Checking In On…the Southern Conference

Posted 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.

Reader’s Take

 

Looking Back

  • 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.

    Eric Ferguson Is The RTC Southern Conference Player of the Year (Georgia Southern Athletics)

  • 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.

Power Rankings

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On…The Southern Conference

Posted by EMoyer on February 10th, 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.

Reader’s Take

 

Looking Back

  • Taking a Break: On Monday, College of Charleston head coach Bobby Cremins said he was physically exhausted and was advised by his doctors to take “drastic changes or risk jeopardizing his long-term health.” In his absence, Mark Byington has gone 3-2.
  • Hot ‘Dogs: Samford earned its first-ever win against Davidson, a 77-74 decision on Jan 28, handing the Wildcats their lone SoCon loss of the season … After earning their first ever win against Davidson, the Bulldogs beat Wofford on Saturday for the first time since 1982.
  • Going Streaking: UNC Greensboro extended its win streak to seven straight before losing to Furman on Saturday. The streak marked the Spartans’ longest since stringing together eight consecutive wins during the 1995-96 season.

From the Notebook

  • On Saturday, The Citadel head coach Chuck Driesell started Marshall Harris III, Lawrence Miller and Jordan Robertson in their contest against Elon. They became the first three freshmen to start for the Dogs since Jan. 14, 2008.
  • Davidson has used the same starting lineup (Jake Cohen, De’Mon Brooks, J.P. Kuhlman, Nik Cochran and Tom Droney) in every game.
  • Since being inserted into the starting lineup eight games ago, Elon’s Jack Isenbarger has averaged 20.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.4 RPG while shooting 48.5 percent from the floor.
  • The Citadel’s Mike Groselle has 12 double-doubles this season, tying The Citadel’s single-season record. His 20 career double-doubles are three shy of tying the Bulldogs’ all-time mark.

B.M.O.C.

  • Andrew Lawrence, College of Charleston: The junior guard from London averaged 28 points in two games last week. He played all 50 minutes in a double overtime contest at Elon in which he scored 32 points, dished out eight assists and shot 10-of-16 from the floor. He followed that performance with a 24-point, seven-assist night in a win at Appalachian State. Combined, he shot 63 percent (17-for-27) from the floor, 64.7 percent on 3-point tries (11-for-17) and missed only one free throw in 12 attempts.

Bob McKillop and Davidson Sit Atop Our Latest Power Rankings (AP)

Power Rankings

  1. Davidson (19-5, Previous Ranking: 1): Despite a three-point loss at Samford, the Wildcats remain atop the power poll as they own a three-game lead in the standings. They pace the SoCon in scoring, scoring margin, rebound margin, free-throw percentage and both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.
  2. Georgia Southern (12-12, Previous Ranking: 6): Sophomore Jelani Hewitt is averaging 16.2 points per game over last five games and made the game-winning 3-pointer against Chattanooga on Jan. 28. In his first 19 games, he averaged 9.4 points per game. Read the rest of this entry »
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Set Your TiVo: 12.20.11

Posted by bmulvihill on December 20th, 2011

Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter.  See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

As college hoops finishes up the non-conference season, we get to watch two teams that have transcended their mid-major status, as well as upstart mid-majors battle against the nations blue bloods. With all the holiday shopping going on this time of year, it becomes even more important to Set Your TiVo’s. Let’s get to the action.

Brad Stevens takes Butler into Spokane to face Gonzaga (Indy Star/R. Scheer)

College of Charleston at #11 Louisville – 9:00PM EST on ESPNU HD (***)

  • College of Charleston is off to a 9-1 and is poised to make a run through the Southern Conference. Louisville is a very difficult road test for the Cougars, but it could help them come NCAA Tournament time. Charleston is a very good two-point shooting team, hitting 54.6% from inside the arc. However, Bobby Cremins has his squad taking 40% of its shots from three. That’s a big number for a team that is only shooting 35.8% from downtown. Considering Antwaine Wiggins and Andrew Lawrence are hitting 61.3% and 55% from two, respectively, it will be important for both players to get good shots inside the arc. However, they run into a Louisville defense that is stout against the two-point shot. The Cougars are simply going to have to hit more threes to beat Louisville. Keep an eye on their makes and misses from deep. If they are not hitting early, the Cardinals could get too far out in front for Charleston to catch.
  • With the exception of Ohio and Vanderbilt, Louisville has been mowing opponents down with stellar defense. They rank 4th in the country in defensive efficiency and have only allowed one opponent (Vanderbilt) to shoot over 50% eFG in 10 games. Charleston is one of the better two-point shooting teams in the country, so it will be a good test for the Cardinals. Expect Rick Pitino’s club to own the boards on both ends, as well as create a bunch of turnovers. Keep an eye on how Charleston handles the Louisville defensive pressure. If they look tentative when bringing the ball up court, this one could get out of hand.
  • The game hinges on Charleston’s ability to handle the Louisville defense. The Cardinals will pressure the Cougar ball handlers and try to create baskets off of turnovers. If Charleston can move the ball past the pressure and hit open threes early, they can stay in the game. However, that is a very difficult task against one of the top five defenses in the country.
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Set Your TiVo: 12.14.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on December 14th, 2011

Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Cincinnati plays its first game since the Xavier brawl as Dead Week continues around the country. You should also keep an eye on the Iona/Richmond game at 3 PM but that one won’t be found on television.

Cincinnati at Wright State – 7:00 PM EST on ESPN2 (**)

  • Cincinnati will only have six key contributors available when it heads to Wright State tonight. The Bearcats will be without Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj, Ge’Lawn Guyn, and Octavius Ellis due to their suspensions stemming from the fight with Xavier on Saturday. Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon will have to step up in a big way for Cincinnati in order to win this game on the road. Wright State is not a good team, but the Bearcats have only one player taller than 6’5” available tonigt. For a team that can’t afford to speed up the game, that’s not a good combination for Cincinnati. Kilpatrick, Dixon, and point guard Cashmere Wright all can score, but the other Bearcats are all unproven. With Gates and company out, Cincinnati is missing a combined 22.2 PPG and 14.6 RPG in this game.
  • Wright State’s biggest advantages in this game are home court and height. Cincinnati’s players may be rattled playing a road game after the suspensions while the Raiders have three players 6’7” or taller, including 6’10” A.J. Pacher. He’s been plagued by foul trouble all season but if he manages to stay on the court for any extended period of time, Pacher will cause problems for Cincinnati in the paint. Billy Donlon’s top scorer is point guard Julius Mays, who is averaging 10.2 PPG. Wright State doesn’t score a lot of points due to its brutal offense but Mays does hit on 39.4% of his treys. Ordinarily, Wright State wouldn’t have much of a chance to beat Cincinnati. Given the Bearcats’ personnel issues, the Raiders have a solid chance this time.

Mick Cronin Will Need To Find A Way To Win Without His Best Players Tonight

  • Expect this game to be played at an incredibly slow pace. Both teams struggle to put the ball in the basket so this has the makings of a close game played in the 40s or 50s. For Wright State to win, it must assert itself inside from the start, limit Kilpatrick, and force some turnovers. The Raiders rank #35 in defensive turnover percentage, certainly a respectable number. Should this game come down to the wire, Cincinnati is actually a better free throw shooting team without the suspended players on the court. Kilpatrick, Wright and Dixon all shoot over 70% from the stripe. With all of the uncertainty around Cincinnati, we’re not sure how this game will play out. If forced to pick, we would give the slightest of edges to the home squad.

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Morning Five: 09.02.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on September 2nd, 2011

  1. Yesterday we mentioned the piece by SI.com’s Andy Glockner listing five teams that finished near the bottom of Ken Pomeroy’s luck statistic and why they should be in for some better fortune in the upcoming. Who, you may ask, finished dead last in that stat? Who was the unluckiest team in college hoops in 2010-11? The answer: the same team that finished last in luck in 2009-10! In fact, they did it under two different coaches. On Tuesday (not sure how it got by us), Mr. Glockner examined what exactly the luck statistic is and how this squad can avoid a three-peat of ill fate.
  2. Whatever happens, DeQuan Jones at least knows that his family and friends have his back. The mother, high school coach and AAU coach of the Miami (FL) senior swingman released an understandably spiky response to “friend of the program” Nevin Shapiro’s allegation that a family member of Jones’ asked for $10,000 to insure Jones’ commital to the Hurricanes from high school. The most compelling part of their story is the timeline; Jones had already verballed and signed his letter of intent to attend Miami a full seven months prior to the time Shapiro says the payola request was made. Certainly not the end of the matter, but the linked article by the Miami Herald‘s Michelle Kaufman will bring you up to speed.
  3. If you’re reading a college basketball blog, you’re likely aware that there are many players who are not just student-athletes but also innocents abroad from their foreign homes. There’s a pretty big international competition called the Summer Olympics in about a year, and a couple of fellows recently learned that they may find themselves in London playing for their respective national teams. Saint Louis’ Rob Loe was called up to New Zealand’s national side for a best-of-three series against Australia next week for the right to go to the Olympics, and College of Charleston’s Andrew Lawrence — a native Londoner – made the final cut for the national team from Great Britain, meaning he’ll get to play in the Olympics in his hometown. This seems like as good a time as any to remind you that, because of their uniforms, the formidable NZ national rugby team is called the All Blacks. Playing off that, New Zealanders call their basketball team…the Tall Blacks.
  4. College basketball fans have seen the occasional boon resulting from this whole NBA lockout nonsense, and another one just came to fruition. We didn’t get to see a Jimmer Fredette vs. Kemba Walker matchup last season, but the two have agreed to participate in a pair of games in Utah featuring two teams comprised of NBA rookies, presumably a bunch of guys trying to understandably stay in playing shape. BYU head coach Dave Rose will lead Fredette’s team, while San Diego State boss Steve Fisher will coach the Walker side. We don’t know who else will be involved, but we wouldn’t mind if Kemba and The Jimmer just ended up playing what would amount to a full-court 1-on-1 game while the others rebounded for them.
  5. The people who run Kelley Farms in Lexington, Kentucky undoubtedly love two things: John Calipari, and — evidently less so — corn. As basketball fans, it would be difficult for them to go all Ray Kinsella and clear out crop space for a court, since that wouldn’t make quite the economic impact as Kevin Costner’s character’s baseball field, and basketballs don’t bounce well on uneven dirt. Instead, they decided on a John Calipari corn maze, open for the public to get lost in on September 23. We’ll be waiting to hear if any ghosts from Kentucky’s glorious past emerge from the stalks. Perhaps farm owner John Kelley heard a voice telling him, “If he comes, you will build it.” Yeah, we know — enough with the Field Of Dreams references.
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Set Your Tivo: 03.07.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 7th, 2011

