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 22nd –  Wofford@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 23rd –  WCU@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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Checking in on… the SoCon

Posted by jstevrtc on December 19th, 2009

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Standings (conference/overall)

NORTH

  1. Western Carolina  2-0 / 10-1
  2. Appalachian State  1-1 / 6-4
  3. Samford  1-1 / 3-7
  4. Elon  1-1 / 3-8
  5. UNC Greensboro  1-1 / 2-6
  6. Chattanooga  0-1 / 5-5

SOUTH

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

Quick Hits. After making a call to my old boss at Western Carolina I made the three-hour trip from Atlanta, GA, to Cullowhee, NC, to see this impressive Western Carolina team in person take on my alma mater, the Campbell Fighting Camels, on December 10th.  Having previously covered both teams I knew this game was going to be a good one.  Western Carolina can really shoot, hitting ten threes including four from its senior point guard Brigham Waginger. The one player who impressed me the most was junior-college transfer Mike Williams who the fans call “And One” because he makes a ton of lay-ups while getting fouled, as you’d guess.  Williams was lightning quick and scored 16 off the bench to key the win for the Catamounts 66-59. Campbell ran a nice half-court trap that forced Western Carolina into 15 turnovers and Jonathan Rodriquez scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds but it wasn’t enough.  Watching the hottest team in the SoCon live gives you a different perspective on how good this team really can be. Two days later they defeated Louisville on the road and ran their win streak to nine straight games thanks to 23 points from Mike Williams.  In the college insider mid-major top 25 rankings the Catamounts are currently ranked 8th and are receiving votes in the national Top 25 poll. Keep a close eye on this team as they head on the road to play Clemson before Christmas.

Other NotesCollege of Charleston is really coming on strong and showing why they are also a favorite to win the Southern Conference crown come March.  Now 5-3 overall and starting 3-0 in conference has put the Cougars right where they want to be.  With the non-conference schedule about to end, the conference season will really start to shape things as a whole proving what teams are looking to make a push come time for March Madness.

Most Disappointing Teams. In recent weeks the two biggest disappointments have been Georgia Southern who is now 3-9 and 0-2 in the conference. The Eagles have lost five straight games and are giving up 76 PPG, which doesn’t help.  Also, Davidson has been hit by a tough opening schedule, as they are 3-7 overall and 1-1 in the conference.  The Wildcats are trying to earn some non-conference wins in the upcoming weeks.

Sizzling players. There are three players who really have stood out this week with Donald Sims from Appalachian State third in the conference in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Andrew Goudelock from College of Charleston averaging 16.8 has really been scoring to help the Cougars open up 3-0 in conference play. Finally junior-college transfer Mike Williams from Western Carolina who is averging 10.7 points per game off the bench but dropped 23 points against Louisville in the upset.

Upcoming Important Match-ups:

  • Sat. Dec. 19 College of Charleston @ Clemson 7:30 p.m. – Another chance for a SoCon school to knock-off an ACC opponent.
  • Sat. Dec. 19 Wofford @ South Carolina 7:00 p.m. – Wofford looking for two wins against SEC opponents with Georgia being the first.
  • Tues. Dec. 22 Western Carolina @ Clemson 7:30 p.m. – A chance for the Catamounts to continue its winning streak against an ACC opponent.
  • Tues. Dec. 22 Georgia Southern @ Georgia State 7:30 p.m. – Two mid-majors renew its in-state rivalry.
  • Wed. Dec. 23 College of Charleston @ Hawaii 12:30 a.m. ESPN 2 – Christmas Tournament in Hawaii for CofC hoping to earn some wins for the SoCon.

Team Breakdowns:

