Friday, October 29, 2010

Southern Conference Preview


With Stephen Curry and the rest of his mates no longer at Davidson, the Southern Conference was expected to be wide-open last season. That turned out to be true, as five teams finished with double-digit league wins. The conference champion ended up being Wofford, which bounced back from a 0-2 start to finish 15-3. Charleston lost two of its final five to finish second at 14-4, while Appalachian State won the North Division at 13-5. Western Carolina and, yes, Davidson finished 11-7. In the conference tournament, the top two seeds in each division advanced to the semifinals, before the North Division champ Wofford knocked off South Division champ Appalachian State in the title game. The Terriers lost by only four to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, and are poised to take the next step this season. Who will stand in their way?

South Division

  • 1. Wofford: Can the Terriers win an NCAA game this season? Noah Dahlman is a beast in the paint, while Tim Johnson is also solid up front. Jamar Diggs anchors the backcourt.
  • 2. Charleston: The Cougars need to replace Tony White, but Andrew Goudelock is a big-time scorer, and Donovan Monroe and Jeremy Simmons are a good inside-outside duo.
  • 3. Davidson: Jake Cohen is a difficult match-up at the forward spot, while guards J.P. Kulhman and Brendan McKillop are both double-figure scorers in the backcourt.
  • 4. The Citadel: The Bulldogs return most of the pieces from last year’s fourth-place finish, including all-conference guard Cameron Wells and shooter Zach Urbanus.
  • 5. Furman: The Paladins have one of the better tandems in the league in Jordan Miller and Amu Saaka, but there is still a logjam in the South Division that they can’t break through.
  • 6. Georgia Southern: If Willie Powers hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury in the summer, this ranking would be higher. Freshmen Jelani Hewitt and Eric Ferguson will make immediate impacts.

North Division

  • 1. Appalachian State: Donald Sims is one of the best mid-major guards in the country, and Ike Butts is tough down low. Transfer Omar Carter will make a big-time impact.
  • 2. Chattanooga: Ricky Taylor and Keegan Bell lead a deep and balanced group. Look for Georgetown transfer Omar Wattad to start immediately after sitting out.
  • 3. Western Carolina: Last year the Catamounts had an up-and-down campaign, and they return only two starters. Mike Williams and Harouna Mutombo are solid on the perimeter.
  • 4. Elon: Guards Drew Spradlin and Chris Long will anchor the team in the backcourt, although a couple of blue-collar freshmen could make an impact up front.
  • 5. UNC-Greensboro: The Spartans struggled last season, winning just eight games. They lose four starters from that team, but return guards Kyle Randall and Brandon Evans.
  • 6. Samford: Because the Bulldogs run the Princeton offense, this could be the year they put it together and make a run. Guard Josh Davis is an all-conference candidate.

Player of the Year: Noah Dahlman, Wofford

All-Conference Team:

  • G- Donald Sims, Appalachian State
  • G- Cameron Wells, The Citadel
  • G- Andrew Goudelock, Charleston
  • F- Amu Saaka, Furman
  • F- Noah Dahlman, Wofford

Second Team:

  • G- J.P. Kuhlman, Davidson
  • G- Drew Spradlin, Elon
  • G- Jordan Miller, Furman
  • F- Jake Cohen, Davidson
  • F- Jeremy Simmons, Charleston

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