Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shulman Out

So Coach John Shulman is out. By now, you've heard the news. Shulman is gone.

I've always liked him personally. He's a good man and fun to listen to in the pregame and postgame interviews. He's a nice guy, and I wish him nothing but the best.

That being said, it probably was time for him to go. The Mocs were a game under .500 during Shulman's time here. Of course, the Mocs did go to two NCAA Tournaments in his time in Chattanooga, so that was a positive.

But the entire program was losing momentum. Attendance was down. Apathy was setting in among the fan base. That, more than anything else, was the reason for the change.

I am sad today about the loss of Shulman. I am always sad when a coaching change is made, because I truly hate to see coaches go away.

That being said, the Mocs have talent on the roster. Z Mason and Gee McGhee will be two of the better players in the SoCon next year. The facilities are very good. The fan base is dying for a winner, and very willing to come out and support them. So the next coach will be in a decent situation. There are plenty of positives in Chattanooga that a coach will have at their disposal.

It's a sad day. But it's also an exciting day to be a Moc. The future is here for the Mocs. We'll see where it leads from here.

The first move is to hire a new AD. That will take a little while. The new AD then will hire a new basketball coach. In the mean time, Casey Long has been promoted to interim coach. There will be periodic updates in here.

We're getting ready for an exciting new chapter of Mocs basketball!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SoCon Tourney Pick 'Em- Final Standings

1) Hugh Hughes 39
2) Clarkdr21 34
3) AP 33
4t) Matrojan 31
4t) CougarSurf11 31
4t) GoalCat 31
4t) DC_Int'l 31
4t) SteveP 31
9) KC 30
10) Dash 29
11) half-n-half 27
12t) JohnMoc124
12t) SoConJohn 24
14) Muskie24 23
15) T Dog 22
16) Jerry Love 11
17) Bill Casey 8

CONGRATULATIONS TO HUGH HUGHES! Won the postseason, and finished tied for the regular season title. Great work!

Thanks to everyone for playing!

Monday, March 11, 2013

SoCon Tournament Central: Davidson 74, College of Charleston 55

Davidson is going to the NCAA Tournament. College of Charleston is going to the CAA.

Davidson has now won the most consecutive games in the entire country. De'Mon Brooks was a beast, and Jake Cohen was very good, despite only playing 19  minutes and picking up four fouls. JP Kuhlman, who has really been the forgotten man for much of the year, scored 14 points and shot 6 of 7 from the field. In a lot of ways, it was his performance that lead the way to the Wildcats win. He made two of three from long range.

Andrew Lawrence was very good for the Cougars, scoring 19 points, including shooting 8 of 9 from the free throw line. He was very good in this one, and made a real effort to carry the Cougars all the way to the SoCon Tournament Championship.

The Cougars trip to the CAA will be interesting. Will they be competitive next year? Without Lawrence, will the Cougars win the CAA? Who knows at this point?

Will Davidson be able to win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament or will they be beaten in the first round again, like they were last year? That's tough to predict at this stage in the game. We don't know their seed or their first round opponent. I think a 12 or 13 seed is in order for the Wildcats, which means a decent first round opponent, but not an unbeatable one. Davidson will have their opportunities against whoever they play.

In the mean time, De'Mon Brooks showed why he is such a good player, and Davidson showed why they have dominated the SoCon this year. After another tremendous year from the Wildcats, we should have expected no less. Turns out, yesterday's semifinal nailbiter was just a mirage. We'll see these Wildcats again in about a week and a a half.

All SoCon Tournament Team

These are my five picks for All SoCon Tournament Team:

De'Mon Brooks, Davidson
Jake Cohen, Davidson
Andrew Lawrence, College of Charleston
Lucas Troutman, Elon
Bobby Austin, Furman

Player of the Tournament: De'Mon Brooks, Davidson

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SoCon Tournament Central: Championship Preview

It's here. The entire SoCon season has come down to this. The SoCon Championship Game.

In some ways, we have been preparring since mid-October with our first preview of a SoCon team. Now it comes down to Davidson and College of Charleston- which is not stunning. It's what was predicted in the preseason by many people.

But now it's here. It's College of Charleston's last game in the SoCon before they move to the CAA. The Cougars would love nothing more than to win their second SoCon Tournament Championship as they walk out the door. Davidson wants to put an end to that and advance to the SoCon Tournament for the second consecutive year.

The Cougars are lead by Andrew Lawrence, though the play of Willis Hall in this tournament has been a major reason for their success. Adejhi Baru's inside game has been huge all year. Trent Wiedeman's injury really held him back for much of the year, but he is going now. He has gotten healthy and it looks like he is back to being a force in the SoCon.

Lawrence is averaging 13.1 points per game, and is shooting right at 40% from the floor. He is averaging 3.9 assists per game. He also is averaging 1.4 steals per game. He is the best player on the Cougars. The point guard is going to be the key to their chances.

The inside game of Hall, Baru, and Wiedeman is also very important. They are probably the key to the game. The Wildcats are solid inside, but the Cougars have an advantage in the paint, in terms of depth and strictly based on play inside the paint.

Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks are very good. Brooks will need to be the best player in the paint. He will have a tough challenge against Hall, Baru, and Wiedeman. Cohen is the SoCon Player of the Year. He averaged 14.8 points per game, and is shooting nearly 50% from the floor. He also averages 5.6 rebounds per game. They are the two best players in this game.

Nik Cochran is shooting 49.5% from three point range and averaging 10.1 points per game. He also is shooting 94.7% from the free throw line. He is second on the team in assists with 3.3 per game. Cochran is probably a touch underrated, and is a real key to the Wildcats performance in the SoCon Championship Game.

As everyone who reads this blog regularly knows, Chris Czerapowicz is the most important Wildcat. Czerapowicz is shooting 40% from three point range. When he is on, the Wildcats are almost impossible to beat. When he is not on, this team is much more beatable (though obviously not easily beatable).

The Wildcats come in having won sixteen straight games. The Cougars have won four in a row. When they met in Charleston on Valentine's Day, the Wildcats won by 16, Cohen scored 32, and the Cougars shot just 40.3% from the floor.


--Cohen will have a big game after his foul plagued performance against Appalachian State.
--Adejhi Baru and Willis Hall will have very good games for the Cougars in the paint.
--The Wildcats will force the Cougars into a handful of key turnovers.
--Davidson 74, College of Charleston 69. My bet is that the Czerapowicz makes a couple of key shots in the final five minutes, and Cochran will make free throws down the stretch that put the game away. The Wildcats are the better team, but this Cougars team looks really good right now. They will play well, and have a huge opportunity to win this game. The Wildcats win in the end, but it will be a battle to the end.

SoCon Tourney Pick 'Em- Semifinals

1) Hugh Hughes 38
2) Clarkdr21 33
3) AP 32
4t) Matrojan 30
4t) CougarSurf11 30
4t) GoalCat 30
4t) DC_Int'l 30
4t) SteveP 30
4t) KC 30
10) Dash 29
11) half-n-half 26
12t) JohnMoc1 23
12t) SoConJohn 23
14) Muskie24 22
15) T Dog 21
16) Jerry Love 10
17) Bill Casey 7

SoCon Tournament Central: Semifinals Review

Davidson 65, Appalachian State 62- The Wildcats trailed 41-28, and seemed to be out of the game. Then they came back and took a 57-51 lead. But Appalachian State was not done, and Nathan Healy shot a three at the buzzer to tie the game. He missed it, and Davidson survived and advanced. It was a tremendous game. Jake Cohen's foul trouble was exactly what Appalachian State needed. It caused the Wildcats to have to go to their bench more frequently. This helped keep Appalachian State in the game. It was a great game that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole night. It was thrilling. This is the sort of intensity that you don't often get in the bigger tournaments- the big favorite playing for their tournament lives against a scrappy underdog in a game that really matters. It was amazing.

