The SoCon schedule is set. It is an intense out of conference schedule.
From November 14 (the opening night of college basketball) through December 31, the SoCon has just eight days where no SoCon team is playing. Four of those are December 23, 24, 25, and 26. That means that there are 40 days between opening night and the end of the year when there is a SoCon team playing. Prior to the four day Christmas Break, that's 35 out of 39 days.
If you are a SoCon basketball fan, basically, this is a dream come true. There will be a chance to follow the SoCon and watch plenty of the other schools prior to conference play. Then once conference play starts, we'll fall into our typical routines where the SoCon plays games on Thursday and Saturday, with an occasional Monday, Wednesday or Sunday game.
There are a handful of SoCon games in December that could be a critical part of the SoCon races. Below is a list of the early season SoCon games.
Wednesday, December 3
Western Carolina at ETSU
Thursday, December 4
VMI at Samford
Saturday, December 6
Samford at Furman
VMI at Mercer
Thursday, December 11
Chattanooga at The Citadel
Saturday, December 13
UNCG at ETSU
That means that ETSU, VMI and Samford all play two games of their conference schedule before the calendar turns to 2015. Wofford (the likely league favorite) does not play at all in December.
ETSU and Chattanooga are considered the next two most likely teams to win the SoCon after Wofford by many prognosticators. With the Bucs hosting UNCG and Western Carolina, it's going to lead to a tougher road in January and February as they will have just seven home games and nine road games.
The Mocs go to The Citadel in December, which is probably the team that is expected to finish last in the SoCon. Still, road games in Charleston have been tricky for the Mocs in the past, and it becomes the sort of game that they need to win if they want to win the regular season championship.
VMI and Samford play each other, then go on the road for their second game. VMI will get nine home games in January and February and just seven road games. If they come up with a couple of road wins in December, they will be in much better shape in the two conference months. The Keydets should be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the conference this year.
The season of course culminates with the SoCon Tournament in Asheville on March 6 through 9.
The SoCon Tournament schedule may not be of interest to any of you yet, but I'm here to provide you the information you don't even know you want to know.
Friday, March 6
#8 seed vs. #9 seed 6:00 PM (ESPN3)
#7 seed vs. #10 seed 8:30 PM (ESPN3)
Saturday, March 7
#1 seed vs. #8/9 12:00 PM (ESPN3)
#4 seed vs. #5 seed 2:30 PM (ESPN3)
#2 seed vs. #7/10 6:00 PM (ESPN3)
#3 seed vs. #6 seed 8:30 PM (ESPN3)
Sunday, March 8
Semifinal #1 6:00 PM (ESPN3)
Semifinal #2 8:30 PM (ESPN3)
Monday, March 9
Championship Game 7:00 (ESPN or ESPN2)
I am already looking forward to the tournament already. Can't wait until we get there.