The Mocs have been on the road for six of the first nine SoCon games, including six of the last eight. If you looked at the Mocs schedule in the preseason, this was the time that you expected that the Mocs to maybe start showing signs of improvement. They get six of their next seven games at home, and their one road game is at Wofford, who currently has the worst record in the SoCon.
Also, many people thought the Mocs would only have one or two SoCon wins at this point. Instead, they have three and are only two wins out of the bye race. If the Mocs truly can start winning a few games here, they can still get the fourth bye. There is no time like the present for the the Mocs to begin winning and get into the race.
To do that, they will have to beat The Citadel for the second time this year. The first time the Bulldogs were up by ten in the second half before watching the Mocs come back and win. This was the beginning of many things to come for the Mocs, who seem to fall behind every game only to come from behind. They haven't always won. But they have been coming back from large deficits consistently.
Mike Groselle is the Bulldogs best player. At 6-8, he leads the team in scoring and rebounding, with 15.0 points and 7.8 rebounds. He is also third on the team in assists with 1.5 per contest. He is shooting a remarkable 58.1% from the floor. He is averaging 19.0 points per game in his last five contests. During the stretch when the Mocs faced him last time, he was in the midst of scoring in single digits three of the last five games. Now he is playing significantly better.
Matt Van Syoc is one of the better three point shooters in the SoCon. He has made 43 threes on the year. He is making 38.4% from long range on the year. He is averaging 11.7 points per game, which is second on the team. He leads the team in blocks, averaging just under one per contest.
PJ Horgan is 6-8 and very good. He was playing just his second game when the Mocs played The Citadel the first time. He had had a great game in his first game. But the last two games have been huge for Horgan with the Bulldogs winning both of them. Horgan has scored 19.5 points per game in the last two along with 7.5 rebounds per contest. He is shooting 68.2% from the floor. He also shot 75% from the free throw line.
Marshall Harris III leads the team in assists with 5.0 per contest. However, he is shooting only 29.6% from the field and 28.6% from three point range. He shoots 87.9% from the free throw line. So Harris has not been great scoring, but he is a solid distributor of the basketball.
The Citadel is rated the worst defensive team in the league play according to Pomeroy's efficiency statistics. They are the worst defensive rebounding team in the league and only the eighth best offensive rebounding team in the league, according to Pomeroy. They also commit the eleventh highest percentage of turnovers in the league, while forcing the second fewest. In other words, this is not a great defensive team, and they commit too many turnovers on offense. That is the main reason that the Bulldogs have been struggling this year. If they can cut down on the turnovers, and do a better job on the defensive end, they have a chance to win several more games.
The Bulldogs have won back-to-back games, while the Mocs have lost four straight. Can The Citadel continue their current momentum? Or will the Mocs turn it around?
The Mocs will need to not commit turnovers, something they have been doing much better at in recent games. If that continues, then Gee McGhee, Z Mason, and Rico White all will have plenty of opportunities to score against the Bulldogs porous defense. Can they force the Bulldogs into some turnovers?
Furman lead The Citadel by 16 before falling to the Bulldogs in the last game for them. The Mocs are also a team that comes from behind a lot. In other words, don't turn off this game no matter what the point differential. A comeback is always possible with these two teams.
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--Groselle will score 20 points and collect at least six rebounds.
--McGhee and Mason will each have big nights for the Mocs.
--The Mocs won't commit a lot of turnovers, and will force a few more than they commit.
--Mocs 73, The Citadel 68. This is a really tough spot for the Mocs. They have to get hot at the right time here. The Mocs have to come out prepared to play or they will get stunned and basically end the chances of getting a bye. The Mocs are the better team, though, and they will come up with the very important win.