It's time, one last time, for BracketBusters! Are you ready? I know I am. I've been enjoying watching North Dakota State and Akron tonight, and will enjoy a full day of BracketBuster action tomorrow. What will develop on Saturday when the SoCon takes the floor remains to be seen. There are four SoCon teams participating. I'm writing a brief write-up on each game.
Coastal Carolina (13-12) at Western Carolina (11-17) (2:00)
Why it matters: The SoCon trails the series with the Big South this year, 9-8. With three match-ups on Saturday between the two conferences, the conference battle comes down to Saturday. The Catamounts will try to get their momentum back after back-to-back crushing losses to Elon and College of Charleston. They also must win out to get back to .500 on the season (including two D1 wins of course).
Prediction: Western Carolina 64, Coastal Carolina 62. This is the most even of the games in the BracketBusters involving SoCon teams. The Catamounts have not been great at home, but this is a close game, and Western Carolina will find a way to get it done this time. They are the slightly better team. I always enjoy watching Trey Sumler play, and he makes the play at the end that wins it.
Montana (19-5) at Davidson (20-7) (3:00, ESPNU)
Why it matters: The Wildcats will be looking to extend their eleven game winning streak, while Montana is trying to get some momentum back after a blowout to Weber State ended their perfect run through the Big Sky. Can the Grizzlies possibly get things back going? This would be a nice win for either team, and both teams are hoping to come up with it. This game could impact seeding in the tournament, particularly for Montana if they can come up with the win.
Prediction: Davidson 76, Montana 63. Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks seem capable of dominating this game. The Wildcats are playing one of their most anticipated home games of the year, but the Grizzlies are not a whole lot of a match in this one. The Wildcats are the superior team, and should be ready for this one, and come up with a pretty easy win.
Gardner-Webb (17-11) at College of Charleston (20-8) (4:00)
Why it matters: Gardner Webb and College of Charleston both will head into their tournaments among the favorites, but will need to pull at least one upset along the way if they are to get into the NCAA Tournament. This game could act as a way to get either team going. Both teams really need the win to get going. Gardner-Webb has won seven out of eight games.
Prediction: College of Charleston 65, Gardner-Webb 56. The Cougars are playing so well on the defensive side of the ball, while Andrew Lawrence is the best player in this game. The Cougars are in bad need of coming up with a big home win, and while this one will not exactly attract attention nationally, it will still be a nice home win.
The Citadel (7-19) at Presbyterian (7-21) (7:45)
Why it matters: Which team is worse? These are two of the worst twenty-five teams in college basketball. According to the RPI, at least. Can the Bulldogs help the SoCon to win the season series against the Big South? The Blue Hose lost to Furman by 24 and to Appalachian State by eight earlier this year. Ouch. They would like to just beat a SoCon team.
Prediction: Presbyterian 75, The Citadel 74. The Bulldogs have been playing a little bit better lately. That being said, as bas as they are defensively, it is going to be tough to find a way to get the Bulldogs a win. The Blue Hose are almost as bad on the defensive side. According to Pomeroy, The Citadel is 346th in the country in defensive efficiency. Presbyterian is 343rd in the country. So expect some points, but don't expect good basketball.