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Four automatic bids will be handed out this evening in places stretching from Connecticut to Las Vegas. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

Colonial Championship (at Richmond, VA): VCU vs. Old Dominion — 7 pm on ESPN (****)

Old Dominion looks like a safe bet even if they lose but VCU more than likely has to win this game to make the NCAA Tournament. The Rams and Monarchs split the season series, each winning on the other’s home floor. This game will be all about pace and one team’s strong defense against the other’s potent offense. If Old Dominion can keep this game in the half court, they can let their stellar two point defense and rebounding take over. The Monarch’s are the best offensive rebounding team in the country while VCU ranks #303 in defensive rebounding percentage. Old Dominion also ranks highly in defensive rebounding, placing them among the best overall rebounding teams in the nation, led by Frank Hassell, averaging just under 15/10 on the season. Over his last eight games, Hassell has been even better, averaging 19/10 down the stretch. Not coincidentally, the Monarchs have won all eight of those games and 12 of their past 13. ODU is #9 in two point defense but allows 36.9% three point shooting, #298 in America. That has been the bugaboo for Blaine Taylor’s group and the Rams are one team that can really take advantage of that. Four out of ten VCU field goals attempted are threes and they shoot it at a pretty good clip, 35.6% this season. However, that percentage drops to 33.7% when you look at CAA games only. The Rams must create offense through their defense by forcing turnovers. That will offset part of the rebounding edge ODU is almost sure to have. An energetic and aggressive defense can help push the pace and take Old Dominion out of its rhythm. The Monarchs struggle to shoot and score, relying on their defense and rebounding to win games most of the time. Shaka Smart should use some zone from time to time in order to force Old Dominion to make jump shots, something they don’t do well. Rebounding out of a zone is always difficult (especially against the #1 offensive rebounding squad) but we feel it’s worth the risk. VCU shouldn’t spend all game in a zone but mixing it up defensively will greatly help their cause. Old Dominion gets 57.5% of its points from two point range but they have a few threats from deep, most notably Kent Bazemore. He’s arguably their best three point shooter and also a terrific defender, ranked eighth nationally in steal percentage.  The Rams shouldn’t have that much trouble answering Old Dominion from the arc considering they have a number of quality shooters, including Bradford Burgess (16/13 vs. George Mason yesterday), but they need to get some looks inside for Jamie Skeen. The Wake Forest transfer has had a terrific year in Richmond and is averaging 21.7 PPG over his last three. It’ll be tough to score against Old Dominion’s interior defense but Skeen should look to get to the free throw line where he’s a 73.7% shooter. VCU is a good free throw shooting team overall and they’ve made it to the line on 41.5% of their possessions in conference play. Foul trouble for Old Dominion would open up the interior a bit and allow the Rams to spread the floor easier. VCU had lost four of their last five games heading into the conference tournament but seems to have found new life just down the road from campus in Richmond. They’ll be slight underdogs tonight but this is anybody’s game. Old Dominion will likely win the rebounding battle but whoever controls the turnover margin and the tempo will likely win this game and clinch the automatic berth.

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