Monday, February 4, 2013

Battle for the Fourth Bye

There are four byes in the SoCon Tournament. The four teams receiving byes are the teams automatically considered the favorites in the tournament. No team has ever won four games in four days at the SoCon Tournament, so to not get a bye and go to the NCAA Tournament is almost impossible. That's why the four byes matter so much.

Right now, it's obvious about three of the teams. Davidson is 10-1, Elon is 8-2, and College of Charleston is 8-3. Those teams are up by at least two and a half games on the fifth spot, meaning all of them are in excellent shape when it comes to the bye. No, they do not have the bye locked up yet. But things do look good.

The next seven teams are within two games of each other, giving them all a chance at getting the fourth bye if they can get hot- like right now.

Here's the current standings:

Samford 5-4
Appalachian State 5-5
Western Carolina 5-5
Georgia Southern 4-6
UNCG 4-6
Chattanooga 3-6
Furman 3-6

That's right- several teams that you have probably written off from even remotely being in the bye race are still clinging to hope in the bye race. UNCG, Chattanooga, and Furman, who have all been struggling at points this year, can look at the race right now and find some hope.

But it appears no team really wants to win that fourth bye this year. Western Carolina after starting 4-0 has gone 1-5 in their last five games. Appalachian State is 2-4 in their last six games. Samford was 5-1, and has lost three games in a row now. Chattanooga has lost four straight games. That leaves only Georgia Southern, UNCG, and Furman as remotely playing well at the moment.

What team wants to win the fourth bye? I don't know. Right now, it seems like no one wants to get it. This race has really heated up.

Remember, earlier this year? I always thought that Davidson, Elon, and College of Charleston were the favorites for the first three bye spots. I first thought that Wofford would get the fourth one. I then thought that Western Carolina would get the spot. Once the Catamounts started struggling, I thought Samford might get it. Wofford is currently the last place team in the conference.


Let's look at the future schedules for the next two weeks:


February 7 College of Charleston
February 9 The Citadel
February 11 at Chattanooga
February 14 Wofford
February 16 at Furman

Appalachian State

February 7 at Georgia Southern
February 9 at Davidson
February 11 Furman
February 14 at Elon
February 17 at UNCG

Western Carolina

February 7 at Davidson
February 9 at Georgia Southern
February 11 Wofford
February 14 at UNCG
February 16 at Elon

Georgia Southern

February 7 Appalachian State
February 9 Western Carolina
February 14 at The Citadel
February 16 at College of Charleston


February 7 at Furman
February 9 at Wofford
February 14 Western Carolina
February 17 Appalachian State


February 7 The Citadel
February 9 College of Charleston
February 11 Samford
February 14 Furman
February 16 at Wofford


February 7 UNCG
February 9 Elon
February 11 at Appalachian State
February 14 at Chattanooga
February 16 Samford


Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
UNCG at Furman

Western Carolina at Georgia Southern

In other words, Davidson, Elon, The Citadel, Wofford, and College of Charleston are playing a critical role in the bye race this week. I'll keep on looking at this. Next Sunday, look for more analysis on this evolving race. If the race tightens up to include any of the five teams not currently included in this section, we'll start including them. If any team that is currently included falls out of the race, we'll take them off the list.

Should be a very compelling week.....

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