Network)

The Story: Elon was hammered by Davidson on the Thursday before the regular season ended in Davidson in their only meeting of the year. Austin Hamilton only played six minutes against Georgia Southern. Will he play a lot of minutes against Davidson? He has still not recovered from mono, and that is the real problem for the Phoenix. But Jack Isenbarger can put a team on his back, and Lucas Troutman is a competitive player inside. But Davidson is an offensive force. Chris Czerapowicz and Tyler Kalinoski had big nights on Saturday night. If they continue to play that well, this will be a very difficult team to beat. Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks are the Players of the Year and are going to be tough to contain. But if any team can play as physical as the Wildcats, it is the Phoenix. The Wildcats have lost several times in the semifinals when they have been the heavy favorite in the tournament. How do they perform under the pressure?

The Pick: Davidson 78, Elon 67. The Wildcats are too efficient offensively. With Austin Hamilton still not able to play at 100%, the Phoenix are not going to be able to keep up for the full forty minutes. If Hamilton can play at even 85%, then this may be a different game. Isenbarger can carry the team if he needs to, but he can only carry them so far. Czerapowicz will hit some key threes.

Day Two Review

It was another exciting day of basketball in Asheville. A surprise or two along the way. Let's get into the action.

UNC-Greensboro (1N) 65, Appalachian State (5N) 55

Appalachian State played so well for the first half and into the second half, leading 49-38 in the second half. Omar Carter, Andre Williamson, and Isaac Butts combined for 32 points and 24 rebounds, which was solid, but they got no supporting effort. Tab Hamilton and Mike Neal that combined for 38 points on Friday scored just 8 on Saturday. They showed in the first half why they were one of the most talented teams in the league. They showed in the second half why they have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league.

The Spartans, on the other hand, showed the sort of resilience that it takes to win a SoCon Tournament Title. Trevis Simpson scored 17 points and had 9 rebounds. They outrebounded the Mountaineers and committed fewer turnovers. Once the Spartans got rolling, there was no stopping them. It was like an avalanche went off. The Spartans proved a lot of people wrong today. They proved that  they belong in the discussion of teams to contend for the SoCon Championship. They are in the heart of that battle now that they reached the semifinals. They also stepped up the defensive intensity, which is what it is going to take to win the SoCon.

Western Carolina (3N) 82, Wofford (2S) 59

The Terriers had Kevin Giltner and Karl Cochran shoot 3 of 25 from the field for 12% shooting. Not good. Those two also shot 1 for 16 from three point range. That just about destroyed the Terriers chances of winning. The key for the Terriers was to make long range shots, and they completely failed at that in this game, so Wofford was not successful in this game.

On the other hand, Western Carolina showed that they might win the SoCon Tournament after all. They outrebounded Wofford, which was totally unexpected. They shot nearly 56% from the floor. Tawski King had 14 points and ten rebounds. Harouna Mutombo scored 17, showing that he is not ready for his career to be over. If the Catamounts shoot that well, and rebound that well, they are going to be a tough out for any team in this tournament. This was a dominating performance against the back-to-back SoCon Tournament Champs. What a performance.

Davidson (1S) 73, Furman (5S) 54

Furman did a decent job of rebounding, which was good for the Paladins. Unfortunately for them, they could not make shots, and Davidson shot about 47% from the floor against them. They continue to show that they do not have a true offensive weapon. That's the reason that they continued to struggle all year against some of the league's better teams.

The Wildcats had De'Mon Brooks and Chris Czerapowicz score 17 points, while Tyler Kalinoski also scored 17 points off the bench. The Wildcats shot the ball well and did not turn the ball over. They played an effective game. They looked like the team we expected to see in this tournament and a team that is very capable of going all the way. They won with Jake Cohen scoring just six points. If the Wildcats can do that, who is going to beat them in this tournament?

Elon (2N) 65, Georgia Southern (3S) 58

The Eagles had Eric Ferguson pour in 21 points. But they could not bring the energy to complete the comeback for the second straight night. They did well against the more athletic Mocs, but struggled against the more physical Phoenix. The Eagles are a very good team, but need to continue to improve with the players they have and the ones they have coming in. They can get better, and they slowly are. They are a team to be reckoned with in the years to come.

