The fifth-seed Cats (17-14, 10-6 SoCon) open in the quarterfinal round against the fourth-seed Elon Phoenix (18-13, 11-5 SoCon) at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 8th 2014.
The Phoenix enter the tournament on a two game losing streak, with losses to Wofford and Davidson in the final week of conference play. The Cats duplicate that losing streak with their own losses to Chattanooga and Samford during the same week. Both teams come into this game having not lived up to preseason expectations, and see the tournament as a way to redeem a disappointing season. Those hopes can only survive for one of the two senior laden teams, as one team will only add to their losing streak.
Elon is currently ranked third in scoring offense, averaging 75.1 points per game and second in scoring defense giving up 71.5 points per game. The Phoenix also lead the conference as a team in free throws made, with a season average of 72.8%, which is not good news for a team prone to send their opponents to the charity stripe a lot, such as the Catamounts,
Western Carolina and Elon split the two regular season meetings, with the Catamounts winning the January 4th meeting in Cullowhee, claiming a 74-60 victory, while the Phoenix picked up a 74-60 win over the Cats on Jan. 30 at Elon.
At this point, I think this one is a toss-up.