SoCon Wrap & Tourney PreviewPosted by Brian Goodman on March 4th, 2011
Clark Williams is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference, bringing you up to speed, with the SoCon Tournament tipping off Friday.
College of Charleston remains the favorite to win the SoCon tournament, but Wofford and Furman are able candidates as well. I see Davidson as a possible darkhorse team, with the Paladins also having an outside chance. Here are my predictions:
Friday, March 4:
- Davidson over UNC-Greensboro
- Appalachian State over Georgia Southern
- Furman over Samford
- Elon over The Citadel
Saturday, March 5:
- Davidson over Western Carolina
- Wofford overAppalachian State
- Furman over Chattanooga
- College of Charleston over Elon
Sunday March 6:
- Wofford over Appalachian State
- College of Charleston over Furman
Monday, March 7:
- College of Charleston over Furman
A Look Back
Just like that, it’s time for some March Madness. College of Charleston kicked off the season in exciting fashion, with a one-point loss to Maryland. Since then, the Cougars have been the crown jewel of the SoCon, finishing 22-9 overall. Most bracketologists have the Cougars in their field of 68. At the helm of their impressive season has been senior guard Andrew Goudelock, who finished the regular season averaging 23 points per game. While the Cougars enjoyed reigning supreme for most of the season, Georgia Southern and UNC-Greensboro battled all season for the title of “Worst Team in the SoCon”. Despite UNC-Greensboro starting the season 0-15, the Eagles of Georgia Southern finished with the worst record in the conference. The Eagles managed just one conference win all season, and finished 5-26. Wofford, fresh of an NCAA Tournament appearance, managed to gather 14 conference wins this year, despite going through one of the roughest stretches in all of college basketball. On Novemeber 19, the Terriers dropped a tough one to Georgetown. Two days later, the Terriers defeated George Mason in overtime. Three days after that, Wofford went into overtime again, falling to Air Force. Three days after that, the Terriers took Xavier to triple-overtime, eventually falling, 94-90. The statistic of the year is a two-way tie. First, UNC-Greensboro averaged over 4,000 fans a game, despite being a perennial loser. I applaud their fans, and their promotions office. Next is .478. This is the ridiculously awesome field goal percentage of the Wofford Terriers. I applaud whoever created and runs their shooting drills. The moment of the year happened on multiple occasions. To me, the biggest thing to happen in SoCon hoops this year was the teams proved they could hang with the big boys. This season, SoCon schools beat Tennessee, DePaul, South Carolina, Nebraska, Charlotte, and kept it close with teams like North Carolina, Clemson, Dayton, Georgetown and Xavier.
- G: Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston
- G: Donald Sims, Appalachian State
- F: Noah Dahlman, Wofford
- F: Amu Saaka, Furman
- F: Tim Johnson, Wofford
Conference POY: Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston
- College of Charleston (22-9, 14-4): The Cougars have struggled of late, but still goes into the conference tournament as the number one seed from the South Division. If the Cougars win the conference, I believe them to be a potential Cinderella, especially with bona fide superstar Andrew Goudelock. The Cougars will play the winner of the Elon/The Citadel game in their first conference tournament game.
- Wofford (18-12, 14-4): If momentum wins post-season games, Wofford might make the Final Four (not really). The Terriers are hot, winners of their last five. Their last season surge was good enough to earn them a share of the regular-season conference championship. The forward duo of Noah Dahlman and Tim Johnson has been dynamic, and the Terriers are shooting lights out as a team. The Terriers will play the winner of the Appalachian State/Georgia Southern game in the SoCon tourney.
- Furman (20-9, 12-6): It seemed that Furman was on the verge of taking over the conference all season, but never got the big win to take them over the edge. That being said, as long as Paladins have Amu Sakka, they are a dark- horse to win the SoCon tourney. The Paladins will play Samford in the first round of the conference tournament.
- Western Carolina (17-14, 12-6): The Catamounts earned the North’s number one seed in dramatic fashion, upsetting College of Charleston at home, in the last game of the season. The Catamounts will play the winner of the Davidson/UNC- Greensboro game in their first SoCon tournament game.
- Chattanooga (16-15, 12-6): The Mocs are reeling. Once a sure-fire candidate to earn the #1 seed from the North Division, the Mocs have lost their spot to the Catamounts of Western Carolina. If they want to make any postseason noise, they need to revert back to their winning ways…obviously. They play the winner of the Furman/Samford game in the SoCon tournament.
- Davidson (17-13, 10-8): After an absolutely abysmal start to conference play, the Wildcats have been lights out. The Wildcats have won nine of their last ten, and, sophomore Jake Cohen has been phenomenal for them. In my eyes, Davidson has a legitimate shot at winning the SoCon tournament. They open it with a game against UNC-Greensboro.
- Appalachian State (15-14, 10-8): The Mountaineers are Davidson Lite. They have won 7 of their last 8, and all after a bad start to conference play. While Davidson is winning as a unit, Appalachian State is winning with the star power of Omar Carter and Donald Sims. Like I mentioned earlier, star power can be a deciding factor in what makes a team able to gear up for a post-season run. The Mountaineers will play Georgia Southern in the first round of the SoCon tournament.
- Elon (13-16, 7-11): Elon has bounced back nicely from their early-February five-game losing streak, and have won three of their last four. The good news is that they’re turning it on at the right time. The bad news is that so are a lot of teams. Elon might have some post-season magic in them, but I don’t expect it to get them very far. They’re scheduled to play The Citadel in the first round of the SoCon tournament.
- The Citadel (10-21, 6-12): While most teams have gotten better as the season progresses, the Bulldogs have done the exact opposite. The Citadel won one game in February, and are set to play Elon in the first round of the conference tournament, a team that’s on a win-streak.
- UNC-Greensboro (6-23, 6-12): It’s rare to see a team earn all of its regular season wins in conference play. It’s even weirder when the team won not one or two games, but six. Alas, that is the story of the Spartans. As impressive as their turnaround has been, I don’t see them making much noise in post-season play. The face off against Davidson in the first round of the SoCon tournament.
- Samford (12-18, 4-14): Samford continues to lose, despite a good start to the season. A prime example of “it’s doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish”. Well, the Bulldogs are barely crossing the finish line at this point. They play Furman in the first round of the SoCon tournament, and I expect their season to end after those 40 minutes.
- Georgia Southern (5-26, 1-17): If you are looking for an underdog to root for this March, boy have I got the perfect team for you. The Eagles have won once in 2011, and that doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon. The Eagles play Appalachian State in the first round of the SoCon tourney.