Monday, January 13, 2020

The Road to Asheville (1-15-20)

Week eleven action tips off on Wednesday night, with five conference games on the schedule. For the first time this season, all ten teams will have a mid-week conference game.  The big game for the night will be in Timmons Arean, as the Catamounts take their first-place record to Travelers Rest to meet the second-place Furman Paladins.

Western Carolina at Furman
The SoCon's first & second place teams face off in Timmons Arena on the campus of Furman University.  The Catamounts bring their 4-0 conference record into the game, the last undefeated team in conference play in the SoCon. Furman holds down the #3 position in last week's mid-major top 25 poll, while the Cats are listed in the others receiving points. Furman holds down the number one position on last week's power ranking, while the Cats come in at 5th place. The Paladins are coming off their first loss in conference play, against UNCG last Saturday in Greenville's downtown area, while the Cats extended their winning streak to 5 games and a perfect 4-0 conference record. Western Carolina comes into the game in second place in scoring offense with 82.4 points per game (ppg), while Furman comes in at third place with 77.8 ppg.  Massey projects a home-court advantage for the Paladins where they are 7-1 this season, final score 82-73 over the Cats.

Wofford at Chattanooga
The #4 Wofford Terriers travel to Chattanooga and the Roundhouse to face #6 Chattanooga. The Terriers are 3-1, with their only conference loss coming at the hands of ETSU in Johnson City, while the Mocs bring a 2-2 conference record, with losses to Furman and Western Carolina. The Terriers are listed as #2 on last week's power ranking, while Chattanooga comes in at #7. Wofford is #6 in the conference standing for offensive scoring, averaging 73.9 ppg, and fifth in scoring defense, give up 68.6 ppg. The Mocs come in at 9th place in scoring offense with 72.1 ppg and 4th in scoring defense, giving up only 66.3 ppg. Chattanooga is 6-1 at home this season, while the Terriers 4-5 on the road. This game is almost a toss-up, but Massey gives the edge to the visiting Terriers and projects a 70-69 win for the visiting team.

UNCG at The Citadel
The #5 UNCG Spartans travel to the SC Lowcountry to face the #8 Citadel Bulldogs in McAlister Field House. The Spartans are ranked #9 on last week's mid-major top 25 rankings. UNCG is coming off a huge win over the Furman Paladins last Saturday, and are now 3-2 in conference play. The Spartans have losses to Wofford and ETSU. The Bulldogs come into the game winless in conference action with a 0-4 conference record.  UNCG comes in 9th in the mid-major top 25 rankings, with the Bulldogs unranked in that poll. The Spartans are 4th in our conference power poll last week, while the Bulldogs come in at 8th place. The Citadel ranks #1 in the conference in scoring offense, posting 82.8 ppg, but comes in last in the standing for scoring defense, giving up 78,5 ppg.  Massey projects an 81-70 victory for the Spartans in Charleston.

Samford at ETSU
The #6 Samford Bulldogs travel to Johnson City, Tennessee to meet the 2d place ETSU Bucs in the Freedom Center where ETSU as ha perfect 10-0 record this season. The Bucs are 4-1 in conference action, with the only loss at the hands of Furman, while the Bulldogs are 2-2 in conference play, with losses to Wofford and Chattanooga. ETSU is ranked #7 in last week's mid-major top 25 poll, and Samford is unranked. In our conference power poll, ETSU is #3 in the rankings, while Samford comes in at #6. ETSU comes in 4th in the conference in scoring offense with 76.1 ppg, and second in scoring defense, giving up only 61.6 ppg, while Samford is 5th in scoring at 75.9 and 9th in defense, giving up 77.8 ppg. I'm not sure anyone in the conference will come out of the Freedom Center with a win this season, at least in the game Massey agrees with me, projecting a 78-62 Bucs win over the Bulldogs.

VMI at Mercer
In what may be one of the more interesting games of the night, last place VMI travels to 8th place, Mercer.  Both teams are winless in conference action, with VMI at 0-5 and Mercer at 0-4. The Bears are 4-4 at home this season, and VMI is 0-7 in road games. In last week's power ranking, the Keydets come in at #9, while the Bears are #10 in the ranking. Mercer ranks last in points at 71.1 ppg while giving up 72.5 places them at #7 in scoring defense. The Keydets are ranked 8th in scoring offense at 73.3 ppg, and 6th in scoring defense, giving up 68.8 ppg.  Massey projects a 76-71 win for the Bears at home over VMI. Someone will have a conference win after this game.

The rankings -
1.  4-0 Western
2.  4-1 Furman (tie)
2.  4-1 ETSU (tie)
4.  3-1 Wofford
5.  3-2 UNCG
6.  2-2 Samford (tie)
6.  2-2 Chattanooga (tie)
8.  0-4 Citadel (tie)
8.  0-4 Mercer (tie)
10. 0-5 VMI