Sunday, February 15, 2015

Scanning the SoCon- Week Six

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 SoCon. Hopefully, it is our best year yet


Tennessee Tech at ETSU (7:00 PM Eastern)
Cleveland State at Western Carolina (7:00 PM)

Mercer at Chattanooga (7:00 PM)
UNCG at Wofford (7:00 PM)
The Citadel at Furman (7:00 PM)

VMI at Western Carolina (4:30 PM)
Mercer at Samford (7:00 PM)
ETSU at Chattanooga (7:00 PM)
The Citadel at Wofford (7:00 PM)

Furman at UNCG (2:00 PM)


1)      Wofford 67 (4)
2)      Chattanooga 64 (2)
3)      Mercer 58 (1)
4)      ETSU 45
5)      Western Carolina 44
6)      Samford 35
7)      VMI 27
8)      UNCG 19
9)      Furman 15
10)  The Citadel 11


Casey Jones, Chattanooga- 3 votes

Others Receiving Votes- Tim Marshall, VMI (2.5 votes), Karl Cochran, Wofford (1), Brian Brown, VMI (.5)

Mercer at Chattanooga- 7 votes


Sum up your team.

Samford-  A bit frustrating.  We were riding a 6 game winning streak headed into a very winnable home game against Citadel.  We won 6 straight games with a blueprint of pressure, good 2-3 halfcourt defense, and aggressively driving the ball to the rim (20+ FTA in all 6 wins).  Well, we came out thinking we could play a good bit of man-to-man half court defense and allowed Citadel to 65% from the field in the first half, including 6-7 from 3.  We also allowed Citadel to turn us into a jumpshooting team (not our strength) with over half our attempts in the 1st half coming from 3.  We made corrections at halftime, but that point we had given Citadel the confidence they needed and they won on a buzzer-beater.  Saturday we went to UTC, got back to our blueprint for the most part, but credit to UTC their length really bothered us, especially on the boards.  Teams have discovered one must against us is preventing or at least harassing our best dribble driver, Darius Jones Gibson, from getting to the right side of the rum Casey Jones is a real talent almost going for a triple double against us (21-10-6).  Our chance at getting the last bye essentially come down to road games against VMI and UNC-G.

Western Carolina- The Cats are 2-2 in their last 4 games, beating two of the top 3 teams in the league (Chattanooga & Mercer) and losing to Samford and first place Wofford.  Currently the Cats are tied for fourth place with ETSU, but since the Bucs own the tie breaker with the Cats, they are looking at the fifth seed at this point.  Western has only three conference games remaining, and while they should be projected to win those games, the lack of consistent field goal shooting, and turn over rate could result in a loss in any or all three of those games.

Wofford-It's almost like you knew it was going to happen sooner or later. For seven straight contests, the Terriers braved comebacks, grinded it out, and maintained some breathing room atop the league. However, Wofford was sent back down to earth last Thursday as Will Wade's UTC Mocs—which have complete possession of second place—snapped a winning streak that dated back to Jan. 15, when The Citadel knocked off the Terriers on the road. Shooting just 30 percent from the field and even more woefully from long distance, Wofford fell by ten points to Chattanooga.The Terriers, mainly led by Karl Cochran -- the senior from Marietta, Ga., dropped twenty-six points -- shot 50 percent from the floor and routed Western Carolina, 75-55. The road win, which helped get the Terriers back on track, was the first of Mike Young's career in the Ramsey Center.

Which coach do you believe is on the hottest seat?

Samford- Chuck Drissell - pretty sure when a school doesn't extend your contract heading into its final season, it's a pretty clear signal.  Current results don't indicate differently.

Western Carolina- I would think that Wes Miller of Greensboro is in the hottest seat of all the current SoCon coaches. The Spartans are approaching 20 losses on the season, and haven't recreated the level of success the Spartans had when Miller assumed the interim head coaching position back in 2011.

Wofford- There's several that come to mind, like Chuck Driesell of The Citadel and Wes Miller of UNCG. Their teams have under-performed for a couple years now. Furman's in a slump, but I don't think Medved is going anywhere. If I had to name one, I think I'd have to go with Miller, but it's awfully close.

Home teams are winning just 56.3% of their games in conference play, ranking 22nd in home winning percentage. What makes winning on the road easier in the SoCon than in other conferences?

Samford- Lack of home court environments.  Can only think of two conference road games that SU has played this year where I thought I saw a definitive home court advantage produced by a good crowd.  Wofford and Mercer.

Western Carolina- Of the 10 teams in the conference there is 5 teams with 5 or less conference wins.  I'd say having at least half the conference under-performing, a win is probably better than a 50-50 proposition when playing those 5 teams.

Wofford- First off, I believe that there is a great deal of parity in this league. Obviously, no one is exactly safe when it comes to a conference game. Wofford, though, has only lost one home game (last Thursday vs. Chattanooga). I'm not sure you can pin it on one specific reason; it largely has to do with the teams' skill and momentum at a given point in the season. Sometimes you get a good crowd, and that helps. However, I don't think there's a clear-cut reason for that anomaly in comparison to other conferences.

What team has overachieved the most in the SoCon so far this year?

Samford- Samford.  If you look at the preseason coaches poll, we were picked 10th, currently we are 7th.  That's the biggest improvement variance in the conference between that poll and the current standings.  Not to mention we are doing it with 6 of our top 10 guys in minutes played having never played a minute of division 1 basketball heading into the season.
Western Carolina- Actually, I don't see any overachievers in the conference. The top 4 teams, Wofford, Chattanooga, Mercer and ETSU are pretty much where they were projected to be,  If anything, I'd say the conference has about 6 underachievers in its ranks.

Wofford- I have to go with my team here, as I feel they've lived up to the sensible expectations. Yes, there was a few stumbles, there's no doubt about that. Perhaps they needed a "wake-up call" in the form of a sudden defeat. All I know is, they've outperformed any other team from the school's Division I era and still sit atop the league, despite the growing adversity. This is a special group, and they have the potential to go far.

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