Thursday, January 31, 2013

January in Review: Up and Down

Before January began, I predicted the Mocs to go 3-5 during the month. That's what they did. Exactly. They beat Samford, The Citadel, and Appalachian State, and lost to Georgia Tech, College of Charleston, Western Carolina, Elon, and UNCG.

So what do we make of the Mocs?

After starting 3-2 in the month, meaning that the Mocs were 6-2 in their last eight games, the Mocs lost three straight games to end the month. There were blowout losses to College of Charleston and Elon. They played relatively OK against Georgia Tech.

The Dontay Hampton injury was the biggest news of the month of January. I truly feel sorry for Hampton and wish him nothing but the best. I truly hope that he gets to come out onto the floor in the Mocs final home game and get to have one more basket in front of the home crowd. Hampton was a special player- not one of the all-time greats by any means, but one of the more enjoyable players.

Hampton will be missed.

Still the Mocs played themselves into and out of the North race during the month of January. They are more than likely out of the bye race in the SoCon Tournament and will be playing for seeding from now on.

The Mocs month was disappointing. But in the end, the Mocs did not totally destroy their chances of getting up to fifth in the SoCon seeding. They are only 1.5 games out of fifth. They can get there, but they need a good February.


SoCon Pick Em Standings- 1/31/13

Standings through Thursday night's games:

1) SoConJohn 39
2t) half-n-half 37
2t) Hugh Hughes 37
2t) Muskie24 37
5t) JohnMoc 36
5t) David 36
5t) DC Int'l 36
8t) GoalCat 35
8t) WildCock 35
8t) T Dog 35
11t) Jerry Love 33
11t) Clarkdr21 33
13t) Bill Casey 31
13t) CougarSurf11 31
13t) WinthropSpartan 31
16t) DashSpartan 30
16t) Jay 30
18) AP 28
19) Cujo 27
20) earle & patty 21
21t) GACoug 20
21t) BVGerd 20
23)Waitress 18
24) Mike 17
25t) ChasCougs 15
25t) bdf 15
27) Coug04 14
28) Chris 12
29) Joe 7
30) ElonFireFighter 6

1) Hugh Hughes 7
2t) JohnMoc 6
2t) half-n-half 6
2t) Bill Casey 6
2t) David 6
2t) GoalCat 6
2t) SoConJohn 6
2t) Muskie24 6
2t) WinthropSpartan 6

Battle of North vs. South- 1/31/13

Thursday Score

Samford (N) 51
Davidson (S) 71

at North
North- 6
South- 6

at South
North- 8
South- 4

North- 14
South- 10


Another night, another night with ground made up by the South against the North. Davidson is now 5-0 against the North, while the rest of the South is 5-14. This means that there are just three more games for Davidson against the North. Can the North stop the bleeding this weekend? UNCG goes to College of Charleston and Chattanooga heads to Georgia Southern. The South is the heavy favorite in both games, but there is always a chance that the North could pull an upset. Right now, twelve games have been at the North and twelve games have been at the South. We are exactly halfway through this battle.

Daily Dribbles- 1/31/13

--College of Charleston beat Appalachian State on Wednesday night 72-59, after a first half that saw the Mountaineers lead by as many as seven. The Cougars didn't play great at first, but they did find a way to win. A good win for the Cougars.

--Trevis Simpson won SoCon Player of the Week, mainly because of his 41 points performance against Chattanooga on Sunday afternoon. It's hard to argue that he didn't deserve it after that showing.

--The saddest news of the day is that Elon's Austin Hamilton is out for the year. He has a torn ACL. That won't help the Phoenix chances of winning the SoCon. On top of that, I hope that Hamilton will be able to come back as good as ever. He is one of the better players in the SoCon when he is healthy. Elon plays UNCG on Thursday night.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Samford at Davidson

Samford is 5-2 in the SoCon right now, while Davidson is 8-1. The Bulldogs can move to even in the SoCon standings loss column if they can complete the road sweep of South favorites, College of Charleston and Davidson. 

Finishing first in the SoCon would guarantee a postseason bid, so this is a critical moment for Samford. They can get right into the heart of the race if they can pull off the upset of Davidson.

On the other hand, Davidson can go a long way to getting the automatic postseason bid as well if they beat the Bulldogs. They will be up by two losses on everyone except for Elon if they can beat the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are lead by freshman Tim Williams. He is 6-8, and leads the team in scoring and rebounding. He's got 14.6 points per game and 7.3 boards per contest. He is shooting 53.3% from the floor. Williams is a tremendous player, and is almost undoubtedly the top freshman in the SoCon.

Clide Geffrard Jr is the other impact freshman on the roster. He is averaging 10.3 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game. He has been very good as well, and has really helped this team turn the corner.

Raijon Kelly is second on the team in scoring with 14.5 points per contest and leads the team in assists. He has 4.1 assists per game. He does average 3.3 turnovers per game, though. Over the last four games, he's averaged 6.5 assists per game and just 2.5 turnovers per game. Kelly's improvement has been one of the reasons the Bulldogs have been playing so much better in SoCon play.

Davidson is a team that, if you follow the blog, gets a preview written about them about once a week. Truthfully, I'm almost tired of writing about them. Everyone around the SoCon knows about Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks. They were Co-SoCon Players of the Year last year and are having good, but not spectacular, years this year. They still lead the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding, therefore showing their importance.

That being said, if you have read the previews, you know the player I think is the most critical to the Wildcats success is Chris Czerapowicz. He's their sharp shooting long range shooter. I believe when he is on, that the Wildcats offense is nearly unstoppable, particularly against SoCon teams.

So this week, let's talk about something new and different. Nik Cochran exploded against Western Carolina last Thursday night, when he scored 32 points on 10 of 13 shooting. He made six of eight from long range. He is now averaging 10.0 points per game. He is shooting 45.2% from three point range and 46.8% from the floor. He turned the ball over 2.3 times per game so far this, which is a career high. He is also averaging just 3.2 assists per game, which is lower than last year. He is also one of the best free throw shooters in the country, at 94.5% from the line. Since conference play started up again in January, he is averaging 3.3 assists and 1.4 turnovers per game.


