Friday, November 29, 2013

IUPUI Preview: One Last Shot

The Mocs have gone 0-3 so far on the West Coast swing, which is not too surprising as the Mocs were heavy underdogs in all three games. This game, the Mocs are not as big of an underdog. Both teams are looking for their first D1 win of the year in the third place game of this half of the bracket.

IUPUI is lead by Ian Chiles. He is scoring 18.6 points per contest. The 6-1 senior guard is not much on three point shooting, though. He has really struggled from long range throughout his career, and this year, he is making 29.3% from there, with twelve made threes on the year. He likes to shoot the three, but doesn't make many. After seeing what Morehead State did yesterday (driving to the basket and making lay-ups time after time), the Jaguar guard has to be excited about his opportunity to get to the basket and score. He scored 22 in the loss to Gardner-Webb yesterday.

Mitch Patton is the toughest match-up for the Mocs. He is 6-9, 248 pounds. He is struggling from the floor compared to last year. A year ago, he shot 58.2% from the floor. This year, he is shooting 46.4% from there. He is averaging 14.5 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per contest. He will be a handful for the Mocs big men.

Marcellus Barksdale is 6-5, but is the Jaguars leading rebounder, pulling down 7.7 per game. Khufu Najee is averaging 10.4 points per game.

IUPUI games are highlighted by the lack of offensive rebounding. The Jaguars rank 63rd in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, while sitting at 303rd in offensive rebounding percentage. They don't shoot the ball particularly well, shooting 27.7% from three point range. The Mocs, on the other hand, are one of the worst defensive teams in the country in terms of shooting percentages. Opponents are shooting 45.7% from three point range, good for 345th in the country out of 351 teams. Opponents are shooting 58.6% from two point distance, good for 343rd in the country. That's some really ugly defensive numbers at this point. Morehead State shot 73% from the floor yesterday, so the Jaguars will look to take advantage of that as well. IUPUI has been middle of the road in terms of committing turnovers, whereas the Mocs have been slightly above average at forcing them. The Mocs will again need to force turnovers against the Jaguars to be able to win this one.


Can the Mocs defense turn it around on one day's notice? It should be noted that Morehead State is a really good team so yesterday's performance may not be quite as bad as it first appears, but any team shooting 73% and getting a lot of lay-ups is never a good sign. The Mocs offense appears to be coming together though. They shot over 50% yesterday and appeared to have a little flow in the offense. If Z Mason can stay out of foul trouble, he should be able to score against the Jaguars, and Gee McGhee should put up nice numbers too. One more player stepping up and joining them is what they need in this one. I think the Mocs find a way to eek this one out. This is two very evenly matched teams, and the Mocs finally get one. Mocs 83, Jaguars 82. 

Daily Dribbles- 11/29/13

--A chance for a SoCon team to take out an SEC team on Friday when Appalachian State takes on Georgia. The Dawgs are favored, but the Mountaineers are hardly no match in this one. They can compete in this one. We'll see if the Mountaineers can make it happen.

--Mocs will be battling IUPUI in the Las Vegas Invitational third place game after their loss on Thanksgiving to a very good Morehead State team.

--Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. Be safe if you're going out on Black Friday, and hopefully you'll get to enjoy some college football action on Friday, to go along with the college basketball action. We'll get a more in-depth Daily Dribbles starting Monday again.

Morehead State 88, Mocs 75

The Mocs really had some bright moments on Thursday afternoon, but just couldn't complete the game. They never seemed to be able to get back on defense and slow down the fast moving Eagles. The Mocs hung around, rebounding decently, on the back of Gee McGhee in the first half and Z Mason at the beginning of the second half.

But the simple fact was that they never could get anything consistent going. When the Mocs scored 19 points prior to the first media timeout in the second half, that should have been more than enough to get them the lead in a game they trailed by nine at the half. But the defense was so bad, the Mocs gave up 15 during that same stretch, and wound up still trailing by five. After that, the Eagles defense clamped down, and the Mocs couldn't ever really get back into the game.

There was some effort there, but the fact is that you can't play that poorly in transition defense and expect to beat a team like Morehead State. This is a growing fault with these Mocs and something I've been harping on for a while- if the Mocs aren't forcing turnovers, they aren't stopping the other team. I hope that the Mocs can figure out how to stop the other team eventually without needing to force turnovers, but at this point, they aren't there. That is the major flaw for the Mocs.

Morehead State shot 72% from the floor. You read that right- 72%! There's no way the Mocs will be able to win games allowing teams to shoot 72% from the floor. The Mocs shot over 50% from the floor, which should have been enough to be right in the game, but it wasn't even really all that close during the final ten minutes of the game.

Posthumus only scored 11, but Kareem Storey and Billy Reader combined for 37 points. Z Mason finished with 23, while Gee McGhee scored 18.

Another flaw in today's game was that Greg Pryor wound up with ten turnovers. When the starting point guard winds up with as many turnovers and points, and both are in double figures, that is never good, especially when it is accompanied by only two assists.

The Mocs played the second best team they have played this year when they played Morehead State today. There's no doubt about that. They were significantly better than they were against UCLA. That's a positive sign. It would be nice to salvage a win for the Mocs on this West Coast swing and they may be able to do that on Friday afternoon at 3:30 against IUPUI. We'll wait and see what develops. This team is still growing and maturing. No reason to give up hope yet.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Schedule-11/28/13


Chattanooga vs. Morehead State in Las Vegas, Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Nevada vs. UCLA in Las Vegas, Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)
IUPUI vs. Gardner-Webb in Las Vegas, Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)

Daily Dribbles- 11/28/13

--Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Enjoy the turkey and time with your family and friends (and a little enjoyment of SoCon basketball with the Mocs in the early evening out in Las Vegas)! I'm thankful to be enjoying the SoCon basketball season with you all.

--The SoCon got two wins on Wednesday as Georgia Southern beat Presbyterian and UNCG beat Stetson. It was a solid performance for the SoCon- and the conference desperately needed the performances. It was probably the best day of the year to date for the SoCon.

--One SoCon game this Thanksgiving- as mentioned earlier, the Mocs out in Vegas. Should be an enjoyable day.

--Once again, enjoy your Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day!

Morehead State Preview: The Vegas Gamble

The Mocs head out Las Vegas to play in the Las Vegas Invitational- Bracket Portion. They have already played UCLA and Nevada as part of the Las Vegas Invitational, but now there is a bracket and a chance to win and advance to play a more meaningful game. The Mocs will get to play Friday no matter what, but this Thanksgiving Day battle with Morehead State will be worth the price of admission.

It's a difficult day for Moc fans. Thanksgiving is a day for family and for eating turkey. It's hardly a day to listen to a game and force your family to do the same. But this is a chance for the Mocs to take on a quality team and see if they can come up with their first D1 win of the year. It will also be a way to get the bitter taste of that performance against UCLA out of their mouths. Yes, eat your turkey, but get ready for a really good basketball team.