Elon showed all the things that made them great early in the year. They shot the ball exceptionally well. Jack Isenbarger also scored 18 points. Lucas Troutman also collected six rebounds. Drew Spradlin scored just eight points. This is a good Phoenix team when they play solid, physical basketball. They got hammered by 21 points at Davidson in the second to last regular season game. They had lost four straight games heading into that one.  Now they've won two straight. Can they turn it around now?

SoCon Tourney Challenge Standings Through Session 4

1) bobby1119 16 (UNCG, Davidson)
1) DrOldman 16 (Western Carolina, Davidson)
3) Jerry Love 15 (Western Carolina, Davidson)
4) Kevin 12 (College of Charleston, Davidson)
4) TOK 14 (Wofford, Davidson)
4) Hugh Lee 14 (College of Charleston, Davidson)
7) Kevin Cary 10 (Wofford, Davidson)
8) JohnMoc1 9 (Wofford, Davidson)
8) WildCock 9 (Wofford, Davidson)
8) GoalCat 9 (College of Charleston, Davidson)
8) Dynasty 9 (College of Charleston, Davidson)
12) David 8 (UNCG, Davidson)
13) TrustCommitsCaresForCats 6 (Wofford, Davidson)
13) Mike McCabe 6 (Wofford, Davidson)
15) Dash 5 (Wofford, Davidson)
16) Bill Casey 4 (Wofford, Davidson)

Session Five Picks

UNCG- 13%
Western Carolina- 13%

Davidson- 100%
Elon- 0%

Battle of North vs. South- Tournament Edition, Day Two

North- 4
South- 2


The North has won a stunning four of six match-ups between the two divisions and have three of the four semifinalists. Considering how most people expected the South to have at least three of the semifinalists, this is quite surprising. The South still has an opportunity to even this series, but only if Davidson wins the title (which they are favored to do). If the North wins the Tournament, they will win the Battle of North vs. South: Tournament Edition.

SoCon Tourney Challenge Standings Through Session 3

1) bobby1119 15 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
1) DrOldman 15 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
3) Jerry Love 14 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
4) Kevin 11 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
4) TOK 11 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
4) Hugh Lee 11 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
7) Kevin Cary 9 (Davidson, Chattanooga)
8) JohnMoc1 8 (Davidson, Chattanooga)
8) GoalCat 8 (Davidson, Chattanooga)
10) David 7 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
11) WildCock 6 (Davidson, Elon)
11) Dynasty 6 (Davidson, Elon)
13) Dash 4 (Davidson, Chattanooga)
14) Bill Casey 3 (Davidson, Georgia Southern)
14) TrustCommitsCaresForCats 3 (Davidson, Elon)
14) MikeMcCabe 3 (Davidson, Elon)

Session 4 Picks

Davidson- 100%
Furman- 0%

Elon- 25%
Georgia Southern- 50%

Georgia Southern 76, Mocs 70

FOUR FACTORS (plus two)

Mocs- 39.6%
Georgia Southern- 50.9%
Advantage- Georgia Southern

Mocs- 22.2%
Georgia Southern- 23.6%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 39.5%
Georgia Southern- 23.5%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 66.0%
Georgia Southern- 43.9%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 80.0%
Georgia Southern- 72.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Mocs- 34.0%
Georgia Southern- 40.4%



1) Jahmal Burroughs 27.8
2) Keegan Bell 16.2
3) Dontay Hampton 14.7
4) Drazen Zlovaric 13.0
5) Rico White 11.3
6) Ricky Taylor 8.4
7) Z Mason 7.1
8) Omar Wattad 5.6
9) Jared Bryant 0.2
10) Lance Stokes 0.0

Per 40

1) Jahmal Burroughs 35.8
2) Dontay Hampton 21.8
3) Rico White 21.5
4) Keegan Bell 18.0
5) Drazen Zlovaric 17.9
6) Z Mason 17.8
7) Omar Wattad 15.9
8) Ricky Taylor 15.3
9) Jared Bryant 8.0
10) Lance Stokes 0.0


The Mocs can't (or couldn't) close. It was the story of the year. The Mocs jumped out to a double digit  lead on Georgia Southern for the second time this year, only to blow it in the end. They just couldn't hang onto a lead. As has been the case for much of the year, the Mocs won three of the four factors for winning, but did not win the effective field goal percentage. So, once again, the Mocs struggled shooting.