College of Charleston 68, Elon 60- Every time the Cougars started to pull away, Elon would go on a run, but the Phoenix were never able to take the lead. That put College of Charleston in the championship game opposite Davidson. This was a solid, winning performance by College of Charleston. They played with heart- something this program has lacked in previous trips to the SoCon Tournament. Willis Hall came out and scored 16 points, and has every opportunity to wind up on the All SoCon Tournament team. The Phoenix are heartily disappointed to be not advancing to the NCAA Tournament. One of the best seasons in program history ends short of their schools first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Very disheartening. But the Cougars now get a shot in their final game in the SoCon to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

SoCon Tournament Preview: Semifinals Preview

(1) Davidson vs. (4) Appalachian State

Time: 6:00
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: Davidson got to rest a lot of their players in the quarterfinal round, which was critical, because their biggest potential weakness is their depth. The Wildcats should be in good shape as they head into this one for that reason. Nick Cochran and Chris Czerapowicz are always key to the Wildcats chancs, because they are such good shooters. They open up the game for Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks. Cohen and Brooks are always dangerous.

Appalachian State has been wildly inconsistent this year, but has won their last three games to find themselves in the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament. The Mountaineers will need Nathan Healy to have a huge game. Healy is one of the best players in the SoCon, and is capable of having a big game. He can score, rebound, and shoot. The Wildcats don't particularly care for Healy these days, and will be looking to control him.

Prediction: The Wildcats are ready to shut down Healy, and the rest of the Mountaineers don't have enough to pick up the slack. The Wildcast have a very good offensive team, and will put it on displaay in this semifinal performance. They looked like a team on a mission yesterday. They won't be derailed at this point. Not by this Appalachian State team. Davidson 80, Appalachian State 63.

(2) Elon vs. (3) College of Charleston

Time: 8:30
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: Elon relies heavily on Lucas Troutman and Jack Isenbarger, along with Ryley Beaumont. The Phoenix are a good rebounding team, and a tough, physical bunch. They have not played great basketball in recent weeks, though. Troutman has been battling with an injury. He looked more like himself on Saturday. How will his ankle do in his second game in two days? The Phoenix will need Troutman to look very good.

College of Charleston looked good against Western Carolina on Saturday. Andrew Lawrence had an awful shooting night, though. Lawrence and Adejhi Baru are excellent players, and will be a load for the Phoenix. Trent Wiedeman won't exactly be easy either. The Cougars and Phoenix will have a heck of a rebounding battle, and Lawrence will need to shoot the ball better for the Cougars to win in this one.

Prediction: Elon has been preparing for this semifinal game for weeks. This game is why they were resting Lucas Troutman down the stretch to make really sure he was back from his injury. Everyone knew that the Phoenix could win a game without Troutman in the first round if they needed to, but they need him for this game. The Cougars are very good, and this should be a tremendous game, but the Cougars have a lot of pressure on them to succeed here, because past teams have failed in situations like this. Look for the Andrew Lawrence to play much better than he did against Western Carolina, but it won't be enough. This has potential to be the best game of the whole tournament.  Elon 65, College of Charleston 62. \

Saturday, March 9, 2013

SoCon Tourney Pick 'Em- Day Two

1) Hugh Hughes 37
2) Clarkdr21 32
3) AP 31
4) KC 30
5) Dash 28
6t) Matrojan 26
6t) CougarSurf11 26
6t) GoalCat 26
6t) DCInt'l 26
6t) SteveP 26
11t) JohnMoc 22
11t) half-n-half 22
11t) SoConJohn 22
14) Muskie24 20
15) T Dog 20
16) Jerry Love 9
17) Bill Casey 6

SoCon Tournament Central: Day Two Review

Davidson 86, Georgia Southern 59- The Wildcats got plenty of people into the game. Six guys got into the game that played under ten minutes. This was critical for them, since they needed to rest as many guys as they could to make it through three games in three days. Clint Mann did not play in this one. Don't know if that means he won't play the rest of the weekend. It was a bit of a slow start for Davidson and the game was close for a while, but a huge run at the end of the first half put the game out of reach and the second half was really just playing out the string.

Applachian State 74, Furman 60- The Paladins were down 47-40 with just 14:11 minutes left. But they could pull no closer. The Mountaineers shot 54.4% from the floor in this one. The Paladins committed too many turnovers. They really did not play poorly- they simply are not good enough at this point to beat a quality team. Nathan Healy and Jay Canty both scored in double digits. No one really had a great game in this one, but it was more than enough to win for the Mountaineers.

Elon 68, UNCG 61- In the best game of the day, the Phoenix held off the Spartans. Trevis Simpson scored 16, but Derrell Armstrong scored only 8 points- significantly worse than his round one performance. Lucas Troutman scored 14 points and collected ten rebounds. The Phoenix had a turnover problem, but eventually won because the Spartans only shot 31.0% from the floor. If the Phoenix keep on playing defense like that, they will have a lot of success as this tournament rolls on.

College of Charleston 78, Western Carolina 70- The Cougars won a SoCon Tournament game and is off to the Semifinals. Trey Sumler scored 25 points. Andrew Lawrence had a terrible night shooting, but still got to the free throw line a lot and scored sixteen points. It's always nice to see a guy who has an off shooting night still be able to score points. Anthony  Thomas lead the way with eighteen points. The Catamounts are going home, partly because they only shot 38.0% from the floor. Tom Tankelwicz scored only six points, and that may have been one of the main reasons the Catamounts were unable to pull it off.

SoCon Tourney Pick 'Em Standings- Day One

1) Hugh Hughes 27
2t) Dash 25
2t) AP 25
2t) Clarkdr21 25
2t) KC 25
6) Matrojan 18
7t) JohnMoc1 16
7t) CougarSurf11 16
7t) GoalCat 16
7t) half-n-half 16
7t) DC_Int'l 16
7t) SteveP 16
13t) Muskie24 15
13t) SoConJohn 15
13t) T Dog 15
16) Jerry Love 6
17) Bill Casey 0

Good luck to everyone on Day Two!

Saturday's Posts

Get ready for what is to come on Saturday:

--Four Factors UNCG vs. Chattanooga
--UNCG-Chattanooga Review
--Day Two Review
--Semifinals Preview

Get ready for all of it, and keep on following the SoCon Tournament right here on MocsMania. Thanks and enjoy!

SoCon Tournament Central: Day Two Preview

(1) Davidson vs. (9) Georgia Southern

Time: 12:00
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: Can Eric Ferguson continue to play like that? Will Georgia Southern be able to rebound as well as they did against Wofford on Day One? Those are the real questions here. The second questions are all about the mindset. The first time they met, the Eagles came out with something to prove and handed Davidson their only SoCon loss of the season. The second time they met, Davidson wanted to prove that game was a total fluke, and totally destroyed the Eagles. What happens this time around? I know that Davidson fans have mocked the Eagle fans for thinking that they match up athleticially with the Wildcats, but I tend to think that the Eagles do match up athletically. They don't match up in a lot of other places very well, but they have athletic talent. Jake Cohen can go outside and shoot the three.

Prediction:  Georgia Southern played their starters the whole game Thursday, despite the fact that they were dominating the game for much of the second half. Will they have the legs to play against Davidson? I'm not sure. The Wildcats depth could be a problem. I'm really interested to see if Clint Mann plays in this one. The Wildcats are the better team but won't be as motivated as they were last weekend. Davidson 77, Georgia Southern 64.