--Kelly vs. Cochran should be one of the more intriguing point guard match-ups in the SoCon this year.
--Williams will have one of his worst games against Brooks and Cohen in a hostile environment.
--Czerapowicz will make a couple of critical threes.
--Davidson 76, Samford 65. I actually enjoy the story that Samford has been so far in SoCon play. But it's hard to imagine a situation where the Bulldogs can pull this one off. They would have to catch the Wildcats on a very off night. I think Samford is not quite ready for this environment and this big of a stage. Davidson wins with experience, but Samford will show they have a promising future, possibly as soon as this year in Asheville.

Battle of North vs. South- 1/30/13

Wednesday Score

Appalachian State (N) 59
College of Charleston (S) 72

at North
North- 6
South- 6

at South
North- 8
South- 3

North- 14
South- 9


This is the beginning of a really good week for the South potentially. They are heavily favored to win four games this week. If that happens, the South will be right back in this race. They are about to get this race down to 14-12 if they win the nex three games. Davidson is 4-0 against the North. The rest of the South is 5-14. But the South is closing the gap against the North.

Daily Dribbles- 1/30/13

--Yes, Appalachian State-College of Charleston match up on Wednesday night. With the way the Cougars have struggled at home, this game is pretty interesting.

--Great post over on Yosef's Cabin. He continues to write really entertaining pieces. It also has a preview of the College of Charleston- Appy game.

--Not to be outdone, King Kresse has his own preview of the Cougars-Mountaineers game. Man, these two guys lay into each other's programs. It makes for a very entertaining read. It actually makes me even more eagerly anticipate this match-up. Something about the bad blood gets me fired up.

--You too can catch the game on CofCSports. I believe the broadcast will be $1.99, based on that link. Not too shabby to watch this one on a Wednesday night with no other SoCon action going on. And here I am promoting giving money to CofC! Who would have ever guessed?

--SoCon Pick 'Em picks for the CofC-Appy game are due an hour before game time. Get them to me when you get the chance.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The SoCon is ready to "get specific," and all I can think is, "IT'S ABOUT TIME!"

I've been waiting for the SoCon to get specific about what their teams were for a long time.

In the mean time, ETSU had just agreed to get their football back.

So, there are several very interesting things going on.

According to the Charleston paper, ETSU, VMI, Richmond, Mercer, and UNC-Wilmington are all on the table. On top of that, there is plenty of reason to believe that Kennesaw State is also on the table. That's six potential teams.

I would be very interested in adding three teams at this point. Who cares if Georgia Southern and Appalachian State have not left yet? Everyone knows they are just biding time at this point. So let's get up to fourteen teams and be done with it.

So who are the three teams I'm most interested in? Well, ETSU is an obvious choice. They just make so much sense as a SoCon member, it's not even close. In fact, with the varsity football officially starting again in 2015, I would be surprised if the Bucs aren't a member of the SoCon by then. They are a decent pick up in basketball too. The Bucs have history, and have been successful recently, too.

Richmond is obviously a choice too, if they are interested. I'm not sure if they are totally interested. If they are interested, I don't see why the SoCon would not take the Spiders. If they are not interested, then they should move on.

My next choices are Mercer, and then Kennesaw State in that order. I really think that Mercer makes a nice addition for basketball purposes. The Bears are a decent program, and I wouldn't mind seeing them in the SoCon. Kennesaw State at least attempts to bring the Atlanta market into the mix, which is not a bad thing.

Who does everyone else think should be invited to the SoCon?

SoCon Pick 'Em- Week Four

Wow. Late to the action this week. Sorry.


Sorry for any confusion.

1) SoConJohn 33
2) DC Int'l 32
3t) half-n-half 31
3t) Muskie24 31
5t) JohnMoc 30
5t) Hugh Hughes 30
5t) David 30
5t) WildCock 30
5t) T Dog 30
10) GoalCat 29
11t) Jerry Love 28
11t) Clarkdr21 28
13) Cujo 27
14t) CougarSurf11 26
14t) Jay 26
16t) Bill Casey 25
16t) DashSpartan 25
16t) AP 25
16t) WinthropSpartan 25
20) earle & patty 21
21t) GACoug 20
21t) BVGerd 20
23) Waitress 18
24) Mike 17
25t) ChasCougs 15
25t) bdf 15
27) Coug04 14
28) Chirs 12
29) Joe 7
30) ElonFireFighter 6

Week Five Winner:
1t) Hugh Hughes 10
1t) DashSpartan 10
1t) WildCok 10
1t) WinthropSpartan 10

Good luck!

Daily Dribbles- 1/29/13

--Jerry Palm's Bracketology is probably my least trusted source on this bracketology stuff- at least of the major sites. I trust Lunardi and Glockner both more than Palm. But, his recent edition on CBSSports has to cause concern among SoCon fans. Davidson is still in the tourney, but is playing in a play in game. Yikes. We all know it is awfully early and this will change a million times, but it looks bad for any SoCon team in the tourney right now. The draw is not going to be pretty for any of them. Davidson's draw would be the best.

--An early preview of the Western Carolina-Appalachian State game. This is going to be a tremendous game. I'm looking forward to it.

--King Kresse has a summary of Wofford-College of Charleston. The Terriers were crushed. That sums it up.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Scanning the SoCon- Week Thirteen

Each week, twelve bloggers/message boarders (one representing each team) all will vote on a Game of the Week and Power Rankings. At least four will answer a series of questions on their team and around the SoCon. Don't forget to check back Monday through Friday to read Daily Dribbles from around the SoCon here on MocsMania. Also, don’t forget to play SoCon Pick ‘Em!

