Conference Contemplation from 3,333 Feet: A New Series
I want to give a nice Hello to all the readers of this site. I am a current student at Appalachian State and growing up just an hour away I have always loved the Mountaineers. I will be posting musings from around the conference as well as happenings atop the mountain on campus. I will have a post every Thursday to give you a rundown on what’s going on in the upcoming week as well as giving you a rewind of the previous week.
This first post will be a little longer because in the conference breakdown I will hit notes ranging from the whole first month of the season. In following posts I will just give news from the previous week.
First things first, ever since the news broke about Jerry Moore on Sunday afternoon, the skies in the High Country were nothing but gloomy and grey for about 3 days. A gorgeous Sunday turned dark and Boone looked that way until about noon on Wednesday. There was occasional sunshine during that time frame but not much. Coincidence? I think not. I am very young, and Jerry Moore has been the only coach at ASU. I, just like many of you, don’t know what to think of someone else other than Jerry Moore manning the home sideline with the title of head coach in Kidd Brewer next fall. Oddly enough, I was messing around in Kidd Brewer Stadium at the time the official announcement was made.
Now that another football season is over, it’s time to focus on basketball. Unlike a lot of students, I actually DO care a lot about basketball. I hate seeing attendance and awareness as low as it is, and I would kill to see the seats filled at the HCC. I know, I know, winning is the only cure. Yes, having lackluster performances like the High Point game, and the Campbell game on the road doesn’t help people get interested, but how can this team get “fired up” to play in front of 750 people like last Wednesday against Duquesne?
So far, the Mountaineers (1-6, 0-0) have struggled on offense against a zone defense. The game against High Point stands out. The Mountaineers seem to be content passing the ball around the perimeter against the zone and not attacking. One positive so far is that the season is still young, and there is a lot of time to get better, including another month of non-conference contests. I do think this team is improving. The only win is against NAIA member Montreat, but things have gotten better since the High Point beating a few weeks ago. The Apps gave Virginia Tech a really good run in Blacksburg, lost by one to Duquesne, and got an excellent performance from Jay Canty at Missouri this past Saturday. Getting Mike Neal back at the point will only help the Mountaineers as they prepare for the upcoming Southern Conference season, which has many winnable games for a young team. The more support, the better.
The Mountaineers head south to take on our “friends” in Cullowhee. The Catamounts come into Saturday’s matchup, off the heels of a 72-64 loss at Illinois, with a record of 3-6. WCU is led by SoCon POY candidate Trey Sumler, who is averaging 17.6 PPG and 4.6 APG through the first month of the season. Tip-off is set for 4:30.
Now that I’ve talked about our own program, let’s rewind as well as take a look at what’s upcoming around the SoCon from December 6-December 12…
-College of Charleston (5-3, 1-0)
C of C has an early season victory over Baylor, and have held their own against opponents until Tuesday evening. This won’t make those who complain about basketball scheduling happy. The Cougars hosted #5 Louisville on Tuesday night. They got beat 80-38 but nonetheless, a very impressive home opponent.
The Cougars do not play again until December 13, so more information about C of C can be found in next week’s report.
-Chattanooga (2-5, 0-1)
Chattanooga had a respectable performance at Kansas in early November, where they lost 69-55. UTC lost their only conference game so far to conference favorite Davidson, 81-55.
The Mocs play Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 8, and then travel to Baton Rouge to play LSU on Dec. 11.
-The Citadel (3-4, 0-1)
The Citadel opened the 2012-13 campaign with an 84-76 win over VMI, but has since struggled, with their other two wins over Montreat and Union (KY.). The Citadel lost its lone conference game to UNCG, 84-54. The Citadel just got handled by their cross town rivals Charleston Southern on Tuesday night, 101-73.
The Citadel, just like College of Charleston, has a little time off before their next game on December 15 at Gardner-Webb.
-Davidson (4-4, 1-0)
After the Wildcats beat Emory and Henry to open the year, they blew a big double digit lead at New Mexico, then went on to lose at Milwaukee, which is kind of a head scratcher to some. The ‘Cats had a nice showing in Orlando, beating Vanderbilt and West Virginia, before losing to Gonzaga by 14. As mentioned above, Davidson beat Chattanooga 81-55. Davidson lost to cross-town rival Charlotte 73-69 on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats play Wofford in Belk Arena Saturday night in their only game in this upcoming week.
-Elon (6-3, 1-1)
Elon has a win at South Carolina to their name in the first month of the season. Also, the Phoenix lost by 2 at the College of Charleston. Elon also defeated Georgia Southern 55-50 to give them a league victory.
Elon beat Dartmouth 71-49 on Tuesday night and their next game is December 15 at UMass.
-Furman (2-5, 0-1)
The Paladins only two wins so far have come against Southern Wesleyan and Brevard, so it’s safe to say they haven’t gotten off to a hot start. Losses to Columbia by 21, Clemson by 17, Mercer by 27, and Loyola (Ill.) by 27 stand out. WCU handed Furman a 79-65 conference setback.
The Paladins play Presbyterian College on Saturday.
-Georgia Southern (2-5, 0-2)
GSU’s only win vs. a D1 team is against Kennessaw State, as the other is against Webber International. They dropped their two league games to Elon and Samford by 5 and 9 points, respectively.
The Eagles play Brewton-Parker on Saturday in Statesboro.
-Samford (2-8, 1-0)
Samford has had a tough early season schedule, dropping games on the road at Louisville, Memphis, and most recently Kentucky, on Tuesday night. Samford defeated Georgia Southern by 9 points last Saturday.
Samford plays at Bowling Green Saturday.
-UNC Greensboro (2-5, 1-0)
One of the teams picked to be atop the SoCon in the preseason, UNCG has played close in every loss. High Point beat the Spartans by 7, ECU by 3, VT by 9, Rutgers by 7, and NC A&T by 11. UNCG is led by POY candidate Trevis Simpson.
The Spartans beat The Citadel by 30, but don’t play again until December 16.
-Western Carolina (3-6, 1-0)
Led by the previously mentioned Trey Sumler, WCU is coming off a loss at Illinois. The Catamounts beat Furman by 14 for their league win. WCU’s largest margin of defeat has been by 16 at Wichita State, so they have been competitive so far.
As we all know, WCU plays host to the Mountaineers this Saturday at 4:30.
-Wofford (4-5, 0-0)
Wofford, as well as ASU, is the only team without a SoCon game thus far. The Terriers have D1 wins over Hampton and Winthrop, and losses to Colorado, Ball State, Ohio, Richmond, and UNC-Wilmington. Wofford beat Gardner-Webb by a score of 54-42 on Wednesday night.
Wofford opens SoCon play this weekend at Davidson.
SOCON STANDINGS (through December 5, 2012)
Western Carolina (3-6, 1-0)
UNC Greensboro (2-5, 1-0)
Samford (2-8, 1-0)
Elon (6-3, 1-1)
Appalachian State (1-6, 0-0)
Chattanooga (2-5, 0-1)
College of Charleston (5-3, 1-0)
Davidson (4-4, 1-0)
Wofford (4-5, 0-0)
The Citadel (3-4, 0-1)
Furman (2-5, 0-1)
Georgia Southern (2-5, 0-2)