RTC Conference Primers: #16 – Southern Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 20th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference, but he is moving on and therefore we are seeking a skilled, knowledgeable writer familiar with this conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

North Division:

  1. Appalachian State: 21-11 (13-5)
  2. Chattanooga: 17-14 (11-7)
  3. Western Carolina: 16-15 (9-9)
  4. Samford: 14-18 (9-9)
  5. UNC Greensboro: 9-23 (7-11)
  6. Elon: 8-23 (5-13)

South Division:

  1. Wofford: 25-10 (14-4)
  2. College of Charleston: 21-13 (13-5)
  3. Furman: 17-15 (10-8)
  4. Davidson: 16-17 (8-10)
  5. Georgia Southern: 13-19 (6-12)
  6. Citadel: 10-21 (3-15)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • Andrew Goudelock (G) – College of Charleston (19.4 PPG)
  • Donald Sims (G) – Appalachian State (20.4 PPG)
  • Amu Saaka (F) – Furman (15.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
  • Tim Johnson (F) – Wofford (6.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG)
  • Noah Dahlman (C) – Wofford (16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG)

6th Man

Omar Carter – Appalachian State: The Charleston Southern transfer will look to contribute early on as a junior. While in the Big South, he was freshman of the year in 2007-08.

Impact Newcomer

James Carlton – College of Charleston:  One of the top prospects out of the state of North Carolina, Carlton played in the 2010 NCCA East-West All-Star Game and Carolinas All-Star Basketball Classic. Carlton averaged 15 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four blocks per game as a senior at South Central High School and is rated as a three-star power forward by Rivals.

Wofford head coach Mike Young has his Terriers on a mission in 2010-11.

What You Need to Know

  • Not surprisingly, the losses of Stephen Curry and Andrew Lovedale from Davidson led to a slide from the Wildcats, who made major strides under Bob McKillop in the latter part of the decade.
  • All 24 men’s and women’s teams will take part in the annual SoCon Tournament, the longest-running conference tournament in the nation.  McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will serve as host during March 3-7.
  • The Southern Conference ranks as the fourth oldest major college athletic conference in the United States. Only the Big Ten (1896), Missouri Valley (1907), and Southwestern Athletic (1920) are older.
Predicted Champion

Wofford (NCAA Seed: 15) – The defending league champion will be the favorite to repeat as the league champion with Player of the Year Noah Dahlman back this season.  They also return four starters to boast the most explosive lineup in the league.  The Terriers have a roster full of upperclassmen, with 10 seniors and juniors. The flip side to that, of course, is that it gives the Terriers a small window of opportunity. Former incoming freshman Josh Corry left the team earlier this month for personal reasons, a decision which could have a bigger impact in future seasons than it will in 2010-11. Aerris Smith and Cameron McQueen are newcomers to watch.

Top Contenders

  • College of Charleston – The Cougars have the best chance to knock off last year’s champion in the Wofford Terriers. C of C returns two veteran guards in Donovan Monroe and Andrew Goudelock. They also return two other starters to head into the 2010-11 season with a great chance at taking home the conference title.
  • Appalachian State – The Mountaineers return first team all-conference guard Donald Sims (20.4 PPG last season). Appalachian State will be very dangerous in the 2010-11 season, with several veterans and a solid backcourt led by Sims. New coach Jason Capel will quickly provide the team with an up-tempo offense that will cause problems for the opposition.

Top 5 RPI Boosters

  • Nov. 10 – College of Charleston at Maryland (7:00 p.m. EST – ESPNU)
  • Nov. 12 – Western Carolina at Clemson (8:00 p.m. EST)
  • Nov. 19 – Appalachian State at Mississippi State (8:00 p.m. EST)
  • Dec. 12 – Appalachian State at Georgetown (12:00 p.m. EST – ESPNU)
  • Dec. 22 – Chattanooga at Louisville (Time TBD)

Key Conference Games

  • Jan. 8 – College of Charleston at Wofford (7:00 p.m. EST)
  • Jan. 17 – College of Charleston at Chattanooga (7:00 p.m. EST)
  • Jan. 22 – Appalachian State at College of Charleston (4:00 p.m. EST)
  • Jan. 27 – Wofford at Appalachian State (7:00 p.m. EST)
  • Feb. 26 – Wofford at Furman (2:00 p.m. EST)

Digging Deeper

  • Southern Conference teams are scheduled to make at least nine appearances on national television during the season, including the conference tournament final, which is slated for a 9 p.m. tip on ESPN2 March 7.  Additional appearances may be televised as part of the 2011 ESPN BracketBusters and other exempt tournaments throughout the season.  Five SoCon men’s teams (Appalachian State, College of Charleston, Davidson, Western Carolina and Wofford) are scheduled to participate in the annual event slated for February 19-20 on ESPN2 and ESPNU.  League teams will make an additional 28 appearances on regional television including Fox Sports South, SportSouth and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.
  • League teams are slated to participate in a number of prestigious tournaments, including the 2K Sports Classic (College of Charleston), Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Davidson), Las Vegas Classic (The Citadel), South Padre Island Invitational (Georgia Southern) and Charleston Classic (Wofford).

NCAA Tournament History

  • Aside from Davidson‘s run to the 2008 Elite Eight on the back of Stephen Curry, history has not been kind to the SoCon, which sports an all-time mark of 31-68  (.313) in the Big Dance. The conference has also yet to send two teams to the tournament. Notable wins include Davidson over Gonzaga and Wisconsin in 2008 and an impressive Sweet 16 run by Chattanooga in 1997 which included upsets over #3 seed Georgia and #6 seed Illinois.
  • Bracket junkies will proudly tell you that no #16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed, but the SoCon is responsible for two of the closest calls since the 1985 tournament expansion to 64 teams. In 1989, East Tennessee State nearly upended Oklahoma but lost, 72-71. Seven years later, Western Carolina put up a great fight against Purdue before being dispatched, 73-71.

Final Thoughts

It looks on paper like a three team race between Wofford, College of Charleston and Appalachian State. There is a good possibility that the Southern Conference could get two teams in the NCAA tournament for the first time. If Wofford and College of Charleston play each other in the league championship, both have a chance to make the Big Dance if they can win some games in the non-conference portion of the schedule. This league continues to surprise some of the bigger conferences, case in point being the Cougars’ takedown of UNC last season. This season, there are a lot of non-conference games to look forward to, and don’t be shocked to see some SoCon teams winning some early games against some of the powerhouse conferences. Be afraid ACC, Big Ten, Big East… don’t sleep on the Southern Conference.

Brian Goodman (966 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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One response to “RTC Conference Primers: #16 – Southern Conference”

  1. John says:

    Davidson behind Furman?

    Please turn in your sports reporter card at the door on your way out.

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