Morehead State is 5-2 and an extremely talented basketball team. They hung around with UCLA for most of the night and then upset Nevada by five two nights later. That means they outperformed the Mocs in both locations. This team has worked their way into a position to be considered one of the favorites in the OVC. They also have the likely biggest match-up problem in this portion of the bracket in Chad Posthumus, who is 6-11 and averaging 11.4 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. In the first two games against Mid-Continent College and ETSU, he averaged just 8.5 points and had eight rebounds per game. In the five games since then (where the Eagles have gone just 3-2), he is averaging 12.6 points per game and 15.4 rebounds per game. He has had 15, 16, 18, and 16 rebounds in the last four games. Against UCLA, he had 21 points and 18 rebounds. Against Northern Kentucky, he did score just six points, but had 16 rebounds. He did commit seven turnovers. He is also not a great free throw shooter, at just 55.3% on the year. Those may be the two ways to stop him- foul him or hope he commits a turnover. The only other way is to hope he gets into foul trouble.

Angelo Warner is the leading scorer. He is averaging 16.0 points per game. He has made 15 threes on the year, and scored 16.8 points per game in the last four games. He scored 25 against Northern Kentucky. He also is an excellent free throw shooter. He can fill up the basket. Brent Arrington has been shooting over 42% from three point range on the year, and is averaging 12.3 points per game. He can get in a little bit of foul trouble, though. He fouled out once, and had four fouls three other times already this year. Only once all year has he had fewer than three fouls. That was against a Marshall, an overtime win for Morehead State in which he scored a season high 24 points.

Ths Mocs will be seriously tested on the inside. How TJ Williams, Z Mason and Lance Stokes guard Posthumus will be the  key. They will need to attack him on the offensive end and hope he picks up a few fouls and has to sit. If that happens, the Mocs can focus on the perimeter players, which is where Warner and Arrington are so dangerous. Both are good shooters. The question really is if the Mocs can force them into some turnovers with the pressure. Warner has been averaging 2.4 turnovers per game. So there is a chance.

Also, Gee McGhee needs to get back to driving to the basket. He is so talented at that. I think if he does that in this  game, the Mocs can score some points.


Morehead State is the second best basketball team the Mocs have faced this year, behind UCLA. This is an immense challenge. But the Mocs were embarrassed on Sunday night a little bit. They will bring the effort and intensity in this one and hang around. The defense is not good enough to slow all those guys  down. Posthumus will help the Eagles clean up the glass, though the Mocs effort will keep the battle on the boards closer than we have any right to expect. In the end, the scrappy Mocs come up short, but put together a better performance than they did against UCLA. Morehead State 86, Mocs 79.


SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Scores- 11/27/13


UNCG 75, Stetson 68
Georgia Southern 76, Presbyterian 66

Mocs D1 OOC Opponent

UAB 85, Florida A&M 73

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Schedule- 11/27/13


UNCG vs. Stetson in Etero, Florida (Gulf Coast Showcase)
Georgia Southern vs. Presbyterian in Cancun (Cancun Challenge)

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Florida A&M at UAB

Daily Dribbles- 11/27/13

--Quiet day in the SoCon for the next two days. UNCG plays Stetson in the Gulf Coast Showcase.
The Spartans played relatively tough against a good San Diego team- much better than they did against Louisiana Tech. Georgia Southern plays Presbyterian in Cancun after a heartbreaking loss to Oral Roberts on Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday, the Mocs are battling Morehead State. That's it. Those are the three SoCon games between now and Friday.

--Trey Sumler won Player of the Week for Western Carolina this past week. Brian White won Freshman of the Week for the second time for The Citadel. White has been a pleasant surprise this year.

--Missed this positive post earlier about Appalachian State's loss to North Carolina Central from AppHoops. Check it out.

--The SoCon is still 5-4 against the Big South on the year. They are also 0-3 against the CAA. They are now 1-3 against the Sun Belt.

--I just noticed something when going through SoCon stats. The three leaders among games started by current SoCon players are all Western Carolina players. Trey Sumler (95), Brandon Boggs (89), and Tawaski King (82) are the three leaders. No wonder Western Carolina has been playing better than a lot of other teams and is among the favorites in the SoCon this year.

--Everyone should sign up at It is well worth the money. Then, you should sign up for your favorite team- and make it be a SoCon team. There is a listing of most popular teams. I'm hoping to see SoCon teams move up that list in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Appalachian State at Georgia

Wait a minute- does the SoCon actually have a chance to even up their record against the SEC at 2-2?
 This is the third of four games for Georgia against SoCon schools. They beat Wofford and lost to Davidson. They will play Chattanooga on Monday. On Friday afternoon, Appalachian State is taking their shot at the Dawgs. They have not beaten a D1 team yet. Georgia's only win so far is against Wofford. They lost to Davidson, Temple, and Nebraska in the Charleston Classic. This is an interesting contest between these two teams.

The Bulldogs have two starters who are 6-8. They are not a huge team. Nemanja Djuristic and Marcus Thornton are the two biggest. But they are averaging just four rebounds and 3.6 boards per game so far. That's not particularly good. Donte Williams started over Djuristic in the most recent game against Nebraska. While Djuristic is averaging in double figures, Williams is the leader in rebounds. He is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game.

Charles Mann is the Bulldogs leading scorer at 16.8 points per game. He is shooting 52% from the floor for the year. He has made 4 of 7 from three point range on the year. Amazingly, that is the second most three pointers made on the entire team at this point. The Bulldogs are 338th in the country in percentage of points scored on three pointers. They are shooting 28.8% from three point range on the year. They do not force turnovers very well, rankings 341st in the country in TO% on defense.

Appalachian State is one of the bigger teams in the SoCon, but is not a huge team either. Michael Obacha is 6-8, Tommy Spagnola is 6-7, and Tevin Baskin is 6-6. Spagnola averages 5.8 rebounds per game. Obacha is averaging 7.4 and Baskin is at 7.0. The Mountaineers are one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country. Baskin is the leading scorer as well, with 14.0 points per game. Tab Hamilton is the second leading scorer with 11.0 points per game. Mike Neal is averaging 10.6 points.

The Mountaineers are one of the worst shooting teams in the country. They are shooting 27.7% from three point range, 58.8% from the free throw line, and 44.8% from two point range. Those are terrible percentages, particularly from the line and three point range. The Mountaineers best offense has been hitting the offensive glass, and they will need to continue that if they want to have a chance to win. Opponents are shooting 55.8% from two point range. That's not good and one of the worst in the country. This team is not good at shooting, and not good at stopping people from shooting against them. They also are very mediocre at forcing turnovers.


It should be a fairly entertaining game. The Mountaineers will need their best offensive performance of the year to date to have a shot in this one. The good news is that they will have an opportunity to continue hitting the offensive glass, because the Dawgs aren't big. But it's hard to imagine that this is a team that is going to slow down Mann. He is so good. Georgia isn't exactly going to dominate, but they come up with their second win over a SoCon school of the year. Georgia 77, Appalachian State 64.

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponent Scores- 11/26/13


San Diego 83, UNCG 71
Oral Roberts 67, Georgia Southern 65
Virginia Tech 75, Furman 54
Western Carolina 78, Limestone 69
Elon 90, Georgia State 85
Stephen F. Austin 98, Samford 78

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Kennesaw State 73, Truett-McConnell 54
Middle Tennessee 80, Murray State 62

Las Vegas Invitational Preview

Four teams sit in this half of the Las Vegas Invitational, and it should lead to some pretty decent games between four mid-major teams trying to make a mark.

