ATB: Zags Seem Wobbly While Washington Does Not

Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2011

The Lede.  To give you a sense of what tonight’s basketball landscape looked like, it was a Pac-10 game that commanded the most national attention.  A lot of games out there, but few that were all that interesting.  Still, it’s our job to find those nuggets, so here goes…

Santa Clara's RTC Was Delayed by the Players' RTCrowd (h/t DLeung)

Your Watercooler MomentGonzaga in Trouble.  Hear us out, first.  We’ve seen Gonzaga play at least a half-dozen times or more this season, and the excuses made for Elias Harris’ injury notwithstanding, we’re still waiting to be impressed.  Tonight’s loss at Santa Clara where Kevin Foster went all kinds of crazy for a career-high 36 points did not help Gonzaga’s standing in our eyes.  Given that this was their first true conference road game and SCU isn’t very good, we’re starting to wonder if Mark Few’s team could be on the verge of a giant letdown this year — yes, to the point where the Zags don’t even make the NCAA Tournament.  Consider that coming into tonight’s game, GU was #46 and Pomeroy has them at #36, neither spots what you would call in the true safety zone for an NCAA bid; then, also consider that we think the Zags are looking at one, possibly even two, losses to St. Mary’s in addition to whomever else rises up to defeat them on the road this year (USF again?  LMU?  Portland?).  Another problem is the non-conference schedule — in a different year, wins over Baylor, Xavier, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest and (projected) Memphis would be more meaningful than they are this season.  The Zags’ only true quality win this year was way back in November over Marquette at the CBE Classic.  Pomeroy projects Gonzaga to go 12-2 in the WCC this year, which means a single loss more at St. Mary’s, but frankly, we think they have a few more stinkers left in their queue this season.  Call us crazy, but we think there’s a better-than-even chance that the mainstay program from Spokane will be sweating bullets come Selection Sunday this year.

Tonight’s Quick Hits….

  • Isaiah Thomas’ Slide Save Into the Tunnel.  After this season is completed and in the books, if there’s a single play that will define the success that Washington enjoyed, it will be the incredible dive and save behind his back that Isaiah Thomas made in the second half of tonight’s game against Arizona that resulted in his body sliding at least twenty feet into the corner of the arena as well as a bucket on the other end for his team off the break.  It was one of the most fantastic hustle plays we’ve ever seen in the collegiate game, and needless to say, we’ve logged quite a few hours over the years.  The play epitomized why this Washington team has a chance to do something special this year — since Abdul Gaddy’s ACL injury, Thomas has stepped into the point guard role assiduously, upping his scoring to just over 20 PPG and his assists to over 9 APG, including double figure dimes in his last two games.  The guy is simply giving an all-out effort each night and, as Sean Miller said after the game, Thomas should be getting more credit for his play than he is getting.
  • Klay Thompson’s Near Trip-Dub.  Washington State’s Klay Thompson was all over the place in the Cougars’ win over struggling Arizona State tonight.  The 6’6 junior is no stranger to filling up the stat sheet, but this evening’s performance was particularly exceptional.  Not only did he shoot his way to 22 points, but he also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out nine assists, ripped three steals, blocked a couple of shots and committed four fouls just for good measure.  The assist total tied a season high while the rebound total was two off, but it was the closest he’s gotten this season to an elusive triple-double.  With Reggie Moore back tonight, we still believe that Wazzu is one of the better teams in the Pac-10, but they have some work cut out for them to catch cross-state rival Washington.
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ATB: Kemba Is For Closers

Posted by rtmsf on January 18th, 2011

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.  — MLK, 1963

The Lede.  We hope everyone had a brilliant MLK Day Weekend.  We know that you had a great MLK Day with the great hoops on all afternoon, culminating in two top ten matchups between Big East teams (aren’t all 16 Big East teams in the top ten?).  Hopefully you were off work to enjoy it, but if you weren’t, let’s get you caught up.

Walker is Big Time in the Clutch (H-C/J. Woike)

Your Watercooler MomentKemba Is For Closers. We still don’t really believe that UConn is a legitimate Final Four contender (which you are, by definition, as a top ten team), but we will say this without reservation.  If UConn can keep itself within reach at the five-minute point of the game, they are capable of beating anybody and have the best closer in college basketball.  You can have Jared Sullinger, Jimmer Fredette, Nolan Smith or whoever else you want — we’ll take Kemba.  His ability to use the dribble to create space for himself and get off clean and makeable looks sets him apart from all of the others, and essentially gives Jim Calhoun an x-factor that no other team can counter.  Witness Jay Wright’s comments after the game — Villanova knew Walker was going to get the ball for the final shot, sent two men at him, so he simply split them anyway en route to hitting a ridiculously tough game-winning floater in the lane with two seconds left. Walker didn’t even enjoy the biggest game (that belonged to Corey Fisher and his 28 points and six assists), nor did he look dominant as he bricked his way to a 6-18 shooting afternoon, but when the outcome is on the line he’s proven again and again that he’s up to the task.  We said this repeatedly back in Maui two months ago, but it’s worth noting that as talented as Walker is and has performed this season, the success of the Huskies will ultimately depend on the support he receives.  Alex Oriakhi has played like a man possessed in the four games since his donut performance against Notre Dame, averaging 14/13 and providing great interior defense so that his team will be in the game until the end for Walker to do his magic.  So long as he plays at a similar level, Jim Calhoun will continue to snicker at all of his naysayers, and deservedly so.

Pitt's Retro Media Guide Cover (h/t Luke Winn)

Your Watercooler Moment, Pt. TwoSyracuse Drops From the Unbeatens. It was expected once Syracuse declared that starting forward and leading scorer Kris Joseph would be held out of tonight’s game against Pittsburgh due to a nasty knock on the head he suffered on Saturday, but the way in which it happened was still surprising.  For a while, it appeared that Jim Boeheim’s team must have left their entire offense back home as Syracuse’s defense faltered early, allowing Pittsburgh to run out to a quick 19-0 lead in front of a raucous crowd at the Peterson Events Center.  Then, just as quickly as they got down, Cuse battled back with a 17-0 run of its own.  We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a game start like that before, but nevertheless, it portended what would become a close game the rest of the way.  The difference was that Pittsburgh was simply better — they said they’d been practicing for a few days against a zone, and it showed in their execution (1.08 PPP was the third-best performance against the zone this year).  Time and time again the Panthers moved the ball inside-out to find the open shooter on the perimeter or found success pounding the ball down low to Nasir Robinson (21/7).  With the win, Pitt moves to the top of the line in the Big East with a flawless 6-0 record.  With upcoming games vs. DePaul, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Cincinnati in the next four, the Panthers look very good for heading into mid-February with a 10-0 conference record.

Tonight’s Quick Hits

  • The Ginormous MLK Monday.  All four of today’s games were great matchups on paper and we hope that ESPN keeps this up in future seasons.  There’s just something always a little cool about daytime basketball on a weekday — a little like you’re getting away with something by watching it.  The two Big East games ended up better than the Big 12 games, but we loved every bit of it.
  • The Morris Twins.  It’s like these two boys connected by genes suddenly decided to become grown men in the last two weeks.  After tonight’s combined 44/14, Marcus is averaging 24/13 in the last four games while brother Markieff is contributing 14/10 during the same period.  With point guard Josh Selby still struggling to adjust to the world of elite college basketball, it’s been the Morris twins who have pulled the Jayhawks through a series of recent close games against Michigan, Iowa State and Nebraska.  This buys Bill Self some time while his young but talented quarterback continues to develop over the next six weeks prior to March.
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Checking in on… the Southland

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 16th, 2011

Clark Williams is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

 

A Look Back

Howdy, hoop fans. I hope everyone is staying warm. The SoCon itself is beginning to heat up, as conference play is well underway. College of Charleston made national headlines after upsetting Tennessee on the Vols’ home court on New Years Eve.  The Cougars have continued their strong play with huge road victories against then-conference leaders Furman and Wofford. The Spartans of UNC-Greensboro have also been gaining national attention, although for all the wrong reasons. The hapless Spartans have still yet to win a game, and they are running out of time. They will square off against fellow bottom-dweller Georgia Southern on January 20; this is seemingly their best chance to end their winless streak. Andrew Goudelock of College of Charleston has continued his dominant play, averaging 23.1 PPG, eighth best in the nation.

Power Rankings

1. College of Charleston (11-5, 4-0)- The Cougars have been on fire recently, and are proving to be the strongest team in the conference. Behind Andrew Goudelock’s and Jeremey Simmons’ offensive production, the Cougars look to be the team to beat in the SoCon.

A Look Ahead- The Cougars host The Citadel on Saturday. After that, they’re off to Chattanooga, for a huge road game against Mocs. This game could determine who has sole-possession of first place in the SoCon.

2. Chattanooga (8-8, 4-0)- I’m still not really sure what to think about the Mocs. On one hand, they’re tied for first place in the SoCon, and have yet to lose in conference play. Their only impressive conference win was against Appalachian State, however, while the rest have been close victories against conference bottom-dwellers. Their success so far can be attributed to their phenomenal rebounding. The Mocs rank 12th in the nation in rebounds per game, with 41.1.

A Look Ahead- The next few weeks will determine if Chattanooga is a contender or pretender. A home game against College of Charleston, and road games against Wofford and Furman await the Mocs.

3. Wofford (7-9, 4-1)- The Terriers have one conference loss, and if it weren’t for Goudelock, they probably wouldn’t have any. But close doesn’t count in college hoops (just ask Gordon Hayward). The Terriers still have been impressive in conference play thus far, and are averaging a hefty 15.4 assists per game.

A Look Ahead- The Terriers will travel to North Carolina for a game against Davidson, then back to Spartanburg for three consecutive home games. This home stretch will be a golden opportunity for the Terriers to propel themselves to the top of the conference.

4. Furman (11-5, 3-2)- While the loss against Davidson was frustrating (the Paladins have now lost to College of Charleston 11 times in a row), the Paladins are still in position to win the SoCon. Consistency will be the key for Furman; they are 3-2 in their last five games, after not losing from November 28 to December 29.

A Look Ahead- The Paladins will travel to play the hapless Georgia Southern Eagles, and then square off against Samford and Chattanooga at home. If Furman can win these games, they will solidify themselves as legitimate conference contenders.

5. Appalachian State (7-7, 3-1)- Perhaps the Mountaineers were visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve, because they have not lost since. Senior guard Donald Sims continues to be the focal point of the dangerous Mountaineer offense, as he’s averaging 21.6 points per game.

A Look Ahead- After hosting the winless Spartans of UNC-Greensboro, the Mountaineers will travel to face Western Carolina, followed by another home game against The Citadel.

6. Davidson (8-8, 2-3)- After losing three in a row, the Wildcats continued their recent dominance over Furman with a 79-70 victory. This victory was desperately needed, as Davidson was in danger of losing three conference games in a row.

A Look Ahead- Davidson hosts the Terriers of Wofford on the 15th, and then road games at UNC-Greensboro and Elon. If Davidson wants to get back to the top of the standings, it needs to play well on the road, something they haven’t done well all year.

7. Samford (10-6, 2-2)- Looking at the statistics only, it’s amazing the Bulldogs have ten wins. They rank 301st in points per game, and 338th in rebounds per game. Fortunately for Samford, games aren’t played on paper.

A Look Ahead- Samford plays three of their next four on the road, with games at Chattanooga, Furman, and Wofford. If the Bulldogs want to last against these talented teams, they need to start scoring. Easier said then done.

8. Western Carolina (6-10, 2-2)- No one welcomed January more than Western Carolina did, after they lost every game in December. The calendar change apparently did them some good, as they’ve are undefeated in January thus far.

A Look Ahead- The Catamounts will host Appalachian State, then travel to College of Charleston and The Citadel. Wouldn’t it be something if they won every game in January, after losing every game in December? If you’re nodding yes, you’re right. But that was a rhetorical question.

9. Elon (8-8, 2-3) – After a tough start to the year, including two early conference loses, the Phoenix seem to be getting the hang of it. Elon recently earned road wins against Navy and Columbia, and was able to stay competitive against ACC foe North Carolina State.

A Look Ahead- The Phoenix will travel visit the Mountaineers of Appalachian State, then host Davidson and Georgia Southern.

10. The Citadel (5-11, 1-3)- The Bulldogs’ in-state road trip didn’t go so well, as they lost at Clemson, Wofford, and Furman. Offense has plagued the Bulldogs, as they rank 312th in points per game, and 300th in field goal percentage.

A Look Ahead- The Bulldogs host Chattanooga then hit the road again with games at College of Charleston and Samford.

11. Georgia Southern (4-14, 0-5)- The Eagles have defeated just one D-I team all year, and it took overtime to do so. This team is just plain bad, especially when it comes to rebounding, where they ranked 305th in the nation in rebounds per game. Don’t be fooled by the four wins, this team could easily be ranked below UNC-Greensboro.

A Look Ahead- The Eagles host Furman then travel to UNC-Greensboro, for the battle of the SoCon bottom-dwellers.

12. UNC-Greensboro (0-15, 0-5)- I’d say the record speaks for itself. The Spartans have yet to win a game, and if they don’t do so against Georgia Southern, I’m not sure they will all year. That being said, we are all cheering for you, UNC-Greensboro. Nobody deserves to lose every game.

A Look Ahead- The Spartans will travel to Appalachian State, and then host Davidson and Georgia Southern. Circle the Georgia Southern-UNC-Greensboro game on your calendar; it’s going to be a dandy.

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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 2nd, 2011

RTC welcomes Clark Williams, our new Southern Conference correspondent.

[ed. note: this post was written prior to Friday/Saturday games]

A Look Back

I hope everybody had quite the festive and merry holiday. Let’s talk SoCon basketball, shall we? Furman’s month-long win streak has come to an end, after the Paladins fell to the Golden Knights of UCF on Wednesday in the first round of the UCF Holiday Classic. Also on Wednesday, Georgia Southern came back from a 27-point halftime deficit and nearly upset the Auburn Tigers, but eventually fell 88-84 in overtime. I realize Auburn is one of the worst power-conference teams out there, but it’s always nice to see the SoCon bottom dwellers keep up with the SEC bottom dwellers. The cold streak continues for UNC-Greensboro, as the Spartans’ record fell to 0-12 after Duke demolished them, 108-62, in Greensboro. The game was the highest-attended athletic event in school history, with a crowd of 22, 178.

Power Rankings

1. Furman (8-3, 2-0) – Despite their five-game winning streak coming to an end, the Paladins possess the top spot. They are undefeated in conference play, and easily defeated South Carolina last Wednesday, something they have not done since 1980.

A Look Ahead - The Paladins continue playing in the UCF Holiday Classic, and take on the Huskies of Northeastern on Thursday night.  Then, a warm-up game against NAIA foe UVA-Wise, which will be the Paladins’ last non-conference game of the year. On January 6, Furman will square off against College of Charleston, with whom they currently share first place.

2. College of Charleston (8-4, 2-0) – The Cougars earned the number two spot, after nearly defeating the Tigers of Clemson last Wednesday. Charleston hasn’t played since. Andrew Goudelock continues to impress; the senior guard is averaging 23.4 points per game.

A Look Ahead - The Cougars will be on ESPN on New Year’s Eve, as they take on the Volunteers of Tennessee, in Knoxville. Then, a game at Morehead State, followed by a conference clash at Furman on January 6.

3. Wofford (5-7, 2-0) – A popular preseason pick to win the SoCon, the Terriers have struggled at times this season. However, they seem to be more talented then their record indicates. They have played a combined five overtime periods already, and have taken on six power conference teams, playing all of them relatively close.

A Look Ahead - The Terriers play their last non-conference game against Cornell on Thursday night, then have conference foes Citadel and College of Charleston at home. Wofford needs to make a statement in both of those games, if they really are the team pundits believed them to be at the beginning of the year.

4. Chattanooga (7-6, 3-0) – The Mocs are the sole possessors of first place in the North division of the SoCon. What has impressed me the most about the Mocs so far is their rebounding ability — Chattanooga ranks #23 in the nation in rebounds per game with the amount of assists they’ve racked up.  Still, it’s hard to tell what this team will be like in February and March. The Mocs’ last two opponents have been NAIA teams, and they have not played a D-1 team since December 17.

A Look Ahead – Chattanooga has Georgia State on December 30, in-state rival Austin Peay on January 3, and then squares off against the winless Spartans of UNC-Greensboro on January 8.

5. Davidson (6-5, 1-1)- The Wildcats are getting better by the day. Since their December 2 conference loss to College of Charleston, Davidson is 3-1. They easily defeated The Citadel, Charlotte, and Saint Francis (NY), and nearly beat Saint John’s.

A Look Ahead – Davidson travels to Nashville to take on a talented Vanderbilt team on January 2.  Then, it’s a duo of in-state rivalry games, as the Wildcats host Appalachian State, then travel to play Western Carolina.

6. Samford (8-5, 1-1) – The Bulldogs continue to be plagued by a lethargic offense, as Creighton easily defeated the Bulldogs, 58-40 on December 22. This marks the fourth game the Bulldogs were held to less than 60 points. Their rebounding has been no better, and ranks 333rd in the nation in rebounds per game. Samford has, however, been able to move the ball around very well. Four players are averaging more than eight points per game.

A Look Ahead – Samford has a New Year’s Eve date with Eastern Michigan, then hits the road for three consecutive conference road games. First up is UNC-Greensboro, then Elon, and then Chattanooga.

7. Appalachian State (4-7, 1-1) – The Mountaineers continue to get fantastic play from senior guard Donald Sims, who is averaging 22.4 points per game, and forward Omar Carter, who is averaging 15 points per game. Unfortunately, his stellar play has not translated into victories. Appalachian State has struggled as of late- they have lost their last three games by a combined score of 42.

A Look Ahead – The Mountaineers will take on the Wildcats of Davidson on January 5. Then, it’s Georgia Southern, followed by UNC-Greensboro.

8. The Citadel (4-8, 1-1) – The Bulldogs haven’t played since the December 23, when they lost to SIU-Edwardsville, a recent addition to D-1 basketball. The Citadel has managed to play well in games against fellow mid-majors, but has been absolutely destroyed against any higher competition. They lost by 42 to Richmond, 28 to Colorado, and 26 to New Mexico.

A Look Ahead – The Citadel starts the New Year with four tough road trips in South Carolina. The Bulldogs will play at Clemson, then Wofford, then Furman, and will finish at College of Charleston. If the Bulldogs want to stay competitive in conference play, they need to win at least one of these games.

9. Elon (5-7, 0-2) The Phoenix of Elon are doing a fine job putting points on the point, as they rank 55th in the nation in points per game. However, their talented offense hasn’t been able to compensate for their lack of defense of rebounding. Elon has been the cupcake of choice for the ACC thus far, and haven’t been completely embarrassed in games against Wake Forest, Maryland and Duke. Hopefully, the experience from these games will help them find their own winning ways.

A Look Ahead – The Phoenix will travel to New York City for a game against Columbia, then will face off against another ACC foe, NC State. Elon will resume conference play at UNC-Greensboro, on January 10.

10.  Georgia Southern (4-10, 0-2) – The Eagles finally got their first victory over a D-1 opponent, beating Georgia State in overtime, on December 22. The “momentum” created by this victory carried over to their next game, as they overcame a 27-point halftime deficit at Auburn to force overtime, where they eventually fell.  Freshman guard Eric Ferguson is wasting no time making his presence felt. He is averaging 14.4 points per game, and 6.4 rebounds.

A Look Ahead - The Eagles will start 2011 with home games against Eastern Kentucky and Western Carolina, and then travel to Appalachian State. The Eagles are the only team in the South division of the SoCon without a conference win. If the Eagles have any shot at turning this thing around, this trend must end, and quickly.

11. Western Carolina (4-10, 0-2)- Things are not getting any easier for the Catamounts. Western Carolina has dropped their last six games, and hasn’t won since late November. The strangest part of their winless December? The Catamounts lost to the Fighting Camels of Campbell by 23, but only lost to #2 Ohio State by 15.

A Look Ahead – The Catamounts will travel to Georgia Southern, then host Davidson, Elon, and Appalachian State. Here’s hoping their January goes better than their December.

12. Ah, the loathed 12th spot. This is reserved for the hapless Spartans of UNC-Greensboro, a team still searching for its first victory. In their defense, the Spartans have played a brutal schedule, and seem to be getting better each game. Before the Duke disaster, the Spartans played Wake Forest, Clemson, and Richmond, losing by ten or fewer in each game.

A Look Ahead – It doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans, as they resume conference play. They host Samford on January 6, and continue their search for that elusive first win. Home games against Chattanooga and Elon follow.

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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.
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Summer School in the SoCon

Posted by Brian Goodman on July 30th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Mike Young's Terriers Look to Lead the SoCon Again

Around The SoCon

  • Former Citadel coach Ed Conroy moves on to coach Tulane University. The Bulldogs hired former Maryland assistant coach Chuck Driesell, who was with the Terps for four seasons under head coach Gary Williams.
  • The Mountaineers hired former UNC star forward Jason Capel, who becomes the youngest head coach in Division I at 30 years old, to replace Buzz Peterson, who departs for UNC-Wilmington.
  • The Georgia Southern Eagles made a splash in its recruiting class coming in, ranking sixth among mid-major programs, according to ESPN.com.
  • Asheville, North Carolina, has been awarded the league’s men’s and women’s basketball tournament for 2012-14, to be held in the Asheville Civic Center, just a stone’s throw away from the Western Carolina campus. The facility will undergo a considerable renovation to prepare for the event.

Power Rankings

The Southern Conference will likely be a one-bid league in 2010-11, but the recent NCAA tournament expansion will certainly add motivation for teams on the rise to perform. With the return of forward Noah Dahlman (16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG last season), Wofford is the early favorite to repeat as SoCon champs next season.

North Division

  1. Western Carolina – The Catamounts lost some very good talent from a team that won 22 games in 2009-10, including an impressive 14-2 home record. WCU lost its top two scorers in Brandon Giles and Jake Robinson, but return former freshman of the year Harouna Mutombo. Also, the Catamounts bring back spark plug Mike Williams, who contributed 9.4 points off the bench last season. Starting center Richie Gordon returns after posting 8.5 ppg and 4.6 rebounds per game last season. WCU welcomes four newcomers, including 6’4 guard Brandon Boggs, from Greenville, South Carolina. Boggs averaged 16 PPG in his senior season, earning him a spot on the South Carolina all-star team. Boggs scored a game-high 24 points in the contest.
  2. Appalachian State - The Mountaineers lost Buzz Peterson to UNC-Wilmington and welcome a new era with Jason Capel, who becomes the nation’s youngest head coach heading into the 2010-11 season. ASU won an impressive 24 games en route to the North Division crown last season. To repeat as champs, they are going to need Donald Sims to perform at a level similar to last season, when he averaged 20.4 points per game and was a sure thing from the stripe, with a league-leading 95 percent. Also returning is Isaac Butts, who led the team in rebounding, grabbing 8.1 rebounds per game last season. Two newcomers for the Mountaineers are Anthony Breeze, who transferred from Coastal Carolina last season, and Omar Carter, who transferred from Charleston Southern.
  3. Chattanooga – The Mocs have three starters returning from a team that went 15-18 last season. Chattanooga went 6-12 in conference play, tying UNC-Greensboro for third in the north division. Rising junior guard Ricky Taylor returns after putting up 11.4 points per game in 2009-2010. Keegan Bell, who averaged 7.6 points per game last season, is another starter from a year ago. Together, Taylor and Bell will look to provide the Mocs with a 1-2 punch in the backcourt. Three newcomers round out the roster, including some size in the frontcourt in Philip Jurick, who stands 6’11 and played at Chattanooga State Community College last season.
  4. Samford – The Bulldogs head into 2010-11 returning three starters from last year’s team, including leading scorer Josh Davis, who averaged 12.5 points per game and netted a team-high 85 three pointers. Also returning is starting center Andy King, who posted 6.6 points per game last season. The Bulldogs struggled on the road last season, going 4-10 away from Birmingham, and the team hopes that more veteran leadership will change their fate this season. Three newcomers will join the squad, including two in the frontcourt in Levi Barnes (6’10) and Drew Windler (6’9). Guard Greg Wooten rounds out the recruiting class for Samford.
  5. UNC-Greensboro – The Spartans return rising sophomore Kyle Randall, who was second on the team in points per game with 9.5. Also returning is fellow guard Brandon Evans, who averaged 8.5 points per game last season. The Spartans had a tough non-conference slate containing six ACC opponents, which contributed to a 2-11 record before conference play started. While overmatched in most of those contests, they hung around with Virginia Tech until late in the game Six of those losses came at home. Three newcomers join the team this season in Aaron Brackett, David Williams, and Aloysius Henry, who hopes to contribute right away.
  6. Elon - The Phoenix return their leading scorer in Drew Spradlin, who averaged 13.3 points per game last season as a sophomore. Also returning is starting guard Chris Long, who posted 9.9 points per game in his junior season. Sixth man Terrance Birdette returns as well, after scoring 6.8 points per game and seeing court time in all 32 games last season. There are five newcomers who join the Phoenix hoops squad in 2010. Incoming freshmen include Ryley Beaumont, Jack Isenbarger, Sebastian Koch, Lucas Troutman. Sophomore transfer Egheosa Edomwonyi from Rice will be a part of Elon’s quest for a Southern Conference championship. Isenbarger was a McDonalds All-American nominee and could be the prize in the recruiting class.

South Division

Read the rest of this entry »

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Southern Conference Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Southern Conference Championship- Predictions

First/Second Rounds

March 5

(3S) Davidson vs. (6N) Elon – Davidson has had a better year than what people expected after losing Stephen Curry to the NBA draft. The Wildcats should win by double digits against a bad Elon team.

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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Updated Standings

NORTH CONF. W-L OVERALL W-L
Appalachian State 12-5 19-11
Western Carolina 10-7 20-10
Chattanooga 6-11 14-16
Samford 5-12 11-18
UNC Greensboro 5-12 6-22
Elon 5-12 8-21
SOUTH CONF. W-L OVERALL W-L
Wofford 14-3 22-8
Charleston 13-4 19-10
Davidson 10-7 15-14
Citadel 9-8 15-14
Furman 7-10 13-15
Georgia Southern 6-11 9-21

Quick Hits – With the Southern Conference season ending on Saturday it looks like the conference champions of their respective divisions are clinched. Congratulations to Appalachian State (12-5) for winning the North division thanks to a season sweep against Western Carolina this season. Also the Wofford Terriers for winning the South division with a solid 14-3 conference record. The Terriers clinched the division title on Thursday night with a 74-68 win at home. The conference tournament starts on March 4-8, being played in Charlotte, N.C., at the Time Warner Cable arena. In my opinion four teams still have a chance to be dancing in March with Wofford (14-3), Appalachian State (12-5), Western Carolina (10-7), and College of Charleston (13-4).

Conference Tournament Champion prediction: College of Charleston – I believe they will avenge their losses to Wofford and Western Carolina by defeating the Catamounts in the SoCon championship to head to the NCAA tournament. With the way the Cougars can move the ball around the perimeter I believe they will cut down the nets in Charlotte.

Predicting Post-season Awards:

Player of the Year: Donald Sims (Appalachian State) 20.1 points per game, leads the conference in 3 pointers made (90), free throw percentage (.948) 146-154 missed eight free throws all year.

Coach of the Year: Buzz Peterson (Appalachian State) 19-11 overall, 12-5 SoCon

Freshman of the Year: Jake Cohen (Davidson) 13.1 points per game

1st Team all-SoCon

  • Donald Sims- Appalachian State 20.1 ppg
  • Andrew Goudelock- College of Charleston 19.2 ppg
  • Cameron Wells- Citadel 17.4 ppg
  • Noah Dahlman- Wofford 17.4 ppg
  • Amu Saaka – Furman 16.1 ppg 7.1 rpg

2nd Team all-SoCon

  • Ben Stywall- UNC Greensboro
  • Jordan Miller- Furman
  • Brandon Giles- Western Carolina
  • Willie Powers- Georgia Southern
  • Drew Spradlin- Elon

Final Games remaining:

  • February 27th – Samford @ Appalachian St. 3 p.m.
  • February 27th – Citadel @ Wofford 7 p.m.
  • February 27th – College of Charleston @ Furman 4 p.m.
  • February 27th – Davidson @ Elon 7 p.m.
  • February 27th – Chattanooga @ Western Carolina 3 p.m.
  • March 1st – Georgia Southern @ UNC Greensboro 7 p.m.
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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by rtmsf on February 12th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Updated Standings

North
Appalachian St. 9-4 15-10
Western Carolina 8-5 18-7
Chattanooga 5-8 13-13
Samford 4-9 10-15
Elon 4-9 6-18
UNC Greensboro 4-9 5-19
South
College of Charleston 12-3 17-9
Wofford 10-3 18-8
Davidson 7-5 12-12
Citadel 7-6 13-12
Furman 5-8 11-13
Georgia Southern 3-9 6-19

Quick Hits.

  • Appalachian State has won two-straight conference games to take over first place in the North Division. Western Carolina has been reeling of late after losing on the road against Elon. WCU with the loss is now second in the division.
  • Georgia Southern is the most disappointing team to date with a dismal 3-9 conference record and 6-19 overall record. The Eagles have struggled on the road this season.

Sizzling Players. These top seven guys continue to lead the conference with their stellar play for their teams.

1. SIMS, Donald-ASU JR 22.6
2. GOUDELOCK, Andrew-COFC JR 20.5
3. WELLS, Cameron-CIT JR 18.4
4. DAHLMAN, Noah-WOF JR 17.1
5. SAAKA, Amu-FUR JR 16.2
6. POWERS, Willie-GSU JR 16.2
7. STYWALL, Ben-UNCG SR 15.7

Important Match-ups.

Sat, Feb 13 Appalachian St. Georgia Southern Boone, N.C. 3:00 p.m.
* Sat, Feb 13 Samford Wofford Birmingham, Ala. 3:00 p.m.
* Sat, Feb 13 Elon Citadel Elon, N.C. 6:00 p.m.
* Sat, Feb 13 Chattanooga Furman Chattanooga, Tenn. 7:30 p.m.
* Sat, Feb 13 Western Carolina Davidson Cullowhee, N.C. 7:00 p.m.
* Mon, Feb 15 UNC Greensboro Western Carolina Greensboro, N.C. 7:00 p.m.
* Wed, Feb 17 College of Charleston Appalachian St. Charleston, S.C. 7:00 p.m.
* Wed, Feb 17 Davidson Wofford Davidson, N.C. 7:00 p.m.
* Wed, Feb 17 Elon UNC Greensboro Elon, N.C. 7:00 p.m.

Key Results from last two weeks.

  • On Saturday Feb. 6th, Appalachian State went on the road and defeated Western Carolina, 89-77, to sweep the season series from the Catamounts. That win for the Mountaineers completely changes the Southern Conference and puts App. State in the drivers seat for the division title.
  • On Monday Feb. 8th, The Citadel went on the road and beat the College of Charleston, 72-65, which proved to be a nice win for the Bulldogs. The Cougars are trying to hold off a late rally by Wofford to claim the South Division title.
  • Also on Monday Feb. 8th, Western Carolina continued its poor showing on the road in 2010 by losing to Elon, 81-76. WCU with the loss now sits a full game behind the Mountaineers in the North Division title race.
  • Monday Feb. 8th continued to be a busy day for the Southern Conference as Wofford went on the road to defeat Furman, 76-65. Wofford improved to 10-3 in conference and continues to show that the Terriers could be a contender for the league title in the next couple of weeks.
  • On Feb. 11, the College of Charleston beat Elon, 80-77, after Donvan Monroe scored a career high 29 points to lead the Cougars to victory over the pesky Phoenix.
  • On the same night Appalachian State beat Davidson, 66-56 to sweep the season series from the Wildcats. The Mountaineers now control their own destiny in the North Division with the victory.
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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Updated Standings:
NORTH    (CONF/OVER)

  1. Western Carolina     6-3    16-5
  2. Appalachian State   6-3    12-8
  3. Chattanooga              4-5    12-10
  4. UNC Greensboro      4-6    5-16
  5. Samford                       3-6    9-12
  6. Elon                               2-7    4-16

SOUTH    (CONF/ OVER)

  1. Charleston                  8-2    13-8
  2. Wofford                        6-3    14-8
  3. Davidson                     5-4    10-11
  4. Furman                        4-5    10-10
  5. Citadel                          4-5    10-11
  6. Georgia Southern     3-6    6-16

Quick Hits — Only half of the conference season has been played in the Southern Conference and we are starting to see which teams will contend for the championship come March. Four teams have clearly put themselves above the rest of the conference as WCU, Wofford, Charleston, and Appalachian State have emerged as the favorites to make the NCAA tournament. One of those teams should come away with the automatic bid. In the next couple of weeks the schedule puts most of the top teams against each other, providing for some very interesting scenarios.

Other Notes — It would take either Western Carolina or College of Charleston to both win out and make it to the SoCon finals for the league to earn two bids into the NCAA tournament. It doesn’t look like this is the year for the conference to have two teams for the first time.

Most Disappointing teams — Elon has only won two games in conference, but Samford has really been disappointing this season with its 3-6 record. The Bulldogs haven’t figured out how to win on the road.

Sizzling players — It’s all about the junior class. Seven juniors sit atop the statistics in PPG. Donald Sims from Appalachian State leads the SoCon with 19.4 PPG. Andrew Goudelock (CofC), Cameron Wells (Citadel), Noah Dahlman (Wofford), Amu Saaka (Furman), Willie Powers (Georgia Southern), and Jordan Miller (Furman) all averaging more than 14 PPG.

Upcoming Schedule/Important Match-ups:

  • Sat. Jan 30 — Furman @ Wofford.  Spartanburg, S.C. 3 p.m. – Tough road contest for Furman.
  • Thurs. Feb 4 — Chattanooga @ Charleston.  Charleston, S.C. 7 p.m. – Chattanooga looks to pull off another upset on the road.
  • Sat. Feb 6 — Appalachian State @ WCU.  Cullowhee, N.C. 7 p.m. – The Catamounts look for revenge at home.
  • Mon. Feb 8 — Citadel @ Charleston.  Charleston, S.C. 7 p.m. – In-state rivalry between the two schools.

Team Breakdowns:

  • Appalachian State (12-8): On January 28th Appalachian State won its second straight game after defeating Samford 68-55 on the road. With that victory, the Mountaineers are now tied atop the North Division standings at 6-3. Just four days earlier, Appalachian State defeated Western Carolina 87-74 at home thanks to 28 points from Donald Sims. The upcoming game against the Catamounts could determine the North Division winner, with both tied at 6-3 at the moment.
  • Chattanooga (12-10): The Mocs were on a four-game losing streak before defeating Western Carolina 80-67 on January 28th.  Ty Patterson led the way with 19 points in the victory and leads the team in scoring with 15.3 PPG. Recent road losses against Wofford (78-63) and Elon (83-80) have hurt Chattanooga in the standings. The Mocs still need to figure out how to get it done more often on the road.
  • College of Charleston (13-8): The Cougars were riding high with a seven game winning streak until Monday the 25th when Western Carolina ended the streak with a 100-90 victory at home. College of Charleston couldn’t bounce back on January 28th, losing again on the road against Davidson, 86-71. It will be interesting to see how the Cougars respond to this recent two game losing streak, which dropped them to 8-2 in conference.
  • Davidson (10-11): Two straight wins for the Wildcats puts their conference record at 5-4 heading into a key conference stretch. On January 23rd Davidson defeated Georgia Southern 91-87 on the road with J.P. Kuhlman scoring 18 points to pace the Wildcats.  Just five days later, Davidson overcame South Division leader Charleston, 86-61.  Will Archambault scored 24 points in the victory and grabbed five rebounds.
  • Elon (4-16): Elon recently ended a nine-game losing streak after defeating Chattanooga 83-80 at home on January 23rd. Drew Spradlin scored a season-high 30 points in the victory to end the losing streak for the Phoenix.  On January 28th Elon lost on the road against UNC-Greensboro 62-55 with Spradlin scoring 18 points in the loss.  The Phoenix haven’t won two straight games all season and came up just short against the Spartans.
  • Furman (10-10): The Paladins continue to impress at home with its 6-3 record but playing on the road has really hurt them. Furman’s record on the road is just 3-6; this will have to be rectified if they’re going to compete for the SoCon championship. On January 25th Furman defeated Samford 63-58 with Darryl Evans scoring 18 points in the victory.
  • Georgia Southern (6-16): The Eagles have been playing better recently, winning two of its last three conference games. Both of those wins came at home where Georgia Southern is 6-4 overall. The Eagles defeated the Citadel 61-58 on January 28th to run its SoCon record to 3-6.
  • Samford (9-12): The Bulldogs have lost two-straight games after losing to Appalachian State on January 28th, 68-55. Just three days earlier, Samford lost to Furman on the road, 63-58. Josh Davis leads the team in scoring at 11.7 PPG. The Bulldogs are just 3-6 on the road.
  • The Citadel (10-11): The Citadel has one of the top players in the Southern Conference in Cameron Wells. Wells is averaging 18 PPG but doesn’t get a whole lot of  help around him; if he did, you’d wonder if Citadel would have better than a 4-5 conference record. The Citadel defeated Furman at home 70-60 on January 23rd, but lost on the road against Georgia Southern 61-58 on Thursday night. The Bulldogs have yet to win two-straight conference games this season and are trying to stay competitive in the South Division.
  • UNC-Greensboro (5-16):  The Spartans have won two of their last three conference games to improve their record to 4-6 in conference. During UNC-Greensboro’s recent home stand, they defeated Chattanooga 62-49, and beat Elon 62-55 on Thursday night.
  • Western Carolina (16-5): The Catamounts have been perfect at home (11-0) including a huge victory against the College of Charleston, 100-90, on January 25th. Western Carolina’s losses have all been away from the Ramsey Center. This is a cause of concern for WCU, having recently fallen into a tie for first place in the North Division with Appalachian State. Western cannot expect to lose all of its road games and still claim the SoCon championship.
  • Wofford (14-8): The Terriers have been playing their best basketball of the season, led by junior Noah Dahlman. Dahlman has led the team in scoring in six straight games, and the team is 5-1 in those contests. Wofford’s only loss came against the College of Charleston 70-68 on the road. On January 25th the Terriers won 78-63 against Chattanooga; Dahlman led the way with 20 points, earning Wofford its sixth conference win.
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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by jstevrtc on January 15th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Updated Standings:

