Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:07 am
Edited on: March 6, 2012 12:11 am

Tiny Dancers: Davidson

By Jeff Borzello

For the first time since Stephen Curry was the go-to guy for Davidson, the Wildcats are back in the NCAA tournament.

They survived a double-overtime contest against Western Carolina in the championship game, constantly overcoming clutch shots by the Catamounts. Davidson had five guys score in double-figures in the title game, with three of them playing more than 40 minutes. It was head coach Bob McKillop's sixth conference tournament championship.

Davidson was one of the few regular-season champions to get through the conference tournament unscathed so far this season, winning three in a row after going 14-2 during the campaign. The Wildcats started 9-0 in the league before dropping a three-point game at Samford in late January. During the non-conference season, Davidson knocked off Kansas in Kansas City; this team can play.

Bob McKillop has steered Davidson back to the NCAA tournament. (US Presswire)

Player to know: De’Mon Brooks. The Southern Conference Player of the Year could have been the hero in the first overtime of the title game, but his leaner rimmed out as time expired. Brooks still managed to finish with 19 points and eight rebounds, staying true to his extremely efficient self. In games against Duke, Vanderbilt and Kansas, Brooks averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 25-7 overall, 16-2 in SoCon
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2008, No. 10 seed. Beat Gonzaga in first round, beat Georgetown in second round, beat Wisconsin in Sweet 16, lost to Kansas in Elite Eight.
  • We’re thinking: 14 seed
  • KenPom ranking: 58
  • Sagarin ranking: 66
  • RPI: 65
  • Best wins: Kansas, Penn, Richmond
  • Worst losses: Samford, Charlotte
  • Notable stat: Davidson could be tough in a close game. The Wildcats rank ninth in the country in free-throw percentage, shooting 76.6 percent from the foul line.

-- Jeff Borzello

Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:11 am

Championship game preview: Southern

Back on February 11, Western Carolina was just 10-17 and was suffering through a 4-10 Southern Conference record. Only three weeks later, and the Catamounts will get a chance to play one game for the right to go to the NCAA tournament.

On the other side will be Davidson, the best team in the conference and a squad that dominated its way to a 14-2 league record.

Western Carolina might be the hotter team, winning its last seven games, including three in the past three days. The Catamounts knocked off The Citadel to open the tournament, upset title contender Wofford by 23 and then handled division champion UNC-Greensboro on Sunday evening.

Davidson had far less excitement in its road to the title game, winning its two games by a combined 35 points without much of a sweat.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Davidson rolled to a 19-point win. But Western Carolina is a very different team than it was in mid-January. Against the Wildcats, the Catamounts will go as far as their 3-point shooting takes them. They shot 50 percent from deep in the quarterfinals against Wofford, and knocked down 10 3-pointers in the semis against Greensboro. Davidson is susceptible to prolific shooting teams, but will Western Carolina be able to stop the Wildcats at the other end?

Davidson is a very balanced team with five double-figure scorers and two very tough inside-outside scorers in De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen. Western Carolina only starts one player taller than 6-foot-4; Davidson’s entire lineup is at least 6-foot-3.

Bob McKillop’s team will be the heavy favorite, but Western Carolina has made a living off upsets this week. Can the Catamounts pull off one more?

-- Jeff Borzello

Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:54 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 1:11 pm

What-to-know conference previews: Southern

There’s no Stephen Curry in the league, but Davidson ran through the Southern Conference this season and remains the favorite heading into the conference tournament. Can the Wildcats end Wofford’s two-year NCAA tournament streak?

Davidson went into Kansas and beat the Jayhawks on December 19 – and hasn’t really looked back since. They started out 9-0 in league play, running away with the regular-season title by four games. Bob McKillop has a balanced squad with five double-figure scorers paced by De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen. They push the ball effectively and get to the free-throw line. There are multiple 3-point shooters as well as guys like Brooks and Cohen who can score inside.

Wofford had a three-game losing streak in early February, but has won its last four conference games to forge a second-place finish in the division. The Terriers slow things down and rely on Brad Loesing and Kevin Giltner to carry the load. Georgia Southern made a nice run late in the season before losing its final two games. The Eagles are one of the most inside-dependent teams in the league, with Eric Ferguson.

Player of the year De'Mon Brooks leads a balanced attack for top-seeded Davidson. (US Presswire)

We would also be remiss not to mention UNC-Greensboro, which completely turned things around upon the resignation of head coach Mike Dement. Wes Miller took over the program and steered the Spartans to a North Division title.

The sleeper heading into the conference tournament is perennial contender Charleston. The Cougars have won seven of their last nine games and have some of the most talent in the league. Antwaine Wiggins and Trent Wiedeman are all-conference-caliber players and Andrew Lawrence is a playmaker. This team is a threat.

Davidson looks like the favorite, but there are plenty of threats to the Wildcats’ quest for an automatic bid.


Title game: Monday, March 5 on ESPN2 (9 p.m., ET)


  1. De’Mon Brooks, Davidson
  2. Brad Loesing, Wofford
  3. Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern
  4. Trevis Simpson, UNC-Greensboro
  5. Antwaine Wiggins, Charleston

Conference RPI: 23

KenPom.com rating: 23

Sagarin rating: 25

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: None

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances

  • Appalachian State Mountaineers: 2000, No. 14 seed, lost to Ohio State 87-61 in the first round.
  • Chattanooga Mocs: 2009, No. 16 seed, lost to Connecticut 103-47 in the first round.
  • The Citadel Bulldogs: N/A.
  • College of Charleston Cougars: 1999, No. 8 seed, lost to Tulsa 62-53 in the first round.
  • Davidson Wildcats: 2008, No. 10 seed, beat Gonzaga 82-76 in the first round, beat Georgetown 74-70 in second round, beat Wisconsin 73-56 in the Sweet 16, followed by a 59-57 loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight.
  • Elon Phoenix: N/A.
  • Furman Paladins: 1980, No. 10 seed, lost to Tennessee 80-69 in the first round.
  • Georgia Southern Eagles: 1992, No. 15 seed, lost to Oklahoma State 100-73 in the first round.
  • Samford Bulldogs: 2000, No. 13 seed, lost to Syracuse 79-65 in the first round.
  • UNC-Greensboro Spartans: 2001, No. 16 seed, lost to Stanford 89-60 in the first round.
  • Western Carolina Catamounts: 1981, No. 16 seed, lost to Purdue 73-71 in the first round.
  • Wofford Terriers: 2011, No. 14 seed, lost to Brigham Young 74-66 in the first round.

- Jeff Borzello

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 1:48 am

Welcome to the Dance, Wofford Terriers

After achieving just one winning record in its first 14 years as a Division I program, Wofford is now heading to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. The Terriers defeated regular-season champion Charleston in the championship, 77-67. Noah Dahlman went for 20 points and nine rebounds, while Cameron Rundles had three 3-pointers and 21 points. Jamar Diggs also had a big second half to spur the Terriers’ victory. After losing three of six in the middle of the season, Wofford is heading to the Big Dance on an eight-game winning streak.

Located in Spartanburg, S.C., Wofford has an undergraduate enrollment of just 1,400 students. The program has been around since 1906, but didn’t join Division I until 1995. The Terriers posted a 4-24 record in their first season, and struggled for their first 14 years as a D-I program. However, they broke through last season by winning the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles. Wofford forged a tie with Charleston for the regular season title this year.

Player to know: Noah Dahlman. The senior forward is one of the most efficient big men in the country, shooting 61.7 percent from the field. Dahlman has 16 20-point games, including a stretch earlier in the season in which he scored at least 22 points in seven straight games. He gets great position in the post and has the ability to finish with both hands around the rim. Dahlman will look to improve on his performance in last year’s tournament, when he finished with just 10 points and five boards.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 21-12, 14-4 Southern
  • Team colors: Old gold and black
  • We’re thinking: 15-seed
  • KenPom ranking: 91
  • RPI: 120
  • Best win: George Mason (26-6)
  • Worst loss: Cornell (10-18)
  • Notable stat: The Terriers rank sixth in the country in 3-point percentage, knocking down 40.8 percent of their attempts.
  • Most recent tournament history: 2010. As a No. 13 seed, lost to Wisconsin in the first round, 53-49.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted by Jeff Borzello

More College Basketball coverage

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:03 am

Southern championship game preview

With all the upsets in conference tournaments this season, the Southern Conference’s championship game will feature the game everyone wanted to see: Charleston vs. Wofford (9 p.m., ESPN2).

Charleston (24-9, 14-4) received the top seed in the conference tournament despite losing its final two games of the season. The Cougars started conference play with a 14-2 record, including two victories over Wofford. They have bounced back in the conference tournament, dominating Elon in the opener and then coming back and defeating Furman.

Andrew Goudelock leads the way for the Cougars. One of the best scorers in the country, Goudelock has had five 30-point games this season, including 31 in the semifinals against Furman (although it took him 28 shots to get there). Donavan Monroe has stepped up his production since big man Jeremy Simmons got hurt; Monroe has posted double-figures in eight of his last 10 games. Willis Hall and Trent Wiedeman have both shown flashes of their potential in the frontcourt. 

Wofford (20-12, 14-4) is the defending champion, losing to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season. The Terriers were up and down for much of the campaign, but finished strong, winning their final five games, including road contests at Chattanooga and Furman to end the season. They’ve handled Appalachian State and Western Carolina with relative ease in the tourney.

The headliner for Wofford is forward Noah Dahlman, an extremely productive post player who scored in double-figures every game this season and is one of the most efficient players in the country. He has averaged 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in two games against Charleston this year. Tim Johnson is a rebounding machine next to Dahlman. On the perimeter, Cameron Rundles and Jamar Diggs provide balance. Both players are rolling to end the season, with Rundles averaging 15.8 points in the last nine games.

This will be a contrast of styles, as Charleston likes to get out and shoot transition 3-pointers and Wofford would prefer a half-court game in which the Terriers can use their inside advantage. With Simmons out recovering from a blood clot, the Cougars could struggle to defend Dahlman on the interior. Charleston is a poor defensive rebounding team, while Wofford gets plenty of second chances. On the other side, Wofford needs to guard the perimeter – the Cougars are prolific from deep.

Can Charleston knock off Wofford for the third time this season? In the two previous wins, Simmons played a significant role in the paint; he will not be suiting up for the Cougars on Monday night. Therefore, it remains to be seen if Charleston will be able to slow down Dahlman down low. If Wofford can make it a half-court battle, the Terriers should prevail and get back to the NCAA Tournament.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted by Jeff Borzello

More College Basketball coverage
Category: NCAAB
Tags: SOUTH, Southern
Posted on: March 3, 2011 2:54 pm

Southern Conference tournament preview

The Southern Conference was loaded at the top of the conference this season, with five teams finishing at least 12-6 in league play. Charleston (22-9, 14-4 in SoCon) and Wofford (18-12, 14-4) shared the regular-season title, as Charleston lost its final two games of the season to fall back into a tie with Wofford. However, the Cougars did beat the Terriers twice, giving them the tie-breaker. Furman (20-9, 12-6) got off to a hot start but faded down the stretch.

Over in the North division, Western Carolina (17-14, 12-6) and Chattanooga (16-15, 12-6) split the title. Western Carolina won eight of its final nine games, including a victory over Charleston in the finale, to forge a tie with the Mocs, who lost five of their last seven overall. Chattanooga will host the tournament.

The two favorites heading into the tournament are, not surprisingly, Charleston and Wofford. Charleston had close losses against Maryland, North Carolina and Clemson during the non-conference season, and also beat Tennessee on the road. The Cougars have the league’s best player in Andrew Goudelock, who had four 30-plus performances this season. They miss big man Jeremy Simmons, who is out indefinitely while he recovers from a blood clot in his arm. Wofford is riding a five-game winning streak, including road blowouts over Chattanooga and Furman to end the season. Noah Dahlman, an ultra-productive forward who dominates the paint, leads the defending champions. Cameron Rundles and Jamar Diggs provide balance on the perimeter.

Western Carolina is one of the hottest teams in the conference, playing its best basketball down the stretch. The Catamounts are led by versatile Mike Williams, who is averaging 17.4 points in the last nine games. Furman has all-conference forward Amu Saaka, while Chattanooga is the host and is led by former Georgetown transfer Omar Wattad.

Appalachian State (15-14, 10-8) won seven of its final eight games, and has arguably the most explosive scoring duo in the conference in guard Donald Sims and forward Omar Carter. In late January, Davidson (17-13, 10-8) sat at 2-7 in the conference. Since then, the Wildcats have gone 9-1, a record that includes wins over Charleston and Wofford. Bob McKillop has a balanced unit, headed by J.P. Kuhlman. 

Southern Conference tournament bracket

Top Three Players:

1. Andrew Goudelock, Charleston
2. Noah Dahlman, Wofford
3. Donald Sims, Appalachian State

  • Conference RPI: 19
  • KenPom.com Conference Ranking: 21
  • Sagarin Conference Ranking: 20
NCAA Tournament Locks: None
NCAA Bubble Teams: None

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance

  • Appalachian State: 2000 (lost to Ohio State, first round)
  • Charleston: 1999 (lost to Tulsa, first round)
  • Chattanooga: 2009 (lost to Connecticut, first round)
  • The Citadel: 0 NCAA appearances
  • Davidson: 2008 (lost to Kansas, Elite Eight)
  • Elon: 0 NCAA appearances
  • Furman: 1980 (lost to Tennessee, first round)
  • Georgia Southern: 1992 (lost to Oklahoma, first round)
  • NC-Greensboro: 2001 (lost to Stanford, first round)
  • Samford: 2000 (lost to Syracuse, first round)
  • Western Carolina: 1996 (lost to Purdue, first round)
  • Wofford: 2010 (lost to Wisconsin, first round)

Photo: US Presswire

Posted by Jeff Borzello

More College Basketball coverage
Category: NCAAB
Tags: SOUTH, Southern
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