Scanning the SoCon is in its third and hopefully best year yet. Bloggers and fans from around the SoCon discuss their team each week here. As the SoCon season begins, we dive into power rankings, player of the week, game of the week, and questions pertaining to the conference each and every week. Hope you enjoy it.
MondayChattanooga at The Citadel (CSS)
Furman at UNCG
Appalachian State at Elon
ThursdaySamford at Chattanooga
Davidson at Furman
The Citadel at Wofford
UNCG at Appalachian State
Western Carolina at Georgia Southern
Furman at Samford
Wofford at Chattanooga
The Citadel at Elon
Appalachian State at Davidson
1) Davidson 96 (6)
2) Western Carolina 93 (3)
3) Elon 78
4) Georgia Southern 66
5) UNCG 60
6) Wofford 56
7) Chattanooga 42
6) Wofford 56
7) Chattanooga 42
8) Samford 35
9) Furman 30
10) Appalachian State 17
11) The Citadel 11
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina- 5 votes
Others receiving votes: Tim Williams, Samford- 2 votes, De’Mon Brooks, Davidson- 1 vote, Z Mason, Chattanooga- 1 vote
GAME OF THE WEEK
Western Carolina at Georgia Southern- 8 votes
Others receiving votes: UNCG at Appalachian State- 1 vote
Sum up your team.
Chattanooga- The Mocs have won three straight games, and suddenly look like they are a decent team after all. The switch to a zone defense has made a huge difference on the defensive side of the ball. Rico White is playing well for the first time since returning from his injury. He has made a big improvement to the offense. Z Mason is back from an injury and he has been tremendous since his return. Casey Jones is playing the best basketball of his career. They are 1-0 in SoCon play right now with a trip to The Citadel, along with home games against Samford and Wofford in the next week. A trip to Appalachian State is the following week. The Mocs have a shot to get off to a good start in SoCon play, even if they are not a tremendous team.
Davidson- Since I last wrote about the Wildcats, they rolled a non-D1 team, lost an ugly road game at Niagara, lost at home to Drexel, lost in OT at UNC, lost at Wichita State, lost at home to CofC, and then had a comfortable win at Wofford. 2-5. 1-5 against D1 teams. 2 home losses. Ugly, ugly, ugly. But the team is getting healthy. DeMon Brooks responded to a poor performance at home on New Year's Day against CofC by destroying Wofford. 28 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists. He was unstoppable. The Wildcats are just 5-10 overall, but they are 1-0 in conference play with a nice road win. Fans are hopeful and optimistic.
UNCG-The life of following a very young team. The last time I wrote for this segment, UNCG had just finished up it's worst week of the season. As I write this week, UNCG has just finished one of it's more successful portions of the year. During this stretch, the Spartans Completely whipped James Madison and taken NC State and Wake Forest down to the last minute before falling to them. UNCG also defeated just it's second ACC team ever by erasing an 11 point second half deficit to stun Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, UNCG did not look very good in its most recent game at Western Carolina. The Spartans drifted back into some old, bad trends with 23 turnovers. The team has a young back court and I guess it's not surprising to see that number a of turnovers against an experienced team on the road.
Western Carolina- Western Carolina seems to be playing some pretty good basketball right now (at least at home). The Cats have won four of their last five, including wins over preseason favorite Elon, as well as a surging UNCG, beating both very convincingly. Jumping off to a 2-0 conference record hopefully bids well for the Cats.
How much difference do you think Jay Canty will make in coming back to Appalachian State?
Chattanooga- Canty did not make much difference in a 24 point loss to Dusquesne, but the Mountaineers should be improved as the season progresses with Canty. That being said, I have some real doubts about how much improvement the team on the whole can show. They are not a good team, and don’t look like they will be much better even with Canty. The Mountaineers will win a few games, but even with Canty, I believe this team is one of the three worst teams in the SoCon.
Davidson- I don't think Jay Canty will make much of a difference. He's a solid player, but there are too many negatives to overcome. The coach has to realize that he's not going to be there much longer. The team still hasn't won a D1 game this season. Canty will help. He'll post some nice numbers. It won't translate into many wins.
UNCG- That team has been downright bad in the first 2 months of the season and Canty is an all-conference caliber player. So, I think it's safe to say that he should make a huge difference for that team. The question is more how long will it take Canty to get up to speed and for the team to adjust playing with him.
Western Carolina-Canty will make some difference for the Mountaineers, but not enough to pull ASU out of the bottom third of the conference. ASU plays Elon on Tuesday, and that game should tell us lots about both teams. Should ASU win it won’t bode well for Elon in conference play.
Which player do you think is the most underrated player in the SoCon?
Chattanooga- I’ll go with Kyle Cain from UNCG. Cain has been a tremendous asset to the Spartans and has changed their team. He is a dominant player inside, and the Spartans are a much better team because of him. You don’t often hear him mentioned among the best players in the SoCon, but he belongs in that discussion. My runner-up is Casey Jones of Chattanooga, who is not often mentioned among the Mocs best players, but has been playing as one of their best in recent weeks.
Davidson- I'm not sure. Z. Mason? Spencer Collins? Tyler Kalinoski? Stephen Croone? I guess I'll go with Z. Mason. He a very efficient scorer, superb rebounder, and the leading shot-blocker in the league. And he's just 6'6. Last week the Mocs got wins over Maine and Furman. Without Mason, they would have lost both games. In the two wins, he totaled 35 points, 28 rebounds, and 9 blocks.
UNCG-I think this panel does a very good job of noticing all of the good players in this league. So, it's awful hard to say someone gets overlooked. But with all of the attention that's been paid to who isn't playing for App State, I think Tevin Baskin has been overlooked. He's put up dome very solid stats with 11.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and almost a block a game.
Western Carolina- Kyle Cain, UNCG - Cain is averaging over 30 mins per game, putting up 51.7% field goals and leading the Spartans in rebounds with 8.5 per game. If UNCG continues to improve as a team, Cain's fortunes will continue to improve as the Spartans floor leader.
What is the top rivalry in the SoCon right now?
Chattanooga- I’ll go with Western Carolina and Appalachian State. They genuinely do not like each other. Their rivalry will not survive the move of the Mountaineers to the Sun Belt. But for now, these teams don’t get along, and their games are tense. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Davidson- I guess WCU and ASU, even though it is a rivalry that probably won't continue after ASU leaves the Southern. They really don't like each other at all. They hate losing to each other at anything.
UNCG-I think the Davidson-Elon rivalry is the most interesting right now. It has a lot to do with the Matheny-Davidson connection and the fact they play very similar styles. I'll be interested to see if Citadel-VMI can grow a good rivalry starting next season with the conference shuffling.
Western Carolina- Probably the top rivalry right now would be Davidson and Elon. Next season it's The Citadel and VMI, as well as, UTC and ETSU.