With Davidson Gone, Upstart Wofford is SoCon’s King of the Hill

Posted by Ray Curren on November 29th, 2014

Davidson has become synonymous with the Southern Conference over the last decade, and with good reason. Bob McKillop has built a mini mid-major power at the tiny, private, North Carolina liberal arts school, posting 13 straight winning records in the SoCon, most famously, of course, becoming a national name by going all the way to the Elite Eight in 2008, led by some kid named Stephen Curry. Whatever happened to that kid? Davidson used its success to parlay a move to the “greener” pastures of the Atlantic-10 before this season, but did you know the team that beat out Davidson for the SoCon’s NCAA bid in three of the last five seasons is still there? And that’s its coach has been on campus just as long as McKillop?

As noted by Forbes Magazine, Wofford coach Mike Young is one of the biggest bargains (salary wise) in Division I basketball. (Getty)

As noted by Forbes Magazine, Wofford coach Mike Young is one of the biggest bargains (salary wise) in Division I basketball. (Getty)

Mike Young came to then-Division II Wofford, another tiny, private liberal arts school in the Carolinas (Spartanburg, S.C.) in 1989 as an assistant and never left, spending 13 years as an assistant to Richard Johnson (who is currently athletics director at Wofford), before moving up to the head chair in 2002. It took a while — Wofford didn’t post a winning mark (overall or in the SoCon) until his seventh season — but the Terriers have now gone to the NCAA tournament three times in five years, and return a veteran team that was picked to make it four in six. With expectations come a little pressure for Wofford, but Young and his team have waited a long time for it, so it’s much better than the alternative. “I’ve been here 26 years now. It’s the most unique situation in the world. The only pressure I’ve ever felt is internal pressure,” Young said. “It’s an unbelievable situation because I have an opportunity to coach our team and do it the way I think the program should be run. That certainly gives you good peace of mind. There’s nothing wrong with a little expectation, I think it’s justified. I think it’s well earned. We have great depth.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Bracket Prep: Delaware, Manhattan, Wofford

Posted by Bennet Hayes on March 11th, 2014

bracketprep2(2)

As we move through Championship Week, we’ll continue to bring you short reviews of each of the automatic qualifiers to help you fill out your bracket next week. None of the bids handed out Monday night were easily earned, but Delaware, Manhattan and Wofford all ended up on the right side of close margins to punch their tickets to the Big Dance.  Here’s what you need to know about the most recent bid winners.

Delaware

Delaware Capped A Dominant Season In The Colonial With A Tournament Title. Welcome To The Field Of 68, Blue Hens.

Delaware Capped A Dominant Season In The Colonial With A Tournament Title. Welcome To The Field Of 68, Blue Hens.

  • Colonial Champion (25-9, 17-2)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #74/#107/#111
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +4.2
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #13

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. Another dangerous mid-major earned a Tournament bid on Monday night when Delaware eluded William and Mary to earn the Colonial’s auto-bid. The Blue Hens profile is heavily deficient in good wins – their most notable victory is a home conquest of Towson (Ken Pom rank of 130) – but take a closer look at their nine losses. Six of them came to top-100 teams, including a four point defeat at possible #1 seed Villanova, a two-point loss at Richmond, and a 12-point loss at Ohio State. Delaware has proven they can hang with some of the nation’s best teams, but can they finally put one in the win column next week?
  2. The Blue Hens are not especially stingy defensively, but they show little mercy on the other end of the floor. Coach Monte Ross’ team loves to get out and run (8th nationally in possessions/game), but at little expense to efficiency (55th nationally in offensive efficiency). Delaware is the only team in the country with three players averaging at least 18 PPG – Devon Saddler (19.8), Davon Usher (19.7), and Jarvis Threatt (18.1) – and all five starters average double figures. Delaware opponents will struggle to target any one Blue Hen in particular, but keep a special eye on Jarvis Threatt. The junior missed eight February games after being suspended for a violation of athletic department policies, but the Blue Hens were undefeated in the CAA when their floor general – and his eye-popping stat line (18.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.6 SPG) was in the lineup.
  3. That indifferent defensive effort (196th nationally in defensive efficiency) could prove problematic as Delaware seeks the first Tournament win in program history, but a lack of depth should also be a concern for Blue Hen believers. Few coaches used their bench less frequently than Ross did (17, to be exact) this season, which is an odd trait considering the up-tempo assault that Delaware prefers to employ. The margin for error will always be slim for the higher-seeds looking to craft the next great March upset, which means a bit of Blue Hen foul trouble could easily steer a well-intentioned upset bid off course. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

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 »
Share this story