Monday, January 27, 2014

SoCon Saturday Preview: 2/1/14

A daily preview of each SoCon game.

Saturday Thought

Samford-Wofford? Georgia Southern-UNCG? Elon-Appalachian State? Sounds like three great games in the bye race as we get February underway. The day will be full of intrigue with those three days. It is February. It is time to start getting ready for SoCon play. Just 35 days until the start of the SoCon Tournament.

Elon at Appalachian State

If Elon and Appalachian State both win on Thursday night, this game will take on huge meaning. The Mountaineers, regardless of what happens on Thursday, will have a huge opportunity on Thursday night to prove that they belong in the SoCon discussion. Michael Obacha and Tommy Spagnolo will try to contain the Phoenix big men. The Phoenix are not a team that likes to drive the ball, and that plays well to the Mountaineers strength. This is going to be a very tough game for Elon, despite the fact that they are the better team. The Phoenix won by 9 at Elon earlier in January. I think the Mountaineers keep it very close, but Elon holds on and survives. Phoenix 72, Mountaineers 70.

The Citadel at Davidson

This may be the biggest mismatch in the entire conference. It's hard to come up with a way that the Bulldogs keep this game close. The best chance for The Citadel is that the Wildcats will have played Chattanooga on Thursday night in what could be a draining game. If the Wildcats come out flat, and if The Citadel gets back to playing the way they did when they seemed to be keeping every game close, maybe the Bulldogs can hang around in this one. But even at that, it's hard to find a way for this game to be much closer than just a single digit game. DeMon Brooks and Brian Sullivan are each major mismatches for the Bulldogs. Davidson wins with ease. Wildcats 86, Bulldogs 60.

Georgia Southern at UNCG

UNCG needs this game every bit as much as they need Thursday night's game. The Spartans need to get home wins over other teams competing for the final bye. This is one of those games. The Spartans have a huge inside advantage over almost any team they play with Kayel Locke and Kyle Cain. That's even more pronounced for the Eagles. How will they contain Locke and Cain? It's hard to even come up with a way. Equally interesting is that it's hard to come up with a way that the Spartans are going to slow down Jelani Hewitt and Tre Bussey. Yes, Tevon Saddler can do a lot of things. But contain an entire perimeter game? Not likely. Both teams are struggling a bit right now. The Spartans get the home win because they are the better team and they are at home, but it will be a really good game. Spartans 69, Eagles 65.

Furman at Chattanooga

The Mocs took out the Paladins by nine points in Greenville in the SoCon opener. A lot has changed since then. The Mocs have grown in confidence, and the Paladins confidence has shrunk. Regardless, with Kendrec Ferrara playing better, and Stephen Croone being a tough match-up for any defense, the Paladins are a dangerous team if the Mocs don't come out ready to play. Coming off of the Davidson game, regardless of the outcome, this will be a tough game for the Mocs to be prepared for. The Mocs have the home court advantage, but both teams will have travelled a long way to get to Chattanooga after their Thursday game. So this will not be easy for the Mocs. I think Z Mason is too much for the Paladins, but this one will be close for a while before the Mocs pull away late. Mocs 78, Paladins 67.

Samford at Wofford

This is another huge game in terms of sorting out the bye positioning. The Bulldogs have been playing well as of late and could really make a statement this week to get into the bye race. They go to Furman on Thursday and will go just up the road to take on the Terriers. Tim Williams against the underrated Lee Skinner should be an interesting inside match-up. The Terriers beat Samford by ten on the road in the SoCon opener. But Samford is playing so much better right now. Will Karl Cochran and Spencer Collins be able to continue to play as well as they did last week? I'm not sure. This is a better match-up than the ten point game they played the first time. Wofford wins at home after the week off, but this one should be close. Terriers 73, Bulldogs 70.

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