Appalachian State- Yosef's Cabin T-Dog
Chattanooga- Mocs Mania- JohnMoc
College of Charleston- King Kresse CougarSurf11
Davidson- Davidson Cats Message Board David Sink
Elon- Elon Pendulum Student Newspaper- Tyler Ash
Furman- The UFFP Message Board- SoConJohn
Georgia Southern- GSU Fans Message Board half-n-half
Samford- Samford Bulldogs Message Board AP
The Citadel- The Sports Arsenal- Sandlapper Spike
UNC-Greensboro- UNCG Basketball Fan DashSpartan
Western Carolina- Purple & Gold Jerry Love
Wofford- Terrier Fans Message Board


Chattanooga at UNCG 2:00

Appalachian State at College of Charleston 7:00

Georgia Southern at Furman 7:00
Samford at Davidson 7:00
Elon at UNCG 7:00
Wofford at The Citadel 7:05

The Citadel at Furman 4:00
Western Carolina at Appalachian State 4:30 (ESPN3)
UNCG at College of Charleston 7:00 (ESPN3)
Samford at Elon 7:00
Davidson at Wofford 7:00
Chattanooga at Georgia Southern 7:30

1) Davidson 132 (11)
2) College of Charleson 118
3) Elon 113
4) Samford 92
5) Western Carolina 86
6) Appalachian State 76
7) Georgia Southern 66
8) UNCG 50
9) Chattanooga 49
10) Wofford 41
11) Furman 23
12) The Citadel 12


Samford at Davidson- 7 votes

Others Receiving Votes: Elon at UNCG (4 votes)


Sum up your team.

Davidson-The last time I wrote about the Wildcats, we were 3-0 in the conference. We had a 1/2 game lead in the division and trailed in the race for the #1 seed by 1 game. Now the Wildcats are 8-1 with a 2 game lead in the division and a 1 1/2 game lead for the #1 seed. Those six games saw the Wildcats go 3-1 on the road and 2-0 at home. The first game in the series was a narrow win at Furman. Davidson would almost certainly have lost that one without a career game from senior forward Clint Mann. Clint scored 20 in the game and sparked a Wildcat rally from a 30-17 deficit. In the first of the home games, Clint was injured by a cheap shot from Citadel's Elmore. He's been out with a concussion since. The Wildcats won that game by 32, rode a great performance by Tom Droney to a 9 point win over CofC, beat WCU by 5 behind Nik Cochran's career-best 32 (10-13 overall, 6-8 on 3s, 6-6 at the line, 26 points in the second half), and then beat ASU by 23 on the road yesterday. Fans are looking forward to Clint's return, but his teammates have all elevated their games in his absence. Next up for Davidson is a visit from Samford on Thursday. I don't expect a letdown from the Wildcats. They remember the disappointing loss at Samford last season. We'll also learn who our Bracket Buster opponent is pretty soon. We are through the first half of the conference season.  Nine games down, and the only loss was to a dangerous GSU team at their place.

Elon- The Elon Phoenix is on fire, currently winners of five in a row to seize sole possession of first place in the North division. The most impressive part of this win streak? The Phoenix has won their past four games without the services of starting point guard Austin Hamilton, who is dealing with an ankle injury.

Samford- Since I last wrote, Samford has been playing much better basketball. The Bulldogs went on a four-game winning streak and lost at Greensboro by two. During that streak, Tim Williams and Raijon Kelly continued to play well, but the supporting cast stole the show. At Charleston, Will Cook went off for 12 and 7; against the Citadel, Clide Geffrard nearly matched his career-high with 22 points; against WCU, tiny freshman PG Russ Wilson scored 8 points, got 5 boards, and played 24 minutes of lockdown defense (helping force Trey Sumler into a 6 for 16 night from the floor); and finally, against AppState, Brandon Hayman—a Dean’s List student with a 3.7 fall semester GPA—scored 14 points in 12 minutes. Tyler Hood has returned from seven-game absence with a broken hand and contributed a bigger body on defense, efficient offense, and improving shooting as he works back into rhythm. But, even during the winning streak, the underlying fundamentals of this team were only just OK. For long stretches in the first half of many games, Samford can’t get stops; in the second half, they have defended much better. Samford needs to play games with 64 or fewer possessions to have a chance at winning, and the game at G was way too fast for too long. It’s also becoming a trend that Samford will need to shoot the ball very well and limit turnovers to have any shot at a win—at least until they start defending better.

The Citadel- The Citadel finally won its first SoCon game of the season by beating Georgia Southern 70-55 in Statesboro. GSU is, to be fair, one of the league's more mercurial teams, but it was a good performance by the Bulldogs, and had been coming (though the previous game against Davidson had been a debacle). The Bulldogs have dropped two games since the win over GSU, however. The Citadel's problems with turnovers and defensive rebounding came into play in both losses. Mike Groselle has been excellent, as usual, and freshman Matt Van Scyoc has proven to be a legitimate offensive threat, if at times an inconsistent one. The Citadel appears to be close to putting things together. If that happens (and there is no guarantee it will), the Bulldogs are going to be a problem down the stretch for several SoCon opponents.

The North is a tight race. Who do you think wins it?

Davidson- Elon. They were my pick in the pre-season, and I certainly see nothing to change my mind so far. I'm looking forward to seeing Samford and their excellent freshmen in person in week. I expect WCU to finish 2nd to Elon in the North, but I think that Elon has too much talent on the roster and in the coaching staff not to win the North.

Elon- I hate to be a “homer” here but I have to pick the Elon Phoenix. They look like the cream of the crop of their division right now as their remarkable win streak could continue for a few more games if they continue to shoot this well from behind the arc. Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman have emerged as two of the top players in the Conference, while freshman Tanner Sampson has filled in excellently for the injured Austin Hamilton. Not to mention, the Phoenix is the only team in the north division with an overall winning record as the other teams struggled mightily in non-conference play.

Furman- If I had to pick right now, I am going with Elon. They have the best collection of experienced talent and depth on their team, and the Phoenix have Matt Matheny, who I believe is one of the SoCon and Division I college basketball's up-and-coming coaches.

Samford- I think Elon wins the North. They’re just too deep, too well-coached, and they’re getting strong play from their upperclassmen. The Elon kids have seen it before. Matt Matheny knows what it takes to win in this league. I would be very surprised if they don’t end up winning the North.

The Citadel- I think Elon will eventually win the North division based on its overall play and its remaining schedule.

Western Carolina- At this point in the season, I think the north is Elon’s to lose.  Elon and Samford should finish 1-2, based on the play up until now. Western has the talent, but inconsistent play will keep the out of a bye, however, don’t count then out for another run during the tournament.

Which team has been the biggest disappointment so far in the SoCon portion of the schedule?

Davidson- UNCG. A lot of people picked them to win the North. A win over Chattanooga today would put them in a tie for 5th. A loss would put them all alone in 6th. They are 5-13 overall. Their only D1 wins have been at home over Citadel, Wofford, and Samford.