NORTH CONF. W-L OVERALL W-L
Western Carolina 3-1 13-3
Chattanooga 3-1 11-6
Appalachian State 3-2 9-7
UNC Greensboro 2-4 3-14
Samford 1-3 7-9
Elon 1-4 3-13
SOUTH CONF. W-L OVERALL W-L
Charleston 5-0 10-6
Wofford 3-2 11-7
Davidson 3-2 8-9
Furman 2-3 8-8
Citadel 2-3 8-9
Georgia Southern 1-4 4-14

Quick Hits – The Southern Conference is beginning to take shape after just two weeks into the “second half” of the 2009-10 college basketball season. The standings look awfully familiar to last season with the North led by a tie between Western Carolina (3-1) and Chattanooga (3-1). The South Division is being lead by the College of Charleston who has a perfect 5-0 conference record. The question that is starting to take shape around mid-majors is can the SoCon put two teams to the big dance this season? In my opinion, in order for the SoCon to have two invitations to March Madness the Catamounts would have to earn somewhere around 24-25 wins. The other half would be to have WCU face College of Charleston in the finals trying to convince the committee that wins on the road against Louisville & Bradley will be enough to get the Catamounts into the tournament if Charleston wins the SoCon tournament.

Other Notes — Don’t sleep on Wofford and Chattanooga who both have started to get hot in recent weeks. Wofford on a four-game winning streak and Chattanooga on a six-game winning streak.

Most Disappointing Teams — Now that Georgia Southern has gotten its first win in conference the Elon Phoenix are clearly the worst team in the Southern Conference so far this season. The Phoenix have been getting blown out almost every game and sit at just 3-13 overall.

Sizzling players — Appalachian State’s Donald Sims is playing his best basketball of the season after scoring 44 points against Davidson and has led the Mountaineers in scoring in ten games this season. Furman’s Amu Saaka has played well lately scoring 30+ in two straight games against conference opponents.

Important Upcoming Match-ups:

  • Sat. Jan 16thDavidson@Wofford, Spartanburg, S.C. 7 p.m. – Tough road match-up for a battle of 3-2 records in conference.
  • Wed Jan 20th - WCU@Davidson, Davidson, N.C. 7 p.m. – Western travels to Davidson looking to earn a solid road conference win.
  • Fri Jan 22ndWofford@College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C. 7 p.m. – Wofford looks to take down the top team in the Southern Conference on the road.
  • Sat Jan 23rdWCU@Appalachian State, Boone, N.C. 3 p.m. – Old time rivalry between two teams that really don’t like each other should present a solid game in Boone.

Team Breakdowns:

  • Appalachian State (9-7): The Mountaineers have won two straight conference games earning them a 3-2 SoCon record. On January 9th Appalachian State won on the road against Davidson, 78-68, thanks to a stellar performance from Donald Sims who scored 44 points in the victory. On January 13th they defeated Elon 89-65 getting 20 points from Kellen Brand to lead the way.
  • Chattanooga (11-6): The Mocs are riding a six-game winning streak and a 3-1 SoCon record after defeating UNC-Greensboro 58-45 on January 11th thanks to 14 points from Ty Patterson. Chattanooga kept its winning streak in tact after Keegan Bell knocked down a huge three as time expired to shock the Citadel at home, 56-54, on January 14th. Bell finished the game with 11 points to lead the Mocs.
  • College of Charleston (10-6): The Cougars are also riding a nice four-game win streak thanks to two more conference victories this week. Two road wins for the College of Charleston improve its SoCon record to 5-0. The first was a win over the Citadel, 61-55, thanks to 22 points from Andrew Goudelock. The Cougars then beat Samford 78-67 on January 14th with Goudelock leading the way with 23 points.
  • Davidson (8-9): The Wildcats went 1-1 this past week losing at home to Appalachian State, 78-68, but earn a nice road win against Furman, 86-81, on January13th. Will Archambault scored 15 points in the victory. The Wildcats are still trying to find out its identity in the Southern Conference looking for that signature win.
  • Elon (3-13): The Phoenix are currently on a seven-game losing streak and only 1-4 in the SoCon. Elon was defeated by Wofford, 72-55, and lost to Appalachian State, 89-65, in the past week. Elon will be looking to break its losing streak in the upcoming weeks.
  • Furman (8-8): The Paladins have lost two-straight conference games to drop to 2-3 in the SoCon. Furman was defeated on January 9th against UNC-Greensboro, 88-78, but Amu Saaka scored 31 points in the loss. On January 13th Furman lost to Davidson 86-81 with Saaka getting 34 points in that loss.
  • Georgia Southern (4-14): The Eagles earned its first win in conference after defeating Western Carolina at home 81-76. Willie Powers lead the Eagles with 19 points in the victory. The win against the Catamounts stopped a nine-game losing streak for Georgia Southern. On January 14th the Eagles lost to Wofford 71-57 on the road to fall to 1-4 in the SoCon.
  • Samford (7-9): The Bulldogs went 1-1 last week earning a victory against Tennessee-Temple, 62-52, getting 19 points from Bryan Friday in the victory. On January 14th lost at home, 78-67, to the College of Charleston falling to 1-3 in the SoCon.
  • The Citadel (8-9): The Citadel lost two-straight conference games this past week losing to the College of Charleston at home, 61-55, and losing a heart-breaker against Chattanooga, 56-54, on a last second three pointer. The Citadel did get 28 points from Cameron Wells in the loss against the Mocs.
  • UNC-Greensboro (3-14): The Spartans went 1-2 in the past week ending the week by losing to Western Carolina 79-69 to fall to 2-4 in the SoCon. The Spartans started their week off well, defeating Furman 88-78 at home but fell to Chattanooga on January 11th 58-45 on the road getting 10 points by Brandon Evans in the loss.
  • Western Carolina (13-3): The Catamounts started the week with a tough road loss against Georgia Southern, 81-76, with Kendall Russell scoring 18 points in the loss. Western Carolina bounced back with a nice home victory over UNC-Greensboro 79-69 on January 14th.
  • Wofford (11-7): Wofford has won four straight games and three straight conference games to run its SoCon record to 3-2. On January 14th the Terriers defeated Georgia Southern 71-57 earning its eleventh win of the season. Two of the victories came on the road for Wofford at UNC-Greensboro on January 7th (79-62) and at Elon on January 9th (72-55).
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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by jstevrtc on January 8th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Updated Standings:

