The Mocs third D1, out of conference opponent is a trip to Tennessee Tech. Over the coming weeks, I will be doing a brief look at each of the Mocs D1, out of conference opponents. This being their third opponent also their third road game against a D1 team.
The Mocs will have played on Friday in the opener against Hiwassee, on Sunday at Wisconsin and on Tuesday at Butler, but then will have three long(ish) days to prepare for the showdown against the Golden Eagles. Tennessee Tech will be playing their third game. Their first game is at home against Piedmont International on Friday and then play at USC on Monday. So this will be their first D1 home game.
Tennessee Tech and Chattanooga both seem to be interested in playing teams from Tennessee. The Golden Eagles play Chattanooga, Tennessee, Lipscomb and ETSU out of conference. The Mocs are playing Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb and Middle Tennessee out of conference. The Mocs and Golden Eagles have both expressed an interest in playing a long term home and home and are hoping to play each other on a regular basis as their opening home game. I think the move is very smart. If the Kennesaw State series is to continue for the Mocs, this will give them two close, interesting games against mid-majors early in the season each year. Not bad.
The Golden Eagles will be hoping for Charles Jackson to step up in a big way. In five games in the Dominican Republic this August, he came up with three double-doubles on their 4-1 trip. Dwan Caldwell was recovering from an injury on the trip, but is expected to be a key player for the team this year. The 6-8, 245 pound senior is going to be a handful for a lot of teams to deal with. He averaged 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last year. Torrrance Rowe is a junior college transfer who is expected to be a solid point guard.
This game ought to be interesting. The Golden Eagles went 9-7 in OVC play last year and was 17-16 overall. They are going to be a solid team in the OVC East, but with Belmont, Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State ahead of them, they have a tough road to go.
This game will be the Mocs biggest to this point in the year. While anything except for 1-2 heading into this game will be a major surprise, this game will tell the Mocs a lot about where they are early in the year. With games in the Battle 4 Atlantis in Chattanooga, and a trip to Kennesaw State coming up after this, the Mocs are in a critical stretch of their schedule at this point. They need to have a good stretch through this part of their schedule. If they do, the game at home against Georgia has potential to be a game that really gets the city's attention.
Tennessee Tech is at a similar spot in their schedule. It is right before they begin playing in the Tulane Green Wave Tournament. They will be looking to prove that they can make a run at Belmont and Murray State- the two OVC favorites.