Elon- I would have to say Wofford because they held a respectable 6-7 record in non-conference play and are now 2-6 in SoCon action. Last night’s blowout loss at home to the College of Charleston reaffirmed my decision as it appears Wofford is headed for a rough season.

Furman- UNCG--The team has all the individual talent and a coach that appeared to have carried them to the brink of the tournament title game last season. His miraculous turnaround job after taking over for Mike Dement has turned into a nightmare this season, as team's have found that the Spartans aren't interested in playing defense, and only scoring points.

Samford- Wofford. At one point, you could make a case that they were one of the three strongest teams in the league. After they beat Xavier, the wheels have just fallen off. They nearly lost by 40 to a pedestrian UVA team, which started a 2-7 streak that included one of the unforgiveable sins of this SoCon season—a loss to Furman.

The Citadel- I am a little surprised at Wofford's SoCon performance -- not just the losses, but by the Terriers occasionally getting shelled (including a 29-point loss at home to the CofC on Saturday night).

Western Carolina- Personally, the biggest disappointment has been Western and their inconsistent play the entire season (however, EVERYONE returns next season, so the expectations should be high.   The biggest disappointment in the conference I feel has been UNCG, based on their turn around last season, and North Division title, and this season’s returning players.  I think the expectations & pressure may have been too much for a very young, unseasoned head coach.

Let's assume that the SoCon champ gets a 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Which team do you think is best equipped to advance in the Tournament during March?

Davidson- None of our teams have a chance to advance if they get a 15 seed. 15s play 2s. 2s kill people. The two Southern teams with the best chance to throw a scare into a 2 seed are Davidson and CofC. CofC has the best OOC win for the league this season, winning on the road against a ranked Baylor team. CofC has a talented, experience guard to lead them and some serious size in the post. Davidson has essentially the same personnel who won at Kansas last season and then gave Louisville a great game in the tournament. I guess I have to give the nod to Davidson, since CofC has no experience in NCAA tournament play. But if either team wants to win a game in the Big Dance, they have to hope for a 13 or 14 seed. That would probably require losing no more than 1 more game this season and getting a nice win in the Bracket Buster game.

Elon- Conventional wisdom would suggest College of Charleston because they are only team in the Conference with a win against an RPI Top 25 team.  Elon and Davidson are fair selections too as each team currently hold a respectable 13-7 overall record.

Furman- Davidson--For two reasons: Perimeter shooting and foul shooting. The Wildcats do the two things well that you have to do to spring upsets in the Big Dance. They are the only team of the 12 that could be competitive as a 15 seed or lower with college basketball's big boys.

Samford- Davidson and I don’t think there is a close second. They’ve got quality bigs (to the extent De’Mon Brooks is a big) and good guards. They’re well-coached and will have the right scout on their opponent. If they get hot outside, they will give their opponent headaches. I realize that you are what your record says you are, but I think Davidson’s best basketball is yet to be played. They’ve been battle-tested against tough opponents OOC. The bright lights won’t be a factor for them.

The Citadel- Davidson is the only team in the league that I feel would have a chance of winning a game against a top 10 team in March. No other squad in the league has the requisite size/skill/athleticism to pull off such an upset.

Western Carolina- There can be no doubt that the best equipped team to advance in the dance is the one team with the most experience playing in the tournament, Davidson. But will they advance?  For the most part this season, Davidson has won the games they should have won, with Drexel & GSU being exceptions, but they haven’t quite crossed that threshold, of being able to pull out the big wins, again the exception this year is Richmond.   


Daily Dribbles- 1/28/13

--Trevis Simpson scored 41 points for UNCG against the Mocs on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans win was nice, but the health of Simpson and his efforts are a sign that they are going to make a run in the North after all.

--Interestingly enough, Appalachian State goes to College of Charleston on Wednesday. The Cougars are not a great home team. Can the Mountaineers pull the upset?

--With UNCG surging, the Spartans have a big week. UNCG hosts the North leading Phoenix, and then travel to College of Charleston. Beat Elon, and UNCG will find their way into a prime position to contend in the North after all.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

UNCG 77, Mocs 69

And that is why Trevis Simpson is one of the top players in the SoCon.

Simpson poured in 41 points with seven rebounds. Simpson was almost unstoppable. Of course, that's not too surprising. He has long been one of the best players in the SoCon for the last two years and he showed why he is one of the most entertaining players.

Derrelle Armstrong shot just 1 of 11 from the field. He scored just two points. That was the good news for the Mocs. If you can shut down Armstrong, you should be able to win most of the time, but allowing Simpson to go off for 41 never gets the job done.

Simpson  appears to finally be healthy again. He could really dominate the SoCon the rest of the year, and if he does that, then the Spartans may be able to go far.

Z Mason again was great for the Mocs. He scored 18 points and eleven rebounds. Gee McGhee scored 12 and had six assists.

So what do we make of the Mocs? The Mocs are off until next Saturday. They are struggling right now, with Dontay Hampton's injury and all the other struggles. The Mocs need something positive to happen. Can the Mocs survive all this?

They have a week to get better. A week to sort out all the problems. There was some weak rebounding in this one from the Mocs. The Mocs did not commit too many turnovers, really.

There is some hope for the Mocs here. Z Mason continues to look like an All SoCon performer. But the Mocs need a win. It's a huge week for the Mocs to get better. We'll see how it goes from here.


Four Factors UNCG

Spartans- 49.2%
Mocs- 50.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Spartans- 17.3%
Mocs- 20.3%
Advantage- Spartans

Spartans- 41.0%
Mocs- 25.8%
Advantage- Spartans

Spartans- 31.3%
Mocs- 54.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Spartans- 45.3%
Mocs- 36.0%

UNCG Preview: .....Big Gym

I apologize for the lateness and the briefness of this preview. The new baby combined with sickness in the house has decreased my ability to produce this any earlier or any longer. Sorry!

After playing at Elon in what feels like a cafeteria, the Mocs head to the cavernous Coliseum to take on UNCG.

The change in setting can't hurt the Mocs after their terrible performance against the Phoenix the last time out. Without Dontay Hampton and Farad Cobb, things are going to be difficult for the Mocs. Derrell Armstrong averages 16.3 points per game and Trevis Simpson averages 18.6 points per contest. They are two of the leading scorers in the SoCon.

The Spartans do not have a lot of bulk on the inside which could produce good match-ups for the Mocs. Without Hampton and Cobb, the Mocs will need to rely even more on the inside game. With Z Mason and Drazen Zlovaric, the Mocs should be able to control the inside game. Kelvin McNeil is the Spartans leading rebounder at 6.8 per contest.

Freshman Kayel Locke is second on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.9 per game. He is also third on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game. Locke is really showing a lot in his freshman year for the Spartans.

The Spartans beat Samford at home on Thursday evening. They were the preseason favorite to win the North, but have been very disappointing so far. But with their win over Samford, the Spartans served notice that maybe they are not out of the North race quite yet. They hope to continue that momentum against the undermannned Mocs.


--The Mocs will outrebound the Spartans and Z Mason will do everything he can to put the Mocs on his back and carry them to victory.
--Neither team will really play defense. These two defenses are both pretty mediocre at best.
--Armstrong and Simpson will explode for more huge quantities of points.
--Locke will make all Mocs fans wish that he was at least a junior already.
--UNCG 88, Mocs 73. This is going to not be good for the Mocs. They looked lifeless in the second half against Elon once Dontay Hampton went down with the injury. It's hard to imagine that they can get back up for this one without Hampton. The Mocs are struggling so much on defense, it's hard to imagine them controlling Simpson or Armstrong. The Mocs make it semi-competitive, but are in no position to win this game.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Battle of North vs. South

Saturday Scores

Elon (N) 70
The Citadel (S) 66

Davidson (S) 79
Appalachian State (N) 56

Georgia Southern (S) 72
Western Carolina (N) 66

at North
North- 6
South- 6

at South
North- 8
South- 2

North- 14
South- 8


The South is creeping back into this thing. With the Georgia Southern upset of Western Carolina, suddenly this thing looks like it is anything but over. The North is still in prime position with a six game cushion, and needs to win just eleven of the remaining twenty six showdowns to claim the title, but this is starting to get close. The interesting thing is that the road team has gone 14-8 in these match-ups so far. The road team seems to be winning at an inordinate rate in these games. We'll see if that continues as we move forward. The South is starting to close the gap on the North right now.

SoCon Pick 'Em- Week Five

Sunday (Pick is due by 1:00 PM Eastern)
Chattanooga at UNCG 2:00

Wednesday (Pick is due by 6:00 PM Eastern)
Appalachian State at College of Charleston 7:00

Thursday (Picks are due by 6:00 PM Eastern)
Georgia Southern at Furman 7:00
Samford at Davidson 7:00
Elon at UNCG 7:00
Wofford at The Citadel 7:05

Saturday (Picks are due by 3:00 PM Eastern)
The Citadel at Furman 4:00
Western Carolina at Appalachian State 4:30 (ESPN3)
UNCG at College of Charleston 7:00 (ESPN3)
Samford at Elon 7:00
Davidson at Wofford 7:00
Chattanooga at Georgia Southern 7:30

Good luck!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Bits of News

Two bits of news from the Mocs front tonight.

First of all, Dontay Hampton is done for the year, and probably his career after reinjuring his knee against Elon on Thursday night. This is a sad loss for the Mocs.

Second, it appears that Farad Cobb's "bad week at practice" was a little bit more.

Let's talk Hampton first. This is tragic. The Mocs really needed his leadership. He has all the makings of becoming a fine coach in the coming years. I hope he has every success in the future.

As for Cobb, I have very little to add, other than that this is probably not a major problem. Until I know the full extent of what happened, I don't want to dive into too much. I am disappointed, but I do think that I don't know enough details to truly be too upset at this point.

I am confused as to why Coach Shulman would not just come right out and say what happened, instead of calling it a "bad week at practice." But, it is what it is.

In other words, Cobb and Hampton are probably both not around for the time being. This puts critical emphasis on moving Rico White BACK to point guard. Alex Bran will see a lot of minutes in the coming games.

This is unfortunate for the Mocs basketball team. I am really rooting for both Hampton and Cobb to have every success as we move forward. For Cobb, I hope this helps him mature. For Hampton, I hope this helps him to become an even better person than he already is.....


Daily Dribbles- 1/25/13

--Appalachian State's three pointer by Chris Burgess with twelve seconds left in overtime, and the Mountaineers beat Georgia Southern 64-62. The Eagles CJ Reed made a three with nine seconds left to send it to overtime. What a tremendous game this was.....

--Samford and Elon are now tied for the lead in the SoCon North at 5-2. Elon goes to The Citadel on Saturday, while Samford has the day off.

--Three games between the North and South this weekend. Elon visits The Citadel. Davidson goes to Appalachian State and Georgia Southern heads to Western Carolina. This is a huge weekend for the South if they want to get back into this race. A 2-1 weekend would be huge.

--College of Charleston at Wofford? Should be huge. I know Wofford is just 2-5. But the Terriers could easily pull an upset at home against the Cougars. The Cougars have been better on the road than at home though. We'll see.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Four Factors: Elon

Phoenix- 58.1%
Mocs- 36.3%
Advantage- Phoenix

Phoenix- 15.3%
Mocs- 18.5%
Advantage- Phoenix

Phoenix- 26.2%
Mocs- 34.0%
Advantage- Mocs

Phoenix- 11.8%
Mocs- 38.7%
Advantage-  Mocs

Phoenix- 47.1%
Mocs- 32.3%

Elon 85, Mocs 61

It was not a good performance from the Mocs on the road. That being said, what was wrong in this one?

The problem was not rebounding- Elon won the rebounding battle 42-41, which is not outlandish. The Mocs committed just thirteen turnovers, and that is not an unusually high number, either. The problem? The Mocs made just 30.6% of their shots from the floor. Elon made 48.5% of their shots, including 10 of 18 from three point range in the second half. That's just not good.

The Mocs did not shoot the ball well. That's the biggest problem that existed for the Mocs. No question about that. Jared Bryant, Sam Watson, Drazen Zlovaric, and Z Mason combined to shoot 6 of 20 from the floor. If that's what is going to happen, the Mocs are in trouble. Their big men have to shoot the ball better than that.

