Monday, January 27, 2014

Scanning the SoCon- Week Thirteen

Each week, bloggers and fans from each SoCon school get together and answer questions and vote on awards. This is the third year of Scanning the SoCon, and hopefully the best year yet.


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

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


1t) Davidson 94 (5)
1t) Chattanooga 94 (4)
3)      Western Carolina 80
4)      Elon 70
5)      Wofford 66
6)      Samford 51
7)      UNCG 47
8)      Appalachian State 34
9)      Georgia Southern 31
10)  Furman 18
11)  The Citadel 9


Tim Williams, Samford- 6 votes

Others receiving votes- Karl Cochran, Wofford (2 votes), Tyler Kalinoski- Davidson (1)


Chattanooga at Davidson- 8 votes

Others receiving votes- Western Carolina at Elon (1 vote)


Sum up your team.

Chattanooga- Where do you begin with the turnaround that has taken place in the last few weeks? I’m not even sure where to start. It starts with a change in defensive philosophy. But it isn’t just that. It’s a team that has bought into their roles and has bought into the idea that they can win. Z Mason is the favorite in the Player of the Year race. Rico White would be in the race for All SoCon if he had been healthy in out of conference play. Casey Jones is probably in the running to be on some All SoCon team. The Davidson game will be telling to some degree, but it is not the most important game.

Davidson- Since I last wrote about the Wildcats, they've had their best stretch of the season. 5-1. First was a dominating win at Furman. Then a nice home win over ASU. The loss was a bad one. The Wildcats had a large lead late in the game. At home. And pissed it away to Elon. The Wildcats followed that loss with road wins against UNCG and WCU. On Saturday, the Wildcats picked up another home win by destroying GSU. The lead reached 71-34 before the Wildcats cruised to a 30-point victory. The Wildcats are shooting the ball better and playing tougher defense. The team looks more confident. Free throw shooting (16-17 against GSU) has improved lately. Overall, the Wildcats are playing solid basketball. It comes at a good time. In just a few days, the Chattanooga Mocs come to town. They are all alone in first place in the conference at 8-0. It should be a great test for both teams.

UNCG-Following the UNCG Spartans this season has been interesting. Just when I think they've figured everything out and are playing well, they completely crap the bed. Then I temper expectations and they will play lights out for several games in a row. Rinse. Repeat. Ever since a home win against Furman several weeks ago, UNCG has been on one of its downward swoons. It took overtime to beat the Citadel in a game that honestly UNCG didn't deserve to win. That was followed by the first 3 games losing streak of the season.  The Spartans have begaun to clean up their turnover problems of earlier, but have started a new awful trend. Silly fouls and arguing with refs. UNCG players can't help but to foul and they have compounded it with a lot of pouting, bitching and moaning. It's resulted in 4 technical fouls in the last 4 games. Even worse it seems to be the sole focus of some players and coaches. Good teams ca put marginal calls behind them and fight on. The Spartans are young and just haven't shown that ability. They are now looking at 2 winnable home games this coming week that should really tell us where G will stack up at the end of the season.

Which team with four or more SoCon losses do you believe has the best chance to win multiple games in Asheville?

Chattanooga- This is interesting. The teams most likely to win in a tournament setting are the teams with a player that can simply take over for a series of days. Georgia Southern has Jelani Hewitt. Samford has Tim Williams. UNCG has Kyle Cain. Appalachian State will have Jay Canty. So I think those teams are all dangerous in their own right. I think Samford has the best chance to win multiple games. Williams is very good. Tyler Hood and Raijon Kelly seem to be coming into their own now. The Bulldogs blew their first game in the SoCon Tournament last year. I think they will perform better this year. I think they could certainly get to the semifinals or championship game if things break right for them.

Davidson-Easy. Samford. They are 3-4 right now, but that's a pretty good basketball team. In the preseason, most people had them projected to earn a bye. I had them 4th. They were 1-4 before taking home wins over UNCG and Elon. They'll be tough to beat from here on out.

The Citadel- Samford could easily win multiple games in the league tourney. I thought the Birmingham Bulldogs would be one of the SoCon's better squads prior to the beginning of the season, but SU got off to a terrible start. Based on recent results, including the win over Elon on Saturday, Samford may be putting things together.

UNCG- This might be odd to say, but I don't think any of them will win more than one game in Asheville. Three teams look to be much, much better than everyone else in the league. Davidson and Western Carolina are very good and I just don't see them losing to any inferior opponent. I've been waiting for the Chattanooga Mocs to lose at some point. But there's just so many "this is the real test" games they can win before you just have to say that they are very good. By Sunday in Asheville, I expect to see those 3 teams and the 4/5 winner and I don't think any of the other 8 teams will come home with more than 1 win.

Dean Keener says in his post on that there are no superstars in the SoCon. How do you define a superstar player? Do you think there is one in the SoCon right now?

Chattanooga- Obviously, there is no superstar on the level of Steph Curry in the SoCon right now. But to say that there are no star players ignores the fact that the SoCon is full of players that are stars in their own right. I think a star is a player who can take a team and carry them on their shoulders and a long way in the conference tournament. That easily fits several players in the conference. DeMon Brooks of Davidson and Z Mason of Chattanooga obviously fit that mold.  Trey Sumler does too.

Davidson- Star vs superstar. I guess a star is a guy who leads his team and a superstar is a guy who would lead anybody's team. I guess I'll agree with Dean that we don't have any superstar players right now. We have guys like Williams, Mason, Sumler, and Brooks who can carry their team for a game. Or for a season. Would they carry Kentucky or Michigan State? Will they be NBA all-stars?

UNCG-I would define a star player as that can draw me to watch a team that I had no interest in seeing play otherwise. It's hard to say anyone in the SoCon has generated even a portion of the buzz that Stephen Curry generated several seasons ago. However, I think there are still stars on a more scaled down basis. Z Mason and De'Mon Brooks definitely qualify this year.

It was around this time that BracketBuster match-ups used to be announced. Of course, the BracketBusters are no more. Do you miss them or are you glad they are gone?

Chattanooga- I’m fighting a lonely battle. I liked the BracketBusters. I found them enjoyable and always looked forward to them. I watched a lot of basketball that weekend and it was almost entirely mid-major basketball. It was fun. Was it perfect? No. Was it good? Sure was. I hope they come up with another thing to celebrate mid-major basketball.

Davidson-I do miss the Bracket-Buster weekend. It was fun. But it had become bloated. There were way too many teams in the last few years of the event. When ESPN brings it back, I hope they are a bit more selective with the teams.

The Citadel- In my opinion, Bracketbusters was only worth it if a team picked up an extra TV game. For the vast majority of the participants it resulted in an inconvenient break in the conference season, a non-league game the following year that may or may not have been wanted, minimal media coverage, and very little else. Good riddance.

UNCG-Honestly, UNCG very rarely ever played in the bracketbusters. So, the fact that they went away didn't even occur to me until reading this question. Even though that event was billed as a mid major showcase, it really was only a WCC and MVC showcase. So, it doesn't bother me that it's gone. It was a nice idea that had outlived its time.

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