(4) Appalachian State vs. (12) Furman

Time: 2:30
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: Can Furman do that again? Maybe. The Reddick brothers, Colin and Charlie, are both very good players. Bobby Austin was a hot three point shooter yesterday. Nathan Healy is one of the top players in the SoCon. He's one of the best defenders in the SoCon, winning defensive player of the year. Will Furman be able to outrebound the Mountaineers like they did Samford? Maybe. If they bring the effort like they did on Friday, this could be a very compelling game.

Prediction: Look out for the upset. Appalachian State has been so inconsistent all year long. Is there any reason to think they will suddenly play more inspired ball in this tournament? Probably not. They only beat Furman by  six earlier this year, and I think the Paladins pull off the stunner in Day Two of the tournament, and get to the semifinals. Furman 59, Appalachian State 57.

(2) Elon vs. (10) UNCG

Time: 6:00
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: Derrell Armstrong and Trevis Simpson could easily explode, and they will need to for the Spartans to have a real chance against the Phoenix. Lucas Troutman should be able to have a huge night against the Spartans. The Phoenix beat UNCG twice this year, including just last Saturday, 80-66 at home. What will happen the second time around?

Prediction: The Spartans are capable of pulling off the upset. They are one of the two best offenses left in the tournament though, in my opinion (behind just Davidson). That being said that Elon is really good overall. Troutman and Jack Isenbarger are very good players and will lead the Phoenix into the semifinals. Elon 76, UNCG 71.

(3) College of Charleston vs. (6) Western Carolina

Time: 8:30
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown:  The Cougars offense has been known to struggle against a zone defense at times. They won at Western Carolina by two after blowing a lead in the final two minutes. It was a great showdown. This one could easily be the best game of the day. Andrew Lawrence and Adejhi Baru will be two players that the Catamounts will have a hard time with, especially Baru. Who do the Catamounts have that match-up with Baru and Trent Wiedeman. Trey Sumler and Tom Tankelwicz will need to have huge performances attacking the Catamounts perimeter defense.

Prediction: The Cougars size will play a big role in this one. Of course, they really struggle traditionally in the SoCon Tournament. Western Carolina has been successful in the tournament. Will that make a big difference in this one, or is this one decided by who is actually the better team? If this comes down to intangibles, then Western Carolina wins. If it comes down to something other than the intangibles, Cougars win. I'll take the Cougars. College of Charleston 68, Western Carolina 63.

Friday, March 8, 2013

SoCon Tournament Central: Day One Review

Georgia Southern 60, Wofford 44- Well, that was an ugly start to the tournament. Karl Cochran and Spencer Collins combined to go 6 for 23 from the floor, 0 for 9 from three point range, and scored 14 points combined. The Terriers offense was terrible. The Eagles shot only slightly better. They shot 37.5% from the floor. The Eagles dominance on the glass was the reason for the win. Wofford just never got going offensively this year, and they were left behind in the end. Georgia Southern is mediocre offensively, but Eric Ferguson showed up. He scored 17 points. If he dominates games, the Eagles could pull off the upset against Davidson tomorrow.

Furman 55, Samford 51- Welcome back, Charlie Reddick and Stephen Croone!  Yes, Croone played against College of Charleston. But with both of those guys back, the Paladins were able to pull off the stunning upset. I mocked the Paladins for much of the week, and they proved me wrong. I'll take my crow with just a little bit of pepper, please. Samford's young team just did not show up in round one. There are better days ahead for this team, as Raijon Kelly and Tim Williams continue to age together. Bobby Austin scored his 17 points, along with Reddick and Croone combining for 19 points and twelve rebounds. Furman could pull off another upset against Appalachian State tomorrow if they play this well. With the extra bodies, this is a very different team than the one that played late in the year and got blown out.

UNCG 87, Chattanooga 81- The Mocs jumped out to an eleven point halftime lead and lead by about that much for about half of the second half. Then Derrell Armstrong took over and the Spartans never looked back. It was the best offensive show of the day, as predicted. The two teams both showed off some of their athletic skill, and it was a close, hard fought game. But in the end, the Spartans played better. They are also helped in the long run by Trevis Simpson's foul trouble, which kept him out for a lot of the run, because now he has fewer minutes on his legs as the Spartans try to proceed through the weekend. The Spartans beat the Mocs for the third time this year.

Western Carolina 76, The Citadel 61- The Catamounts fell behind early 12-5, as the Bulldogs came out and played really well early. But after that, Western Carolina slowly and methodically pulled away to win the game. Trey Sumler was brilliant, scoring 27 points. Tawaski King collected eight rebounds. The Catamounts lived off the energy of the crowd, and will continue to do so as the tournament progresses. They shot almost 51% from the floor. When the Catamounts shoot that well, they are almost impossible to beat.

Daily Dribbles- 3/8/13

--SoCon Tournament Pick 'Em is open until 11:30 AM (or tip of the first game). Good luck!

--It's here! The first day of the SoCon Tournament. It may be a little like Christmas to some people. To others it's like getting coal in your stocking. I, for one, am really excited about this year's tournament, and outside of the 2:00 game today, find even today's games compelling.

--For a preview of Day One from yours truly, here it is.

--Read this story from the Pendulum about Elon and how they hope to "Elevate Elon" this weekend. Big weekend for the Phoenix.

--Huge day for coaches on the hot seat. Charlton Young (Georgia Southern), Jeff Jackson (Furman), and John Shulman (Chattanooga) all face big games in their quest to get off the hot seat. Another early round exit could really hurt all these guys chances.

--I believe this will be the last edition of Daily Dribbles of the year. It started back in early November, and I would like to thank those of you that have joined me each Monday-Friday for the previous four months. It's been fun to bring daily news of the SoCon to you. There will be daily reviews and previews throughout the SoCon Tournament. So keep on checking.

UNCG Preview: Is This It?

It's been 31 games, and about five months of writing on here, and this could be the last preview of the year.

It is certainly true that the next time the Mocs lose will be their final game. They get to keep on playing as long as they are winning.

So, what happens here? Against a team that the Mocs lost twice to, including by 28 points two weeks in McKenzie Arena?

The Spartans defense is not particularly good. Gee McGhee showed against Elon that he is very capable of getting to the rim against almost anyone in the SoCon. Against UNCG, that will be where the key points will be scored. McGhee will need to get into the lane, dish to Z Mason or Drazen Zlovaric if the defense leaves them, or give it back out to Rico White for a three. Will White be hitting? Will McGhee be drawing defenders? Will Mason or Zlovaric be playing at their peak level? Will Casey Jones be showing what the flashes he has shown in recent weeks?

We don't know.

What we do know is that the Mocs have allow Nik Paulos and Trevis Simpson to each have a career night when they have played them. Paulos knocked in ten threes in the game in McKenzie. Simpson scored 41 in Greensboro.

So what's left?

What about Derrell Armstrong exploding onto the scene? Armstrong averaged 14.6 points per game during the season, and is a decent perimeter player. The Mocs really need to make sure that they contain Armstrong. He has scored nine points against the Mocs this year. That is his total number of points in two games. That comes out to 4.5 points per game. For a guy who averages 14.6, that is very surprising. The Mocs will need to continue controlling him if they are going to hang around in this one.

Of course, Simpson and Paulos are the Spartans two best three point shooters. Simpson is one of the top players in the SoCon. He is averaging 18.8 points per game. Simpson is one of my personal favorite players to watch play in the SoCon. I think he is an explosive player that is fun to watch play when he is on. Here's to hoping that I will enjoy watching him for a different reason on Friday evening.