Gee McGhee lead the Mocs with 15. McGhee has become a reliable scorer for the Mocs. Rico White only shot 2 of 8 from the floor. Z Mason had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Elon is one of the best teams in the SoCon this year. There is no doubt about it. The Mocs are slowly improving as a young team. But, there are clear problems with this year's club. I'm excited to watch this team continue to get better, but I am realistic about their chances to win the SoCon- very sllim at this point. They were not competitive against College of Charleston, Davidson, and Elon, who are the three best teams in the SoCon.

Dontay Hampton went down with an injury just before halftime and Farad Cobb did not play. Ouch.

Can the Mocs stop the bleeding against UNCG? Possibly. The Mocs are capable of beating UNCG. After all, this team won at Samford, which is something no other SoCon team has been able to do yet. So this team is capable of winning some games.

Still, the Mocs are in desperate need of coming out and playing well in the first ten minutes of the second half. The last three games have all been bad in the first ten minutes of the second half. You can't continue to play like that and expect to succeed.

I'm still enjoying watching this team, and think that next year should be a much better year. There is hope for the future.


SoCon Pick 'Em Standings- 1/24/13

Standings through January 24:

1) SoConJohn 31
2t) JohnMoc 29
2t) DC Int'l 29
4t) half-n-half 28
4t) David 28
4t) T Dog 28
4t) Muskie 28
8) Hugh Hughes 27
9t) GoalCat 26
9t) WildCock 26
11t) Jerry Love 25
11t) Clarkdr21 25
11t) Cujo 25
14) Bill Casey 24
15t) CougarSurf11 23
15t) AP 24
15t) Jay 23
18) WinthropSpartan 22
19t) earle & patty 21
19t) DashSpartan 21
21t) GACoug 20
21t) BVGerd 20
23) Waitress 18
24) Mike 17
25t) ChasCougs 15
25t) bdf 15
27) Coug04 14
28) Chris 12
29) Joe 7
30) ElonFireFighter 6

Battle of North vs. South- 1/24/13

Thursday Scores

Davidson (S) 79
Western Carolina (N) 74

Georgia Southern (S) 62
Appalachian State (N) 64

at North
North- 6
South- 4

at South
North- 7
South- 2

North- 13
South- 6


The North was huge early in the year. Now, things are starting to get a little bit tighter, and suddenly the South is back in it. Davidson is 3-0 against the North. That has been a major reason that the North has inched back into it. Appalachian State's overtime survival against Georgia Southern was huge for the North. The Mountaineers win was very important for the North. It continued to give the North a seven game lead over the South. The North needs to win twelve of the remaining twenty nine games to win the regular season battle. This weekend, Georgia Southern goes to Western Carolina and Davidson goes to Appalachian State. If the North wins one of those two, the North should feel very good about things. In games Davidson is not playing, the North is 13-3.

Daily Dribbles- 1/24/13

--Samford's four game winning streak is the longest since 2009. They have not won five straight since January of 2006. Winning at UNCG on Thursday night can give it to the Bulldogs.

--John Shulman needs just one win to jump into the Top 20 on the all-time wins list for the SoCon coaches. The Mocs will try to get that for him on Thursday night against Elon.

--Jack Isenbarger of Elon is also chasing a milestone on Thursday night against Chattanooga. He is just five points shy of 1000 for his career. Isenbarger should certainly get to 1000 points tonight.

--SoCon Pick 'Em is due this week! Good luck to everyone! Get your picks to me ASAP.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elon Preview: Small Court.....

The Elon Phoenix play in a home court that is very small. They have used that to their advantage, and made a true home court advantage. Their home court seats barely 1000 people, and is, shall we say, an intimate environment.

The Mocs have not been great there over the years, and (believe it or not) Elon is one of the teams that drives me crazy in the SoCon. It always seems like the Mocs lose to them when we think least likely. Therefore, Elon is the team that I happen to dislike the most in the North. Most people like to dislike Appalachian State and Western Carolina the most from the North, but my choice is Elon.

Lucas Troutman is the Phoenix best player, more than likely. He averages 15.3 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per contest. Troutman is shooting 53% from the floor. He is 6-10. The Mocs will have to come up with a way to contain the Phoenix big man. He is always going to be a problem. Drazen Zlovaric will have to play huge.

Ryley Beaumont is 6-7, and averaging 10.4 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per contest. He shoots 31.6% from three point range, and 45.5% from the floor. Beaumont leads the team in rebounds. He is another very difficult player to guard. Z Mason will have HIS hands full trying to guard Beaumont. The Mocs, who normally have the advantage inside, do not have the advantage in this one. I'm not saying it is a disadvantage, just that this is going to be much more difficult than the Mocs are used to in the SoCon.

Jack Isenbarger is second on the Phoenix in scoring. He is averaging 14.0 points per game. He is averaging 2.4 assists per game, which is second on the team. He is shooting 35.3% from three point range. Isenbarger shoots a ton of threes. He is third in the SoCon in three pointers made at 47 made out of 133. He seems like the kind of guy who is likely to make plenty of threes against the Mocs. This is a consistent problem for the Mocs. Isenbarger could be one of those problem match-ups.

Then again, the problem could be Sebastian Koch, who is second in the SoCon in three point shooting percentage. He is making 43.4% from three point range, with 36 made threes. He is averaging 8.6 points per game. Austin Hamilton leads the Phoenix in assists with 3.3 per game. He also averages 1.5 steals per contest.

The Mocs will need to play some good defense. This may be a decent match-up for the Mocs. In conference games only, Elon ranks tenth in the league in three point shooting. The Mocs are not good at defending the three, so it is unclear how much of an impact that will be. Can the Phoenix shoot the Mocs into trouble?

The Mocs have been shooting so much better from three point range in SoCon games, and the Phoenix rank eleventh in the SoCon in three point field goal percentage defense in conference games. The Mocs will need Gee McGhee, Rico White, Farad Cobb and Dontay Hampton to be making their long range shots.


