Conference Tournament Primer: Southern ConferencePosted by Adam Stillman on March 7th, 2014
Championship Fortnight continues with two more conference tourneys tipping off today, so what better way to get you through the next week-plus of games than to break down each of the Other 26′s postseason events. Today, the CAA and SoCon get started.
Dates: March 7-10
Site: Asheville Civic Center (Asheville, N.C.)
What to expect: The Davidson Wildcats are looking for their third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Remember that these Wildcats blew a six-point lead in the final 70 seconds against Marquette last season in the first round of the Big Dance. Davidson ran through the SoCon with a 15-1 mark this year, leading the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. For the kings of the Southern Conference, it’s Davidson’s automatic bid to lose in its final season before moving to the Atlantic 10 next year.
Favorite: Davidson. The Wildcats started out the season 4-10, falling to teams like Duke, Virginia and Wichita State along the way. Then league play began and Davidson ran roughshod over the rest of the conference like it always seems to do. The Wildcats have won 12 straight games, with only one of those coming by single digits.
Darkhorse: Elon. The fourth-seeded Phoenix were the only SoCon team to beat Davidson this season, upsetting the Wildcats on the road in mid-January. Davidson returned the favor by blasting Elon by 17 points on Saturday. Elon was actually the preseason favorite to win the league by the SoCon’s head coaches, so obviously the talent is there but an 11-5 league mark might suggest otherwise.
Who wins: Davidson. Ken Pomeroy gives the Wildcats at 47 percent chance at earning the league’s automatic bid. Third-seeded Wofford (21.3 percent), Elon (13.4 percent) and second-seeded Chattanooga (8.4 percent) all could cause some trouble, but Davidson is clearly the class of this league. The Wildcats scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions in league play and connected on an astonishing 46.3 percent of their three-point attempts. Davidson could be that #15/#16 seed that puts a scare into a top seed come Tournament time.
Player to watch: De’Mon Brooks, Davidson. The 6’7″, 230-pound senior is the type of player who could orchestrate a first-round upset in the NCAA Tournament. Brooks recently was named the SoCon Player of the Year, winning the award for the second time in his career — the other came in 2011-12. Brooks averages 18.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while connecting on 59 percent of his field goal attempts, all career bests.
Bubble implications: None.