Saturday, March 9, 2013

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.

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