The Mocs struggled shooting throughoout the year. And it was their undoing. The other part of their undoing was the lack of consistent defense. They just could not bring the defense consistently during a game throughout the season, and were horribly inconsistent on offense.

So, this, arguably the most disappointing season in Mocs basketball history, is over. The Mocs get to put a wrap on the season. In a way, it is a relief, because the season was painful. In another way, as the end of the season always is, it was very sad. I feel bad for the seniors and for the coaching staff. But, the season ends in disappointing fashion.

There is hope for the future. If you look at the Player Rater Per 40, four of the top six players are returning. Despite the fact that the Mocs are losing four senior starters, the Mocs have a fighting chance to be decent next year. With Zlovaric, Mason, Hampton, and White on next year's club, they could be OK. They are going to have to grow into their roles, but I have hope that the team can do that.

On another note, is there anyway that Jahmal Burroughs could keep on playing? He was brilliant in the second half of the year. He was especially great over the last few games. What a great game by Burroughs. It is truly sad to see him go.


Friday, March 2, 2012

SoCon Tourney Challenge Standings Through Session 2

1) bobby1119 11 (UNCG, Western Carolina)
1) Jerry Love 11 (College of Charleston, Western Carolina)
1) Kevin 11 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
1) DrOldman 11 (UNCG, Western Carolina)
1) TOK 11 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
1) Hugh Lee 11 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
7) JohnMoc1 8 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
7) GoalCat 8 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
7) Kevin Caary 8 (UNCG, Wofford)
10) David 6 (UNCG, Wofford)
10) WildCock 6 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
10) Dynasty 6 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
13) Bill Casey 3 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
13) TrustCommitsCaresForCats 3 (College of Charleston, Wofford)
13) DashSpartan 3 (UNCG, Wofford)
13) Mike McCabe 3 (College of Charleston, Wofford)

Session Three Picks

UNCG- 31%
Appalachian State- 0%

Wofford- 81%
Western Carolina- 19%

Battle of North vs. South- Tournament Edition

North- 2
South- 2


The North won the first two games of the day, and there was a chance for the North to come up with a clean sweep in the nightcap. The South won both games in the nightcap. The South was expecting to dominate this tournament, and now it's 2-2. With Wofford playing a game against a North team on Saturday, while Georgia Southern is playing a North team. If Wofford and Georgia Southern sweep, then the South would have the battle more or less wrapped up.

Day Two Preview

Day two will bring all the rest of the teams into action. How will the favorites handle having had a day off to prepare for these games? That's always one of the great questions of the quarterfinals. Should be another exciting day.

UNC-Greensboro (1N) vs. Appalachian State (5N) (12:00, ESPN3)

The Story: Trevis Simpson may be the best player in the SoCon and he has been nursing a sore toe over the final weeks, which is one of the reasons that the Spartans struggled down the stretch. Yes, Derrell Armstrong has been very good for the Spartans, too, but this team revolved around Simpson. How will they handle the three-headed monster of Omar Carter, Isaac Butts, and Andre Williamson? Those three were great against Charleston on Friday afternoon, and they got help from Tab Hamilton and Mike Nealy as well. If they all play like that, then the Mountaineers are going to be very difficult for anyone to beat. Simpson scored 24 and Armstrong scored 27 against the Mountaineers in their overtime win the last time these two met.

The Pick: UNCG 81, Appalachian State 79. This will be a war throughout. These two teams are very evenly matched. If Appalachian State comes with their full focus like they did on Friday and have the energy needed to come up with that kind of effort, the Mountaineers will win. They may win without all that if Simpson is not 100%. If Simpson is 100%, the Mountaineers won't be able to bring quite that much energy to the game because of how much they had to use to beat the Cougars on Friday. Spartans eek one out.

