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.
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--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.