--The Mocs will make plenty of threes.
--The Phoenix will force more turnovers than the Mocs have been committing since Farad Cobb was inserted into the starting lineup.
--The Mocs are a better rebounding team than the Phoenix, despite Beaumont and Troutman. The Mocs will win the rebounding battle.
--Beaumont and Troutman will outscore Mason and Zlovaric.
--Elon 76, Mocs 68. The Mocs have played well on the road for the most part. Still, they won't be able to win this one. The Phoenix are one of the best teams in the SoCon, and winning in this place will be very difficult for the Mocs. Koch will make more threes, but Isenbarger will make a clutch three or two late to put the Mocs away.


SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Davidson at Western Carolina

Here we go again. Another week, another opportunity for Davidson to play in the Monster Game of the Week. This week, the Catamounts are playing at home against the SoCon favorite Wildcats.

The Catamounts are 5-2, just one half game behind Samford in the SoCon North race. Davidson is up a full two games on College of Charleston in the South race.

The Catamounts bounced back from their two game winning streak by beating the Mocs in Chattanooga last Saturday night. Davidson bounced back from their loss early last week at Georgia Southern, by beating The Citadel and College of Charleston.

So here we go with one of the biggest games of the week. These two matched up in the SoCon Tournament Championship Game last season, an epic double overtime battle won by the Wildcats. The two teams have not met since.

De'Mon Brooks leads the Wildcats in scoring with 13.8 points per game. He has 6.3 rebounds per game. Brooks is the best player the Wildcats have when he is on. He scored 15 against The Citadel and 17 against College of Charleston. That means he seems to be coming out of his funk. He is 11 of 23 from the field during those two games.

Jake Cohen has scored 13.1 points per game and collected 5.3 rebounds per game and 1.6 blocks per game. Cohen made 39.6% from three point range. Nik Cochran has made 40.7% from three point range. Chris Czerapowicz has made 41.3% from three point range. Czerapowicz leads the team with 33 three pointers made this year. He is averaging 8.3 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game. Nik Cochran is averaging 9.1 points per game and leads the team with 3.4 assists per contest. JP Kuhlman is averaging 3.1 assists per game.

The Catamounts are lead by the dynamic Trey Sumler. Sumler is averaging 17.9 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per contest, and 3.9 assist per game. He shot 39.5% from three point range. He is one of the best free throw shooters in the SoCon, as well. Sumler is tremendous, and one of the top players in the SoCon.

Tom Tankelewicz made 39.7% from three point range. He was suspended earlier this year, but reinstated after missing just one game. In his first game back against Samford, he was not great, but against Chattanooga, he was brilliant. He made seven three pointers. He is one of the keys to the Catamounts offense.

Tawaski King leads the team in rebounding with 5.5 rebounds per game and 11.4 points per game. King has always been good. King is a very good player, and played brilliantly last year in the SoCon Tournament. Davidson will be very impressed by him again.


--I am really hoping that Tankelewicz and Czerapowicz get into a three point shootout. I like watching both of them drain threes. When both of them are draining threes, their teams are infinitely better.
--Sumler? Brooks? Cohen? Which of these players is the best SoCon player? Again, this game features some of the SoCon's best players. Nothing to complain about there. My bet? Brooks comes to play, and so does Sumler.
--King will play very well.
--Western Carolina 74, Davidson 73. Upset. The Catamounts have been pointing to this one since the SoCon Tournament Championship Game last year. They desperately want this one. Davidson has not played as well away from home this year (no surprise there), and Western is dying to get this one. The Catamounts win on a late King score, opening up the South race again, and helping keep the Catamounts right in the thick of the North race.

Daily Dribbles- 1/23/13

--Chattanooga's trip to Elon and Samford's trip to UNCG will be huge in the SoCon North race. Elon and Samford (along with Western Carolina) seem to be setting themselves apart from the rest of the division. Chattanooga and UNCG need wins to get back into the North race.

--Georgia Southern heads to Appalachian State. This is a very important game for both teams. The Eagles need to get back into the win column after the disappointing loss to The Citadel. The Mountaineers are at home, needing to bounce back from an 0-2 road trip. We'll see...

--Z Mason for Chattanooga won SoCon Player of the Week. He earned it. I have been saying for weeks that Mason is turning into one of the SoCon's best players, and he is. Not sure if he deserved Player of the Week or not, but he earned it as much as anyone. I'm happy for Mason. He's a very good. (My bias is creeping in....Go Mocs!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daily Dribbles- 1/22/13

--Davidson-Western Carolina was picked as the SoCon Game of the Week, and I have to say I'm looking forward to that one myself. The Catamounts are good enough to win against the inconsistent Wildcats at home. A brief preview over on Purple & Gold.

--The Citadel-College of Charleston is a heavy rivalry game. That being said, the Cougars are one of the better teams in the SoCon, but slipped by the Bulldogs just last week. We'll see what happens from here.

--Five games between the North and South this week. Three of them are on Saturday. It's 12-5 in favor of the North right now. The South can make a run at it this week with Davidson participating in two of the match-ups, though both are road games. This is a big week for the North.

--A recap of the Cougars loss to Davidson on Saturday night over on King Kresse.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Scanning the SoCon- Week Twelve

Each week, twelve bloggers/message boarders (one representing each team) all will vote on a Game of the Week and Power Rankings. At least four will answer a series of questions on their team and around the SoCon. Don't forget to check back Monday through Friday to read Daily Dribbles from around the SoCon here on MocsMania. Also, don’t forget to play SoCon Pick ‘Em!


 Appalachian State- Yosef's Cabin T-Dog
Chattanooga- Mocs Mania- JohnMoc
College of Charleston- King Kresse CougarSurf11
Davidson- Davidson Cats Message Board David Sink
Elon- Elon Pendulum Student Newspaper- Zachary Horner
Furman- The UFFP Message Board- SoConJohn
Georgia Southern- GSU Fans Message Board half-n-half
Samford- Samford Bulldogs Message Board AP
The Citadel- The Sports Arsenal- Sandlapper Spike
UNC-Greensboro- UNCG Basketball Fan DashSpartan
Western Carolina- Purple & Gold Jerry Love
Wofford- Terrier Fans Message Board


Furman at UNCG

Furman at Wofford
Georgia Southern at Appalachian State
Samford at UNCG
Chattanooga at Elon
Davidson at Western Carolina
The Citadel at College of Charleston

Elon at The Citadel
Davidson at Appalachian State
Georgia Southern at Western Carolina
College of Charleston at Wofford


1) Davidson 132 (11)
2) College of Charleston 113
3) Elon 110
4) Samford 98
5) Western Carolina 93
6) Appalachian State 66
7) Chattanooga 62
8) Georgia Southern 58
9) Wofford 48
10) UNCG 41
11) Furman 24
12) The Citadel 13


Davidson at Western Carolina- 5 votes

Others Receiving Votes:  Samford at UNCG (2), Davidson at Appalachian State (1), Georgia Southern at Western Carolina (1), Chattanooga at Elon (1), Georgia Southern at Appalachian State (1)


Sum up your team since the last time you wrote.