So, this is meant to be a quick scouting report on each of the four teams, and how good these teams are. I'll also make early predictions on where each team will finish. Let's face it though- any team could win this thing. Any team could also finish fourth. We'll see how this goes.

Pomeroy Ranking: 289

The Mocs top offensive threats are Gee McGhee and Z Mason. While the Mocs are undersized, Mason plays bigger than his size. He is a former top football. He was a tight end recruit in football and committed to Ole Miss. After spending a year there, he transferred to Chattanooga to take up basketball. The Mocs had been getting better each game, prior to their struggles in Los Angeles against UCLA. The Mocs had lead Nevada virtually the entire game, before falling on a last second three pointer. The Mocs are not a great shooting team, but bring tremendous effort. That seems to be the calling card of Will Wade's first team. The effort will eventually lead to wins. Will it be in Vegas?

Pomeroy Ranking: 269

The Bulldogs lost a nine point game to Missouri and a 13 point game to Northwestern. They lost at Furman by 11 earlier this year. Donta Harper and Naji Hibbert are the two leading scorers for them. This is a small team. Harper is 6-7, but the leading rebounder is Jerome Hill, who is 6-5. This team is allowing opponents to get offensive rebounds on 39.1% of their missed shots, good for 316th in the country (out of 351 teams). They start two guys who are 6-5, one who is 6-1, one who is 6-2, and one who is 5-10. This is a small team that has not been shooting well (an eFG% of 43.1%, which is 317 in the country). However, they have been forcing turnovers at a solid clip, and preventing opponents from making threes at a very good rate. Opponents are only shooting 27.0% from three. This team will probably rebound better at some point. Tim Craft is also in his first year as head coach.

Pomeroy Ranking: 263

The Jaguars have not beaten a D1 team yet. They lost to Northwestern by two and Missouri by fourteen. They are shooting over 50% from two point range. Opponents are also shooting over 50% from two point range. The Jaguars are a good defensive rebounding team and not a good offensive rebounding team. But they are not huge, but may be a little bigger. Mitch Patton is 6-9, and collects 7.2 rebounds per game along with 15.0 points per game. Marcellus Barksdale is 6-5 and averaging 7.7 boards. Donovan Gibbs is 6-7 and averaging 5.0 rebounds per game. Ian Chiles is averaging 18.0 points per game, leading the team. They went 6-26 a year ago, and appear much improved. This is a solid offensive team, but not a great defensive team. Should be an interesting club to see how they perform in Vegas.

Morehead State
Pomeroy Ranking: 147

The Eagles are 5-2, and have been playing well. They only lost to UCLA by eleven and beat Nevada. They did lose to Xavier by 23. Opponents are not shooting well from three point land. Chad Posthumus is 6-11, averaging 11.4 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. He is big, and going to present a major challenge to any team that faces him. They are one of the top rebounding teams in the country, which isn't surprising. Angelo Warner and Brent Arrington each have made 15 three pointers already this year. This team has been turnover prone, but also is good at forcing turnovers. They are going to be one of the best teams in the OVC this year.


Morehead State is the clear favorite. They are the best team in this whole tournament. There's no question. In fact, they may be the second best team in Vegas behind only UCLA, but ahead of Nevada (who they beat), Northwestern, and Missouri. That being said, the Mocs could beat them in the first round. IUPUI and Gardner Webb could both beat them in the championship game. But I wouldn't bet on it. IUPUI is the very slight favorite over Gardner Webb. I think the Mocs beat Gardner Webb by a nose in the third place game. That being said, any of these teams could finish anywhere. The biggest surprise would be if Morehead State lost two. Posthumus will dominate this half of the bracket.

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents- 11/26/13


Oral Roberts vs. Georgia Southern in Cancun (Cancun Challenge)
San Diego vs. UNCG in Estero, FL (Gulf Coast Showcase)
Furman at Virginia Tech
Limestone at Western Carolina
Samford at Stephen F. Austin (Roundball Showcase)
Georgia State at Elon (NIT Season Tip Off)

Mocs DI OOC Opponents-

Truet-McConnell at Kennesaw State
Middle Tennessee at Murray State

Daily Dribbles- 11/26/13

--UNCG's loss to Louisiana Tech was not unexpected. But the blowout nature of the loss was a little more than expected. Today, they will battle San Diego, who lost to Illinois-Chicago 74-70 on Monday afternoon.

--Western Carolina faces Limestone tonight as well. They are a pretty solid DII program, making the NCAA Tournament a year ago. This should be a win for the Catamounts, but may not be as easy as people are hoping.

--Georgia Southen and Oral Roberts meet in Cancun. This is a very difficult match-up for the Eagles. They'll be hoping to make up for the last two losses against a good Oral Roberts club. The Eagles face off with the Eagles in this one.

--Metro State did beat Elon on Monday night. It was a one point win, and Elon missed a couple of shots at the buzzer. That's the first non-D1 loss of the year for the SoCon. Of course, it was to the #1 team in DII, so it may not be too shocking. But it is disappointing for the Phoenix, who lost their fourth straight.

Monday, November 25, 2013

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Scores 11/25/13


Louisiana Tech 99, UNCG 62
The Citadel 109, Montreat 64
Metro State 75, Elon 74

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Radford 86, Cornell 71
Quinnipiac 102, Maine 61
Northwestern 72, Gardner-Webb 59
Missouri 78, IUPUI 64

UCLA 106, Mocs 65

Well, that was unfortunate. It wasn't like it was completely unexpected that UCLA would win against the Mocs on Sunday night, but Moc fans were hoping for a better performance than that. It was disappointing. At the end of the game, Coach Will Wade apologized for the team's performance.

In a conference where teams have been getting hammered repeatedly, this loss may not be quite as bad as it appears at first glance. Everyone has been losing in blowout fashion to teams in the SoCon. The Mocs had not lost in blowout fashion yet. So this was their one game.

Martynas Bareika had a very solid game. He scored 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting from thre point range. He only played 20 minutes in the game. It was the sort of shooting performance the Mocs have been waiting to get from someone all year. If Bareika can play like that in a couple of games against mid-major competition, that would give the Mocs a huge opportunity.

Gee McGhee had one of his worst games as a Moc. He scored just five points. He did collect five rebounds.

Z Mason was kept off the boards. He collected just one rebound, though he did put up 15 points. Greg Pryor collected six assists against two turnovers, though he had just five points on 2 of 9 shooting.

The Mocs were badly outrebounded on the night. They did not do a good job forcing turnovers. They did a decent job of not turning the ball over. The Mocs defense was not good at all. They allowed UCLA to shoot over 65% on eFG%. That's really not good.

Wade said this game the Mocs did not compete. There may be some truth in that. In reality, coming off a heartbreaking loss on Friday night to Nevada and playing in an intimidating environment and playing the single most talented team the Mocs will face all year, this kind of performance should have been expected. I was hoping the Mocs would keep it closer than 41 points. But they didn't.

