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What-to-know tourney previews: Southern Conference

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Jake Cohen and Davidson are the odds-on favorite to win the automatic bid; will they slip up? (USATSI)
Jake Cohen and Davidson are the odds-on favorite to win the automatic bid; will they slip up? (USATSI)

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT BRACKET

1. Will Davidson roll to the auto-bid, or will we see a similar situation to 2009 (and 2005)?

The Wildcats are the heavy favorite heading into the conference tournament, as they went 17-1 and won the league by three games. However, back in 2009, Stephen Curry and Davidson went 18-2 in Southern play -- but were bounced in the conference tournament by Charleston and relegated to the NIT. In 2005, Davidson went 16-0 and then lost in the league tourney. It would be a shame if this year's version of the Wildcats didn't make the NCAA tournament. Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks form a terrific forward tandem and create numerous matchup problems, and Nik Cochran and Chris Czerapowicz can really stroke the 3. Bob McKillop is an experienced head coach and will have Davidson ready.

2. When will Charleston finally take the next step and get back to the NCAA tournament?

Every season, it seems like the Cougars are going to be a serious contender for the league crown -- but they can never get over the hump and win the automatic bid. They haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 1999 despite winning six division titles and averaging nearly 12 conference wins per season since that year. This season might be tough to break through, though. The Cougars went 14-4 in league play but are a good distance behind Davidson. Andrew Lawrence is a solid guard, though.

3. Can anyone else strike fear into Davidson?

The Wildcats won their final 13 league games after falling at Georgia Southern in mid-January with only three of those games coming in single digits. They also avenged the loss to Georgia Southern by beating the Eagles by 35 in the season finale. Elon might be able to give the Wildcats a game, as the Phoenix take care of the ball and knock down 3-pointers. Lucas Troutman and Jack Isenbarger are a very solid duo.

__________________________________________________________________________

Schedule: March 8-11 in Asheville, N.C.

Title game: Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m., on ESPN2

THREE BEST PLAYERS

  1. Jake Cohen (Davidson)
  2. De'Mon Brooks (Davidson)
  3. Lucas Troutman (Elon)

Conference RPI: 27
KenPom.com rating: 26
Sagarin rating: 26

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello

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