Wofford (2S) vs. Western Carolina (3N) (2:30, ESPN3)

The Story: The Catamounts beat Wofford by ten in Cullowhee, while the Terriers won by 26 in Spartanburg. The Terriers are a solid defensive team, and Western Carolina did not play well on the defensive end against the Bulldogs on Friday afternoon. Still, the biggest weakness for the Catamounts is their lack of size, and the Terriers rely heavily on the perimeter game with Karl Cochran, Kevin Giltner, and Brad Loesing. They can beat the Catamounts inside if they go that way. The most important player for the Terriers is Cochran. If he is hitting his threes, this team becomes such a dangerous club. He had hit a bit of a wall late in the season, scoring 10 or less in five straight games before breaking out for 22 against Furman in the finale.

The Pick: Wofford 69, Western Carolina 60. Mutombo will have a solid game, but Sumler will probably be guarded by Loesing, which will make him ineffective. The Terriers are too good defensively to allow the Catamounts to win this one. As the two time reigning champs, the Terriers know what it takes to win in this sort of match-up.

Davidson (1S) vs. Furman (5S) (6:00, ESPN3)

The Story: Davidson beat Furman by 21 in Davidson and by 18 in Greenville. The Wildcats are a very efficient offensive team- one of the most efficient teams in the country. They are so good. Furman relies on playing solid defense. If the Paladins hope to have any chance in this one, they are going to have to take the air out of the ball, and hope that they can force enough turnovers to hang around. They need to hope that Davidson comes out tight and struggles from three point range. Finally, they need to find a way to prevent the Wildcats from dominating them on the boards. Furman did very well on the glass against Samford on Friday night. They will need to do that again, because the Cats are very good on the glass. Davidson has lost three straight SoCon Tournament games, so they will need to excorcise some demons in this one.

The Pick: Davidson 78, Furman 64. The Paladins do not have the offensive firepower to win this one. Davidson has been waiting to get a win in the SoCon Tournament for a while. My bet is that they come out relatively loose in this one, while they will probably play tight in one of the next two games. The Wildcats are the best team in the SoCon, and they will likely show it here.

Elon (2N) vs. Georgia Southern (3S) (8:30, ESPN3)

The Story: Georgia Southern beat Elon by six in January at Elon. Jack Isenbarger was not starting for the Phoenix back when they played, and he scored 17 points to lead the Phoenix. Lucas Troutman scored 16 with nine rebounds. Freshman Austin Hamilton scored 14. Eric Ferguson scored 21 points with fourteen rebounds. He was a force. How Elon controls Ferguson will be the biggest factor in this game. Of course, the second factor could be this. The Eagles had to expend a lot of energy on Friday night to come back multiple times from double figures down to win the game. Will they have anything left in the tank to take on this Elon team that plays a very tough, physical brand of basketball?

The Pick: Georgia Southern 72, Elon 68. The Eagles are the better team, and Elon has lost five of six to wrap up the regular season. The biggest question in this one is how much energy the Eagles are able to bring. If they bring a normal amount of energy, they will come up with the win. If they don't, they will probably get beat. This should be an interesting game.

Day One in Review

It was an exciting first day of SoCon action, complete with several lower seeds winning. If you found your way here, you probably know who won. We won't get into straight summaries here. More of what it means, and why.

Appalachian State (5N) 93, College of Charleston (4S) 81

The Cougars really do underperform in the tournament consistently. Now it's in their heads. From the beginning, the Cougars played like a tight team. They didn't rebound well, and they didn't shoot well early. The Cougars may go to the CBI or CIT at this point. Their young guys can use that. Anthony Stitt scored 14 for them, and Adejhi Baru collected eight rebounds, showing there is hope for the future. Antwaine Wiggins scored 16 in his final SoCon game. Trent Wiedeman was the reason the Cougars kept it as close as they did with 19 points and seven rebounds.

The Mountaineers have a lot of talent. They just haven't always played up to their talent this year. Today, they did. Omar Carter, Andre Williamson, and Isaac Butts scored 40 points and had 34 rebounds. When those three play like that, the Mountaineers are very tough to beat. Throw in that Mike Neal scored 21 and Tab Hamilton added 17, and there really was no chance that the Cougars were going to win this game. The Cougars had been playing solid defense this year, but on this night, the Mountaineers shot over 53%. If they continue to play at this level, THIS team may be the team that is the most likely one to win four games in four days. They haven't won three straight all year, though. Hard to see it starting now.