NORTH   (CONF/ OVERALL)

  1. Western Carolina  2-0/12-2
  2. Chattanooga  1-1/9-6
  3. Appalachian State  1-2/7-7
  4. Samford  1-2/6-8
  5. Elon  1-2/3-11
  6. UNC Greensboro  1-2/2-12

SOUTH   (CONF/ OVERALL)

  1. Charleston  3-0/8-6
  2. Furman  2-1/8-6
  3. Citadel  2-1/8-7
  4. Davidson  2-1/7-8
  5. Wofford  1-2/9-7
  6. Georgia Southern  0-3/3-13

Quick Hits – The Southern Conference has started the new year off right with a huge upset over #9 UNC thanks to the College of Charleston. There are currently six teams who have eight or more wins; Citadel (8-7), Furman (8-6), College of Charleston (8-6), Chattanooga (9-6), Western Carolina (12-2), and Wofford (9-7). Clearly the Catamounts and Cougars are playing the best basketball early in the conference season, but with so many games to come, who knows what will happen in the upcoming weeks.

Other Notes — Keep an eye on Samford and Wofford who are both at 1-2 in the conference but have played teams tough. Wofford owns victories over South Carolina and Georgia. Samford has won three out of its last four games to improve its record to 6-8.

Most Disappointing Teams — The UNC-Greensboro Spartans have really struggled of late losing eight straight games including a conference loss to Wofford. The Spartans are 1-2 in the SoCon but only 2-12 overall and sorely need to earn some more conference wins in the upcoming weeks. Georgia Southern continues to struggle losing nine straight games falling to 3-13 in the SoCon. The Eagles have lost all nine contests by ten points or more and are the only SoCon team without a win in conference so far.

Sizzling players — Junior Andrew Goudelock is making a solid case for SoCon Player of the Year after his performance against #9 UNC. Goudelock helped jump start a 12-1 run by the Cougars including a clutch buzzer-beating three point to send the game into overtime. Freshman Jake Cohen has been a solid surprise for Davidson who has averaged 13.4 PPG, which leads the team and is eighth in the SoCon.

Upcoming Important Match-ups:

  • Sat. Jan. 9th — Charleston @ The Citadel, Charleston, S.C.  7 p.m. – Conference rivals meet down the road after the huge upset win over UNC.
  • Sat. Jan. 9th –  Wofford @ Elon, Elon, SC 7 p.m. – Wofford looks to even its conference record against Elon.
  • Wed. Jan. 13th — Davidson @ Furman, Greenville, SC 7 p.m. – Furman hosts Davidson in a huge conference match-up for the Paladins.
  • Thurs. Jan. 14th –  Charleston @ Samford, Birmingham, AL 9 p.m. – Another key test for College of Charleston on the road against the Bulldogs.

Team Breakdowns:

Appalachian State (7-7): The Mountaineers enter the new year on a three-game losing streak that includes a home loss against the Citadel, 62-58 on January 6th. Donald Sims scored 22 points in the loss as Appy State fell to 1-2 in the SoCon. Need to be more consistent in every way on the road.

Chattanooga (9-6): The Mocs are playing their best basketball of the season riding a four-game winning streak with wins over Tennessee-Temple, Long Island, Eastern Kentucky, and a road conference win against Georgia Southern. Ty Patterson scored 25 points in the win versus Georgia Southern as Chattanooga improved to 1-1 in conference play.

College of Charleston (8-6): The Cougars are riding a two-game winning streak including one of the biggest wins for the Southern Conference against #9-ranked UNC 82-79 in overtime, in case you hadn’t heard. Charleston proved to a national audience (sort of…it was on ESPN-U) that it could play with high-level competition. Andrew Goudelock scored 24 points including that insanely long game-tying three to send it to overtime.

Davidson (7-8): The Wildcats have really improved over the past two weeks going 4-1 with its only loss in overtime against Cornell, 91-88. Davidson is riding a four-game win streak with wins over Hofstra, Penn, Massachusetts, and conference foe Samford. The Wildcats are 2-1 in conference play.

Elon (3-11): The Phoenix have not won a game since December 5th against Chattanooga, losing five straight games including a home loss against Furman, 53-48, to drop its conference record to 1-2.  Elon has struggled on the road and are hoping things will improve at home so they can end this losing streak.

Furman (8-6): The Paladins are playing steady basketball of late winning three straight games including a nice road victory against Elon on January 7th, 53-48. The other two wins during the streak were against Utah Valley 77-69 and Erskine 62-53. Furman improved its SoCon record to 2-1 heading into the bulk of the conference season.

Georgia Southern (3-13): The Eagles have the longest losing streak of all the SoCon teams at the moment riding a nine-game losing streak. The Eagles are 0-3 in conference and have dropped seven straight road games during the losing streak.

Samford (6-8): Samford is one of the more improved teams in the last couple of weeks, earning wins against Shorter College, Eastern Michigan, and Chicago State. The Bulldogs lost its second conference game on the road against Davidson on January 4th, 66-56. Bryan Friday scored 16 points in the loss.

The Citadel (8-7): The Citadel has won two-straight road games against Savannah State 54-47 and a conference win against Appalachian State, 62-58, on January 6th. Junior Cameron Wells scored 21 points in the victory to improve to 2-1 in SoCon play. The Bulldogs will play a couple of tough conference match-ups in the upcoming weeks.

UNC-Greensboro (2-11): After playing three-straight ACC opponents, the Spartans welcomed Wofford to town but lost the game, 79-62, to fall to 1-2 in the SoCon. The Spartans have lost eight straight games hoping to earn some conference wins to get back into the race.

Western Carolina (12-2): The Catamounts have had a terrific season to date with its only two losses against Texas and Clemson, and those were on the road. Since losing to Clemson, Western Carolina has won two straight, against UNC-Asheville (87-76) and then Berea College (124-53) on January 5th. WCU is ranked #7 in the mid-major College Insider poll.

Wofford (9-7): Wofford is coming off its first conference win, which was against UNC-Greensboro, 79-62, on January 7th. The Terriers have won four out of their last five games to improve their record to 9-7. Noah Dahlman continues to play very well, averaging 18 PPG, which is second in the SoCon in PPG.

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