  • Appalachian State (6-4). The Mountaineers continue to be a sneaky team with a 1-1 record in the SoCon after a key road win against Wofford, 77-76, with Donald Sims scoring 25 points. Appalachian State followed that up with a 113-91 victory against Milligan on December 17th. Donald Sims led the way with 23 points to run the win streak to two games.
  • Chattanooga (5-5). The Mocs have been in the middle of the pack in the SoCon but have dropped two of their last three games including a 19-point loss to Elon to fall to 0-1 in conference play. They responded with a 22-point win against Mississippi Valley State 82-60 on December 12th. On December 14th the Mocs lost to Georgia Tech 95-64 but Ty Patterson did have 22 points in the defeat.
  • College of Charleston (5-3). The Cougars have hit their stride putting together a 4-game winning streak in December winning three straight conference games to start 3-0. After beating Davidson 67-55 the Cougars followed it up with a tight road win against UNC-Greensboro 67-64 thanks to 28 points from junior Andrew Goudelock.  On December 16th College of Charleston defeated Charleston Southern 87-74 for its fourth straight win.
  • Davidson (3-7). The Wildcats have struggled this season but also have played a strong schedule against some really good teams. Davidson lost to College of Charleston 67-55 to drop to 1-1 in conference play. On December 12th the Wildcats took on mid-major powerhouse Gonzaga on the road losing 103-91. Jake Cohen scored 16 points and has been coming on strong of late. On December 17th Davison defeated New Jersey 90-49 thanks to 23 points from Cohen.
  • Elon (3-8). Elon is sitting at 1-1 in the conference after a key victory against Chattanooga 82-63 on December 5th. The Phoenix traveled to Raleigh, N.C., to take on N.C. State and put a scare in the Wolfpack but fell in the end 79-76 getting 26 points from senior forward Adam Constantine. Elon had a four-point lead with four minutes to play but just couldn’t hold on.
  • Furman (5-3). The Paladins have only had two games in recent weeks both coming as losses with the first a tight 64-57 loss against Western Carolina. Junior Jordan Miller led the team in scoring with 15 points.  Furman then traveled to Clemson on December 13th losing 82-53 with Miller scoring 11 points in the loss. The Paladins sit at 1-1 in conference play.
  • Georgia Southern (3-9). The Eagles have been struggling of late dropping three-straight non-conference games first at N.C. State 75-57 on December 12th and home against Coastal Carolina 69-58 on December 15th.  Georgia Southern lost to Evansville 75-58 on December 17th with Willie Powers scoring 11 points in the loss. The Eagles are also 0-2 on the SoCon hoping to get back on track in the next coming weeks.
  • Samford (3-7). Samford has only played two games, going 1-1 in them. They defeated Spring Hill on December 12th 58-48 with Trey Montgomery scoring 12 points in the victory. Samford then traveled to in-state rival Alabama on December 16th losing 60-45 with Josh Davis scoring 13 points in the loss.
  • The Citadel (6-5). This is a very interesting team that loves to get up a lot of shots.  They defeated Georgia Southern on December 5th 68-43 with Zach Urbanus scoring 20 points. After watching the Michigan State game on ESPNU, you could tell this team could present some problems to other SoCon teams in the future. The Bulldogs lost 69-56 to the Spartans but were within single digits a couple of times in the game as Cameron Wells scored 16 points in the loss.  Also the Citadel hosted Michigan State in that game and really gave the Spartans a scare.
  • UNC-Greensboro (2-6). UNCG has started conference play at 1-1 right in the middle of the pack but has lost two-straight games against College of Charleston 67-64 and Princeton 65-50 on December 13 with Ben Stywall scoring 14 points in the loss.
  • Western Carolina (10-1). The Catamounts are clearly the hottest team in the SoCon and could make the argument for one of the top mid-majors at the moment. They are riding a nine-game winning streak that includes some impressive victories.  First, Western Carolina defeated Furman 64-57 to open up 2-0 in conference play. Then the Catamounts defeated a solid Bradley team on the road, 75-67, on December 7th. On December 10th they kept the winning streak going against Campbell 66-59 thanks to 16 points from Mike Williams.  Western Carolina finished the run by going on the road and stunning Louisville 91-83 thanks to 24 points off the bench from Mike Williams, who earned SoCon player of the week thanks to that performance.
  • Wofford (5-6). The Terriers have lost two of its last three games and started 0-2 in the conference by only a combined six points. The second loss came to Appalachian State 77-76 at home with Noah Dahlman scoring 25 points in the loss. Wofford then lost 73-62 to Navy on December 12th. Dahlman (18.3 ppg) has been unreal this season leading the team in scoring eight out of the first 11 games this year.
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Checking In On… the Southern Conference

Posted by jstevrtc on November 24th, 2009

checkinginon

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference.

Quick look at the early standings with overall records…

NORTH

  1. Chattanooga 2-0
  2. Appalachian State 2-1
  3. Western Carolina 1-1
  4. Elon 1-2
  5. UNC Greensboro 0-2

SOUTH

  1. Furman 2-0
  2. Wofford 2-1
  3. Charleston 1-1
  4. Citadel 1-1
  5. Georgia Southern 1-2
  6. Davidson 0-2

Some of the top storylines from the Southern Conference are Wofford playing tough basketball early after nearly defeating Pittsburgh on the road before losing 63-60.  The Terriers held a 10-point lead with ten minutes to play after junior preseason all-conference honoree Noah Dahlman scored 20 points and seven rebounds to almost shock Pittsburgh at home.

Davidson opened its 2009-10 campaign with a tough loss on the road against #10 Butler, 73-62.  The Wildcats were only down two points heading into the second half but the Bulldogs pulled away late.  Sophomore forward Ben Allison scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in the loss.

Wofford continued its solid play by defeating Georgia 60-57 on the road and really boosted the conference RPI with that win.  Dahlman was again in double figures with 11 points.

Another nice storyline to follow in the next couple of weeks is how good can Furman and Chattanooga could be after both starting the year at 2-0.

Two players from the Southern Conference who came through for their respective teams were Josh Bonney (Elon) and Jordan Miller (Furman).  Bonney led Elon in scoring for the week, averaging 16.7 PPG in three games last week against Lipscomb, Charlotte, and Coastal Carolina, achieving a career-high 24 points in that season opener against Lipscomb, a 91-86 victory.  Miller scored 23 points in the season opener against Lees-McRae in a 88-49 win, then followed up that performance with ten points against Presbyterian in a 68-64 victory.

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Mason Plumlee Fractures Wrist, Out Indefinitely

Posted by jstevrtc on November 12th, 2009

Duke freshman Mason Plumlee suffered a hard fall in practice yesterday which resulted in a fractured left wrist for the 6’10 forward from Warsaw, Indiana.  The good news for Plumlee is that the wrist will not require surgery, and the Duke medical team will re-evaluate the wrist on a weekly basis.  Plumlee had already begun to fulfill the expectations he brought with him to Durham by averaging 12 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in Duke’s two preseason exhibition games.  The length of his recovery is dependent on the nature and location of the fracture, but an assumed 6-8 week convalescence would have Plumlee back in the Duke lineup around Christmas-time, at the earliest.

Plumlee was ranked as high as 10th in the ESPN 100 last year and was a likely starter for Duke’s first game against UNC-Greensboro this Friday.  For the time that he’s out, Plumlee’s contributions on the inside will certainly be missed as it means that the versatile Kyle Singler will have to be used more down in the low post as opposed to around the perimeter where the Blue Devils more urgently need him.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #26 – Southern Conference

Posted by nvr1983 on October 12th, 2009

seasonpreview

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

North Division- Two Divisions in the SoCon
1.  Western Carolina (14-6 SoCon) 22-11 Overall
2.  Samford (12-8 SoCon) 16-15 Overall
3.  Applachian State (10-10 SoCon) 17-14 Overall
4. Chattanooga (9-11 SoCon) 15-17 Overall
5. Elon (8-12 SoCon) 16-16 Overall
6. UNC Greensboro (3-17 SoCon)  4-26 Overall
South Division- Two Divisions in the SoCon
1.  College of Charleston  (16-4 SoCon)  24-9 Overall
2.  Davidson (12-8 SoCon) 19-14 Overall
3.  Citadel (11-9 SoCon) 17-15 Overall
4.  Wofford (9-11 SoCon) 16-17 Overall
5. Georgia Southern (7-13 SoCon) 11-20 Overall
6. Furman (6-14 SoCon) 10-21 Overall

North Division

  1. Western Carolina (13-5 SoCon) 22-11 overall
  2. Samford (11-7 SoCon) 16-15 overall
  3. Applachian State (9-9 SoCon) 17-14 overall
  4. Chattanooga (8-10 SoCon) 15-17 overall
  5. Elon (7-11 SoCon) 16-16 overall
  6. UNC-Greensboro (2-16 SoCon)  4-26 overall

South Division

  1. College of Charleston (15-3 SoCon)  24-9 overall
  2. Davidson (11-7 SoCon) 19-14 overall
  3. Citadel (10-8 SoCon) 17-15 overall
  4. Wofford (8-10 SoCon) 16-17 overall
  5. Georgia Southern (6-12 SoCon) 11-20 overall
  6. Furman (5-13 SoCon) 10-21 overall

All-Conference Team:

  • Andrew Goudelock (G)College of Charleston (Jr.) – 16.7 ppg
  • Cameron Wells (G) The Citadel (Jr.) – 15.6 ppg
  • Harouna Mutombo (F)Western Carolina (So.) – 14.4 ppg
  • Bryan Friday (F)Samford (Sr.) – 12.5 ppg
  • Noah Dahlman (C)Wofford (Jr.) – 17.8 ppg

6th Man. Jake RobinsonWestern Carolina (Sr) – Led the team in three pointers made (60) and attempted (167), coming off the bench in 19 games.