The Spartans are a below average rebounding team in the SoCon, and the Mocs are one of the top rebounding teams in the SoCon. The Mocs will need to control the boards if they are going to hang around in this one. They will need to try to force the Spartans to rely on guys like Kelvin McNeil and Kayel Locke inside. Yes, those guys have been OK, but they are clearly the lesser of the two evils for the Mocs at this stage in the game.


--The Mocs will outrebound the Spartans.
--Paulos will not make ten threes in this one.
--Simpson also will not score 41.
--That won't stop Armstrong from exploding for over 25 points.
--McGhee will have a very good game. So will Mason.
--This game will be the most explosive, high scoring game of the day at the SoCon Tournament, and maybe the highest scoring game of the whole tournament.
--UNCG 81, Mocs 77. The Mocs will keep this one close throughout, but they won't be able to pull off the win in the end. The Spartans are not dramatically better than the Mocs, despite the 28 point game in McKenzie. That being said, I'm not sure the Mocs, who give up a lot of threes, are able to match-up with a Spartans team that likes to more from the perimeter than slamming the ball inside. UNCG survives to fight another day. The Mocs get beat in their first game in the tournament for the third consecutive year.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

SoCon Tournament- Day One Preview

The race for the only title that matters in the SoCon begins on Friday. Can one of the teams playing Friday make a run like Western Carolina did last year getting to the championship game? Would that team be able to actually win on Monday night? Or will all these teams, like all the ones before them, get eliminated without winning a title?

We'll have to wait and see. For now, it's March. It's time for Madness.

And. Here. We. Go.

(8) Wofford vs. (9) Georgia Southern

Time: 11:30 AM
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: Neither team is particularly offensively efficient, unless by "offensively" you mean that the offenses are "offensive." It's bad. Really bad. That being said- the Terriers have Karl Cohran, who is a really average shooter. He is shooting 36.5% from the floor, and averages 16 points per game. Freshman Spencer Collins is shooting 37.9% from the floor with 12.5 points per game. Lee Skinner and Eric Ferguson are going to have some battles if they are matched up. Both lead their eams in rebounding. Ferguson averages 13.8 points per game. The Eagles and Terriers both struggle shooting the ball for long stretches. If Ferguson gets enough shots and has a breakout tournament where he finally plays up to his potential consistently for four games, the Eagles could be a real darkhorse in the tournament.

Pick: This is a very evenly matched game. Wofford has won twice against the Eagles this year, and it is very difficult to beat a team three times in a year. Still, in an evenly matched game between two tournament teams, I take the team that has the better coach. Mike Young is a better coach thatn Charlton Young. Wofford 52, Georgia Southern 49.

(5) Samford vs. (12) Furman

Time: 2:00 PM
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown:  Look- I hate to pick on a team, but I have been picking on Furman more or less all week long. But the fact is that the Paladins play really hard, they put a lot of effort in, but they simply don't have enough healthy players. Can the Paladins come together and play one brilliant game in this tournament? Of course they can. It may happen. Samford has Tim Williams and Raijon Kelly that are among the top players in the league.

Pick: I really like Samford in this one for obvious  reasons, but I also really like Samford to win a couple of games in this tournament, and maybe even be able to push Davidson if things work out for them on Sunday. Of course, that assumes that they get that far, and that is anything but a safe assumption. Nonetheless, I am very curious to see how the young Bulldogs respond to a tournament atmosphere. This game may tell us all a lot about their chances of advancing past this round. Samford 70, Furman 53.

(7) Chattanooga vs. (10) UNCG

Time: 6:00 PM
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: I will have a full breakdown of this game later on since it is a Mocs game after all. But for a quick breakdown, here we go. The Spartans won't be able to stay in front of Gee McGhee if he is attacking the rim. He has potential to have a huge game. Z Mason and Drazen Zlovaric could have equally big games. That being said, the Mocs struggles guarding the three point shot will be obvious in this one. Derrell Armstrong, Nick Paulos, and Trevis Simpson all could go off in a big way for the Spartans. The key will be if the Spartans are hot shooting from three point range like they were in Chattanooga two weeks ago when they won by 28 points. If they are, look for another win. If not, look for a very close one.

Pick: This will be the most compelling game of the day. It is the most interesting showdown for sure. It also is the one that should feature the most offense. Look for a lot of points, and look for the Spartans to come up with just enough points to pull it off. UNCG 81, Chattanooga 77.

(6) Western Carolina vs. (11) The Citadel

Time: 8:30 PM
Coverage: ESPN3

Breakdown: The Catamounts advanced to the Championship Game last year, and they did it by beating The Citadel first last year. Can they start another run like that this year? They could. If Trey Sumler and Tom Tankelwicz get hot, they can beat anyone, especially if Tawaski King steps it up in the tournament. The Citadel has three solid contributors- Mike Groselle, Matt Van Scyoc, and PJ Horgan. Can Groselle win in his final try in the SoCon Tournament? Going against the Catamounts inside game, Groselle could have a big game. But Groselle scored 8 points against them the first time. The Bulldogs 16 turnovers really hurt them in that one. If they can protect the ball, and get Groselle going, who knows?

Pick: Honestly, I don't know what to expect from Western Carolina. They could play either way. Really. The Catamounts worst game last year in the tournament was probably their mediocre performance against The Citadel in the opener. That could happen again this year. I'd be nervous if I were the Catamounts. This could easily be the best game of the day, or the biggest blowout. I don't know what to expect. I'll take Western Carolina....but a lot closer than people expect. Western Carolina 67, The Citadel 62.

Daily Dribbles- 3/7/13

--SoCon Tournament Pick 'Em picks are due later on today. Good luck to everyone!

--T-Dog has a good look at how Appalachian State got the fourth and final bye.

--Planning on doing my own preview of Day 1 of the SoCon Tournament later on. King Kresse really went all out with it already though. Great preview. Tremendous. #MustRead.

--Wofford-Georgia Southern will be a very low scoring contest, but could easily be the most competitive game of the day. This should be a close game. The two teams are very close. Wofford swept the season series.

--Don't forget the blogpost from here about each team's weaknesses from late yesterday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Exposing Weaknesses

Each team entering the SoCon Tournament has a weakness that can be exposed. It will be critical for each team to take advantage of their opponents weaknesses.

So let's take a moment and discuss what I believe to be each team's most glaring weakness as the first round games quickly approach.

Appalachian State- The Mountaineers have never really figured out how to deal with full court pressure this year. Mike Neal at point guard has not been great because he is not a pure point guard. An opponent will have to expose the Mountaineers inability to deal with pressure and also expose their lack of a point guard.

Chattanooga- The Mocs horrendous three point defense has been a problem for years. This could be a major problem in any setting. The team that beats the Mocs will more than likely be shooting the ball well from three point range. Early in the game, it should be clear if the Mocs are going to have a problem with this.

College of Charleston- Call me when the Cougars figure out how to play offensively against a zone defense. They simply have not figured it out yet. They turn the ball over. They take bad shots. They lose. The best way for someone to play the Cougars would be to play a zone and take their chances. We'll see how that goes.

Davidson- The Wildcats are not the deepest team in the SoCon, especially if Clint Mann is not available to play. I'm not sure if Mann is capable of playing or not. If he can not play, and Brooks or Cohen gets into foul trouble, this team has some problems at that point. Playing three games in three days, the Wildcats could have trouble at some point with fatigue. Of course, any team could.

Elon- The health of Lucas Troutman is a major concern. Of course, he played 27 and 29 minutes in his last two games, so he appears to be back to himself. But can Troutman play three games in three days at a high level? On top of that, how will the Phoenix deal with the pressure of being a real favorite in this tournament? They have never had to deal with that before. The fans truly expect to get to the NCAA Tournament. We'll have to see how they respond to those expectations in crunch time of a close game.