Western Carolina (3N) 68, The Citadel (6S) 56

The Bulldogs shot 52% from the floor, and scored just 56 points. They slowed the game down, and were not able to hit from long range, or collect offensive reounds, and turned the ball over more than the Catamounts. Mike Groselle was the only one in double figures with 21 points.

Western Carolina did not rebound the ball particularly well, but they did OK. Harouna Mutombo did not want his career to end. He scored 21 points. Trey Sumler put home 18 points, while Keaton Cole scored 14. But, they will struggle against Wofford if they can not play better defense than they played in this one. Sumler and Cole are both dangerous shooters than can provide a lift, and the Catamounts won with relative ease, so maybe I'm reading too much into this, but they need to play bring better defensive intensity tomorrow afternoon.

Furman (5S) 75, Samford (4N) 66

Drew Windler scored 21 points and showed why he could have been on the second team All SoCon. Raijon Kelly and Tyler Hood were the only other Bulldogs to reach double figures. There has to be a lot of hope for the future for Samford, because Kelly and Hood are both freshman and Windler is going to be a solid performer again next year.

Furman showed several things that make them an interesting team. They dominated the glass against Samford. That makes them very interesting as they head into their showdown with Davidson, a team that likes to dominate the glass. They let Samford shoot over 48% from the floor, though. That's not a good recipe for beating Davidson. Charlie Reddick and Bobby Austin both scored 15, while Brandon Sebirumbi scored 12 points. Furman has to find offensive weapons. If they can find offensive weapons, they are capable of hanging around in games. That has been their problem all year. They have not been able to find a consistent offensive weapon.

Georgia Southern (3S) 76, Chattanooga (6N) 70

The Mocs continued to show a lack of ability to close out a game. They were up by 16 early and again by 12 later in the first half. They were up by five with under ten minutes to play in the second half. But they just couldn't close out the game. That's the thing that has beaten the Mocs all year long. It was a somewhat fitting end to a thoroughly disappointing season for the Mocs.

The Eagles, on the other hand, showed the courage and fortitude that has been missing in recent weeks. They battled and grinded out a solid win. Eric Ferguson showed that he may just be the most dynamic player in the league. He had a monster game, and kept the Eagles in the game when the Mocs were playing so well early in the game. Can Georgia Southern keep that up against Elon on Saturday night?

SoCon Tourney Challenge Standings Through Session 1

Sixteen entrants. Two perfect entries so far. Two perfectly imperfect ones as well.

1) bobby1119 8
1) Kevin Cary 8
3) JohnMoc1 (me) 3
3) David 3
3) Jerry Love 3
3) Kevin 3
3) DrOldman 3
3) TOK 3
3) TrustCommitsCaresForCats 3
3) DashSpartan 3
3) Wildcock 3
3) Goalcat 3
3) Dynasty 3
3) Hugh Lee 3
15) Bill Casey 0
15) Mike McCabe 0

Two people had Appalachian State, and two people had The Citadel. That's where the four different ones came from. The other twelve had College of Charleston and Western Carolina.

Two leaders both have Samford in Game 3, and then bobby1119 has Georgia Southern, while Kevin Cary has Chattanooga.

Tonight's games:

Samford- 56%
Furman- 44%

Georgia Southern- 69%
Chattanooga- 31%

Should be a good Session 2. Update on the standings later on tonight.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

SoCon Tournament Challenge

There is still time to enter, but heading into the first round games, let's look at who has been picked in each of tomorrow's match-ups so far.

