Sunday, January 12, 2014

Scanning the SoCon- Week Eleven

Each week, bloggers and fans from around the SoCon vote on weekly awards and answer questions about the conference. This is the third year of Scanning the SoCon and hopefully our best year yet.


Furman at Georgia Southern
Chattanooga at Appalachian State
The Citadel at UNCG
Elon at Davidson

Samford at Western Carolina
Georgia Southern at Appalachian State
Davidson at UNCG
Furman at The Citadel
Massachusetts at Elon
Chattanooga at Wofford


1)      Davidson 97 (7)
2)      Western Carolina 91 (2)
3)      Elon 80
4)      Chattanooga 67
5)      Georgia Southern 60
6)      UNCG 58
7)      Wofford 51
8)      Samford 33
9)      Furman 22
10)  Appalachian State 19
11)  The Citadel 16


Z Mason, Chattanooga- 5 votes

Others Receiving Votes- Lee Skinner, Wofford- 2, DeMon Brooks, Davidson- 1.5, Chris Czerapowicz, Davidson- .5


Elon at Davidson- 8 votes

Others Receiving Votes- Massachusetts at Elon- 1


Sum up your team.

Georgia Southern- It's going to be nice having both Eric Ferguson and Trent Weideman on the floor next year, but the thought of "what if" has to be going through every GSU fan's mind right now.  If Eric Ferguson was healthy I think GSU could win the SoCon this year.  The frontcourt hasn't been nearly as big of a liability in conference play as it was in out of conference play, but the Eagles are still getting very little offensively from the post players.  Kyle Doyle is a freshman who is getting better every week and if he can continue that he could be a big part of GSU's plans come conference tournament time.  Angel Matias is incredibly undersized playing the power forward position at 6'4 but he's a very good rebounder, averaging 7 rebounds a game.  As a JUCO I think it took him a little bit of time to get used to division 1 basketball, but he looks a lot more comfortable now than he did at the beginning of the year.  Jelani Hewitt and Tre Bussey continue to carry the team offensively and that's not going to be changing.  What does have to change is GSU's poor free throw shooting.  It cost the Eagles the game against Western Carolina and that wasn't just a one time thing as the Eagles are 9th in the league in free throw shooting.

Samford- I'll keep it short and sweet, Samford is struggling to find an identity, leadership and purpose.  Perhaps it is just a matter of taste, but our style of play is ugly.  Maybe it is supposed to be ugly, but ineffective is ugly's intimate companion and the offspring is losing.  The faithful hope it is still the by-product of switching from the Princeton to whatever it is we are trying to do now, the hopeful hope it is just youth, the pessimist are looking forward to baseball season.  Whatever the reality is, we just aren't very good right now. 
The Citadel- The Citadel continues to lose games. “We’re close,” said Chuck Driesell after the OT loss at Wofford. Close doesn’t count, though. It is true that in three SoCon matchups, the Bulldogs have been respectable. However, they blew double-digit second half leads in two of the three games and have not yet demonstrated an ability to put things together in a way that would lead to wins. The Citadel’s struggles on the road have been so acute it’s a wonder Jeff Bzdelik isn’t the coach. In a little over a week, the Bulldogs host Furman and Appalachian State. They need to win both games.

Western Carolina- The Catamounts start off the season 3-0, with a very tough road win at Georgia Southern.  The Eagles are certainly playing better than their preseason pick of number nine.  The Cats have wins over preseason favorite Elon and a very good UNCG team.  The Cats will not play again until next Saturday, when they will take on Samford in Cullowhee.  WCU is on a four game win streak, and have won five of their last six games. 

Who is the most overrated player in the SoCon?

Georgia Southern- This is a tough one, but I'd probably have to say Karl Cochran.  Not that he's a bad player by any means, but he puts up a decent amount of points on a lot of shots.

Samford- Right now, I hate to say it, but Samford’s own Raijon Kelly. He has not lived up to all conference honors. He isn’t even in the starting lineup. He needs a healthy dose of confidence to get back to last season’s form. A shot at the buzzer to beat Furman may be the confidence boost he needs, but Kelly is struggling. He has far more potential than we have seen thus far.

The Citadel- I don’t know if you can say any player in a league like the SoCon is overrated, especially this early in the conference season. There aren’t many people out there rating the SoCon at all. Last year, the most overrated player in the league was probably Karl Cochran of Wofford. He appears to be playing a little better this season so far, though not really at an all-conference level.

Western Carolina- Jack Isenbarger (Elon) -  Selected as a preseason all conference selection, Isenbarger is only averaging 6.9 ppg and has a 36.4% field goal average.  He just hasn't played to expectations.
What record do you think a SoCon team will need to secure a bye in the conference tournament?

Georgia Southern- I think ten wins definitely gets a bye but I could see 9-7 or 8-8 getting that last bye as well.

Samford- Considering that five teams get a first round bye, it won’t take much. There is a lot of parity in the middle of the SoCon pack. Parity combined with mediocrity means that there will be a lot of teams playing around .500 ball and tie breakers are likely to be the deciding factor between places 5 and 7. I’m going to go out on a limb and say someone sneaks in at 8-8.

The Citadel- I have no idea. If I had to guess, 9-7 might win a tiebreaker.

Western Carolina- Five teams get a bye out of 11 team, that means six team play in the first round.  To get that number 5 bye, I think a team will have to have at least a 11-5 conference record out of the 16 conference games each team will play.  I think that the top three finish with three or less conference losses, and four and five finish with 4 or 5 losses. 

Dean Keener wrote, “When you add in all these factors across different campuses, there is very little a conference office can do in terms of scheduling.” Agree or disagree?

Georgia Southern- I agree. I’ve seen first hand how tough it is to get schools to come to Statesboro, Georgia and play in Hanner Fieldhouse. It’s not an easy thing to do. But I do like the idea of limiting how many non-D1 games you can play. I think the SoCon should also try and pair up with another conference to play a “challenge” which would help out these smaller conferences with home D1 games.

Samford- Nobody knows the trouble these coaches have seen. Cry me a river. If all these mid-major coaches are having such trouble, why not schedule each other instead of non-D1s? I’m not buying it. It is tough all over. They are supposed to be D1 conferences, the conference offices can broker deals with other mid-major conferences to play a certain number of inter-conference games to fill out quality schedules. They can also severely restrict of even prohibit non-D1 games. These are D1 teams. It only makes sense, if you are D1, that you in fact play a D1 schedule. Playing NAIA and D2 games is a fraud on the game and the fans.

The Citadel- It’s entirely on the league office for not enforcing a rules about playing so many non-D1 teams. Exactly why was Dave Odom hired again? How about the SoCon office helping place more league teams in exempt tournaments? How about the league office helping teams put together non-conference TV matchups? How about the league office doing anything?

Western Carolina- I think there is a lot the conference office could do, but only with the agreement of a majority of the conference members, which the conference will not get. I think about the only thing the conference office can really do is encourage better scheduling. This is not a basketball centered conference. As long as football is the center of the universe of the SoCon, basketball will not greatly improve overall, conference wide.

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