Wednesday, March 5, 2014

SoCon Team Capsules

Play the SoCon Tourney Challenge!

You know your team. You know all there is to know about your team. You are a diehard fan. But as you prepare to watch the SoCon Tournament (whether in person in Asheville or on ESPN3, CSS and ESPN2), you may want to know a bit more about all the other teams. This is not meant to be a detailed summary of each team. It is simply meant to be a quick capsule of each team that gives you some players to watch and some basics.

Appalachian State

RPI: 333
Pomeroy: 329
BPI: 322
Batman: Tommy Spagnolo
Robin: Tab Hamilton
Outlook: The Mountaineers are not likely to win the SoCon Tournament in Asheville. Not only would they be the first team to win four games in four days, but to do without Jay Canty or Mike Neal would be amazing. Spagnolo (a walk on) has turned into a nice piece, but he probably is not ready to be a star on a team that wins a conference title. This team can certainly beat Samford, but it's hard to envision a scenario where they upset Davidson on Saturday. If they manage to get beyond that, it gets even tougher to envision.


RPI: 232
Pomeroy: 261
BPI: 249
Batman: Z Mason
Robin: Rico White
Outlook:  The Mocs may be the two seed, but they are not a team most people believe can win the SoCon Tournament. They have overachieved this year in a big way. If the Mocs win two games, they will win twenty games for the first time since 2005-06. The Mocs have not even won a SoCon Tournament game in their last three years. They are not a very good defensive team, but they play so hard, no team will want to have to play them. While they may be able to sneak a championship run in, the more likely best case is to just get to Monday. They could easily lose their first game with a wrong match-up.


RPI: 133
Pomeroy: 116
BPI: 121
Batman:  DeMon Brooks
Robin: Brian Sullivan
Outlook: Davidson is the clear favorite to win the tournament one last time before leaving the SoCon. The Wildcats have the best offense in the league. Their defense has shown flashes, but there have been some really bad defensive games too. The way to beat Davidson is by putting together a great offensive game and hoping that is enough. Sullivan's improved shooting has really made this team a favorite. With the wrong match-up on Saturday, they could be in a dogfight. It's very likely that there will be at least one very close call and maybe even two close calls for the Wildcats. The question is what they do there.


RPI: 169
Pomeroy: 192
BPI: 188
Batman: Lucas Troutman
Robin: Ryley Beaumont
Outlook: The preseason favorite Phoenix have some very good players on their team and they are the only team to beat Davidson during the regular season. However, this team has underachieved in large part. That being said, they are a very dangerous club. They are the sort of team that can provide real problems to Davidson. The Phoenix would have to get by Western Carolina first, but I doubt Davidson wants to see this team in the semifinals, despite the fact that the Wildcats blew them out on Saturday night. This may be Elon's best chance to ever get to the NCAA Tournament, and they are moving up to the CAA next year. They have a lot of seniors as wel. The Phoenix smell their chance. It's now. No pressure.


RPI: 334
Pomeroy: 334
BPI: 331
Batman: Stephen Croone
Robin: Kendrec Ferrara
Outlook: This team is young and only going to get better. They have only won three SoCon games, so to think that they would suddenly win four in a row seems unlikely. That being said, as I've heard people's thoughts on Croone, I've realized that he is highly underrated. Combine that with the growth of Ferrara and Adonis Rwabigwi, along with senior Charlie Reddick, and this team has some decent ability. They have played well against the non-bye teams, despite losing a lot of close games to them. They have been mostly blown out by teams that received a bye. In other words, this team will be a solid club on Friday, and if they escape that one, will be pretty unlikely to win on Saturday. Better days are ahead.

Georgia Southern

Pomeroy: 301
BPI: 290
Batman: Jelani Hewiit
Robin: Tre Bussey
Outlook: The Eagles are not a big team. At all. Even for a SoCon team, they are small. That does not mean that they do not have good guard play, though. With Hewitt and Bussey, they have some of the best guard play in the whole league. Hewitt is a scorer. This team beat Chattanooga on the road a couple of weeks ago. They also were blown out by The Citadel in their final regular season game. So which team is the real Eagles? Who knows? They have potential rematch with Chattanooga on Saturday looming. If they can get by Furman on Friday, that's who they'll play. They are a threat to get to the semifinals for sure, and could get to the championship game with the right breaks, but it's hard to envision them stealing a championship from Western Carolina, Elon or Davidson.


RPI: 313
Pomeroy: 318
BPI: 321
Batman: Tim Williams
Robin: Isaiah Williams
Outlook:  Now this is an interesting team. This team has not won a SoCon Tournament game their last four trips to the tournament, including a horrendous loss last year. But this team has more talent than the average non-bye team. With Tim Williams and Isaiah Williams, this team has two very good underclassmen. With Raijon Kelly, they have another dangerous player. This is a very good offense but a terrible defense. With Tim Williams height, if the Bulldogs are knocking down shots, they are dangerous to anyone. I think if they can win on Friday and gain some confidence, they are the type of team that could make a miracle run in this tournament. But they have to survive Friday first, and that's been easier said than done fo this club for a while.

The Citadel

RPI: 346
Pomeroy: 347
BPI: 342
Batman: Matt Van Scyoc
Robin: Ashton Moore
Outlook: Oh those crazy Bulldogs! They had not won any SoCon games until last week, when they won two. Suddenly the confidence of this club could be going just the right time. The Bulldogs have been close all year long to breaking through. Now that they have some confidence and know how to win, can they make a run in Asheville? It seems unlikely. This team still is not overly talented. They still only beat Samford and Georgia Southern in their last two games- not exactly the top two teams in the league. But any team playing them should be nervous right now.


Pomeroy: 309
BPI: 289
Batman: Kyle Cain
Robin: Kayel Locke
Outlook: The Spartans are the most puzzling team in a league full of them. Sometimes they play great. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they lose to Davidson by 33. Sometimes they win at Wofford by two. Sometimes they do those two things on Thursday and Saturday of the same week. So there is no telling what will happen here. With RJ White and Tevon Saddler, two freshman, this team has some young weapons. Cain, Locke and White are solid inside players. They are not a consistent team on offense or defense. As the six seed, they can play The Citadel and a Wofford team they just beat on Saturday to get to the semifinals. Overall, against their half of the bracket, the Spartans went 5-2. Against the other half, they went 2-7. In other words, the match-ups may favor the Spartans and they could be a surprise team playing on Monday. Look out for the Spartans. Then again, who can figure them out? They may lose to The Citadel by 33 on Friday.

Western Carolina
RPI: 241
Pomeroy: 250
BPI: 245
Batman: Trey Sumler
Robin: Tawaski King
Outlook: The Catamounts started the year expected to finish third. They have a bunch of seniors. Sumler is one of the league's best scorers and is dangerous. However, since their 5-0 start in SoCon play, during which they looked like the best team in the league, they have gone just 5-6. The Catamounts are still good enough to go on a run in Asheville. Western Carolina has played well in Asheville before. Can they catch lightning in a bottle again? Perhaps.


RPI: 168
Pomeroy: 195
BPI: 190
Batman: Karl Cochran
Robin: Lee Skinner
Outlook: The Terriers have plenty of good players. Cochran and Skinner are the heat and soul of this team. Spencer Collins can also score. The key is how well this team performs offensively. The Terriers are an excellent defensive team. They played really well offensively during their win streak. They need to play efficient offense. If they do that, the Terriers can win the SoCon Tournament. This team went 0-4 against the top two seeds, losing by double digits three times and trailing by double digits late in the fourth game. So can this team beat either one of those teams? They are a real threat to win the tournament, but they would appreciate some upsets to help them.

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