Monday, January 14, 2013

Scanning the SoCon- Week Eleven

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


1) Davidson 132 (11)
2) College of Charleston 116
3) Western Carolina 109
4) Elon 96
5) Wofford 81
6) Appalachian State 78
7) Chattanooga 63
8) Samford 56
9) UNCG 52
10) Georgia Southern 38
11) Furman 25
12) The Citadel 12


College of Charleston at Davidon- 5 votes

Others Receiving Votes: Elon at Western Carolina (4), College of Charleston at Georgia Southern (1), UNCG at Appalachian State (1)


Sum up your team since the last time you wrote. 

Chattanooga- The Mocs were showing some signs of life until the loss to College of Charleston on Saturday afternoon. I think the Mocs could be starting something here, as they are starting to come together. Obviously, Saturday did not go as planned. But if they get over that and perform well this week in two key home games against Western Carolina and Appalachian State, I think the Mocs could work their way into decent position in the SoCon. If they lose to both Appy and WCU, it could be a long stretch run.

Furman- Since the last time I have written about the Paladins, they have begun to get things together playing well on the road in a loss to College of Charleston, who admittedly, has been shaky as of late, and playing well against a Davidson team picked to win the league, losing 81-73 at Timmons Arena on Saturday. The Paladins continue to get strong production from Colin Reddick, who had a career-high 25 points against CofC, while posting 18 in the loss to the Wildcats...Obviously, having Charlie Redick back from injury helps, too, but the fact remains the Paladins have lost six-straight, and need a win against a Wofford team who has defeated the Paladins the in the past three meetings between the two programs.

Georgia Southern- There isn't much new to say about GSU since the last time I wrote about them and that's becoming a major problem in Statesboro. I wish there was something new I could tell you about GSU, but this team is showing the same problems that Coach Charlton Young's first three teams have shown and it's beginning to look like last year's hot run through conference play was a fluke. The Eagles have the second worst scoring offense in the conference and continue to struggle in the turnover and rebounding department. All 3 of these are problems that have plagued the Eagles for the entire CY era now. Already at 0-3 in conference play, GSU has Davidson and Charleston as their next 2 games. Things look to be getting worse before they get better in Statesboro. I keep looking for a silver lining that points to an Eagle turnaround, but it's getting tougher and tougher to find one with every game GSU plays. Right now this just isn't a good basketball team.

Western Carolina- The Catamounts have gone 4-3 since I last answered questions, picking up conference wins against Appalachian, the Citadel, & UNCG - but dropping games against #15 Georgetown, Tennessee, and a real embarrassing lost to 4-12 Liberty.   For some unknown reason, this year’s team seems to play at the level of their competition.  There is no doubt that the Catamounts have lost to at least 4 teams they should have beaten, Asheville, Western Kentucky, Austin Peay, & Liberty.  However, the Cats are playing 4 of the next six games in Cullowhee, which will hopefully give them an edge.

What do you think the SoCon needs to do long term to improve the conference RPI?

Chattanooga- The SoCon has plenty of problems. The biggest problem to me is that the coaches in the conference right now are not particularly sought after. You have Matheny at Elon, McKillop at Davidson, and Young at Wofford. Who else would anyone outside of the SoCon be interested in right now? I’m not particularly sure. That may not be fair to some of the coaches, but it is the current situation. So that’s one major problem. The second major problem is that the conference has too many “sleeping giants.” There are several programs who have fan bases that would be passionate if the programs were putting products on the floor worth being excited about. Davidson and College of Charleston are both doing that, and the Cougars are leaving. Also, the conference on the whole needs to help out their teams with out of conference scheduling.

Furman- I think one thing sums up the question about league strength. The league has some marquee wins, but its outweighed by incredibly bad losses this season. As Chattanooga coach John Shulman put it, Davidson hasn't beaten enough marquee teams in the non-conference this season. To some extent, that's exactly what the problem is. Davidson has carried the league, while others have been struggling in past season, but the conference RPI has shown pretty well with who Davidson was beating in the non-league slate. Furman's losses to A-Sun teams, Davidson's loss to UW-Milwaukee and Western Carolina's loss to Liberty are all bad losses in my opinion. Add to that College of Charleston's loss to Division II Anderson and the RPI will certainly take a hit. Scheduling has also been a bit down in comparison to previous seasons. There's not a real marquee name in the league this season, either, like from past season's, when Kevin Martin, Stephen Curry, Andrew Goudelock played in the league and they made their teams better and the league more attractive as a whole.

Georgia Southern- I think for a mid-major conference having a good overall conference relies on 2 things. Hiring good young coaches and being able to keep atleast some of those around for a few years. The second part is a lot easier said than done as you don't get many Bob McKillops hanging around the same school for so long and being so succesful at the mid major level. But I think the SoCon's problem right now is that the current crop of coaches aren't performing as well as some of the peer conferences. More SoCon coaches are on the hot seat than are in a position to "move up".

