The Southern Conference (or SoCon if you are cool) championship game tips off tonight on ESPN2 at 7:00 PM from the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, NC. Here is what you need to know:
Steph Currys Tyler Thompsons Wildcats came into the tournament as the #1 seed, having only lost one conference game to Georgia Southern way back on January 14th. Since that loss, the Wildcats have reeled off 16 straight wins, good for the longest streak in the nation. Davidson is 25-7 overall, with wins against Vanderbilt and West Virginia. They are led by senior forward Jake Cohen (picture above) who averages 15 points and 5 rebounds per game. This will be Davidson’s second straight SoCon championship appearance, having won it last year as well. The Wildcats are no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, having made an incredible run to the Elite Eight in 2008 before losing by 2 to the eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks. If you put any stock into what a former Duke Blue Devil has to say (I suggest you never should), Jay Williams picks Davidson as one of the Mid-Majors that could win a game in the NCAA Tournament. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. They still have to face the #3 seed in the SoCon tournament, which is…
College of Charleston
The Cougars of Charleston upset the second-seeded Elon Phoenix (Really? Phoenix?) on Sunday evening to advance to the finals of the SoCon tournament. While I admittedly know next to nothing about the Cougars, I do know their campus is in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, a city where I enjoyed a great day of kayaking, an amazing Italian dinner and discovered Cheerwine last summer. Oh, the memories. Anyway, Charleston comes into the finals looking to upset the Davidson Wildcats on the back of Andrew Lawrence, a senior guard who leads the team in points (13.3) per game and assists (3.7) per game. The Cougars actually went into Waco, Texas on November 24th and beat then-#24 Baylor by 4, but lost any momentum gained from that win two weeks later when Louisville beat them by 42. Charleston, like Davidson, boasts a good conference record with some quality non-conference wins but neither team should expect to go dancing unless they win this game.
Davidson owned the Cougars in the regular season, beating them twice this year by an average of 12.5 points. The championship atmosphere, however can change everything and the pressure of an NCAA Tournament bid looming at the end of the game can sometimes prove to be too much pressure for even the best of teams. With that being said, I still think Davidson wins this one big, earning their second straight trip to the tourney, and despite the loss, I will continue forward with my life plans and move to Charleston once I am out of grad school. Seriously, I love that place.