Monday, November 18, 2013

Scanning the SoCon- Week Three

Welcome to Scanning the SoCon. 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.



Elon vs. Drexel in Piscataway, NJ (NIT Season Tip Off)
The Citadel at Tennessee (Battle for Atlantis) (FSS)
Samford at UL-Monroe (Roundball Classic)


Elon vs. TBA in Piscataway, NJ (NIT Season Tip Off)
Kennesaw State at Chattanooga
Lees-McRae at Appalachian State

Greensboro College at UNCG  (Gulf Coast Showcase)

Georgia vs. Davidson in Charleston, SC (Charleston Classic) (ESPNU)
The Citadel at Wake Forest (Battle 4 Atlantis) (ESPN3)
Georgia Southern at West Virginia (Cancun Challeneg) (ESPN3)
Western Carolina at Kent State (Coaches vs. Cancer)
Samford at ETSU (Roundball Classic)


Davidson vs. TBA (Charleston Classic) (ESPN Family)
Chattanooga at Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)
Niagra vs. Western Carolina in Kent, Ohio (Coaches vs. Cancer)
Appalachian State at North Carolina Central (Global Sports Shootout)


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


Davidson vs. TBA (Charleston Classic) (ESPN Family)
Wofford at High Point
Chattanooga at UCLA (Las Vegas Invitational) (Pac 12 Network)


1)      Elon 92 (4)
2)      Western Carolina 85 (2)
3)      Davidson 75 (2)
4)      UNCG 56
5)      Georgia Southern 54
6)      Samford 51
7)      Chattanooga 47 (1)
8)      Furman 41
9)      Wofford 38
10)  Appalachian State 32
11)  The Citadel 23


Furman at College of Charleston- 2 votes

Others Receiving Votes: Elon vs. Drexel (1 vote), Wofford at High Point (1 vote), Samford at ETSU (1 vote), Georgia vs. Davidson (1 vote), Chattanooga at UCLA (1 vote), Georgia Southern at Old Dominion (1 vote), Western Carolina at Kent State (1 vote)


Stephen Croone, Furman (3 votes)
Jelani Hewitt, Georgia Southern (3 votes)

Others Receiving Votes: Tre Bussey, Georgia Southern (1 vote), Tevon Saddler, UNCG (1 vote), Tom Tankelwicz, Western Carolina (1 vote)


Sum up your team.

Chattanooga- The Mocs have beaten who they should have beaten, and rather convincingly, taking down non-D1 Covenant and Montreat. The road loss to Radford was expected before the season. There appear to be real problems with the defense, as Radford (one of the worst shooting teams in D1) shot over 50% from the floor. The good news is that the offense appears capable of scoring in bunches. Z Mason and Gee McGhee are as good as advertised in the new system. Greg Pryor has been a pleasant surprise at point guard so far. The Mocs need to force turnovers to play good defense right now. That will improve as the year goes on. I’m very interested to see how this team responds this week against Kennesaw State before heading out on the West Coast to play Nevada and UCLA, then battling Morehead State and either IUPUI or Gardner-Webb in Las Vegas. Big game Tuesday against Kennesaw State.

Davidson-  Davidson is off to an 0-3 start. There is no shame in losing to Duke, especially the way they shot the ball that night. Losing to UWM was a surprise. Davidson looked pretty good at 44-55 and had a late 1 point lead. Losing to the Panthers again this season was a shock. The Panthers were big, athletic, and did a great job of getting to the free throw line. Virginia is ranked #25. Davidson pulled to within a point early in the second half, but Virginia extended the lead and won by 13. The Cavaliers dominated the paint in scoring and rebounds. Davidson is small this season. Sophomore forward Jake Belford looked really good in the preseason and in the Duke game, but has missed the last two games with an injury. The Wildcats need Jake to make a full and speedy recovery. Davidson's two freshmen forwards will both be very good. Until Belford is back and the freshmen get more experience, the other guys on the roster will have to pick it up.

UNCG- UNCG started out the season by defeating the preseason pick to win the Big South, High Point. G found balanced scoring by putting 4 players in double figures. Forwards Kyle Cain and Kayel Locke led the way with 21 and did a good job matching up with High Point's strong front line. On Tuesday, the Spartans jumped out to a 15 point lead on East Carolina and looked to be on their way to win number two. Unfortunately, a turnover and two somewhat questionable foul calls in the last 30 seconds allowed ECU to escape with an 85-84 victory. In both contests, the young Spartans struggled to put the game away even though they held comfortable leads in the last few minutes. I feel like this could be a re-occurring problem as the season continues. However, the Spartans left fans with hope that this team could really make some strides forward this season. This coming week, UNCG should not be tested as they play non-D1 opponents. Hopefully, these games will give the team a chance to work out some of the chemistry issues and expand their bench.

Signing day has come and gone. Tell us something about your schools’ signees.

Appalachian State- App State signed two players. First was promising G Kendrick Flomo from North Forsyth in Winston-Salem. Also coming in is F Rasheed Worrell from Sispey Valley HS in Coker, Alabama. Too bad they won't be playing for Capel next year.