College of Charleston- 92%
Appalachian State- 8%

Western Carolina- 83%
The Citadel- 17%

Samford- 58%
Furman- 42%

Georgia Southern- 75%
Chattanooga- 25%


UNC-Greensboro- 33%
College of Charleston- 67%
Appalachian State- 0%

Wofford- 75%
Western Carolina- 25%
The Citadel- 0%

Davidson- 100%
Samford- 0%
Furman- 0%

Elon- 25%
Georgia Southern- 58%
Chattanooga- 17%


UNC-Greensboro- 17%
Wofford- 58%
Western Carolina- 17%
College of Charleston- 8%

Elon- 0%
Georgia Southern 0%
Chattanooga- 0%


Davidson- 83%
UNC-Greensboro- 8%
Wofford- 0%
Western Carolina- 0%
College of Charleston- 8%

You can still enter, but these are the stats to this point, and gives you an idea of where the fan opinions fall right now.

I'll publish the standings at least once tomorrow.

Good luck to everyone.

Day One Preview- On UNCGBasketballFan

Check out UNCGBasketballFan's blog. He has some good previews of Day One as well. You can also check out my Day One Previews here.

So close to tip off. I can't wait.

It's almost here!

Georgia Southern Preview: Under Pressure

The Mocs have to wait all the way until 8:30 PM to tip off their game on Friday night against the Georgia Southern Eagles. The Eagles beat the Mocs twice in the regular season, although in the second match-up it was a furious rally capped by a three at the buzzer that won the game for Georgia Southern.

But Georgia Southern had every opportunity to get a bye heading into the SoCon Tournament. It was a bye that  they desperately needed. But they lost at College of Charleston and then were blown out by Davidson at home.

Georgia Southern also has traditionally underachieved in the SoCon Tournament. That adds an extra layer of pressure to this team that had the largest single season turnaround in SoCon history this year.

This game will be pressure packed for both teams. The Mocs woefully underachieved this year, and after being considered the second best team in the conference in the preseason, wound up finishing with the second worst record. The Mocs have the talent to make a run in the SoCon Tournament. Can they make enough shots? Can they play loose enough and make enough plays down the stretch to do it?

Get it? Plenty of pressure in this match-up. On both teams.

Georgia Southern has a first team All SoCon performer in Eric Ferguson. He averaged 14.8 points per game, while shooting nearly 56% from the floor. He also leads the team in rebounding with 7.1 rebounds per game. The 6-7 sophomore is going to be a force in the league for the next few years. He is an absolute beast and will be a tough match-up for anyone on the Mocs to contain.

The Eagles have three other players that average in double figures. Ben Drayton III (12.0), Willie Powers (11.1), and Jelani Hewitt (10.7) all have contributed in big ways this year. Hewitt has made over 40% of his threes on the year, while Powers is second on the team in rebounding and averages 5.4 assists per game. Drayton averages 3.0 assists per game.

Can the Eagles keep on producing at that level? They have for most of the year to this point. The Eagles are one of the top shooting teams in the conference, but they do turn the ball over. They don't rebound overly well.

The Mocs had not played well, until the majority of the Samford game. Chattanooga played well for most of that game. Keegan Bell started making shots. Drazen Zlovaric played well, Z Mason collected a lot of rebounds and Jahmal Burroughs did not miss a shot. Ricky Taylor and Omar Wattad made some big baskets.

The Mocs are also a good rebounding team. They have been a solid rebounding team throughout the year, even though they are not much of a shooting team. They can play adequate defense at times. They need to come up with more stops.


--Rebounding. As always, the Mocs must rebound will to win the game. They won the boards fairly easily in their last meeting against the Eagles. Now they have both Burroughs and Mason back. They should be able to win the boards in this game. If they don't, not much else will matter.
--Pressure. Who will the pressure have the largest affect on? The Mocs have the weight of preseason expectations weighing on them. The Eagles have the pressure of the tournament weighing on them.
--Turnovers. The Eagles and Mocs both have a tendency to commit some turnovers. Which one can do a better job of protecting the ball?
--Bell. The Mocs senior was red hot against Samford. If he can shoot that well in this one, it will be a major difference.


--Ferguson, Powers, Drayton, and Hewitt will all score in double digits.
--Zlovaric, Mason, and Burroughs will help the Mocs control the boards, along with Jared Bryant having a decent game.
--The three senior guards (Bell, Taylor, and Wattad) will make just enough plays down the stretch.
--Mocs 78, Georgia Southern 74. The Mocs will make just enough plays under pressure to win this game. The bounces will go their way. The Mocs owe Georgia Southern one for what happened in Chattanooga, and they get revenge.