Samford- There are a few basic steps that should be taken. First, no SoCon team should schedule more than one non-D1 opponent every year (focus on other mid-major opponents and money games). Force any team that plays more than one non-D1 to get a waiver from the league office, which can only be granted for extraordinary circumstances. Second, increase basketball-related income through corporate and media sponsorships at the league and institutional levels. There are more than 600,000 living SoCon alumni, most of which have household incomes well above state/regional averages and an affinity for their schools. If the league can’t market that to interested corporate partners, then we have a league-level problem. Third, pour that money into HD-level production capacity at every member school so that every SoCon member home game can be broadcast over the air and the web. Samford already broadcasts every home game for free, and continues to improve its capacity (in all sports). Have member schools sell lower-tier TV rights in local markets. Pour every dollar from those moves back into men’s basketball. Fourth, there’s no substitute for winning. In the post-Curry era, the SoCon has won about 46% of the time when playing against relative comparators (the America East, A-Sun, Big West, Big Sky, Big South, CAA, CUSA, Great West, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, MEAC, NEC, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Summit, Sun Belt, WAC, WCC, and D1 Independents). But win totals have declined each year and we are down by 18 wins so far this year compared to 2009-10. The SoCon needs to continue to schedule and win games against those leagues.

Western Carolina- I think that for the most part, almost every team has upgraded their out of conference schedule.  If this continues, playing better competition, and limiting to no more than one non-D1 opponent will pay dividends in the long run.

The North is having some early success against the South. Do you believe that will keep up and the North will beat the South overall? Or do you believe that the South will come back and win the head-to-head match up?

Chattanooga- The North can absolutely win the Battle of North vs. South. College of Charleston and Davidson have combined to go 4-1 so far, and all remaining teams are 0-8. If the South isn’t going to do better than that, they are going to have real problems on their hands winning this battle. The rest of the division needs to step up. With Chattanooga, Appalachian State, and Samford all showing signs of being contenders in the North, to go along with Elon and Western Carolina that have been performing well, and a dangerous UNCG team, the North really appears to be deeper right now, even if they aren’t better at the top.

Furman- I actually think for the first time since maybe when Davidson was in the North Division, and maybe Marshall was in the league and a member of the SoCon North, that the division is actually stronger. Outside Davidson and a shaky CofC team, I think the bottom four in the South will struggle against the bottom four in the SoCon North.

Georgia Southern- I think the North's success is definitely sustainable. If Davidson was in the North then I think it would be a blowout at season's end. To me the North is just simply better than the South right now. Despite UNCG underperforming, the North has App St and UTC both performing better than expected, while the South has maybe Wofford performing a little better than expected while GSU and Charleston aren't quite as good as expected.

Western Carolina- I think that if WCU, Elon, ASU, and UNCG continue to improve, given the north’s start, there is a possibility that the North may come out the overall win leader between the two divisions this year.  Every team in the south, except Davidson have shown vulnerability in conference play.   That could all go out the window, IF Charleston and Wofford plays up to their potential.

College of Charleston is very up and down right now. What do you believe is wrong with the Cougars? What seed will the Cougars wind up receiving in the SoCon Tournament?

Chattanooga- Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, and the Trent Wiedeman injury. If Wiedeman can come back and be a consistent force and the Cougars can learn to limit the turnovers, there is no reason they can not be the #3 seed in the SoCon Tournament. They are just inconsistent enough that I can see possible problems on the horizon. But assuming those problems don’t raise their head enough, this team will get a bye, and be a three or four seed in the SoCon Tournament.

Furman-  I hate to say this, but I think the jury is out on the team chemistry. It didn't look good at mid-season last year just before Cremins to a leave of absence, and it has been shaky under Doug Wojcik this season. I think the jury is still out on the new coach, who was and not well received at Tulsa by the time he left. He was even booed last season when his name was announced after the starting lineups. I still wonder about his overall ability as a head coach.

Georgia Southern- Charleston has no question been a roller coaster this season. I haven't watched enough of their games to know what is wrong with them, but to beat Baylor and then lose to a D2 team in the non conference season is a big swing. Then this week they lose to Samford at home and then blow out UTC. I don't know if it's a mental/focus issue or what. But I still think they are too talented not to be getting a first round bye. I think they are looking at the #4 seed and they are going to have to earn it a lot more than I thought they would in the preseason.

Western Carolina- I’ve got to think that at this point, it’s their player’s adjustment to the new coaching staff and new offensive schemes.  I think that the team has up to this point in the season, felt too much pressure at home for wins. Will they overcome that psychological barrier? They should at some point in the season. It’s very possible that the Cougars may peak near the end of conference play, as Western did last season.  If so, I think they could be the #3 or #4 seed, as I don’t see them overtaking Davidson in the regular season.  However, all bets are off in tournament play.

1 comment: