Andrew Baker from Mid Major Review is the RTC correspondent for the Southern and Atlantic Sun Conferences.
Early Season Musings
The beginning of the season has been a normal one for the Southern Conference. The SoCon isn’t doing too well out of conference against Division I opposition. Ten of the conferences 15 wins have come against non D-I opponents. This stat makes it real difficult to foresee any chance of the SoCon seeing a second bid. Since it is so early in the season, we will go over the three teams that we spoke in depth about in our SoCon Preview.
The leaders with three victories are the College of Charleston Cougars. Charleston finished 3rd in their own Charleston Classic last weekend with their lone defeat coming against a good Temple team. Through two games they are being led by sophomore guard Andrew Goudelock at 17.5 PPG with senior forwards Dustin Scott and Jermaine Johnson contributing 10.5 PPG. The Cougars played Charleston Southern and picked up a 10-point win over the Pirates 93-83 last night. The Cougars have a game against MEAC member South Carolina State on Monday before playing South Carolina in a week’s time. It should be a dandy.
Even with the loss the other night to Oklahoma, the Davidson Wildcats and Stephen Curry are looking pretty good. After ripping Guilford and James Madison, the Wildcats played competitively against the Sooners before succumbing 82-78 on Tuesday night. Curry dropped 44 points against the Sooners, scoring well over half of his team’s output. There is no doubt that Curry is the heart and soul, going 12-29 from the field and 14-14 from the free throw line against OU. Only one other Wildcat managed to score in double digits. The Wildcats did a wonderful job of taking care of the ball by only committing 5 turnovers in the game. The Cats go from Oklahoma to the return game of last seasons Bracketbusters against Winthrop tonight. In the next two weeks they will continue their quest to beat the big boys against North Carolina State and West Virginia. Davidson should be able to stay competitive against any team if Curry continues to drop 37.5 PPG.
Appalachian State had an interesting opening week. In their first game they dropped a high scoring affair to UNC-Wilmington 108-101. Then Wednesday night they played an absolute barnburner against Charlotte. The 49ers took ASU to double overtime at home in Boone before the Mountaineers finally topped UNCC 87-84 over 50 minutes of basketball. It’s still early, but because of the two high scoring games they have been in, App State has six players averaging in double figures. Donald Sims and Kellen Brand are leading them at this very early point in the season. The real problem for the Mounts has been turnovers. In the two games against UNC-Wilmington and Charlotte they had 27 and 22 turnovers, respectively. It could be a real long season for App State if they can’t find someone to take care of the ball. We will see if the Mounts are improving on Saturday when they visit Niagara. A week from then they will host Campbell before beginning their two December conference games.
It’s still early for the Southern Conference, but if they ever expect to get that second bid into the NCAA Tournament they have to start scheduling more difficult opposition and then have to beat that opposition. As was stated before, 66% of their current win total is against non-Division I opponents. This is not a good way to impress anyone, especially the NCAA tourney committee when it comes time to perhaps award a second bid to Davidson, should they fall in the conference tournament. It could be the snub that will be talked about for a long time.