Now, the Mocs head to Las Vegas to take on Morehead State (who just beat Nevada and played UCLA within eleven) and will then face either Gardner-Webb or IUPUI. This is a big couple of days for the Mocs as they try to win their first game against a D1 team.


Four Factors: UCLA

Bruins- 65.7%
Mocs- 41.2%
Advantage- Bruins

Bruins- 13.8%
Mocs- 18.9%
Advantage- Bruins

Bruins- 37.9%
Mocs- 28.9%
Advantage- Bruins

Bruins- 30.0%
Mocs- 14.9%
Advantage- Bruins

Bruins- 44.4%
Mocs- 30.0%
Advantage- Bruins

Bruins- 11
Mocs- 8
Advantage- Bruins

Possessions- 80

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Schedule- 11/25/13


UNCG vs. Louisiana Tech at Estero, Florida (Gulf Coast Showcase)
Metro State at Elon (NIT Season Tip-Off)
Montreat at The Citadel

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Radford at Cornell
Quinnipiac at Maine
Gardner-Webb at Northwestern
IUPUI at Missouri

Daily Dribbles- 11/25/13

--It was a bit of a lost weekend for Davidson. After the win over Georgia on Thursday, Davidson lost to Clemson by 31 and New Mexico by 21. Actually, the 21 point loss in Charleston was not all that bad. After all, the Lobos are ranked in the Top 20, so losing to them isn't too bad. But the Wildcats also got the worst piece of news. De'Mon Brooks was injured and is out for an undisclosed amount of time. With Jake Belford also out, the Wildcats are woefully small on the inside right now. Davidson is really undermanned right now. This is the time to catch them. Too bad for the rest of the SoCon  that they aren't playing conference games right now.

--Metro State-Elon is one tough game. The Phoenix are playing a non-D1, but Metro State is the top team in DII, and not going to be easy for the Phoenix. In fact, one could argue that Metro State is the favorite. The SoCon's chances of not losing a game to a non-D1 this year might end today.

--Who's ready for some early SoCon action? UNCG-Louisiana Tech play in the Gulf Coast Showcase. The tounament favorite is probably the Bulldogs, but maybe UNCG can pull the upset. The Spartans have a real shot to go 2-1 in the Gulf Coast Showcase. This will tell us a ton about the Spartans.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

UCLA Recap and Such Tomorrow

UCLA recap and such will come tomorrow. It will be too late when the game finishes tonight to get this done...

Thanks for understanding...


Scanning the SoCon- Week Four

Welcome to Scanning the SoCon. Each week. We've scoured the internet hunting down fans from around the SoCon. There are people from school newspapers, message boards and bloggers. We've come together once again to try to provide a weekly comprehensive look around the SoCon. This is our third year of Scanning the SoCon. Hopefully, it will be the best year yet. If you have any suggestions, feel free to e-mail me or comment.



Louisiana Tech vs. UNCG in Estero, FL (Gulf Coast Showcase)
Montreat at The Citadel
Metro State at Elon (NIT Season Tip Off)


TBA vs. UNCG in Estero, FL (Gulf Coast Showcase)
Oral Roberts vs. Georgia Southern in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Cancun Challenge)
Limestone at Western Carolina
Furman at Virginia Tech
Georgia State at Elon (NIT Season Tip Off)
Samford at Stephen F. Austin (Roundball Classic)


TBA vs. Georgia Southern in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Cancun Challenge)
TBA vs. UNCG in Estero, FL (Gulf Coast Showdown)


Morehead State vs. Chattanooga in Las Vegas, NV (Las Vegas Invitational)


TBA vs. The Citadel in Towson, MD (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Appalachian State at Georgia
Campbellsville at Samford
TBA vs. Chattanooga in Las Vegas, NV (Las Vegas Invitational)


TBA vs. The Citadel in Towson, MD (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Johnson & Wales at Wofford
Brevard at Furman
Davidson at Stetson
Western Carolina at Wright State
Campbell at Georgia Southern


Columbia at Elon
Kentucky State at Samford


1)      Davidson 92 (4)
2)      Elon 87 (3)
3)      Western Carolina 84 (2)
4)      UNCG 56
5)      Chattanooga 52
6)      Georgia Southern 48
7)      Samford 39
8)      Furman 38
9)      Wofford 37
10)  Appalachian State 34
11)  The Citadel 27


Louisiana Tech vs. UNCG- 2 votes
Appalachian State at Georgia- 2 votes

Others: Davidson at Stetson (1 vote), Morehead State vs. Chattanooga (1 vote), Georgia State at Elon (1 vote), Furman at Virginia Tech (1 vote), Samford at Stephen F. Austin (1 vote)


Trey Sumler, Western Carolina- 6 votes

Others Receiving Votes: Tre Bussey, Georgia Southern (3 votes)


Sum up your team.

Georgia Southern- The up tempo style of Mark Byington has been refreshing in Statesboro after 4 years of Charlton Young's low scoring offenses. Byington allows his guards to play in space and shoot the ball which has led to some big numbers for Trey Bussey and Jelani Hewitt who are 1-2 in the SoCon in scoring. As expected though there is little to no scoring presence by the post players. Most of the scoring done by the Eagles in the paint this year will be by the guards penetrating. Defensively there is still a lot of work to be done, which was to be expected, and the lack of size hurts on the boards. But if this team keeps improving they will give some SoCon teams fits. There are very few, if any, teams in the SoCon who have 2 guards that can defend both Bussey and Hewitt.

Samford- Growing pains, growing pains, growing pains. Samford has struggled with just being competitive and it can't all be blamed on youth. The team is struggling for an identity, leadership and competitiveness. There was a glimmer of progress in a close loss to Western Kentucky, but when you look to a close loss for progress, it can't be good. Saying that the non-conference schedule will be a time for the team to gel and the young players to grow up is one thing and patiently watching some poor outings is another. It will drive a Southern Baptist to drink.

The Citadel- The Citadel is a fairly predictable 2-4. Its only D-1 victory came against Presbyterian. The same things that have plagued the program for the past few seasons (turnovers, porous D) have still been present, though in the last few games there has at least been a hint of improved ball security. It does appear this year's edition of the Bulldogs can shoot, though. The 3-point and free throw marksmanship has been quite good. It's possible the Bulldogs may be a little better than expected, but it will be hard to get a sense of that until The Citadel has played its next three D-1 opponents (at Towson, at Navy, Gardner-Webb).

So far, Matt Van Scyoc has played well, which is not a surprise. What has been a surprise, though, is the emergence of freshman forward Brian White. He has been decent-to-excellent in every game, and has been particularly good on the road. White is currently averaging 14.3 ppg (55% FG) and 6.8 rebounds per game, and has 8 of the team's 16 blocked shots. If he keeps up that pace, White will be a strong candidate for SoCon Freshman of the Year. It's very, very, very early, though. C.J. Bray and Warren Sledge (a freshman guard) are both expected to return from injury this week, which should give the Bulldogs some badly needed depth.

Western Carolina- Starting out the season with 2 seniors suspended, looked to be a huge hardship for the Cats, but they beat both Wittenberg and UNCA on the strength of bench. Trey Sumler returned for the Oregon game, and put up 29 points in a losing effort to the Ducks. The Cats then traveled to Va Tech, where the Cats shot a dismal 32% from the floor, with Sumler scoring only 11 points. The Cats now own a 4-4 overall record, with wins over Wittenberg, UNCA, Liberty and Niagara. Loses to Va Tech, Kent State and USC Upstate are due to inconsistent scoring by the Cats, especially Sumler, Tankelwwicz, and King. This could be the turmoil caused by the suspension and then return of Sumler and Mendenhall, but I expected more consistant play from the seniors on the team, that hasn't yet materialized. Unless it does, the Cats will finish mid-pack going into the tournament.

The SoCon has not been good. The RPI currently ranks at #33. Why is the SoCon so bad?

Georgia Southern- I think it has to do with the schedule at this point. The wins have been against lower level teams and then some teams like Davidson have played tough OOC opponents so far which has led to few wins. I'm not too concerned about it because I think this is going to be an exciting SoCon season with UTC and GSU both looking like they can compete with anybody in the league under new coaching and I still think the top 4 teams in the league are going to be very good. Right now I think there are 7 teams who have a legit chance at winning the conference. And at the end of the day the SoCon is a 1 bid league so I'm not too worried about the RPI.

Samford- It has to start with the SoCon Commissioner and the presidents. If basketball isn't a priority, then basketball won't be a priority and anything not a priority isn't going to be good. Plus, four teams leaving and the conference in transition, the conference is searching for an identity. With the addition of Mercer, VMI, and ETSU, I hope that the conference gets some consistency and that consistency, coupled with an emphasis on the sport will raise competitiveness of the league from top to bottom. The SoCon has to do more to hold its members accountable for their schedules. Limestone? Campbellsville? Brevard? Johnson and Wales? Seriously? Why not work deals with the Big South, Atlantic Sun, OVC to make sure that teams and fans see quality opponents in the non-conference schedule? There are too many non-D1s on SoCon schedules. When you associate with less than D1, you are identified with less than D1.

The Citadel- I don't think the SoCon is very good this year, but I'm not taking the RPI seriously in November. The conference is undergoing a major transition, with four schools leaving after this season and three new coaches on the scene. It's not surprising that the early part of the season has been sketchy.

UNCG- I honestly think the SoCon has been better than it appears. RPI and conference rankings are always a little bit screwy this early in the season. Use Davidson as an example ... lists their loss to Virginia as a "bad loss". Their win against Georgia (currently a 300+ team) is not a good one. By the end of the season, Virginia will be at least a top 40 team and Georgia will be in the top 150. I think when we look again later in the season, the numbers will be quite different. However, this league is going to have to win games against D1 competition. That's not happened frequently so far this season.

Western Carolina- Bad teams equal a bad conference. A traditionally weak basketball conference, the SoCon has slipped even lower. No SoCon team has a winning record against Div I teams, only one team is at .500 and 9 have losing records, while 5 teams have won no games against Div I opponents. The best performer at this point. Western Carolina has 3 Div. I wins, but 4 Div. I losses, while 5 teams have only 1 Div. I win. Of the three teams that are departing at the end of the season, App State is 0-4, GSU is 0-3, and Davidson is 1-4. I think the conference's emphasis on FCS football is to blame, as each school devotes a lion's share of the resources to football (except Davidson & UNCG).

Which new head coach is doing the best job?

Georgia Southern- At this point I'm going to give the nod to Mark Byington at GSU. What he has been able to do so far without having any kind of post game has been impressive. But I don't think there is a wrong answer to this question because all 3 have done a good job so far and all 3 look to be upgrades over the previous staff, but it's obviously still very early.

Samford- Georgia Southern.

The Citadel- Uh, I'll go with Niko Medved doing the best job so far, since he's the only one of the three to win a game against a D-1 opponent.

Western Carolina- If you base it on Div. 1 game only records, it's Furman at 1-2. GSU is 0-3 and Chattanooga comes in at 0-3. Just three weeks into the season, I think that is about all that can be concluded from so few games played.

What are your thoughts on the exempt tournaments?

Georgia Southern- I'm in favor of these exempt tournaments because it's a good way to both get some nice matchups and for the kids to get to visit places like Las Vegas, Cancun, ect. I do like the true tournaments though where the winners advance and not the predetermined "better vs better and worse vs worse" matchups.

Samford- I really hate to say this, but I don’t give these tournaments a second thought.

The Citadel- First, I hate the tournaments that have pre-determined "winners" advancing. That's a crock. That's a little different setup from tournaments like the Battle 4 Atlantis, which is really an eight-team tournament with four other teams mixed in so everyone gets 4 games as part of the exemption. That's not such a bad thing, but the problem with the B4A is that it couldn't find four D-1 schools for its "mainland" tournament. That doesn't do Towson, The Citadel, or the schools stuck with playing a non-D1 (UTEP/Southern Cal) for their "extra" game any good.

UNCG- I wish that, like the MVC, the SoCon made every team in it's league participate in one of these per year. We all complain about the scheduling of our current teams. These exempt tournaments give our teams a chance to play multiple D1 teams. I know that sometimes these tournaments have predetermined brackets, and I think that's fine too. Those tournaments are trying to sell tickets and get their teams on TV. Selling match ups is what it's all about. As long as our teams get to play in winnable brackets of their own, it seems fine to me.

Western Carolina- I'm for any opportunities for teams to play additional games, in tournament settings. These exempt tournaments provide valuable experience for the teams playing in them in preparation for both the regular conference season and conference tournament play.

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents-11/24/13


New Mexico 79, Davidson 58
High Point 66, Wofford 56
Chattanooga at UCLA

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

IPFW 76, Kennesaw State 66
Nebraska 73, Georgia 65
Morehead State 63, Nevada 58
Temple 87, UAB 66

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Schedule- 11/24/13


New Mexico vs. Davidson in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPNU)
Wofford at High Point
Chattanooga at UCLA (Las Vegas Invitational)

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

IPFW at Kennessaw State
Nebraska vs. Georgia in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPN3)
Morehead State at Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)
UAB vs. Temple in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPN3)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

UCLA Preview: Is Trouble A Bruin?

The Mocs had the game all but locked out Friday night. But then Nevada threw up a prayer that was answered. The Mocs also had a chance to beat Kennesaw State on Tuesday night, but couldn't put it together in the closing seconds.

So now, less than 48 hours after the loss to Nevada, the Mocs must get back on the court...against what is likely the best team they will play all year. How do the Mocs respond against UCLA on Sunday night?

The Bruins are 4-0 on the young season, having pounded Oakland and Sacramento State by an average of 33 points per game. They beat Morehead State by 11 at home on Friday night. Drexel was the only truly close game so far, who they beat by 5.

The Mocs will be smaller than the Bruins, but that should come as no shock. They have been smaller than each of their last two opponents. The Mocs were still able to outrebound Kennesaw State and rebound basically evenly with Nevada. Can the Mocs continue to play like that against the Bruins?

David Wear and Kyle Anderson are each starters. Wear is averaging 10.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is 6-10. Anderson is 6-9. He is averaging 10.3 points per game, along with 9.8 rebounds and 8 assists per game. He is also averaging 1.5 blocks per game. He had a triple double against Morehead State on Friday night, with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists, to go along with three blocks. Travis Wear is 6-10, and he played his first game on Friday night, when he collected eleven points and four rebounds.

Jordan Adams is the player that gets the most press for the Bruins. He is averaging 22.3 points per game, to go along with 5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and, 3.5 steals per game. He is shooting 47.8% from three point range, can drive to the basket, and is making 88% of his free throws. Finding anyone to stop Adams will be incredibly difficult out on the perimeter as well.

The Bruins also have not been turning the ball over. They have a TO% of 14.8%, which is good for 39th in the country. So the Mocs pressure defense may not bother the Bruins.

Gee McGhee has been the leading scorer for the Mocs, but Z Mason showed on Friday night why he is so good. Greg Pryor was not intimidated by playing at Nevada either. Those three guys all showed up well on Friday night. It will be interesting to see how those guys handle the pressure of playing in Pauley Pavillion agains the Bruins.


The Mocs have been playing with so much effort and energy. It will be interesting to see if they are intimidated playing against the highly touted Bruins. Playing against the bigger Bruins, it will be important for Mason and TJ Williams to hold their own. The Mocs will need to knock down shots and rebound the basketball, while forcing turnovers to have any shot at all. Jordan Adams MAY be able to be contained by McGhee, Pryor and Casey Jones. But it is hard to imagine them holding their own against the inside presence of Wear and Anderson. UCLA 89, Mocs 68. 


SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Scores- 11/23/13


Old Dominion 86, Georgia Southern 69
USC-Upstate 72, Western Carolina 58
College of Charleston 89, Furman 55
Western Kentucky 67, Samford 64

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Radford 69, Binghamton 63
Missouri 72, Gardner-Webb 63
Grand Canyon 78, Lamar 69
Northern Kentucky at Tulane

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents- 11/23/13


Georgia Southern at Old Dominion (Cancun Challenge)
Western Carolina at USC Upstate at Kent, OH (Coaches vs. Cancer Classic)
Furman at College of Charleston
Samford at Western Kentucky (Roundball Showcase)

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Radford at Binghamton
Gardner-Webb at Missouri (Las Vegas Invitational)
Northern Kentucky at Tulane
Lamar vs. Grand Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah

Four Factors: Nevada

Wolfpack- 55.0%
Mocs- 56.25%
Advantage- Mocs

Wolfpack- 19.1%
Mocs- 15.8%
Advantage- Mocs

Wolfpack- 38.9%
Mocs- 34.4%
Advantage- Wolfpack

Wolfpack- 46.7%
Mocs- 51.8%
Advantage- Mocs

Wolfpack- 3
Mocs- 7
Advantage- Mocs

Wolfpack- 44.4%
Mocs- 30.4%
Advantage- Wolfpack

Possessions- 72

Wolfpack 83, Mocs 81

So close. And yet so far away. The Mocs did not trail for the first thirty minutes of the contest, and then fought to stay in the game until the very end on late Friday night, only to see Deonte Burton drain a three at the buzzer to give Nevada the dramatic 83-81 win.

This one hurts, somehow even more than Kennesaw State on Tuesday night. The Mocs had chances to put the game away late in the contest but couldn't get the job done. Z Mason drained a three with twenty seconds left to give the Mocs the lead. Then the Mocs came up with a steal. After that, the Mocs could not inbound the ball, getting a five second call, giving the ball back to the Pack. After they traveled, the Mocs again struggled to get the ball inbounds. Mason was fouled on the catch, but missed both free throws. The Mocs tipped the ball out of bounds off the misses, running more clock, before Burton drained the three, banking it off the glass.

It's a shame for Mason because he was brilliant in this one. He looked like a future pro. He made long shots. He took the ball off the dribble to the basket. He made shots with his back to the basket. It was clearly his best game of the year. He stayed out of foul trouble. It was the sort of performance the Mocs needed from Mason on the road.

Gee McGhee was not his usual brilliant self. But he did score twelve points, including some longer jumpers.

But the most pleasant surprise was again Greg Pryor. He collected 19 points with four rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He became a difficult match-up for the Wolfpack. They struggled to have an answer for either Mason or Pryor in this one.

The Mocs made just 62.1% from the free throw line. Shooting 18 of 29 from the line will get you beat. Lance Stokes and Casey Jones combined to go 4 of 10 from the stripe. While that's disappointing, they can do better than that. They did shoot 50% from the floor and made 7 of 23 from three (which is seven threes, but is also 30.4% from long distance). The Mocs committed just eleven turnovers, and the Wolfpack turned it over 14 times. They also were outrebounded, but basically were even in that category. They just let Nevada shoot over 50%, and that is not good enough defense. The Mocs either need more turnovers or better defensive field goal percentage. It doesn't matter which, but one of those needs to happen for the Mocs to get as good as they can be.

The Mocs showed the same effort that they showed on Tuesday night against Kennesaw State, but they played more under control. They showed a lot of growth just since Tuesday night. They have gotten so much better just since the Radford game a week and a half ago. The game at UCLA on Sunday night appears to be a very difficult contest. But the Mocs are getting closer with each passing game. I don't know if they have the ability to beat the Bruins or not, but they have shown so much heart and energy that I do not count them out from that game.

It was disappointing to lose this game. Heartbreaking in fact. But the team can hopefully bounce back from this tough loss and continue playing. There is so much positive to take from this one. Hopefully, that can continue.

With four games coming in the next nine days, beginning at UCLA, continuing in Las Vegas against Morehead State and then either IUPUI or Gardner-Webb, and ending in Athens playing Georgia. This is a tough stretch, but after that it will be thirteen days before they play another D1 opponent. So there is plenty of time to get better. This is a great stretch for the Mocs to work in game situations and hopefully get a few wins. They can then use the days off to work on the things they see that need improvement prior to coming to Northern Kentucky.


SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents- 11/22/13


Western Carolina 98, Niagara 90
North Carolina Central 76, Appalachian State 70
Clemson 85, Davidson 54
Nevada 83, Chattanooga 81

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

UAB 87, Nebraska 74
Grand Canyon 72, Savannah State 71
Eastern Kentucky 95, Brescia 56
Temple 83, Georgia 81
Northwestern 63, IUPUI 61
UCLA 81, Morehead State 70

Friday, November 22, 2013

SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Furman at College of Charleston

They're baaaaaack!

The College of Charleston Cougars have been featured in this space many times of the last three years. Now, the Cougars are off to the CAA, and their time spending quality time in this space is limited. But they are back, for at least one more time this year. The Cougars are off to a 1-3 start, including some very disappointing performances. Take away eight minutes against Charlotte, and this team would be 0-4.

Probably many Cougars think that their opponent on Saturday is a pushover, because the opponent is a familiar one- the Furman Paladins, a team that really has struggled for much of the Cougars time in the SoCon. But the Paladins are playing better this year. After nearly beating Florida Gulf Coast last week and beating Gardner-Webb, the Paladins have proven to be a better team with Niko Medved as the new head coach.

Furman is lead by Stephen Croone. He has shown that he is almost unstoppable trying to get the ball to the basket. He is averaging 21.3 points per game. He is not a good three point shooter, shooting 18% on the season. If the Cougars can turn him into a jump shooter, they can slow him down. If they can not, then Croone can take over this game. Croone has been turnover prone with four turnovers per game.

Kendrec Ferrara is averaging 8.0 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. At 6-9, he can control a lot of games on the inside. Larry Wideman is the second leading scorer with 13.0 points per game, but has just averaged 7.0 points per game against D1 opponents. William Gates Jr. is the opposite. The frehsman has averaged 14.5 points per game in the games against D1 opponents.

The Cougars present major match-up problems with Adejhi Baru. He is a big man that has just gotten better and better throughout his career. He is averaging 8.0 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game. He is shooting 61.9% from the floor. The Paladins may need to double team him. Ferrara will be trying to guard him, I imagine.

Willis Hall and his 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds will provide a challenge to the Paladins as well. He is only 6-6, but he plays bigger than that.

Anthony Stitt has been struggling more than he ever has before. Stitt is shooting 21.6% from the floor. He is the leader in minutes for the Cougars and averages 2.3 assists per game, along with 5.5 points per game.

Freshman Canyon Barry is averaging 15.5 points per game. He is shooting only 56.3% from the free throw line. The Cougars have been struggling from the free throw line. Joe Chealey is a freshman and is shooting 50% from the free throw line. He is the Cougars second leading scorer, averaging 12.0 points per game.


The Cougars really need Stitt to get going. Desperately. Right now, they are relying on Barry and Chealey to lead them, and counting on freshman to be the team leaders can lead to growing pains. That being said, Baru is a handful. It is hard to imagine the Paladins containing him. Can the Cougars contain Croone? I'm going to guess....NO! But I'm also going to guess that it's not going to matter. It will be a battle, but the Cougars eek one out. College of Charleston 76, Furman 70.

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents- 11/22/13


Clemson vs. Davidson in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPNU)
Niagra vs. Western Carolina in Kent, OH (Coaches vs. Cancer Classic)
Appalachian State at North Carolina Central (Global Sports Shootout)
Chattanooga at Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Nebraska vs. UAB in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPN3)
Morehead State at UCLA (Las Vegas Invitational)
IUPUI at Northwestern (Las Vegas Invitational)
Grand Canyon at Savannah State
Temple vs. Georgia in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPN3)

Daily Dribbles- 11/22/13

--Davidson won a huge game for the SoCon and for the Wildcats. The breakthrough against Georgia was very important. They have a very real chance to win tonight and get to the Charleston Classic Championship Game....possibly in a rematch against New Mexico.

--Wofford, Georgia Southern and The Citadel were all blown out by quality opponents on Thursday night. The Eagles took a ton of threes and did not shoot well, while allowing West Virginia to shoot lights out. Wofford was down big instantly. The Citadel hung around for a while before succumbing.

--Samford got beat by ETSU, in the first win of the year for the Bucs. Kent State beat Western Carolina. Both those games were close for a while before turning into double digit losses for the SoCon school. It was especially important for ETSU, who wanted to show that they can compete in the SoCon next year.

--North Carolina Central had a huge upset over North Carolina State in their last time out. Now they host Appalachian State. The Mountaineers had better come prepared. This is a 3-1 team they are battling. This is a game that the SoCon would have expected to win preseason, that now may be in trouble.

--Western Carolina also battles Niagara in Kent, OH. The Catamounts have a shot to come up with a big win over a pretty good Niagara team. Big day.

--Mocs take on Nevada out in Reno. That is a very tough match-up for the young Mocs.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nevada Preview: West Coast Swing Opens

It's never easy to go West. It's not easy to travel across time zones and play teams in the comfort of their own building. It does not happen frequently in the world of college basketball where teams play multiple games a week most of the time.
The Mocs are on a four game West Coast swing. It all begins on Friday night when they travel to Nevada for a 10:05 Eastern tip. Yikes. Talk about messing up the body clock. My poor body clock may not recover! They follow that up with a Sunday trip to UCLA that tips at 10:00. The work week will start extra early on Monday morning.

Nevada has been playing a lot of close games so far this year. They lost their opener against Pacific, 80-78 in Reno. Their second game was at Cal Poly, who they beat 60-58. Then their third contest was also a road game, was the Wolfpack beat San Francisco 92-90. That's three games all decided by two points. Their fourth game was at Cal State-Bakersfield. The Wolfpack lost 74-66.

How will the Mocs fare in Reno? The Wolfpack are big, but the Mocs showed they could play with bigger teams against Kennesaw State. In fact, they outrebounded the Owls by 18, an impressive total given the Owls height advatntage. Nevada has an OR% of 32.6%. The Mocs have a DR% of 72.7%, which is good for 83rd in the country. The Mocs have the edge in rebounding, but playing against the bigger Wolfpack could be a problem. They need to hold their own in rebounding if they hope to stick around in this game.

The Mocs will have their hands full with Deonte Burton, the 6-1 senior. He is averaging 25.0 points per game this year, along with 2 assists per game (second on the team) and 2.8 steals per game (tops on the team). He has made 9 of 23 from long range so far. He had played 38 minutes per game. In other words, he is the Wolfpack's best player. He has been committing 2.8 turnovers per contest. That's not absurd for a player who plays as much as him, but still a potential weakness for the Mocs to exploit with their pressure defense.

Cole Huff (at 6-8) is averaging 12.3 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per contest. He also averages 1.3 blocks. He can step back and make a three, averaging over one per game. He shoots 54.8% from the field. Michael Perez (at 6-3) is the other Wolfpack player to average in double figures with 12.0 per game and four rebounds. He leads the team in assists with 2.8 per game.

Jerry Evans Jr does not normally start, but he leads the team in rebounding with 6.0 rebounds per game. He is 6-8. Cheikh Alioune Fall has been starting and is 6-9, however he is averaging just 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

The Wolfpack don't shoot a ton of threes. They also do not have a lot of assists. That being said, they do not commit a lot of turnovers. They are in the Top 100 in the country in TO%. How will the Mocs pressure effect them? I'm not sure. The Mocs pressure worked OK against Kennesaw State, but not as well as they hoped. If the Mocs can get back to forcing turnovers and not committing them, and can handle the Wolfpack size, maybe the Mocs can hang around in this one.

The Mocs effort has been outstanding, but their shots are not falling yet. Eventually, shots will fall. This is the toughest environment they will have played in yet- and it will only get to tougher on Sunday night.


The Mocs bring the effort and that will keep them in this game longer than many people are expecting. But it's hard for me to imagine them being able to continue rebounding at their current clip against a team like Nevada. They are just too big. The Pack haven't been turning the ball over, so how will the Mocs defense stop them from scoring? Burton has a huge game. The Mocs hang around for a long time before falling. Nevada 80, Chattanooga 68.

