Sunday, February 8, 2015

Scanning the SoCon- Week Five

This is the fourth season of Scanning the SoCon, and hopefully we are getting bigger and better every year. People from around the conference answer questions regarding their team and other issues around the SoConThis should help you to know everything you need to know about SoCon basketball.



Chattanooga at Wofford (7:00)
Western Carolina at Mercer (7:00)
ETSU at UNCG (7:00)
Furman at VMI (7:00)
The Citadel at Samford (8:00)
Furman at ETSU (4:00)
UNCG at Mercer (4:00)
Wofford at Western Carolina (5:00)
Samford at Chattanooga (6:00)


VMI at The Citadel (5:30)


1)      Wofford 80 (8)
2)      Mercer 69
3)      Chattanooga 67
4)      Western Carolina 52
5)      Samford 46
6)      ETSU 45
7)      UNCG 27
8)      Furman 26
9)      VMI 18
10)  The Citadel 8


TJ Hallice, Mercer- 2 votes
Nicholas Paulos- 2 votes

Others Receiving Votes-  James Sinclair, Western Carolina (1.5 votes), Karl Cochran, Wofford (1), Ashton Moore, The Citadel (1), Justin Tuoyo, Chattanooga (.5)


Chattanooga at Wofford- 6 votes

Others Receiving Votes- Wofford at Western Carolina (2 votes)


Sum up your team.

Samford- In a little over two weeks the Bulldogs have gone from 0-8 and last in the league to 5-8 and in sole possession of sixth place.  We have won five games in a row for the first time since the 05-06 season.  We went into WCU this week and found ourselves down 21 with 10:37 to play against a team we had never beaten at their place.  It would have to go down as one of the most improbable comebacks in Bulldog basketball history as we came back and got the W.  We then finished the road trip with a win against a slumping ETSU team.  The Bulldogs have limited the easy buckets teams were getting earlier in the year after breaking our press.  If we can hold onto one of the bye places, watch out, a deep conference tourney run is not out of the question.

The Citadel- The Citadel has lost six straight games and has looked terrible in its last two contests, particularly in the second half. Things do not look promising for the Bulldogs as the season heads into the home stretch. The Citadel is arguably the worst defensive team in the country. Without at least some improvement in that area, Chuck Driesell faces the distinct possibility of coaching a program that will have had losing streaks of 10 games or more in four consecutive seasons

UNCG- After a miserable January that saw UNCG go 1-8, the first two games in February have been a nice change. The Spartans defeated the two SoCon military institutions by a combined 45 points this week. Nicholas Paulos had a very nice week averaging 17 points on 12-17 shooting from the field (7-9 from behind the arc). The main catalyst to this nice play is the ball movement on offense. UNCG has been known for its selfish play on offense this season. In the last two games, UNCG has racked up 21 assists (on 31 made FG's) and 16 assists (on 30 made FG's). Not surprisingly, the team has shot north of 47% as well. Notice the pattern? On a bad note, sophomore big man Jordy Kuiper has been showing some flashes and was having a career night at VMI. Unfortunately, that night was cut short when he landed awkwardly on his wrist. It appears it's broken and he is finished for the season. That leaves an already thin bench even thinner. UNCG will have to get better about staying out of foul trouble if they want to compete for future wins.

In the Dean's List, Dean Keener talks about role players and non-starters. What is the most important role player on your team? Why? What does he do that makes him so critical?

Samford- Marcus Johnson.  Marcus is our best on ball defender off the bench and can play point or off the ball.  He also is our second best shooter percentage wise from 3, and can really get hot as he did against ETSU going 4-4 in the second half from 3. 

The Citadel-Jake Wright, a fine outside shooter, probably would be considered The Citadel's best role player, simply for the freshman's ability to score. However, Wright has started the last two games and may no longer fit the definition.

UNCG- This might be an odd choice for UNCG, but I'm going to go with walk-on transfer Asad Lamont. Lamont doesn't average a ton of points or minutes played. What he does bring to the table is a calming presence to the offense, and he gives a very small guard rotation a few minutes of rest every game. With as many injuries as the Spartans have dealt with this season, having someone like Lamont on the bench has been a big deal.

If you could have any coach in the league coaching your team, which one would it be?

Chattanooga- This question is more to talk about other coaches than the one that is coaching your team. So I won’t name Will Wade. But I will name Scott Padgett. I love what he has done with his team. Padgett has taken a team that lost a ton of talent and has turned them into a winner this year. It could be a flash in the pan, but it doesn’t look like it. This looks like a program changer of a coach if they can keep him. He’s that good. If he sticks for the next two or three years, Samford will probably win at least one SoCon title.

Samford- Mike Young.  His team is fundamentally sound and play the best half court defense in the league.  His team just seems to never get flustered, regardless of the circumstances.

UNCG- Mike Young, for the most obvious reasons. But I do think Scott Pagett has got a lot of upside and plays a fun style of basketball. I think he's destined for a high major job.

The picture is really muddled for the sixth and final bye spot, as the sixth seed to the tenth seed are all separated by one and a half games. If you assume that the top five are set (which we all know they are not necessarily), which one of the bottom five would you pick to get the final bye?

Chattanooga- Actually, I think the byes are pretty well set. I really think with the way Samford is playing right now, there is no way anybody catches them for one of the byes. Now, ETSU is a different story. I do think someone might be able to catch them. But the question is, who? UNCG and Furman both have not been consistent enough to really think they will, but they are the best bets at this point.

Samford- At the risk of sounding like a homer, I'll say Samford.  We have sole possession of 6th place right now and are playing the best of the 6-10 teams, by far.  VMI has lost their best player.  Furman has lost three in a row and their next two are on the road.  Citadel has lost 7 of their last 8.  The one team who I feel may have a chance is UNC-G.  They have won two in a row and their last three conference games are at home.  Our game up there 2/26 looms large.

The Citadel- Samford is playing the best basketball right now of the "contenders" for the 6th spot and also has a reasonable schedule going forward, though SU does have to play at UNCG.

UNCG- I'm going to go with Samford as they have shown the most consistency over the past three weeks. I think any of the 4 other teams could get that last spot, but none have shown anything over a longer stretch than the Bulldogs.

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