The Mocs thought their season may be over last Saturday following a disappointing loss to Georgia Southern in the first round of the SoCon Tournament. Instead, they got a second life and get the chance to play in the CIT and compete for a championship this postseason.
Not only that, the Mocs get to play ETSU, a former archrival and team who is joining the SoCon again next year. The Mocs and Bucs are both expecting to contend for the SoCon title next year. This is a match-up between two reasonably young teams, and will be a chance to set the tone as they head into the offseason.
The Bucs ae one of the fastest teams in the country. They are 26th in the country in terms of adjusted tempo. They fly up and down the floor offensively. They also score a lot of their points from the free throw line and three point range. They rank 324th in the country in percentage of points scored from two point range. They also give up a lot of threes on the defensive side of the ball. They also foul more than most teams.
The Bucs have two senior starters. Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard is 6-6, 250 pounds. He is averaging 10.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and three assists per game. Hunter Harris is averaging 9.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Harris is 6-7.
That means that the Bucs have some height that could challenge the Mocs. Of course, the Mocs have done a good job against height this year, despite being so undersized. Z Mason, Casey Jones and Lance Stokes will have their hands full against the Bucs big guys. Gadsden-Gilliard and Harris will be tough to handle.
Rashawn Rembert is the team's leading scorer. He's averaging 16.8 points per game. He is making 43.1% of their threes. He is a 6-3 junior. He will make a ton of shots if he is left open. But he is not one to drive the basket particularly well. That is a key against the Mocs. The Mocs are not good against those types of guards.
AJ Merriweather is more likely to drive the ball. He is only 6-2, but he is averaging 9.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. He is a small forward, but he is the player that I think is most likely to hurt the Mocs overall.
Whew. This should be a very good game between two teams that may not appear to deserve a postseason, but both are threats to win the CIT if they can get things rolling. These are two pretty interesting teams who will be conference rivals next year. They are old rivals too. This game will get plenty of excitement from both fan bases, and it should be a ton of fun. I think the Mocs match-up reasonably well with the Bucs and will take advantage of their second chance. I think that Rico White and Martynas Bareika will actually knock down a couple of threes. I think that the Mocs will control the Bucs inside, with Z Mason making a couple of huge plays down the stretch, as the Mocs come up with the slight upset. It will be an up and down game, and will be a fun watch for everyone, just getting everyone ready for next year. Mocs 78, Bucs 75.