Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Updated Standings:
NORTH    (CONF/OVER)

  1. Western Carolina     6-3    16-5
  2. Appalachian State   6-3    12-8
  3. Chattanooga              4-5    12-10
  4. UNC Greensboro      4-6    5-16
  5. Samford                       3-6    9-12
  6. Elon                               2-7    4-16

SOUTH    (CONF/ OVER)

  1. Charleston                  8-2    13-8
  2. Wofford                        6-3    14-8
  3. Davidson                     5-4    10-11
  4. Furman                        4-5    10-10
  5. Citadel                          4-5    10-11
  6. Georgia Southern     3-6    6-16

Quick Hits — Only half of the conference season has been played in the Southern Conference and we are starting to see which teams will contend for the championship come March. Four teams have clearly put themselves above the rest of the conference as WCU, Wofford, Charleston, and Appalachian State have emerged as the favorites to make the NCAA tournament. One of those teams should come away with the automatic bid. In the next couple of weeks the schedule puts most of the top teams against each other, providing for some very interesting scenarios.

Other Notes — It would take either Western Carolina or College of Charleston to both win out and make it to the SoCon finals for the league to earn two bids into the NCAA tournament. It doesn’t look like this is the year for the conference to have two teams for the first time.

Most Disappointing teams — Elon has only won two games in conference, but Samford has really been disappointing this season with its 3-6 record. The Bulldogs haven’t figured out how to win on the road.

Sizzling players — It’s all about the junior class. Seven juniors sit atop the statistics in PPG. Donald Sims from Appalachian State leads the SoCon with 19.4 PPG. Andrew Goudelock (CofC), Cameron Wells (Citadel), Noah Dahlman (Wofford), Amu Saaka (Furman), Willie Powers (Georgia Southern), and Jordan Miller (Furman) all averaging more than 14 PPG.

Upcoming Schedule/Important Match-ups:

  • Sat. Jan 30 — Furman @ Wofford.  Spartanburg, S.C. 3 p.m. – Tough road contest for Furman.
  • Thurs. Feb 4 — Chattanooga @ Charleston.  Charleston, S.C. 7 p.m. – Chattanooga looks to pull off another upset on the road.
  • Sat. Feb 6 — Appalachian State @ WCU.  Cullowhee, N.C. 7 p.m. – The Catamounts look for revenge at home.
  • Mon. Feb 8 — Citadel @ Charleston.  Charleston, S.C. 7 p.m. – In-state rivalry between the two schools.

Team Breakdowns:

  • Appalachian State (12-8): On January 28th Appalachian State won its second straight game after defeating Samford 68-55 on the road. With that victory, the Mountaineers are now tied atop the North Division standings at 6-3. Just four days earlier, Appalachian State defeated Western Carolina 87-74 at home thanks to 28 points from Donald Sims. The upcoming game against the Catamounts could determine the North Division winner, with both tied at 6-3 at the moment.
  • Chattanooga (12-10): The Mocs were on a four-game losing streak before defeating Western Carolina 80-67 on January 28th.  Ty Patterson led the way with 19 points in the victory and leads the team in scoring with 15.3 PPG. Recent road losses against Wofford (78-63) and Elon (83-80) have hurt Chattanooga in the standings. The Mocs still need to figure out how to get it done more often on the road.
  • College of Charleston (13-8): The Cougars were riding high with a seven game winning streak until Monday the 25th when Western Carolina ended the streak with a 100-90 victory at home. College of Charleston couldn’t bounce back on January 28th, losing again on the road against Davidson, 86-71. It will be interesting to see how the Cougars respond to this recent two game losing streak, which dropped them to 8-2 in conference.
  • Davidson (10-11): Two straight wins for the Wildcats puts their conference record at 5-4 heading into a key conference stretch. On January 23rd Davidson defeated Georgia Southern 91-87 on the road with J.P. Kuhlman scoring 18 points to pace the Wildcats.  Just five days later, Davidson overcame South Division leader Charleston, 86-61.  Will Archambault scored 24 points in the victory and grabbed five rebounds.
  • Elon (4-16): Elon recently ended a nine-game losing streak after defeating Chattanooga 83-80 at home on January 23rd. Drew Spradlin scored a season-high 30 points in the victory to end the losing streak for the Phoenix.  On January 28th Elon lost on the road against UNC-Greensboro 62-55 with Spradlin scoring 18 points in the loss.  The Phoenix haven’t won two straight games all season and came up just short against the Spartans.
  • Furman (10-10): The Paladins continue to impress at home with its 6-3 record but playing on the road has really hurt them. Furman’s record on the road is just 3-6; this will have to be rectified if they’re going to compete for the SoCon championship. On January 25th Furman defeated Samford 63-58 with Darryl Evans scoring 18 points in the victory.
  • Georgia Southern (6-16): The Eagles have been playing better recently, winning two of its last three conference games. Both of those wins came at home where Georgia Southern is 6-4 overall. The Eagles defeated the Citadel 61-58 on January 28th to run its SoCon record to 3-6.
  • Samford (9-12): The Bulldogs have lost two-straight games after losing to Appalachian State on January 28th, 68-55. Just three days earlier, Samford lost to Furman on the road, 63-58. Josh Davis leads the team in scoring at 11.7 PPG. The Bulldogs are just 3-6 on the road.
  • The Citadel (10-11): The Citadel has one of the top players in the Southern Conference in Cameron Wells. Wells is averaging 18 PPG but doesn’t get a whole lot of  help around him; if he did, you’d wonder if Citadel would have better than a 4-5 conference record. The Citadel defeated Furman at home 70-60 on January 23rd, but lost on the road against Georgia Southern 61-58 on Thursday night. The Bulldogs have yet to win two-straight conference games this season and are trying to stay competitive in the South Division.
  • UNC-Greensboro (5-16):  The Spartans have won two of their last three conference games to improve their record to 4-6 in conference. During UNC-Greensboro’s recent home stand, they defeated Chattanooga 62-49, and beat Elon 62-55 on Thursday night.
  • Western Carolina (16-5): The Catamounts have been perfect at home (11-0) including a huge victory against the College of Charleston, 100-90, on January 25th. Western Carolina’s losses have all been away from the Ramsey Center. This is a cause of concern for WCU, having recently fallen into a tie for first place in the North Division with Appalachian State. Western cannot expect to lose all of its road games and still claim the SoCon championship.
  • Wofford (14-8): The Terriers have been playing their best basketball of the season, led by junior Noah Dahlman. Dahlman has led the team in scoring in six straight games, and the team is 5-1 in those contests. Wofford’s only loss came against the College of Charleston 70-68 on the road. On January 25th the Terriers won 78-63 against Chattanooga; Dahlman led the way with 20 points, earning Wofford its sixth conference win.
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