Chattanooga- The Mocs got some really solid signees. Brandon Maxwell is the son of Vernon Maxwell, and appears to be a very good player. Shaquille Preston was recruited by West Virginia and UTEP and wound up signing with the Mocs. He is a great signee, and they will both aid the backcourt with their length, athleticism and fast motors. Duke Ethridge is a nice JUCO find, and will be counted on to replace Z Mason next year. Jacolby Mobley is another JUCO who will come in and immediately contribute in the backcourt. Combine these guys with the transfer Justin Tuoyo from VCU who will be eligible next year, and the Mocs roster will have a big upgrade.

Davidson- Davidson added a very talented forward named Peyton Aldridge, and two fine local guards--Jordan Watkins and Rusty Reigel. Jordan committed to the Wildcats last year. Rusty is the younger brother of Will Reigel.

UNCG- UNCG picked up commitments from players that it desperately needed. CJ Coleman is a shooter from Indiana. Right now the Spartans are full of point guards that can get to the rim, but really only have 2 players (Paulos, Byrd) that can be considered pure shooters. Coleman will add another to the mix. Quadree Smith (6'8" 290 lbs) and Lloyd Burgess (6'10" 280 lbs) add more size and depth to a UNCG front line that is starting to look like the strength of the team. Smith is ranked as the #6 player in Virginia and is another DMV area connection that UNCG has tapped into the last few season (Kayel Locke, Tevon Saddler). I'm really starting to get excited about the talent level that Wes Miller is bringing to UNCG. I feel like it's been a definitely upgrade over the past 2 seasons.

With Davidson’s loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and 0-3 start, is there anything wrong with Davidson that experience won’t fix?

Chattanooga- There’s two problems for Davidson. One is that replacing Jake Cohen is proving harder than they anticipated. Cohen was a nice player down low, and DeMon Brooks is too, but Brooks isn’t as good without his running mate, it appears at this point. Now at some point, who knows? Maybe he will get used to it. The second thing is that regardless of how talented the new faces are, they just aren’t playing together yet. That will come with experience. Sometimes it takes a full year for it to come together. Sometimes it comes together quickly. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the next month or so before we really get an idea of where the Cats are going to be this year. This week in Charleston will be very interesting.

Davidson- I don't think so. Davidson is small in the frontcourt right now. When Belford returns and the freshmen are ready to contribute more, the Wildcats will have adequate size. Fortunately, Southern Conference play doesn't start until January. The Wildcats will be ready for conference action.

UNCG- Davidson has lost to two Top 25 ACC opponents. I don't think anyone could fault them for those losses. The home loss to UWM was the only one that was surprising. In that game, the Wildcats were plagued by an ill-timed case of stagnant offense. Honestly, it's the kind of thing you would expect of a team that is trying to replace the players like Kuhlman, Cochran and Cohen. I don't think that this team will struggle all season, though. By January, I assume that most SoCon teams will not like to see Davidson appear on their schedules.

What should an ideal SoCon schedule look like?

Appalachian State- I would only schedule sub-D1's as pre-season games. With App State,I would schedule Lees-McRae and Lenoir-Rhyne as pre-season games as they're close by and would bring crowds. With a 16-game conference schedule, that is 14 potential non-conference games. I would go on the road for four money games. I would get in a tournament that would be three or four games. The rest would be straight-up home and homes with half local teams and half challenging mid-majors from not in the immediate area. One thing about the Sun Belt is that they have standards when it comes to scheduling. Only one sub-D1 (two this year due to scheduling problems) and only so many money games. I do think non-conference scheduling will get easier in the future as the SunBelt has a 20-game schedule we can get half the SoCon on the schedule. I believe sub-D1's have no place on a regular schedule and it's only done by penny-pinchers, which includes the team I root for.

Chattanooga- You’ve got play two money games at least. Then, it would be nice to get into a relatively good eight team tournament and play three games there against quality teams. That leaves you with about ten out of conference games. I think ideally there would be no non-D1s, but maybe there could be one. In the remaining nine games, they should be six with quality mid-majors home and home. The remaining three games should be two home and one road against low majors. The RPI wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be a quality RPI and there are also some likely wins in that scenario.

Davidson- For years, I've advocated a limit of 1 non-d1 game each year. Though my team is leaving the conference, I'll continue to follow the Southern and would like to see it improve. After the membership stabilizes, I hope that the schools will work together to improve the schedules and limit the number of non-D1 games.

UNCG- I  know that non-D1's are just a part of life as for a lower level D1 program. These programs need home games, to build in a few wins into their schedule and to develop younger players. It's the same reason that high major programs schedule "guarantee games". If I got make my ideal schedule, it would probably consist of 3 money games, 2-3 low major games (mix of home and away), 1 big name home game, a good mix of home-away mid-majors and an exempt tournament. I think every team should be an exempt tournament every year. Having said that, I know that last minute buy outs put schools in a position where they have to bring in non-D1's from time to time. I'm not a fan of having a bunch on the schedule. If I was forced to schedule in order to fill out a home schedule, though, I would definitely do it.



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