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents Scores- 11/21/13


Davidson 94, Georgia 82
West Virginia 101, Georgia Southern 68
ETSU 89, Samford 75
Wake Forest 82, The Citadel 54
Minnesota 79, Wofford 57
Kent State 72, Western Carolina 59

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

New Mexico 97, UAB 94 (2OT)
Davidson 94, Georgia 82
Florida 79, Middle Tennessee 59
Utah 79, Grand Canyon 54

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents-11/21/13


Georgia vs. Davidson in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPNU)
Georgia Southern at West Virginia (Cancun Challenge) (ROOT)
Samford at ETSU (Roundball Classic)
The Citadel at Wake Forest (ESPN3)
Western Carolina at Kent State (Coaches vs. Cancer Classic)
Wofford at Minnesota (Big Ten Network

Mocs D1 OOC Opponents

Middle Tennessee at Florida (ESPN3)
UAB vs. New Mexico in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPNU)
Georgia vs. Davidson in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPNU)
Grand Canyon at Utah

Daily Dribbles- 11/21/13

--UNCG took care of business on Wednesday night. Thank goodness. Hey, at least no SoCon team has lost to a non-D1 yet! (Or really even come close....)

--Would anyone be surprised if the SoCon went 0-6 today? On the flip side, would anyone be truly surprised by 4-2? With Georgia battling Davidson in Charleston,Wofford visiting Minnesota, The Citadel going to Wake Forest and Georgia Southern at West Virginia are all tough challenges for SoCon teams, but there could be some wins in that crowd. Samford's trip to ETSU is interesting in a battle of current, past and future SoCon teams. Western Carolina's battle with Kent State is also very interesting. Pomeroy predicts 0-6. I'll hope for better. Should be an interesting day and night.

--AppHoops discusses why Appalachian State wound up playing (and beating down) Lees McRae on Tuesday night.

--In the year long battles between the Big South and the CAA, the SoCon leads the Big South 5-3 and trails the CAA 1-0. The SoCon only has one win over a D1 team not from the Big South at this point- Elon's win over Marist. Maybe that will change on Thursday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SoCon & Mocs OOC Opponents


UNCG 92, Greensboro 62

VMI Review: Early Season Tournament Championship Boosts Keydets Outlook

By BToole

As of the time of this writing the Virginia Military Institute Keydets are 3-1 and claimed the championship of the annual All-Military Classic which was held in Lexington, VA. VMI won their first in-season tournament championship since 1978 by beating the Citadel in the opener and the Air Force Academy in the championship game. VMI dropped their first road game at Wake Forest, and rebounded by overwhelming Division II opponent Bluefield State college (W.Va).

The two victories in the All-Military Classic were buoyed by a surprising strong defensive performance against both the Citadel and the USAFA, as well as the outstanding start by freshman QJ Peterson. VMI was able to hold their own on the boards against the bigger Citadel and USAFA squads. While rebounding is not the most telling statistic for VMI because of the style of play, it certainly helps their defensive efforts when they can prevent second chance points. While the defensive performance was good early this year, VMI struggled to shoot the ball, particularly from behind the arc. Prior to the blowout win against Bluefield State, VMI was shooting 36.5% from the field, and 24.2% from 3pfg. This is the telling statistic that needs to improve, and the squad did that against Bluefield State by making 17 3pfg’s. VMI travels to Va Tech to play the Hokies on Monday night.

The tournament championship was absolutely a phenomenal experience for the VMI faithful. Over the past 7 years, VMI has been an extremely competitive squad and has had some of the most prolonged success in any sport that the Institute has experienced. However, VMI continued to come up short of truly capturing the elusive championship. VMI has lost the BS tournament championship 3 times in the last 7 years. Two years ago VMI played for the All-Military Classic and got beat handedly by USAFA. To win this tournament to begin the season boosts the hope that this may be the year to end the post-season drought. Additionally, it was really fulfilling because it gained some national exposure. Jordan Weethee’s highlight dunk was replayed on Sportscenter over and over. QJ Peterson was named Tournament MVP, while Rodney Glasgow also earned All-tournament first team.  

Freshman QJ Peterson has been the surprising performer of the early season. Peterson is averaging 21.3 ppg, while managing 14  steals through the first 4 games. Rodney Glasgow and DJ Covington remain the focal points, however you can see where the bright future of VMI basketball in Peterson. The 6’0 guard from Hedgesville W.Va prepped at Massanutten Military Academy prior to matriculating at VMI. Thus far, the most noticeable attribute has been his fearlessness that he has demonstrated throughout the early season. During the second half of the opener against Citadel, VMI was trailing and seemed lethargic. Peterson started a critical run early in the second half with two 3pfg’s and finished with 18 second half points (22 overall). There is always to be expected some ups and downs for freshman (“rats”) at the Institute during their first year. However, Peterson has not played like a freshman thus far and seems will play a central role to any success the Keydets have this year.

In addition to already playing and beating the Citadel, VMI will play SoCon member Elon on December 3. The SoCon teams have traditionally been bigger than VMI and play a tough brand of basketball. That was evident during Elon’s last trip to Lexington, VA. While VMI pulled out a 90-81 win against the Phoenix, it took a 30point and 16 rebound effort by Stan Okoye.  Elon scored 32 points in the paint and VMI will have to continue to rebound the basketball to prevent second chance points, as well as maintain the pace that Duggar Baucom wants to play.

VMI’s style of play has invigorated the program and quite frankly made the team more competitive. VMI suffered some very poor years in the early part of the 2000’s. The style of play can be frustrating at times, especially with a tight lead in the late minutes, but it is always exciting. Observers to VMI games, must adjust how they view time and score when watching the Keydets. Seven point deficits are more like three point deficits and 12 point leads are more like 4 point leads. While VMI has yet to reach the NCAA tournament, Coach Baucom has provided stability and interest in the VMI basketball program.
As the season moves forward, VMI must continue to shoot the ball like they did during their most recent game. It is critical to the style of play, and made field goals allow the press to be set and effective. Coach Baucom has played four freshman extensively, while going deep in the bench. Hopefully, the early season success gives the team the boost to live in the upper echelon of the Big South in their final year.

Finally, VMI got another bit of good news. Jon Elmore, son of VMI great Gay Elmore has committed to VMI for next year. Elmore is likely to be a point guard at the next level, but is an extremely talented all around offensive player. His dad was twice the SoCon player of the year. Jon’s older brother Ot is currently a rat on the VMI roster and will likely redshirt this year. In addition to QJ Peterson’s early season success, the future looks bright for VMI basketball.

Daily Dribbles- 11/20/13

--Another brutal night for the SoCon. The Mocs should have won at home against Kennesaw State, and Elon's one point loss to Canisius was incredibly disappointing. The Phoenix were up seven with two minutes left and still managed to lose on a last second three pointer. They actually collected 13 offensive rebounds on the night. So close to going 3-0 on the night, but instead went 1-2, with the only win by Appalachian State over non-D1 Lees McRae.

--Thank goodness we get a worry free night in the SoCon on Wednesday. UNCG hosts Greensboro College. That SHOULD be an easy win for the Spartans. Nonetheless, it's always good to read Dash's preview and get prepared.

--Stephen Croone was named the Player of the Week by the SoCon. He earned it. He had my vote in the Scanning the SoCon this past week, and he has looked so good. I've been very impressed with him.