2009-10 Conference Primers: #26 – Southern ConferencePosted by nvr1983 on October 12th, 2009
Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.
Predicted Order of Finish:
- Western Carolina (13-5 SoCon) 22-11 overall
- Samford (11-7 SoCon) 16-15 overall
- Applachian State (9-9 SoCon) 17-14 overall
- Chattanooga (8-10 SoCon) 15-17 overall
- Elon (7-11 SoCon) 16-16 overall
- UNC-Greensboro (2-16 SoCon) 4-26 overall
- College of Charleston (15-3 SoCon) 24-9 overall
- Davidson (11-7 SoCon) 19-14 overall
- Citadel (10-8 SoCon) 17-15 overall
- Wofford (8-10 SoCon) 16-17 overall
- Georgia Southern (6-12 SoCon) 11-20 overall
- Furman (5-13 SoCon) 10-21 overall
- Andrew Goudelock (G) – College of Charleston (Jr.) – 16.7 ppg
- Cameron Wells (G) – The Citadel (Jr.) – 15.6 ppg
- Harouna Mutombo (F) – Western Carolina (So.) – 14.4 ppg
- Bryan Friday (F) – Samford (Sr.) – 12.5 ppg
- Noah Dahlman (C) – Wofford (Jr.) – 17.8 ppg
6th Man. Jake Robinson – Western Carolina (Sr) – Led the team in three pointers made (60) and attempted (167), coming off the bench in 19 games.
Impact Newcomer. Rashad Wright – College of Charleston – Intimidating presence inside with his 6’9″ frame, averaged 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and four blocks a game at South Kent High School last season will look to contribute to a team that is lacking in size.
What You Need to Know. Although this conference lacks the star power of a certain recently departed, diminutive guard from Davidson, the conference is not devoid of talent as witnessed by the fact that the aforementioned guard didn’t even make the NCAA tournament last year. While the Wildcats will certainly fall off this year, don’t be surprised to see the second most famous basketball personality in the league last year (Bobby Cremins) getting plenty of airtime in March.
Predicted Champion: College of Charleston (NCAA Seed: #15) – Made it to the SoCon Championship game last season after a Cinderella type run knocking off the favorite in Davidson on their way to the finals. They have always been an athletic team that uses stellar guard play to offset lack of size inside. With the starting back court of Tony White Jr., who scored 31 points in the SoCon finals game against Chattanooga, and junior all-conference candidate Andrew Goudelock who led the team in points per game and three pointers. CofC should be the team to beat in the Southern Conference this season with close to 75% of its scoring coming back from a team that made the finals in the conference tournament.
- Western Carolina – WCU has the most depth of any team in the conference coming into the 2009 season with three seniors returning who each had a role in the Catamounts being co-North Division champions last season with Chattanooga. Also keep an eye on the breakout season of redshirt freshman Harouna Mutombo, who won the SoCon freshman of the Year award for his ability to score around the basket. Mutombo averaged 14.4 points per game and the rising sophomore continues to improve his jump shot. The Catamounts are hurt mostly by being last in the league in free throw shooting last year and are trying to figure out how to win away from home.
- Samford – The newest member of the Southern Conference made impressive strides last season, immediately impacting the conference race. The Bulldogs won nine games in the SoCon in its first year in the league thanks to the play of junior forward Bryan Friday who started all 32 games and led the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game. Friday is the senior leader on the team this season and will look for consistent play from the guards this season if they are going to compete for the conference championship come March.
Top 5 RPI Boosters:
- Nov. 14, 2009 – Davidson at Butler (2 PM)
- Nov. 24, 3009 – Chattanooga at Missouri (TBA)
- Dec. 16, 2009 – Samford at Alabama (7 PM)
- Dec. 22, 2009 – Western Carolina at Clemson (7:30 PM)
- Jan. 4, 2009 – UNC at College of Charleston (7 PM)
Key Conference Games:
- Jan. 25, 2010 – College of Charleston at Western Carolina (7 PM)
- Feb. 6, 2010 – Samford at College of Charleston (3 PM)
- Feb. 11, 2010 – Davidson at Appalachian State (7 PM)
- Feb. 13, 2010 – Davidson at Western Carolina (7 PM)
- Feb. 20, 2010 – Chattanooga at Samford (3 PM)
- This marks the first year the conference tournament is being hosted in Charlotte, N.C. at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
- The Southern Conference ranks as the fifth oldest major college athletic conference in the United States. Only the Big Ten (1896), Missouri Valley (1907), Pac-10 (1915) and Southwestern Athletic (1920) are older.
- Harouna Mutombo, a redshirt sophomore for Western Carolina, is the nephew of NBA great Dikembe Mutombo.
Fun With KenPom: It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, but Davidson was by far KenPom’s favorite team in the conference last year. While the computers didn’t seem to care too much for the conference itself, they did like their non-conference strength of schedule, ranking 4 teams in the top 50 in the nation, which only the SWAC (5 teams) and the Atlantic Sun (4 teams) conferences could match.
NCAA Tournament History: Despite reports to the contrary, Davidson’s Elite 8 run in 2008 was not the first time the conference had won a game in the NCAA tournament. In fact their current record is a relatively respectable 31-67 (.316). Unfortunately, outside of some good Lefty Dreisell teams in the late 1960s, most of those wins came from programs that are no longer in the conference since many of the teams that belong to the current-day SEC and ACC (and the Big East in the case of Jerry West‘s West Virginia teams) once were members of the Southern Conference.
Final Thoughts: Last season by getting a front row seat to ten SoCon games, it was clear to me this league is very competitive and if you want to get to know some of the top mid-major players in the NCAA go check out some SoCon games this season. There are breakout players on every team and there are at least five more players that deserve to make the all-conference team, but the players I picked are the players I believed were the most deserving of the honor.