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.
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--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.