Furman- The Paladins have almost no bodies left to put on the floor. They need warm bodies. That can't happen. They have to figure out a way to get guys putting productive minutes on the floor. The Paladins need to try to get productive minutes and not get tired. Tough task indeed.

Georgia Southern- Take. Good. Shots. The Eagles offense seems to bog down way too often in games. The Eagles need to take good shots and knock them down or else they will lose early. Of course, that sounds obvious, but the Eagles have real problems knocking down shots sometimes. They need to take good shots over these games, or else they will be gone quickly.

Samford- The Bulldogs have struggled rebounding at times despite Tim Williams. That is their most obvious failure point. If the Bulldogs can not come up with a way to rebound on a night in, night out basis in this tournament, they will find themselves going home sooner than they are hoping to. Rebounding is the team's biggest weakness.

The Citadel- The Bulldogs have a real problem turning over the baksetball. Somehow, they need to protect the ball better. It is more likely that The Citadel will go out when they do not protect the basketball well.

UNCG- The Spartans have no inside game to speak of. They simply do not have an inside presence. If Trevis Simpson and Derrell Armstrong get going from outside, the Spartans can be dangerous, but they can still be exposed inside the paint. The team that takes UNCG out will likely be able to dominate in the post.

Western Carolina- Trey Sumler has been up and down for most of his three years now. There are games that he just doesn't show up. Without the leadership of Harouna Mutombo that was so important last year in the SoCon Tournament, Sumler needs to step up his leadership. He needs to show up in every game and play great games. If he does not, the Catamounts could go out in any game.

Wofford- When your best player shoots under 40% from the floor, that spells trouble for your shooting. The Terriers can really struggle shooting the ball. If the Terriers are not making shots, they will have to play near flawless defense. They will need to make shots on a semi-consistent basis in this tournament if they hope to hang around.

Daily Dribbles- 3/6/13

-- Be sure to play SoCon Tournament Pick 'Em! Picks are due by Thursday night.

--Cohen won SoCon Player of the Year on Tuesday in both the media and the coaches votes. Check out the full list of award winners in the previous link. He was deserving.

--Furman has almost no one available anymore. Can they possibly show up and upset Samford in the first round? With Raijon Kelly and Tim Williams, the Bulldogs are in really good shape in this one. This is the game that should be the biggest blowout in the first round. Then again, since when do tournaments ever go as planned?

--Which coach needs the best performance in the SoCon Tournament? Charlton Young from Georgia Southern? John Shulman at Chattanooga? Jeff Capel at Appalachian State? Wes Miller at UNCG? Jeff Jackson at Furman? How about Mike Matheny at Elon? If Matheny finds himself in the NCAA Tournament this year, he may end up with a big pay raise at a much bigger job. We'll see.

--A quick preview of The Citadel-Western Carolina by Purple & Gold.

--By the time you read this, it will be about 48 hours (give or take) from the opening of the SoCon Tournament. Are you ready?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Seed Edition: Who Would Get What Seed?

It's March- the time of year where every team has renewed hope that maybe they can get their fifteen minutes of fame by getting to the NCAA Tournament and pulling off a couple of upsets.

Every team believes as they head into the SoCon Tournament that they can get into the Dance. Fans around the conference want to know what seed their team will get in the Big Dance if they can get there.

This is the breakdown for each team's most faithful, optimistic fans.

Here goes.

Appalachian State- Play in game. The Mountaineers are currently 12-15 against D1 teams. They would win three games to get the NCAA Tournament. They have only beaten Elon of any reasonably good team, in out of conference or SoCon play. No way these team avoids the play in game if they win. The Mountaineers have one of the byes, and despite their inconsistency this year, they are one of the teams to watch in the SoCon Tournament since they have a bye.

Chattanooga- Play in game. The Mocs are currently 11-18 against D1 teams and would win four games to get to the NCAA Tournament. That would put them at 15-18. They beat Samford twice, Appalachian State, and Elon of the decent SoCon teams.  They would not be able to avoid the play in game with a win in the tournament. The Mocs may have a fighting chance in that game, as they played Kansas very close in Phog earlier this year. The Mocs would need to start playing their most consistent of the whole season, but with Z Mason and Gee McGhee, maybe it is time.

College of Charleston-  15 seed. The Cougars are 22-8 against D1 competition. Hey! Here's a team that gets to drop a loss to a non-D1 team from their record. Anyway, the Cougars have beaten Baylor. But with the SoCon's low RPI and the Cougars loss to Anderson, I think they will be downgraded a notch. They will still not be a 16 seed (they did beat Baylor after all), and I do think they could get a 14 seed. They have struggled traditionally in the SoCon Tournament, but could certainly win this time.

Davidson- 13 seed. They are 22-7 against D1 competition. The Wildcats beat West Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Richmond. They played competitively against Gonzaga and New Mexico. If they win the tournament, they would have won seventeen straight games. I think Davidson could get a 12 seed. The thing that will hold back Davidson is the SoCon RPI. I think that will hold them down in the end. They are the massive favorites in the SoCon Tournament.

Elon- 15 seed. The Phoenix are 18-10 against D1 competition. They did beat South Carolina, which probably helps them avoid the 16 seed. I think the Phoenix could be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament with the right match-up. They are probably closer to a 16 seed than a 14 seed. Elon has a really good chance at winning the SoCon Tournament.

Furman- Play in game. Currently the Paladins are 4-23 in D1 games. I'd say that if the Paladins advance to the Big Dance that we should all prepare for the apocalypse. Whether it is the second coming, the Mayans, or a meteor, we should all prepare for the end of the world. At 8-23, Furman would definitely be in the play in game, but there would be no need to prepare for it, because the world would end before then.

Georgia Southern- Play in game. The Eagles are 11-18 against D1 teams. It would take the Eagles four wins to advance to the Big Dance. With Eric Ferguson, they could have a real chance if he played brilliantly in the play in game and against the one seed. The Eagles would not be able to avoid the play in game though. Ferguson needs to get going for them to have a shot in the SoCon Tournament.

Samford- Play in game. Currently the Bulldogs are 10-20 in D1 games. The Bulldogs have to win four games to advance to the NCAA Tournament. They have beaten College of Charleston this year. I think Tim Williams and Raijon Kelly could get going and perform well in the SoCon Tournament, and maybe even win a play in game. But they'd be in the play in game.

The Citadel- Play in game. The Bulldogs are 6-21 in D1 games so far. With Mike Groselle, the Bulldogs could go on a big run. Still, there is no way that they avoid the play in game at this point. They would need a big run, and given their tournament history that is largely unexpected, but they could do it.

UNCG- Play in game. The Spartans are 7-21 against D1 competition so far. They would have to win four games in the SoCon Tournament. There is really no hope for doing better than the play in game. The Spartans could win in a play in game with Trevis Simpson and Derrell Armstrong. Could they win the SoCon Tournament? It would take a major turn, but with their offensive explosion, they could win in the SoCon Tournament.

Western Carolina- Play in game. The Catamounts are 11-18 against D1 teams. The Cats would have to win four games and need Trey Sumler to perform at his best to have a shot. But there is no way to avoid a play in game. Sumler could get going, and the abundance of fans could really help Western Carolina, and last year had a lot of good fortune to get through the SoCon Tournament. Could it happen this year? Sure, but it would take an even more magical run than last year.

Wofford- Play in game. The Terriers are 12-18 against D1 teams. They would have to win four games in four days to do it. They would really need a lot of luck to win a play-in game. The Terriers have a history of success in the SoCon Tournament. So they could get going, but with this bunch and their offensive inefficiency, they are going to need a lot of luck to win the tournament.

Daily Dribbles- 3/5/13

--Don't forget to play SoCon Tournament Pick 'Em.