Impact Newcomer. Rashad WrightCollege of Charleston – Intimidating presence inside with his 6’9″ frame, averaged 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and four blocks a game at South Kent High School last season will look to contribute to a team that is lacking in size.

What You Need to Know. Although this conference lacks the star power of a certain recently departed, diminutive guard from Davidson, the conference is not devoid of talent as witnessed by the fact that the aforementioned guard didn’t even make the NCAA tournament last year. While the Wildcats will certainly fall off this year, don’t be surprised to see the second most famous basketball personality in the league last year (Bobby Cremins) getting plenty of airtime in March.

Predicted Champion: College of Charleston (NCAA Seed: #15) – Made it to the SoCon Championship game last season after a Cinderella type run knocking off the favorite in Davidson on their way to the finals. They have always been an athletic team that uses stellar guard play to offset lack of size inside. With the starting back court of Tony White Jr., who scored 31 points in the SoCon finals game against Chattanooga, and junior all-conference candidate Andrew Goudelock who led the team in points per game and three pointers. CofC should be the team to beat in the Southern Conference this season with close to 75% of its scoring coming back from a team that made the finals in the conference tournament.

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ATB: Mon/Tues Night Wrapup

Posted by rtmsf on November 28th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.26.07

Detroit Sucks. Monday was an extremely light night, with no ranked teams playing (not that we could see it anyway amidst our hand-to-hand mouth combat with feral dogs and a thermostat that randomly alternated between blistering and frostbite conditions) . There were a couple of interesting games on the board, however, and the one that caught our attention the most was the early SoCon showdown between Davidson and Appalachian St. Why they’re playing in November, we have no idea, but if Davidson were to lose any conference games this year, we figured that away at App St and at UNCG are the most likely candidates. Well, Stephen Curry made sure that wasn’t going to happen, as he blistered the Mountaineers for a 26-pt first half en route to a final tally of 38/6/4 stls with nine (!) threes in an eleven-pt victory. From our perch, this was a clear statement by Curry and the Davidson program that they aren’t to be trifled with at the mid-major level – they have their eyes set on regularly competing with the UNCs and Dukes of the world. #21 Davidson 71, Appalachian St. 60. The only other notable game of the night was the “play-in game” of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge between Iowa and Wake Forest. Wake got 15/8 from a BWS named Chas McFarland (seriously, he’s named Chas) and gutted out a road win in an ugly, ugly game (eFG% combined = 37%, incl. 3-30 from three). We’re not convinced Wake is any good this year, though, as the Deacs always seem to win this game (7-1 in the Challenge) no matter how the rest of the season goes. Wake Forest 56, Iowa 47.

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11.27.07

There were too many games to cover here, so let’s hit the broad highlights:

ACC/Big 10 Challenge. #9 Indiana 83, Georgia Tech 79. IU got the only win of the night for the Big 10 at home in a tightly contested game versus the Yellowjackets. We caught a little bit of this one and all we could think is that this is yet another example of never knowing what to expect from Georgia Tech. Times like tonight they look like they can compete with anyone in the country; then they’ll turn around and lose to Georgia St. next week. E-Giddy went for 29 (8 TOs, though), but the key player for IU was DJ White (18/14/3 blks). #10 Duke 82, Wisconsin 58. We feel like we’ve all watched this game a million times. Duke hits a three, takes a charge, hits another three, Crazies going wild, pressure D causes opponent time-out. That was this Wisconsin game in a nutshell. The Badgers were on their way out of it by the second tv timeout. Meanwhile, Coach K is clearly on a mission to re-invent how basketball is played at the collegiate level. The closest analog we can remember in recent history to this Duke team was the Villanova teams of recent vintage of Kyle Lowry, Allan Ray, Mike Nardi and Randy Foye, but even they played with a post man in Curtis Sumpter. Duke isn’t even bothering with the Sumpter role, and don’t give us Kyle Singler either. We still say this smallball strategy will ultimately catch up with the Devils when they play a team with athletic bigs and defensive guards, but that day hasn’t come yet. Duke put five players (led by Paulus’ 18) in double figures, but where did Taylor King come from (5 threes)? #24 Clemson 61, Purdue 58. We didn’t see much of this one, but what we saw exhibited a Purdue team filled with hustling guards who wouldn’t let Clemson pull away. Had the Boilers shot it a little better from three (2-12), they could have taken this one. Take nothing away from Clemson, though – they’re well on their way to another 17-0 start. Virginia 94, Northwestern 52. This is why the Big 10 never wins these competitions – the ACC almost always defends its home courts. Sean Singletary had 18/10 assts in the win. Florida St. 75, Minnesota 61. To wit, same as above. Tubby takes his first loss as the Minny coach.

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Other Ranked Teams.

  • #1 Memphis 104, Rider 82. Derrick Rose with a great game (19/12 assts) as Memphis rolls again.
  • #7 Tennessee 93, NC A&T 59. UT was up thirty at halftime; Lofton with 24 and Tyler Smith with 17/12.
  • #20 Pittsburgh 80, Boston Univ. 53. Another balanced attack from Pitt (all five starters betw. 9 and 15 pts).

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ATB: It’s Baaaaaackk….

Posted by rtmsf on November 10th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.09.07

Story of the Night. 93 Games. 186 teams. Thank God college hoops is back, baby. We’re a little late, but this is why we care. We got to watch pieces of six games tonight, and while the games looked like Nov. 9, meaning sloppy, it was soooo refreshing to see and hear the sneakers squeaking on the hardwood again.

Things We Saw. Kansas is so loaded we can’t understand how they lose to anyone. Darnell Jackson (21/4/4 stls) off the bench, Sherron Collins (22/6 asts/4 stls), and so much more. UL-Monroe isn’t that bad either, but they were really never in the game (Kansas 107, UL-Monroe 78). In Florida, the Gators are (as expected) extremely young but talented – their freshmen scored 46 of their 75 pts and Nick Calathes looked great, leading the team with 21 pts. They were never threatened with an L by North Dakota St., but they could never really put them away either. That will likely come with experience (Florida 75, North Dakota St. 65). Staying in the SEC, Tennessee took a while to get going against Temple, and they didn’t shoot well from 3 (27%), but they still won comfortably. We still have trouble distinguishing between the 47 Smiths they have on the team (all of them are about 6’5 and wear headbands), but they combined for 38/9/6, while Lofton was otherwise limited (10 pts) (Tennessee 80, Temple 63). One question – will Temple ever be relevant again? The best game of the night that was televised was actually the Ohio-NMSU game. New Mexico St. played without stud freshman Herb Pope, but it was evened out because Ohio’s star forward Leon Williams spent most of the night on the bench in foul trouble anyway. The rest of the Ohio starters picked up for Williams, though (64/25/11), despite NMSU clearly having the more athletic team. Martin Iti (7’0, 240) has an NBA body, but why isn’t he more productive (8/9) (Ohio 80, New Mexico St. 72)?

Score of the Night. Stanford 111, the Tommy Amakers 56. None of the Stanford starters played more than 17 mins, and keep in mind they were w/o Brook Lopez in this game as well. The halftime score was 63-28. Good grief, man! Way to inspire confidence in your first game at Harvard, TA.

Upset Alert. UNC-Greensboro 83, Georgia Tech 74. Who said this yesterday – “upset alert if Ga Tech doesn’t come ready to play…” :-) It appears that mid-major all-american Kyle Hines absolutely shredded the Jackets’ front line (25/9/2 blks on 10-12 shooting). You never know what you’re going to get with Ga Tech, but UNCG is a team to watch as a potential at-large out of the SoCon next spring if they get a couple more of these. Belmont 86, Cincinnati 75. This really isn’t an upset, but Cincy was a 9-pt favorite at home. Wait… who said this yesterday also – “upset alert again – UC was horrid last year. Have they improved?” Now that we’re 2-0 this season on upset alerts, we’re quitting. Great BCS win for Belmont, who we perhaps foolishly did not pick to win the A-Sun again this year (gulp… we didn’t pick Gardner-Webb either). Belmont had 19 layups, 12 threes and 10 FTs, which amounted to 84 of their 86 points – now that’s efficiency. Wow. Other upsets: Tulane 77, Auburn 62 – maybe not the result, but the margin.

Line of the Night. There is no question about this one. Michael Beasley (Kansas St.) (34/24/4 assts/4 blks). 24 rebounds sets a new Big 12 conference record. Just sick numbers for a first game. Kansas St. 94, Sacramento St. 63.

Freshmen. Aside from Beasley at K-State, Kevin Love at UCLA also had an impressive debut (22/13) in a Bruin whomping (UCLA 69, Portland St. 48). The Duke trio of freshmen Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Taylor King combined for 51/14 in a complete and utter destruction of NC Central (Duke 121, NC Central 56). The Devils even pulled out some zone defense, they say.

In Memoriam. Wake Forest honored Skip Prosser by hanging a banner in their arena recognizing his contributions to the school and athletic program. The Deacons played hard and honored his legacy by winning easily (Wake Forest 85, Fairfield 60).

Nov. Bracketbuster. George Mason already helped their at-large profile with tonight’s win over Vermont, one of the better teams in the America East this year. GMU’s Will Thomas (yes, he’s still around) blew up for 16/17, overcoming the Patriots’ abysmal 1-17 from the three point line (George Mason 60, Vermont 53).

Joey Dorsey Award. We like him, but tonight’s award goes to Chris Lofton (Tennessee), for shooting 1-8 (0-5 from three) from the field and only scoring 10 pts. With a stroke like that, we expect nearly all of them to go in.

On Tap Today (all times EST). Another pretty big day with 63 games, although not much on tv because of college football. Here are some of the games to keep an eye for along the bottom line while you watch pigskin.

  • Yale (NL) v. Sacred Heart 1pm – presumptive favorites from the Ivy and NEC play.
  • Texas Tech (-19.5) v. UC Riverside (ESPN FC) 2pm - we have no idea why this is FC worthy.
  • Minnesota (NL) v. Army 3pm – Tubby’s debut will probably go a little better than Billy G’s last game.
  • USC (NL) v. Mercer 4pm – we cannot wait to see the OJ highlights from this one.
  • Bucknell (NL) v. Albany 7pm – a game that could affect seedings (#14 or #15) next March.
  • Oregon (-26) v. Pepperdine (ESPN FC) 7:30pm – how will the Ducks look w/o Aaron Brooks?
  • Vanderbilt (-12) v. Austin Peay 8pm – beating the dead horse here, but this is the kind of game we wish FC would have instead.
  • Marquette (NL) v. IUPUI (ESPN FC) 8:30pm – we’re not completely sold on MU – this could be an interesting game.
  • Pacific v. W. Michigan (-4.5) 9:30pm – if Pacific is back this year, they need to win this game.
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Conference Primers: Single Bid Conference Recap

Posted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2007

Season Preview Banner 3

So we figure we’ll be done with these conference primers by Christmas 2008 Thanksgiving, which is about the time most people start keeping an eye on college hoops anyway.  In the meantime, we thought we’d take a moment to recap the seventeen single bid conferences we’ve already reviewed.  Keep in mind, our definition of a single bid league is a conference that does not regularly compete for multiple NCAA bids (even if they occasionally get multiple bids).

31.  SWAC
30.  MEAC
29.  Northeast
28.  Atlantic Sun
27.  Ohio Valley
26.  Southland
25.  America East
24.  Big South
23.  MAAC
22.  Ivy
21.  Patriot
20.  Sun Belt
19.  Big Sky
18.  Summit
17.  Southern
16.  Big West
15.  MAC

Some brief Single Bid Conference superlatives while we’re at this point:

  • Best Team. Davidson (#9 Seed NCAA) - this team has a shot at the Sweet 16 this year
  • Possible Spoiler. Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt) – everyone loves WKU in the Sun Belt, but ULM has an excellent team returning
  • Low Major All-Americans.
    • Stephen Curry (Davidson) – POY
    • Bo McCalebb (New Orleans)
    • Kyle Hines (UNC-Greensboro)
    • Jason Thompson (Rider)
    • Alex Harris (UCSB)
    • Hon. Mention – Courtney Pigram (ETSU), Arizona Reid (High Point), Courtney Lee (W. Kentucky), Tim Pollitz (Miami (OH))
  • Conference We Wish Were on TV More Often. America East. We dunno why, other than we’ve enjoyed watching teams like Albany, Vermont and BU over the past few years.  Seems like a fun conference.
  • Conference We Wish Would Re-Organize (or Implode). Sun Belt.  Despite a long and proud history, there are simply too many teams (13) located in too many places (from Denver to Miami).  This conference has lost its bearings.
  • Conference Champ You Can Count on to Cover the Spread in NCAA Tourney 08Big West.  Although Ivy league champs tend to stay close, Las Vegas knows that, so we like the Big West instead, where teams not named Long Beach St. have lost by an average of only 7 pts during the 2000s.
  • Conference Champ You Can Count on to NOT Cover the Spread in NCAA Tourney 08Summit.  In its last nine first round games, the Summit champ has lost by an average of 22 pts.

And here’s how our Consensus Conference Picks are shaping up (RTC choice in red):

Consensus Conf Picks 11.07.07

Since last time, we added the CBS Sportsline picks as well as the conference media days selections for each league.  We had three more leagues came on with a full consensus (Patriot – Holy Cross; Sun Belt – W. Kentucky; Southern – Davidson) to join the OVC (Austin Peay), while the Big Sky (Montana) was only one vote short.  The Big West (UCSB) and MAC (Kent St.) were solidly in one team’s corner, while the Summit (IUPUI) and Ivy (Cornell) weren’t far behind.   We’re still not buying that Ivy selection of Cornell, though.

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Conference Primers: #17 – Southern

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2007

Season Preview Banner 3

Predicted Order of Finish:

South

  1. Davidson (23-5) (18-2)
  2. Georgia Southern (17-12) (12-8)
  3. College of Charleston (15-12) (11-9)
  4. Wofford (15-14) (10-10)
  5. Furman (10-18) (8-12)
  6. Citadel (5-24) (3-17)

North

  1. UNC-Greensboro (18-11) (13-7)
  2. Appalachian St. (18-13) (12-8)
  3. Western Carolina (15-15) (10-10)
  4. Chattanooga (11-15) (9-11)
  5. Elon (6-22) (4-16)

SoCon Logo

WYN2K. The Southern Conference has a reputation as a league on the rise, and deservedly so. After stellar regular seasons in 2006-07 from division winners Davidson and Appalachian St., including five wins over BCS schools among the league members (the highest total wins among the conferences we’ve rated thus far), the league has its sights on breaking into mid-major territory. If this is to ultimately happen, it will likely be led by Davidson, who with spectacular sophomore guard Stephen Curry, will challenge itself with several elite OOC games this season. Even though the league has been a one-bid conference throughout the 64/65 team era, last year Appalachian St. was very close to earning an at-large NCAA bid before ultimately settling for an NIT berth. And with the name cachet of Bobby Cremins bringing in exceptional recruits at College of Charleston, this league could be knocking on the door for two bids sooner rather than later.

Predicted Champion. Davidson (#9 seed NCAA) is the clear choice here. Davidson returns all five starters from the team that pushed extremely talented and athletic Maryland in the NCAA first round last year (down only four after the last tv timeout), including the aforementioned Curry, who had sick numbers for a freshman guard (22 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg, .408 3fg%, .855 ft%) including a run of 26.1 ppg the last ten games. But this is no one-man show. Aside from excellent point guard Jason Richards (#2 nationally in total assists), post men Thomas Sander and Boris Meno also both had outstanding seasons manning the inside, clearing boards and playing tough defense. Coach Bob McKillop also adds two significant recruits – Aaron Bond, who received some Burger Boy consideration last year; and his son, Brendan McKillop, who turned down ACC teams Virginia Tech and NC State to play for his pops. Knowing that Davidson needs a high RPI to offset any chance of being left at the altar should the Wildcats stumble in the conference tourney, McKillop has beefed up the OOC schedule considerably, setting up made-for-tv games with local bullies UNC and Duke in Charlotte and a trip to Raleigh to play NC State. Another road trip will include a game vs. UCLA at the Wooden Classic. All four of those teams are ranked in the Top 25.

Others Considered. We don’t expect another team to push Davidson like Appalachian St. did last season, but if Davidson gets lackadaisical or suffers a significant injury, we’d expect UNC-Greensboro to be next in line. Believe it or not, Curry didn’t win conference POY last year, and it’s not a sure thing that he will this year either. This is due to the fact that UNCG has a 6’6, 230 lb. Sir Charles clone named Kyle Hines returning in the post. Hines has scored in double figures in fifty straight games, and the last time a team went single coverage on him, he dropped 38 on their heads. Although #2 scorer Ricky Hickman is gone, UNCG returns a trio of talented sophomore wing scorers who all showed promise of bright futures. Appalachian St. is another team to watch despite losing three key seniors. The key is that two post men, Donte Minter (who should be healthy this year) and Jeremy Clayton, are returning, and in a league of little size, this could carry them a long way. One concern is the loss of heady PG DJ Thompson, who led the team’s uptempo attack, along with two other guards that saw significant time. Georgia Southern is another team on our radar, simply because they have an all-conference performer in the post (Louis Graham – #18 nationally in defReb%) and at the point guard position (Dwayne Foreman – #32 nationally in asstRate). And although College of Charleston lost three starters and a transfer from a 13-5 team, Bobby Cremins brought in the best recruiting class the league has seen in some time, and we should keep an eye on his team for that reason alone.

