Monday, December 2, 2013

Scanning the SoCon- Week Five


Chattanooga at Georgia

Presbyterian at UNCG
VMI at Elon

Furman at Fordham
The Citadel at Navy
Western Carolina at Coastal Carolina
Brewton Parker at Georgia Southern
Wofford at Gardner-Webb
North Greenville College at Appalachian State
Davidson at Charlotte
UT-Martin at Samford

Austin Peay at Samford
William & Mary at Wofford
Gardner-Webb at The Citadel
Johnson & Wales at Davidson
Georgia Southern at South Carolina State
Furman at Presbyterian
UNCG at North Carolina

Charlotte at Appalachian State


1)      Davidson 105 (5)
2)      Western Carolina 94 (2)
3)      Elon 92 (3)
4)      UNCG 74
5)      Chattanooga 60
5)   Georgia Southern 60
7)   Wofford 44
8)  Samford 43
9)  Furman 39
      10) Appalachian State 36
11) The Citadel 13


Elon at VMI- 3 votes

Others Receiving Votes: Davidson at Charlotte (2 votes), UNCG at North Carolina (2 votes), William & Mary at Wofford (1 vote), Wofford at Gardner-Webb (1 vote)


Jelani Hewitt, Georgia Southern- 6 votes

Others Receiving Votes: Z Mason, Chattanooga- 3 votes


Sum up your team.

Appalachian State- I hate this team. Haven't won a D1 game yet, aren't consistent andeven when Jay Canty returns, this team seems to permeated by a losing culture. Yes the season really starts in January with SoCon play, but there's very little to be happy about right now. Mike Neal is the best player on this team, but has his slumps. Capel has decided to go small in the lineup, but it hasn't paid off. The dynamite hasn't gone boom yet, but it's being accumulated.

Chattanooga- The Mocs went out West and went just 1-3 on the trip. It was not particularly good, especially against UCLA. The loss to Morehead State showed off how bad the Mocs can be on defense. The win the following day against IUPUI showed off how good they can be. They also played well against Nevada, losing on a last second bank three pointer by the Wolfpack. The Mocs are playing OK, and seem to be (despite some bumpy roads) be getting better as the season progresses. Once they get into SoCon play, the Mocs should be very competitive.

Elon- Elon has struggled out of the gates this season, posting a subpar 3-4 record through seven games. This week saw Division II Metro State upset Elon at Alumni Gym. Metro State was led by Mitch McCarron, who scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a thrilling 75-74 victory for the visiting Roadrunners. Metro State, the No. 1-ranked team in Division II, has come up victorious in three  of their four contests versus Division I opponents, with wins against Fairleigh Dickinson and Canisius, and the lone loss versus the University of Rhode Island.  Regardless of how well Metro State has played, this was a deflating defeat for the Phoenix. The loss marked their fourth straight defeat after starting out 2-0 on the year. Elon was able to quickly shed the memories of its loss to Metro State by beating Georgia State the very next night at Alumni Gym. Six Elon players scored in double-digits as the Phoenix drained 15 three-pointers in its 90-85 victory. Lucas Troutman scored a team-high 19 points, while Tanner Samson and Sebastian Koch chipped in 15 points apiece. Elon (3-4) will play two more home games in the upcoming week, hosting Columbia and Virginia Military.

With DeMon Brooks out, who is the best big man in the SoCon?

Appalachian State- Tim Williams by default. 15.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG. Although if he gets playing time, Rantavious Gilbert of App State has shown shot-blocking prowess.

Chattanooga- While Tim Williams is very good, Chattanooga’s Z Mason is probably the best big man in the SoCon. While he shoots long range shots, he also can make excellent inside moves that are very impressive. He’s averaging 17.6 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per contest. He’s on a short list for the Player of the Year in the SoCon, while I would be surprised if Williams can get that far, unless the Bulldogs really turn things around.

Elon- I would like to say that Lucas Troutman is the clear-cut favorite for best big man in the SoCon now that Brooks is out with a knee injury, but Troutman has still yet to develop into the rebounder that Elon needs him to be. The 6-foot-10-inch center ranks 23rd in the conference in rebounds, corralling just 4.6 boards per contest. As of right now, Samford’s Tim Williams is the best big man in the SoCon. The sophomore forward leads the league in rebounds (7.9 rpg) and averages 15.3 points per contest.

What’s been the biggest SoCon upset so far this year?

Appalachian State- By default you have to go with Davidson over Georgia.

Chattanooga- I’ll go with UNCG beating High Point on opening night. High Point is a pretty good team and the Spartans are OK, but not that good. The Spartans win was at home but High Point is 3-3, including a ten point win over Wofford.

Elon- The Southern Conference has not fared well in the early goings of the 2013-2014 NCAA season. Therefore, it is an arduous task to select the biggest upset this year, with so many SoCon teams coming up short in their non-conference battles. I would choose Furman defeating the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs as the biggest Socon upset to this point. The Bulldogs (4-4) have played well this season and recently defeated Morehead State (6-3) in an overtime battle. Furman beat the Bulldogs earlier in the season at home, behind a monster night from Stephen Croone, who scored a career-best 30 points.

What basketball related things are you thankful for?

Appalachian State- I’m thankful for being able to cheer my team in person, despite how wretched they can be.

Chattanooga- I’m thankful for being able to cover the Mocs and SoCon basketball. I am also thankful to get to enjoy college basketball, all the way up to March Madness. Unlike the average sports fan who just joins the college basketball world in March, I love the way the season builds up. I’m glad I get to enjoy it.

Elon- I am thankful that, despite Elon’s early-season struggles, the team has a great shot to turn things around and be the powerhouse team in the Southern Conference that so many expect them to be. I am thankful that Elon has the opportunity to face off against touted opponents in the next month, including Colorado, Georgetown, Duke and UMASS. Most of all, I am thankful that Southern Conference play tips-off at the beginning of January.

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