--Check out the Scanning the SoCon Postseason Awards. Tim Williams won the Freshman of the Year surprisingly easily. Jake Cohen won Player of the Year surprisingly easily as well. Check out the rest of the awards here.

--Only three players were named on every ballot for first, second, or third team All SoCon. They were Jake Cohen, Nathan Healy, and Z Mason. Maybe not coincidentally, those are the three players I voted first, second, and third in my Player of the Year voting. Of course, it was clear most people did not agree with my Healy and Mason votes.

--Check out Yosef's Cabin's analysis of the SoCon Tournament in Asheville. It good for a laugh.

--The Citadel's Mike Groselle won SoCon Player of the Week. Barring an improbable run by the Bulldogs in the SoCon Tournament, that will be the last weekly award for Groselle. He earned it...if nothing else than as a lifetime achievement award.

--The Citadel plays Western Carolina in the final game on Friday, and I think that one could be sneaky good. The Catamounts have been just inconsistent enough, and the Bulldogs have played decently, and will be trying to send Groselle out right. The Catamounts will have the fan edge, but this one could be closer than Western fans are hoping for.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Scanning the SoCon Postseason Awards

Thank you to all the Scanning the SoCon contributors who voted for these awards. Points were awarded 4 points for first place vote, 2 points for second place vote, and 1 point for third place vote. Congratulations to all the winners!

1st Team All SoCon

Jake Cohen, Davidson
Mike Groselle, The Citadel
Trevis Simpson, UNCG
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina
Lucas Troutman, Elon

2nd Team All SoCon

De'Mon Brooks, Davidson
Nathan Healy, Appalachian State
Raijon Kelly, Samford
Andrew Lawrence, College of Charleston
Z Mason, Chattanooga

3rd Team All SoCon

Adejhi Baru, College of Charleston
Karl Cochran, Wofford
Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern
Jack Isenbarger, Elon
Tim Williams, Samford

All Freshman Team

Spencer Collins, Wofford
Clide Geffrard Jr, Samford
Gee McGhee, Chattanooga
Matt Van Scyoc, The Citadel
Tim Williams, Samford

Player of the Year

Jake Cohen, Davidson- 25 points

Lucas Troutman (Elon) 11, Trey Sumler (Western Carolina) 9, Mike Groselle (The Citadel) 7, Nathan Healy (Appalachian State) 7, Trevis Simpson (UNCG) 6, De'Mon Brooks (Davidson) 4, Andrew Lawrence (College of Charleston) 3, Ryley Beaumont (Elon) 2, Z Mason (Chattanooga) 2, Karl Cochran (Wofford) 1.

Freshman of the Year

Tim Williams, Samford- 42 points

Gee McGhee (Chattanooga) 24, Spencer Collins (Wofford) 4, Clide Geffrard Jr (Samford) 3, Kayel Locke (UNCG) 2, Matt Van Scyoc (The Citadel) 1, Stephen Croone (Georgia Southern) 1.

Coach of the Year

Matt Matheny, Elon- 7 votes

Bennie Seltzer (Samford) 3, Bob McKillop (Davidson) 1.

Daily Dribbles- 3/4/13

--Don't forget to play SoCon Tournament Pick 'Em! Rules here.

--With the wildly inconsistent play of teams such as Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Samford, and UNCG, this tournament has potential to be very wild as we head into it- at least among the teams not seeded 1-3. College of Charleston and Elon don't exactly have a sparkling tournament history either. So this tournament should at least be evenly matched.

--According to Bob McKillop, Clint Mann worked out over the weekend, and they have their fingers crossed. Davidson could really use Mann to add some depth to their bench. In three games in three days, this is the one thing that looks like a potential weaknesss that could trip up the Wildcats. We'll have to see if that holds.

--The Scanning the SoCon Awards will be announced later on today. We'll have a first, second, and third team as voted on by our Scanning the SoCon participants, a Player of the Year, a Coach of the Year, an All Freshman team and a Freshman of the Year. All in all, it should be a pretty interesting take coming from some of the people who follow their team the closest. Check back later on tonight to see it.

--SoCon Tournament Central is here! Be sure to check back daily.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scanning the SoCon- Tournament Edition

And so it is down to this- our final Scanning the SoCon of the year. It’s been a good year and I genuinely appreciate all the contributors. Today, we’ll answer questions to get you ready for the SoCon Tournament next weekend. Tomorrow, the official Scanning the SoCon Awards will be announced. Check back all week for SoCon Tournament Central. Don’t forget to play SoCon Tournament Pick ‘Em!


Appalachian State- Yosef's Cabin T-Dog
Chattanooga- Mocs Mania- JohnMoc
College of Charleston- King Kresse CougarSurf11
Davidson- Davidson Cats Message Board David Sink
Elon- Elon Pendulum Student Newspaper- Tyler Ash
Furman- The UFFP Message Board- SoConJohn
Georgia Southern- GSU Fans Message Board half-n-half
Samford- Samford Bulldogs Message Board AP
The Citadel- The Sports Arsenal- Sandlapper Spike
UNC-Greensboro- UNCG Basketball Fan DashSpartan
Western Carolina- Purple & Gold Jerry Love
Wofford- Terrier Fans Message Board


Which team without a bye is most dangerous?

Appalachian State- Western because it's Asheville and they came within one shot of being the first team to win four games at the SoCon Tourney last year.

Chattanooga- I’m going to go with Samford. The Bulldogs have the big guy in Tim Williams and the guard play in Raijon Kelly to be a tough out for any team in the tournament. Of course, they lost their last two regular season games- both on the road, both in overtime. They are good enough to win at least a couple of games in the SoCon Tournament.

College of Charleston- Western Carolina. Last year they surprised everyone by not only making it from Day 1 to the Championship, but also pushing Davidson to double-overtime. They obviously have some big time home court advantage in that building. I'm not looking forward to the Cougars' potential second-round matchup against them.

Davidson- Samford. They are playing pretty well right now, taking ASU and WCU to overtime in their final games. They are well-coached and have some solid talent.

Elon- I really do not like the chances of any team in this tournament without a bye because the conference is so top heavy with powerhouses Davidson, Elon and Charleston ruling the SoCon. Call me crazy, but I actually think Chattanooga is the most dangerous team without a bye. Sure, Chattanooga got blown out on the last game of the season at Appalachian State, endings its hopes of getting a first round bye in the SoCon Tournament (if Chattanooga had won they would have finished in a four-way tie for second place in the North division with Samford, Western Carolina and Appalachian State and Chattanooga would have received the bye via the tiebreaker) as they finished fifth in the North with a subpar 8-10 conference record. But Chattanooga has won big games this season. The Mocs beat Western Carolina and Samford on the road this season and were able to knock off the North division champion Elon Phoenix at home. If Z Mason plays very well, then maybe Chattanooga could make a surprise run in the tournament. I do not like the Mocs chances but crazy things can happen in a conference tournament.

Furman- The most dangerous team entering the tournament without virtue of an opening round bye is one of two teams, as I believe Samford has the youth and athleticism to compete with anyone in the league, while Western Carolina will have the home following, and the Catamounts made this type of run last year, so it's not all that unfamiliar to them.

Georgia Southern- Western Carolina. This pick is mostly based on what everybody else isn't and not what WCU is, but with their run to the finals last year and the fact that they have arguably the best player in the league in Trey Sumler I think they are the most dangerous.

Samford- Greensboro is intriguing to me. They have the talent to put up big numbers on offense. I don’t think they are well coached and they don’t have the size to contain Elon’s bigs. But if they get hot, I could see them making a run. WCU is another team that I think has a puncher’s chance. They’ll be playing close to home. They have a proven #1 option in Trey Sumler, who sat out Saturday’s OT win over Samford. Tawaski King is an underrated big whose game I respect and will translate well against CofC. If “bad Charleston” shows up in Asheville, I could see the Catamounts sending the Cougars on to the CAA in style.