Appalachian State- Much, much better, but still not there yet. After going on a five-game winning streak which included two huge back-to-back wins at home versus Elon and UNCG, the Apps headed west. On Saturday, everything was going well as ASU was up 60-42 with eight minutes left. Then everything fell apart. It was like the team reverted to last year and wound up losing in overtime. Then to make it worse, the Apps lost in Birmingham to Samford two days later in a game they never lead, but had so many chances to. So we're at the point that people were excited and now they're mad. It's better than indifference, but with Davidson twice, GSU twice, CofC and Western in the next three weeks, this is the big test of this team's mettle.

Chattanooga- The Mocs made an incredible comeback against Appalachian State on Thursday, but then fell to Western Carolina on Saturday evening. The Mocs are 3-3 in SoCon play, but have not made it yet. They need to keep on improving. It has been a slow process of improving, but the Mocs are getting close to being a pretty good team.

College of Charleston- Since the last time I wrote the Cougars have been the model of inconstancy in early SoCon play. The defense and rebounding always seem to be there but, based on whether or not the offense shows up, the Cougars can struggle to put teams away. In games against Samford and Georgia Southern the Cougars had a lead late only to cough it up with careless turnovers and other mental lapses. Meanwhile against Chattanooga the Cougar offense exploded for 86 points in a victory. Until the team increases their field goal percentage, cuts down on the turnovers or makes more free throws they will struggle to outscore their opponents. Which is a shame because the defense is playing great.

UNCG- UNCG is a team searching for an identity & leadership. It's also a team that's just looking to get healthy. So far this year, UNCG has had at least 3 different starters (Simpson, Van Dussen, Williams) miss games due to injuries sustained during practice. Currently, Korey Van Dussen (broken wrist) and RJ White (shoulder) are missing extended time with injuries. This week, Trevis Simpson went down with a concussion right before a crucial trip up the mountain to play App State and WCU. Now the Spartans are having to play catch up in the SoCon North race. However, UNCG now finds itself at home for 5 straight games. The first of which saw the Spartans absolutely crush Wofford. If they can get by Furman this afternoon, UNCG will then have 3 straight home North Division games that could help them catch back up quickly.

Which team do you think has been the biggest surprise this year?  

Appalachian State- UNCG. Returning all-SoCon player, fresh new coach that reeled off a North Division title last year and have struggled mightily. Simpson isn't the same player he was before his recent injuries and the loss of Van Dussen hurts even more. Miller is going to have to reinvigorate this team as they're one of the most physical bunches in the SoCon and have the raw ability to contend.

College of Charleston- Definitely Samford. Young team, new coach - I don't think anybody expected them to be atop the North division and looking so sharp in conference play already. Tim Williams is going to be one of the SoCon's best all-around players for some time and Raijon Kelly gives them a threat on the perimeter to balance things out. In the remainder of SoCon play they have their only meeting with Davidson and a pair of games with Elon (probably their biggest threat in the North). We'll see if the Bulldogs can keep it up.

UNCG- Right now, UNCG has been a huge under performing team. I did not quite drink all of the kool-aid that everyone else did about the Spartans, but I didn't expect a 4-12 start. I figured they could at least be .500 by now and looking to make a run in the SoCon.

Western Carolina- Samford.

It's the SoCon Championship Game. Your team is down one point with six seconds left. You can have any one player in the SoCon take the final shot. Who do you want taking the shot?

Appalachian State- De'Mon Brooks from Davidson because he'll get position down low and even if he elbows the guy, Teddy Valentine will swallow the whistle and he'll get the uncontested lay up.

College of Charleston- Andrew Lawrence. You may think I'm just biased but it's only because he's delivered so many times for the Cougars in late game situations the last few years. He's the perfect player to have the ball in the final seconds because he can make a jumper all the way out to NBA three point range, he's strong enough to draw/finish through contact at the rim or he can distribute for an open look. Absolutely the player I'd trust with any game on the line.

Davidson- Nik Cochran. He isn't the tallest, the fastest, the strongest, or the most explosive. But he'll make the play that is needed. He'll get fouled at the buzzer like at Chattanooga. He'll make the fade-away dagger 3 like he did at Kansas. He'll snatch victory from the jaws of defeat like he did at Richmond this year, scoring the Wildcats' final 9 points. The guy is just a winner.

Furman- De’Mon Brooks, Davidson.

UNCG- Easy ... Trevis Simpson. All day. Every day.

Western Carolina- WCU’s Trey Sumler.

Which team has been the most pleasant surprise in the early part of the SoCon schedule?

Appalachian State- Samford. Tim Williams had led a team that has gone from the Princeton offense to a much more fun team to watch. Whether they will hold on is to be seen, but they have the tools to do it.

College of Charleston- Not a specific team but I like to see the whole North Division much more competitive this season. From top to bottom all the teams are very solid. The year after the SoCon switches the tournament bye rules around and we might have multiple teams from the North not playing in the first round in Asheville.

Furman- Samford has been the most surprising team through the early SoCon slate in my book.

UNCG- Samford. I really think that not having all-world whiner Jimmy Tillette not on their bench any more has made a big difference. Teams feed off their coaches. Tillette did nothing but whine and complain. Their new coach seems to have instilled confidence and a winning attitude. I also think the schedule has been favorable early for the Bulldogs.

Western Carolina- I’d also have to go with Samford here as well.  New coach, young team, no seniors, now leading the North Division and on a 4 game win streak.