Checking In On…the Southern ConferencePosted by EMoyer on February 25th, 2012
Eric Moyer is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference and a contributor to the RTC SEC Microsite. You can follow him on Twitter @EricDMoyer.
- Bye Bye: Davidson and UNC Greensboro secured first-round byes into the SoCon Tournament as top seeds of the South and North Division, respectively. The last remaining spots will be decided until after Saturday’s finales.
- Busted: In BracketBusters, the SoCon split its four games as College of Charleston and Appalachian State scored victories but Davidson and Wofford dropped their respective contests.
- Academic Honors: Student-athletes earned spots on the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team. Wofford senior guard Brad Loesing was named to the first team, while Davidson junior JP Kuhlman garnered third-team honors.
End of Year Honors
Since this edition is the last “Checking In On” for the SoCon before the end of the season, no time seemed more appropriate than now to dole out some hardware (hardware not included).
- Coach of the Year: Charlton Young, Georgia Southern: After winning a total of 14 games in his first two years in Statesboro, Young guided the Eagles to a second-place showing in the South Division and achieved the second-biggest win improvement in SoCon history winning 12 league games after winning just one in 2010-11.
- Freshman of the Year: Karl Cochran, Wofford: On a Terrier team that faced major overhaul from the past two seasons in which they claimed NCAA Tournament bids, Cochran has paced all SoCon freshmen in scoring (11.0). In addition, he ranks in the top three in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks.
- All-Conference Team: De’Mon Brooks, Davidson (15.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 53.1 FG Pct); Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern (14.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 57.0 FG Pct); Mike Groselle, The Citadel (16.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 59.2 FG Pct); Andrew Lawrence, College of Charleston (12.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, 1.8 SPG); Brad Loesing, Wofford (14.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 38.6 MPG).
- Player of the Year: Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern: Ferguson has been at the front of the Eagles’ ascent up the SoCon standings. He ranks in the top six in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage. He increased his shooting percentage to 46.2 percent and increased his scoring by almost three points per game.
- Davidson (21-7, Previous Ranking: 1): The Wildcats secured their tenth 20-win season under head coach Bob McKillop and won their eighth division title in the last 12 years. 98 percent of the WildCats’ scoring and 96 percent of their rebounding comes from juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
- Wofford (18-12, Previous Ranking: 4): The Terriers extended their streak of 10-conference-win seasons to four after beating Elon on Feb. 15. Wofford improved to 15-1 when leading at halftime. Against UNC Greensboro, Brad Loesing surpassed the 1,000-point mark.
- Georgia Southern (14-13, Previous Ranking: 2): The Eagles turnaround continues to move up the SoCon record books. Their 11-game win improvement trails only a 14-win improvement by The Citadel in 2008-09. Most recently, they matched an 11-game improvement of Auburn, done 85 years ago.
- College of Charleston (18-11, Previous Ranking: 6): The Cougars improved to 6-3 under interim head coach Mark Byington with wins against the top two teams in the South Division (Davidson, Georgia Southern) and winning their BracketBusters game at Kent State.
- UNC Greensboro (12-17, Previous Ranking: 5): The Spartans’ surge to the top of the North Division standings can directly be attributed to increased bench production. Their bench has averaged 36.2 points per game since Jan. 12, the best production in the nation over that time frame.
- Elon (13-15, Previous Ranking: 3): The Phoenix’s losing streak has reached five straight, matching their longest of the season. Over an 11-game span that ended against Davidson, sophomore Jack Isenbargeraveraged more than 20 points per game (20.4) and shot 51.4 percent from the floor.
- Western Carolina (13-17, Previous Ranking: 11): The Catamounts matched their longest win streak (three) by scoring wins against The Citadel, Elon and Samford. The Elon win ended an eight-game road losing streak.
- Appalachian State (12-16, Previous Ranking: 9): Some of the Mountaineers’ recent struggles (3-5 in February) can be attributed to the slow play of Preseason Player of the Year Omar Carter. Carter has averaged just 6.6 points per game in the month and he has shot just 29.2 percent from the field.
- Furman (14-14, Previous Ranking: 8): The Paladins returned to the .500 mark for the tenthtime this season at 14-14 by beating Chattanooga for the fifth time in the last six meetings.
- Samford (11-17, Previous Ranking: 7): The Bulldogs have alternated wins and losses over their last six game. Thursday’s loss at Western Carolina dropped Samford to 0-5 at the Catamounts’ Ramsey Center.
- The Citadel (6-22, Previous Ranking: 12): The Bulldogs won consecutive games for the first time in more than a year by winning at Chattanooga and scoring an 11-point home victory against Appalachian State. The win against the Mocs broke a 13-game road losing skid that dated back to last season.
- Chattanooga (10-20, Previous Ranking: 10): The Mocs concluded the road portion of their schedule at 0-14. Only 11 teams in Division I failed to win even one road game. The Mocs have also lost 11 of 12 games since a 7-2 streak improved their record to 9-9.
Here are a couple of games in the coming days for fans to keep an eye out for:
- Saturday, February 25: Davidson at Georgia Southern/UNC Greensboro at Elon: On the final day of regular-season action, the top two teams in both divisions square off as Elon hosts UNC Greensboro and Georgia Southern welcomes in Davidson. Both the Spartans and Wildcats have clinched the division titles but the Phoenix and Eagles are still fighting for the second byes. The Eagles need a win or a Wofford loss to lock up the second South Division bye. Elon needs a win and a Samford loss to claim the second bye for the North Division.
- Friday, March 2 through Monday, March 5: SoCon Tournament: The country’s oldest conference tournament returns to Asheville, N.C. for the first time since 1995. The event was played in Asheville from 1984-1995.