Day One Preview

Play the SoCon Tournament Challenge! Only a few hours until the picking closes! Get those picks in!

It's finally here! The SoCon Tournament! Are you ready for it? Be sure to check daily for reviews and previews of every game.


College of Charleston (4S) vs. Appalachian State (5N) (11:30- SoCon TV)

The Story: The Cougars are healthy, with Anthony Stitt back. This Cougars team is one of the most talented teams in the conference. Trent Wiedeman and Antwaine Wiggins were both on the All SoCon team, deservedly. This is a team that is capable of producing big things in this tournament, and is considered the second favorite by many, behind Davidson, now that they are healthy. The Mountaineers are also one of the most talented teams in the conference. If Andre Williamson, Omar Carter, and Isaac Butts all play up to their potential, this team can pull off several upsets in the tournament. The question is, can they? Remember, last year? Davidson, the popular pick for a team playing on Day One, was stunned by UNCG in the tournament opener. If you were listing the five most talented teams in the conference (just in terms of pure talent and athleticism), I believe you would list Davidson, Charleston, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, and Chattanooga. Yes, UNCG and Wofford would be up there, too.

The Pick: College of Charleston 77, Appalachian State 70. The Mountaineers are capable of pulling off the upset here, but Carter and Butts have not put together enough consistently in game for Appy to be able to win. The Cougars advance, and will be a real challenge to UNCG on Saturday afternoon.

Western Carolina (3N) vs. The Citadel (6S) (2:00- SoCon TV)

The Story: The Catamounts are not a tall team. That has been their biggest weakness all year long. Mike Groselle poses an interesting challenge to them for that reason. Western Carolina has won four straight games, and it all started with beating The Citadel, just before the Bulldogs beat Chattanooga and Appalachian State. Groselle had 17 points, ten rebounds, and six steals against the Catamounts when they played earlier. If the Bulldogs play with confidence, they can hang around, and who knows? Maybe pull of the upset.

The Pick: Western Carolina 67, The Citadel 56. The Catamounts Harouna Mutombo will have a big game for Western Carolina. Groselle will be big for the Bulldogs, but he won't be enough. Western will jump out to a double digit lead early, and then will just never put it away, but never really be threatened either.

Samford (4N) vs. Furman (5N) (6:00- SoCon TV)

The Story: These two teams will get after you. I'm looking forward to this one a lot, actually. This will be a hard fought game between two very interesting teams. Heading into the first round game, neither fan base seems especially excited about the showdown. Both seem to think that their team has underachieved this year. They're just not right. Both of these teams are better than I expected them to be, but they are not great teams. The winner will get Davidson on Saturday evening. Both can challenge Davidson in different ways. Samford can challenge the Wildcats to be patient on defense. Furman can challenge the Wildcats with their defensive intensity in the right scenario. Furman lost at Samford by six just a couple of weeks ago.

The Pick: Furman 62, Samford 60. The Bulldogs can score with Drew Windler, and Furman has no one that can score consistently. But Furman is the better all around team. Their defensive intensity will be the difference in this game. This will be the first game of the tournament that will come down to the final possession. Well worth watching and paying attention to.

Georgia Southern (3S) vs. Chattanooga (6N) (8:30- SoCon TV)

The Story:  Georgia Southern has traditionally struggled in the SoCon Tournament. Chattanooga has a history of doing well. The Eagles beat the Mocs after trailing by 16 with ten minutes left and winning by three on a last second shot just a few weeks ago. The Eagles and Mocs are two of the most talented teams in the SoCon. The Eagles struggled over the last week with the pressure of trying to earn the bye. How will they respond to the tournament pressure? How about the Mocs? Was beating Samford in the finale enough to get their confidence going?

The Pick: I invite you to check out our in-depth coverage of the game in a preview of the Mocs-Georgia Southern game coming out later on tonight. If this preview, is already up, here it is. Suffice it to say that this will be the overall most competitive game on Day One. A fitting nightcap.

Check out the SoCon Tournament Central!