It is Year Four of Scanning the SoCon, and the race is really heating up this week. Each week, a group of bloggers and fans will answer questions about the SoCon. I hope you all enjoy it.
ThursdayChattanooga at Mercer
ETSU at Furman
Western Carolina at VMI
Wofford at UNCG
Western Carolina at UNCGThe Citadel at Chattanooga
Mercer at Woford
North Carolina Central at ETSU
Furman at Samford
1) Wofford 79 (7)
2) Chattanooga 72 (1)
3) Mercer 63
4) ETSU 58
5) VMI 42
6) Western Carolina 41
7) Furman 28
8) The Citadel 26
9) Samford 21
10) UNCG 10
GAME OF THE WEEK
Chattanooga at Mercer- 6 votes
Others Receiving Votes- Mercer at Wofford (2 votes)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Michael Bradley, Samford- 2 votes
Jalen Riley, ETSU- 2 votes
Others Receiving Votes- Karl Cochran, Wofford (1 vote), James Sinclair, Western Carolina (1), Lee Skinner, Wofford (1), Justin Tuoyo, Chattanooga (1)
Sum up your team.
Samford- We are on our 3rd coach in 4 years, our 3rd system in 4 years, and basically our 3rd different roster in 4 years. We were picked last in the conference, and rightfully so. We got off to a terrible 0-8 start in league play mostly due to a really difficult stretch of games where 5 out of 6 league games after 1/1 were against arguably the top 3 teams in the league (Wofford, UTC, Mercer). We've had some more winnable games this week (G and WCU both at home) and took care of business in both. If Mike Bradley can give us what he gave us this past week (back-back double-double), we can be a tough team to beat. If we could somehow scratch out an 8th place finish and have minimal to no roster turnover in the offseason, it would be considered a moderate success, especially considering the start.
Western Carolina- The Cats split this week, beating the first place time (in Cullowhee) Mercer, and losing to the last place team, Samford (on the road). The Cats are 0-4 on road games this season, and up until Saturday, all lthe losses had been to on of the top four teams in the conference, then we travel to Biringham, and gift wrap a victory for the Bulldogs by putting them on the charity strip for 28 attempts at free points, and they obliged by hitting 26 of their 28 attempts, for a blistering 93%. The Cats now travel to VMI and UNCG next week, hoping to bust that road losing streak.
Wofford- A week removed from a successful rebound—a tidy nineteen-point dismissal of Western Carolina helped bring the Terriers back into the right mindset after a crushing loss on the road against The Citadel—Wofford got the crowd involved last Thursday night with a "Whiteout Furman" event at the BenJo. Behind Karl Cochran's five three-pointers and seventeen total points in the first half, the thirteen-point favorite Terriers shot out to a 38-20 halftime advantage. Wofford finished the game shooting 55 percent from the floor, and had three scorers in double digits. The energy radiating from the Terriers' 25-point whipping of an arch-rival spilled over into Saturday's game, the first matchup between Wofford and ETSU since 2005. Although the home squad had a seven-point lead at the half, the Bucs staged a 20-7 drive in the second half that brought things in Spartanburg to a fever pitch with a few minutes remaining. Things culminated in contact between Wofford's Spencer Collins and ETSU coach Murry Bartow when he attempted to talk to his player near the sideline. Collins, who was guarding said player, remained near, much to Bartow's anger. Needless to say, things bubbled over and double technicals were administered. At the end of the day, Wofford won 72-64, bringing them to a 7-1 SoCon record.
How many losses do you think the winner of the league will wind up with?
Samford- 2. Wofford is too good and too experienced to suffer another bad road loss like Citadel. But, do see them losing at either ETSU or Mercer. Don't see anybody going into Spartanburg and getting a W.
Western Carolina- I think the regular season title will be won by a team with 3 (maybe 4) conference losses. My guess would be that two teams with finish with only 3 or 4 losses, and Wofford being one of those two teams, will hold the tie breaker, and take the #1 seed into the tournament. However, that's just my guess.
Wofford- I think the regular season title winner will have no more than three or four losses, because that's the way things go. It's what will likely happen in the stretch of season ahead. This is a close league race, but the top four/five are becoming a little clearer as we progress.
What record do you think will get the final bye (sixth place)?
Samford- 7-11. VMI is currently in the sixth spot at 4-6, but they just started a stretch where 7 of their last 9 conference games are at home, so I look for them to make a little run and for WCU to finish in the sixth spot.
Western Carolina- In my opinion, the sixth seed will have an overall losing conference record. I think somewhere around an 8-10 mark. I think the top three teams will have in the neighborhood of 14 conference wins, head and shoulders above the remainder of the conference in terms of wins.
Wofford- For the sixth seed, I'm going with a record of 10-8 or 9-9.
In the wake of #DeflateGate, this article was on CollegeBasketballTalk regarding the different balls in the NCAA. Do you think there should be a universal ball? How important do you think a different ball is to a team’s home court advantage?
Samford- I think the type of basketball matters little to none to a team's home court advantage. Teams like Wisconsin (referenced in the article) don't lose at home very much because they are a great team and their arena is a tough place to play. If I were preparing a team to play at Wisconsin, I'd be much more concerned about facing a Bo Ryan coached half-court defense than what type of ball would be used. I think things like being more familiar with sight lines when shooting and home crowd behind you, make way more of a difference than the type of basketball used. I wouldn't be in favor of a universal basketball, just because I feel like it's an unnecessary requirement.
Western Carolina- I'm a firm believer in "if it's not broke, don't fix it" and I don't currently think it's broke. In my opinion, the ball manufacturer situation in the SoCon is a problem, however I didn't know there was the flexibility to use all the different balls as described in the article. It seems that in this country, we have a tendency to need a rule for everything, and must have that so called "level playing field" for all, however I think the current rules - levels the field as much as it needs leveling.
Wofford- This is an interesting topic, and I hadn't put much thought into this. Personally, I think it's fine that each program may have a varying preference in basketballs. I don't believe that a universal ball will curb any of the talk that started this discussion anyway -- there will be some that don't like certain aspects of it, and of course, whatever company's product they chose will leave a bad taste in the mouths of competitors. Nothing horribly wrong that I can see with each program having its own choice of a basketball; if the team likes it, I'd let them have their way at home.