The Citadel- Samford gets Furman in the first round and if it gets past the Paladins, might be favored against App State. If it gets to the semis it likely would face Davidson, but it might be better to get the Wildcats in the semis rather than the finals.

UNCG- Western Carolina. I think I can point to last year as a good reason. They will bring a huge following to Asheville that can definitely give them a huge boost. Plus, they've got a pretty good team too.

Western Carolina- Samford – Not only are they capable of winning on any given night, the Bulldogs pairing may help in their tournament run.  Facing last place Furman in the opening round, they meet ASU in the semi-final round.  A couple of things will be going for them, having played the night before and the fact that ASU will not have played in 7 days.  Having just lost to App State in Boone, in double overtime, tells me they can beat the Mountaineers on a neutral  court.

Which team with a bye is most likely to go down early?

Appalachian State- I know everyone will vote App, but CofC better watch out for Western because it's Asheville. I remember WCU destroying Wofford last year after beating El Citadel in the first round. Western's first-round opponent this year? El Citadel.

Chattanooga- Clearly, the choice is Appalachian State. The Mountaineers have been wildly inconsistent all year long. If good Appalachian State shows up, they can compete. If bad Appalachian State shows up, they could lose to the worst teams in the SoCon. This is a mystery team. I expect them to not show up early in the tournament and be out.

College of Charleston- The Cougars definitely face a tough first game against Western Carolina because of the aforementioned geographical advantage. But unlike last year the Catamounts are a lot more one-dimensionally based around Sumler, and I think the Cougars have the personnel to make him less of a factor. Elon is guaranteed to face either a Chatt team that beat them two weeks prior or a UNCG squad capable of putting a lightning-in-a-bottle one game scoring splurge together. App State limped into their bye spot and I think Wofford is a tougher matchup for Davidson than some would expect. So to answer your original question...yes.

Davidson- ASU. They are likely to face Samford on Saturday. When they played in Boone on Thursday, Samford had a large lead late in the game and could have easily won. And Samford should have a relatively easy game on Friday against a depleted Furman team.

Elon- Appalachian State. The Mountaineers were the last team to secure a first-round bye, finishing with a pedestrian 10-8 conference record. Davidson, Elon and Charleston were all able to grab a bye with ease as they were the three most dominant teams in the conference all season long. Appalachian State will face the winner of the Samford versus Furman first round matchup and if Samford is able to take care of business and beat a struggling Furman squad, then Appalachian State could be in trouble in the quarterfinal round. Samford and Appalachian State faced off twice this year, with each contest being decided in the final minutes of the game as the two teams split the season series. Samford could knock off Appalachian State, especially if sophomore guard Raijon Kelly has a good game for the Bulldogs.

Furman- College of Charleston. While the Cougars have a sterling record this season, should they face Western Carolina on Saturday night in the final opening round game, I like the matchups on the floor between the two teams, as I think the Catamounts can match the Cougars athlete-for-athlete on the floor.

Georgia Southern- I think App St is the team most likely to be eliminated first. They are looking at a 2nd round matchup with Samford who they split the season series with in 2 close matchups.

Samford- App State. I don’t anticipate Davidson will be upset, and I think that CofC and Elon are likely to advance. Even if AppState wins its first game against the winner of the 5/12 game, their game against Davidson will be the first semifinal.

The Citadel- App State, simply as the "weakest" of the four bye teams.

UNCG- I guess I can pick the obvious team, App State. The top 3 teams in the SoCon definitely established themselves as much better than the rest. With App not getting the bye until the last day of the regular season, it seems likely that they be the first to eliminated.

Western Carolina- Appalachian State.  Just like many of the teams, ASU has also been on a roller coaster ride this season.  The two teams split on the season, each winning at home.  I think on a neutral floor, the Bulldogs prevail.

Which 1st Round game is most interesting?

Appalachian State- UTC/UNCG. Gee was picked to win the North and finished last. UTC went into a game last Saturday they had to win and got blown out. Shulman is trying to save his job and Miller is trying to salvage his season.

Chattanooga- Wofford and Georgia Southern is very intriguing. The Terriers are beat the Eagles twice during the regular season. But the Eagles have the athletes that are capable of competing for multiple games in the tournament, as evidenced by their home wins over Davidson and College of Charleston this year. This game starts at 11:30 on Friday morning. It’s an early start, but it  should be worth being there for.

College of Charleston- The potential GSU-Davidson matchup is certainly juicy, but I think the other option is better: Wofford vs Davidson. Wofford still has Mike Young, the league's best scoring defense and a volume scorer on their side. The Terriers have a SoCon Tournament pedigree and will present a tough challenge for Davidson in the first round.

Davidson- Chattanooga/UNCG The 10 seed swept the 7 seed this season. But the 7 seed beat the 2 seed very recently. This game should be explosive and fun to watch.

Elon- The Georgia Southern versus Wofford first round matchup intrigues me the most. Georgia Southern and Wofford finished with identical records overall and in conference play. Wofford swept the season series. Given that this is the #8 seed (Wofford) versus the #9 seed (Georgia Southern) matchup, I expect this to be the most entertaining first round game.

Furman- Georgia Southern and Wofford to me is the most interesting opening round matchup, as the Eagles dropped both regular-season matchups between the two teams. It's hard to be the same club three times.

Georgia Southern- UTC vs UNCG. I think Samford should beat Furman easily and WCU should beat Citadel easily. The GSU-Wofford game could be a close one, but it will also most likely be like watching paint dry. Those two teams treated everybody to a 53-47 snoozefest in Statesboro a couple weeks ago. So that leaves the game I picked based on a bit of elimination, but also UTC is going to be looking for some revenge after the 30 point beating they took at the hands of UNCG a couple weeks ago. I'm interested to see how they respond with their pride and possibly head coach's job on the line.

Samford- Chattanooga against G looks interesting to me. Assuming Trevis Simpson is back healthy, I will be very interested to see how John Shulman tries to defend him. Simpson has as much talent as anyone in the league and is an explosive scorer. The Mocs’ defense at times looks like a big pile of kindling wood. If this game tracks the teams’ first matchup in Greensboro, then it should be entertaining. If it tracks the second matchup in the Nooga, then Simpson and Darrell Armstrong will create some highlights.

The Citadel- Eh, none of them.

UNCG- UNCG - Chattanooga. UNCG has really stuck it to the Mocs twice the season. But UTC is the higher seed and played much more consistent throughout the year. Plus, it's the Mocs size against UNCG's shooting. Twice that's worked out well for the Spartans, but you know the saying about beating a team 3 times in one year.

Western Carolina- GSU vs Wofford – Both have identical records,  13-18 overall and 7-11 in conference play. Wofford has beaten GSU twice this season and it’s usually difficult to win 3 in the same season, and with Charlton Young on the hot seat, the Eagles will be playing for his job.

Which potential semifinal match-up is most interesting?

Appalachian State- Elon/CofC. They played once this season in December at Alumni Gym and CofC won by two. It's as fresh a matchup as you'll get.

Chattanooga- Anyone interested in seeing a very exciting semifinal regardless of if their team is in it or not should be rooting for Elon and College of Charleston to hook up. The Phoenix barely lost to the Cougars on their home floor earlier this year, and the two teams could match-up in the second semifinal on Sunday night. This should be a very competitive game and the winner will have earned their way to the Championship Game on Monday night. If neither team is in the championship game, then some team will have really earned it to have beaten at least one if not both of these teams.

