It's a special night for Chattanooga play-by-play man, Jim Reynolds. It is his 1000th game behind the microphone for the Mocs. It is truly a night to celebrate everything he has done for Mocs basketball.
The Mocs are coming off a loss that they really did not need to Wofford on the road on Saturday night. It wasn't a close loss, which I was expecting. It was a 20 point loss. Ouch.
UNCG has lost three straight games, the last two at home to Western Carolina and Appalachian State. This two game losing streak ensured that the Spartans would not be able to get the bye. The Spartans can guarantee the same thing for the Mocs by spoiling JR's 1000th game on Thursday night.
The first time the Mocs played UNCG, Trevis Simpson scored 41 points. Nick Paulos was the only other Spartan in double figures with eleven points. Simpson is one of the best players in the SoCon. He's averaging 19.4 points per game on 42.6% shooting from the field and 34.9% from three point range. He's also averaging 4.4 rebounds per game. Simpson is one of the most explosive players in the conference, and one of the most entertaining.
Derrell Armstrong is the second best UNCG player. He only scored two the first time the Mocs played the Spartans. He is averaging 14.9 points per game. He also is averaging 4.9 rebounds per game and 2.0 assists. He is shooting 35.9% from three point range. He is a very solid performer, and scored 20 and 18 in the two games last weekend.
Kayel Locke is averaging 10.5 points per game, along with 4.7 rebounds. He scored 16 last weekend against Appalachian State. He is the third and final Spartan to average in double figures.
Kelvin McNeil is averaging 5.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. He is 6-8, 230 pounds. That being said, he has been struggling a bit lately. He scored just five total points with four rebounds last weekend. Drew Parker leads the team with 2.7 assists per game.
UNCG ranks tenth in eFG%, eighth in OR%, and sixth in DR%. The Spartans play the fastest tempo in the league, but are one of the most inefficient offenses in the league according to Ken Pomeroy. They turn the ball over quite a bit. That being said they are a decent defensive team. But they put their opponents at the free throw line a lot, ranking last in the league in that category.
The Mocs like to get to the free throw line, and their recent pressure defense could certainly cause the Spartans some problems. If the Mocs can control the glass, they should be able to hang around in this one...even if Simpson goes off for a bunch of points again. They will need Armstrong to have another bad night, or slow Simpson down some. I don't know which- but one of those....
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--The Mocs will dominate the boards against the Spartans.
--The Mocs good play at home will continue.
--Gee McGhee will spend a lot of time at the free throw line.
--Z Mason and Drazen Zlovaric will play very well in the paint, as they have been lately at home.
--Simpson and Armstrong will score in the neighborhood of 40 points....just like they combined for last time.
--Mocs 73, UNCG 67. The Mocs defense will help force some turnovers. Combine that with McGhee's ability to get to the line and recent hot streak from the free throw line, and I think the Mocs pull this one out. It will be tight until the end, but it won't be easy. The Mocs will ease closer to Western Carolina and Appalachian State in the standings, and be in good shape to put UNCG in their rear view mirror after this one.