Games to Watch. The SoCon is going to a 20-game round robin conference schedule this season, which is the largest we’ve ever seen. Next year when the league expands to twelve teams with the addition of Samford, we suspect there will be a push by league coaches to return to a more reasonable sixteen game schedule. But for this year, it guarantees that Davidson will have to visit every road arena to test its mettle.

  • Davidson @ Appalachian St. (11.26.07) & Appalachian St. @ Davidson (02.27.08)
  • UNCG @ Appalachian St. (01.12.08) & Appalachian St. @ UNCG (02.16.08)
  • Davidson @ UNCG (02.13.08) & UNCG @ Davidson (02.19.08)
  • Southern Conference Championship Game (03.10.08) ESPN2

RPI Booster Games. We alluded to it above, but the SoCon went 5-38 (.118) against BCS teams last year (Appalachian St. – 2; Davidson – 1; Furman – 1; Wofford – 1). The number will be reduced this year, thanks to the additional conference games, but we expect a similar showing.

  • UNCG @ Georgia Tech (11.09.07)
  • Western Carolina @ Cincinnati (11.10.07)
  • Davidson vs. UNC (Charlotte) (11.14.07) ESPN
  • College of Charleston @ Arkansas (11.15.07) ESPNU
  • Chattanooga @ S. Illinois (11.22.07) ESPNU
  • Wichita St. @ Appalachian St. (11.28.07)
  • Davidson vs. Duke (Charlotte) (12.01.07) ESPNU
  • Tennessee @ Chattanooga (12.04.07) ESPNU
  • Davidson @ UCLA (12.08.07)
  • Georgia Southern @ Florida (12.15.07)
  • Western Carolina @ Illinois (12.17.07)

Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. This one is interesting, because if Davidson performs well against the ACC trio + UCLA, has a great SoCon record (like 18-2), yet loses in the conference tourney, we believe that this will be a two-team league.

Neat-o Stat. The Citadel must be one of the most historically horrific basketball programs in the NCAA. It joined the Southern Conference in 1937, and has yet to see its first NCAA or NIT bid. Pat Conroy wrote of his losing season there in the 60s, and not much has changed since. His cousin, Ed Conroy, will begin his second season at the school with what he calls the youngest team in America – 15 freshmen (incl. redshirts), one sophomore, one junior and one senior. Good luck, Ed, you’re going to need it.

64/65-Team Era. The SoCon has been a one-bid league throughout this era, and it will probably remain so this year (unless Davidson lays an egg in the conference tourney). The conference record (3-23, .115) reflects the success of two Tennessee teams, one of which is no longer in the league. In 1992, #14 ETSU defeated #3 Arizona 87-80 in one of Lute Olson’s earlier tankjobs, and in 1997, #14 UT-Chattanooga went to the Sweet 16 by defeating #3 Georgia (the year prior to Tubby Smith winning the NCAA title at Kentucky) 73-70, and #6 Illinois 75-63. Since then the conference (as an average #13.6 seed) has lost ten straight first round games by an average of 13.0 pts – not too encouraging. Still, the last four years show improvement, as the league representative has only lost by an average of 9.8 pts. Below is a nice clip of Curry dropping three of his thirty against Maryland.

Final Thought. This league is all about Davidson this year. The MSM will remember the Wildcats’ performance against Maryland in the NCAA Tournament and pundits like Dickie V. will be touting Curry as a PTPer all season long. Even if Davidson merely pulls one upset against the four ranked teams it plays in the pre-conference schedule, that’ll be enough to entice everyone to claim it as their Cinderella come March. But there are other good teams in this conference, so Davidson shouldn’t be reading its press clippings too closely. Several other teams could surprise much as Davidson did last year, and the level of talent entering the league is rising. It should make for a very fun SoCon season this time around.

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