College of Charleston- I think Elon-CofC will be a much closer game than Davidson vs whoever. So I'll go with that side of the bracket.

Davidson- Elon/CofC. They only played once this season and CofC won at Elon. Elon is playing much better ball lately. This is CofC's final Southern Conference Tournament. Will they crash out early? Make a Championship run? If Elon beats the Chattanooga/UNCG winner, then a Sunday matchup with CofC would be a chance for Elon to win 20 D1 games for the first time in program history.

Elon- An Elon versus Charleston semifinal is a very intriguing matchup. Charleston beat Elon at Alumni Gym 56-54 in a tightly contested battle on December 1st but things have changed immensely since then. After that loss, Elon ripped of 11 wins in its next 13 Southern Conference games to win the North Division Title. I doubt Elon (the #2 seed in the tournament) or Charleston (the #3 seed in the tournament) will lose in the quarterfinals, so it appears these two teams are headed for an intense rematch in the semifinal round.

Furman- Davidson and Appalachian State to me is an interesting potential semifinal matchup, as the Wildcats blew out the Mountaineers in both regular-season matchups, and while I think Davidson will be favored, I wouldn't expect a semifinal between these two, with so much on the line, to yield another blowout between the two.

Georgia Southern- Elon vs Charleston. Barring somebody getting really hot it's a 3 team tournament. Davidson should cruise to the final where they will be tested by either Elon or Charleston, but the Elon-Charleston matchup should be the first "big" game of the tournament.

Samford- Charleston v. Elon. I think that game will be much more competitive than Davidson against anyone. I think Charleston matches up pretty well against Elon. It will be interesting to see what happens in that game.

The Citadel- I suppose Elon-CofC is the chalk choice here. It was a two-point game early in the season.
UNCG- Elon-Charleston ... The two teams that have traded off being thought of as the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the league. Plus, it's a good coaching match up. I'd be interested to watch it.
Western Carolina- The semi that does not involve Davidson.  Probably, Elon vs Charleston.   It’ll be interesting to see which game Charleston stumbles and is eliminated.

Who do you think wins the SoCon Tournament?

Appalachian State- Can't pick against Davidson. They got the best-possible bracket and are the best team barring another Western run.

Chattanooga- Davidson is the obvious choice here. If Clint Mann is not back from his injury, then the Wildcats thin bench could lead to problems in playing three games in three days. It is going to take some team playing a near perfect game to beat them prior to the championship game. Then it will come down to if they have the depth to win a third game in three days. I think they do, and I think they will.

College of Charleston- Davidson. I mean really, the bracketologists already have them penciled in and have whoever plays the Wildcats as being on upset alert. I do think the Wildcats have a tougher path to the final game than Elon or CofC would but it won't matter. It's Davidson's trophy to lose.

Davidson- I'm picking Davidson. At 17-1, they've had a very strong conference season and are 5-0 against the other teams with byes. It is a talented, versatile team with an excellent tournament coach.

Elon- I believe Davidson will win the tournament, given their dominance in conference play. Elon poses the biggest threat to Davidson because the Phoenix has the best starting five in the Southern Conference. Not only does Elon possess the leagues’ best starting unit, they also have two of the best players in the Conference with junior guard Jack Isenbarger and junior forward Lucas Troutman. Elon proved it can hang with Davidson on Wednesday night, losing 69-63 in a contest that went down to the wire. Still, it is tough to pick against a Davidson team that went 17-1 in conference play and is currently riding a 14 game win streak, with its last loss coming on January 14th.

Furman- Davidson without question is the best team, and I think if the Wildcats can avoid Elon in the title game, they are odds-on favorites to bring home the title. Should Elon get to the title game, then the matchup between the top two teams in the league could be very interesting for a multitude of reasons!

Georgia Southern- Davidson. They are the best team in the league and playing their best ball of the season in the past month.

Samford- Davidson. They’ve been the best team in the league all year. On Saturday, they exacted revenge against the only team that beat them during SoCon play when they beat Georgia Southern by 35 at Belk Arena. During that game, the Eagles were reminded of one of the all-time truths in life: If you come at the king, you best not miss. I think Charleston or Elon could give Davidson a competitive game on Monday night, but I just don’t see anyone beating them.

The Citadel- Davidson is the best team and should win.

UNCG- Davidson is the most consistent team and probably the easiest pick. But, I'm going to go against the grain with this one and pick Elon. I've just had a feeling for a while that this might be their year to do it. I also think Matheny will get poached this offseason by a lower level BCS team.

Western Carolina- As long as the Wildcats remain healthy, no one in the conference will be able to beat them.  A very tournament experienced team, that knows how to win when it counts.

What seed do you think the winner gets in the NCAA Tournament?

Appalachian State- 12-seed. Davidson is on a hot streak and the committee likes hot teams. Right now they're in the 13-14 range but with how voilitale the season is, they have a lot more to gain.

Chattanooga- I think the Wildcats get a 13 seed, but I don’t believe a 12 is totally out of the question. I think that a 14 is possible as well, but probably a bit low. No one will want to play Davidson in the first round, and if they get a 12 seed, they well may be the most popular pick for the 5-12 upset in the first round. The 13 seed presents longer odds, but not impossibly long.

College of Charleston- If it's Davidson I think they probably get a 14, hopefully a 13. CofC (we beat Baylor on the road! Remember? ...Guys?) or Elon would be lucky to get a 15. Anyone else and it's a 16-seed for the Southern Conference Champion.

Davidson- If Davidson wins, I think they'll get a 13 seed. Most bracket projections have them at a 13 or 14 seed. A Championship would have them on a seventeen game winning streak. A 12 seed would be less surprising than a 15 seed. In a debate between a 13 and a 14, I think the committee would give the Wildcats a 13.

Elon-  If Davidson is to go on to win the tournament, I think they will be a #13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the seed it was last year in the March Madness tournament. Every couple of days ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi creates a mock bracket for the tournament in what he calls “bracketology”. The bracket assumes the current first place team in every conference will win its conference tournament to make the projections. In each of the last two brackets, Davidson has been a #13 seed. Davidson likely earned this seed with its “bracketbuster” win over Montana University a week ago. If Elon or Charleston wins the tournament, I would expect them to be a #14 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If by some miracle a team outside of Davidson, Elon or Charleston wins the Southern Conference tournament, I would predict them to earn a #15 seed.

Furman- If Davidson wins the tournament, and given the Wildcats prior tourney performances, I think they avoid the 15 and 16 seeding, and will be a 14-seed.

Georgia Southern- I'm guessing a 15 seed and that's only because of Davidson's repuatation. The Southern Conference is very weak this year with a lot of underachieving teams, but Davidson was highly touted at the beginning of the season and has a history in the tournament so I think that will keep them out of that dreaded 16 slot or play in game.

Samford- I believe that Davidson is probably on the 13-seed line. Depending on what happens with the major conference bubble teams and their tournaments, I could see them as high as 12 and as low as 14. The best-case scenario is for Davidson to stick on the 13 line, stay reasonably close to home, and get a power conference team that plays stupid basketball in the first round.

The Citadel- As I type this, Davidson has an RPI of 78 in Warren Nolan's RPI simulator. Last year, Montana finished the season with an RPI of 78. Montana won the Big Sky tournament and got a 13 seed in the NCAAs. I figure Davidson would be likely to get a similar seed.

UNCG- Elon will be on the 15 line. Davidson is the only SoCon team to get to the 14 line. The why is easy ... RPI.

Western Carolina- It could be anywhere from a “play-in game” to a 15 seed, it all depends on how the committee rates a very down SoCon this season.  I don’t think a SoCon team goes higher than 15.  If it’s not Davidson, it would be a play-in or 16 seed.