A daily preview of each SoCon game.
Thursdays seem to be the big day in SoCon play this year. Chattanooga and Davidson match-up in a game between the top two teams in the SoCon. Of course, the bye race is really heating up. Western Carolina is in good shape...for now. With Elon, Samford, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, and UNCG all fighting for positioning, today should be a load of fun. Remember last Thursday when Chattanooga played Elon and Western Carolina played Davidson? The two home teams go on the road this week and they switch opponents. More potential SoCon semifinal previews.
Chattanooga at Davidson
This is the SoCon Monster Game of the Week. And it deserves it. The Mocs have been rolling to an undefeated SoCon start halfway through the conference season. The Wildcats are 6-1 in SoCon play, with their one loss being a home overtime loss to Elon. This is going to be an incredibly interesting game. DeMon Brooks and Z Mason may be the two best players in the SoCon, and they'll probably be head-to-head for much of the night. The Wildcats are the bigger team, and if they can win the rebounding battle handily, they will win this game relatively easily. Casey Jones has been so good lately. Rico White has been too. Tyler Kalinoski has been playing well lately. Brian Sullivan has also been red hot. This is a pretty good match-up, but I think that Davidson being at home in a huge game will come out and the Mocs just aren't quite ready to win this kind of game. Yet. Wildcats 78, Mocs 71.
Western Carolina at Elon
The Catamounts and the Phoenix hooked up in Cullowhee and Western Carolina won by 12 on January 4. Lucas Troutman scored 15 points with nine rebounds for the Phoenix. The Phoenix are 7-2 at home this year. Can they bounce back from the blowout loss in Cullowhee and win at home? The Phoenix have lost three straight games since beating Davidson in overtime. It's almost like they thought they had arrived after beating Davidson. It's hard to imagine how the Catamounts match up size-wise with the Phoenix. But that was also true the first time. Trey Sumler will be good. Here's the key- Tanner Samson won't go 0 for 7 this time. The Phoenix will get a very close home win. Phoenix 77, Catamounts 75.
Samford at Furman
Kendrec Ferrara. Tim Williams. Ferrara is one of the most underrated big men in the SoCon for the Paladins. Williams is one of the best big men in the SoCon. Both are big and will be a lot of fun for both teams to handle. Stephen Croone is a great player driving the ball to the basket, but the Bulldogs Raijon Kelly and Isaiah Williams will be solid on the perimeter as well. Samford snuck by Furman 57-55 at home back on January 11. Since that time, the Bulldogs have gone 2-1, losing by just three at Western Carolina. Furman lost in overtime to Georgia Southern, beat The Citadel and were destroyed by Wofford. My belief is that Furman is not playing right now and that Samford is playing their best basketball. Bulldogs 61, Paladins 54.
The Citadel at Georgia Southern
This is a match-up of two teams equally desperate to get a win. The Bulldogs are not doing well. They are winless. The Eagles have been blown out in three straight and won in overtime against Furman after losing to Western Carolina. Jelani Hewitt and Tre Bussey of Georgia Southern should have a field day against The Citadel's guards. Matt Van Scyoc is likely to contribute in this game for the Bulldogs. But on the road? Against a team with two stud guards? While playing terrible in their last few games? This is not a good match-up for the Bulldogs. Eagles 79, Bulldogs 66.
Appalachian State at UNCG
I know everyone is excited about Chattanooga-Davidson. I also understand that Western Carolina-Elon is another huge game. But in some ways, this may be the most intriguing game of Thursday night. These two teams seem to be moving in opposite directions. Appalachian State has won two straight games. UNCG has lost three straight. If either team is going to make a real run at a bye spot, this feels like it is the game that each team will make a statement. The Spartans will need Kyle Cain and Kayel Locke to dominate in the paint. The Mountaineers will need a full team effort with Jay Canty still out. They've been getting it so far. I think the Spartans will win at home, but it will be too close for some Spartan fans. Spartans 71, Mountaineers 67.