Dates: March 4-7
Site: McKenzie Arena, Chattanooga, TN
Outlook: The SoCon’s Southern division is where the league’s power lies. The league’s two best teams — Charleston and Wofford — are led by the two best players — Andrew Goudelock and Noah Dahlman.
Goudelock, the SoCon’s player of the year, has the skill set to be this season’s Stephen Curry. He’s a big time scorer with 25 foot range, he can create for his teammates, and he’s had some of his biggest games against the best competition, including the 31 points he scored in a win at Tennessee. He’s not alone, either. Donovan Monroe and Antwane Wiggins can score on the perimeter while Willis Hall and Trent Wiedeman have really elevated their play inside with Jeremy Simmons battling a blood clot.
While Charleston ended up losing the last two games of the regular season, it opened the door for Wofford, who won their last five games, to sneak in and steal a share of the league title. The Terriers are led by Noah Dahlman, a scrappy and physical power forward that averages 20 a game. Dahlman shares the front court with Tim Johnson, who averages 8.8 rpg, while being surrounded by perimeter scoring threats like Jamar Diggs and Cameron Rundles. The biggest reason that Wofford is a threat? All four of the players I mentioned are seniors.
Western Carolina, Furman, and Chattanooga (who hosts the tournament) all finished at 12-6, two games off the pace, but Appalachian State and Davidson are the sleepers to keep an eye on. Davidson won nine of their last ten games, including against Charleston and Wofford. Appalachian State won seven of their last eight games and has Donald Sims, who is the league’s second leading scorer at 21.3 ppg.
Championship game: March 7, 9:00 pm, ESPN2
Player to watch: Andrew Goudelock, Charleston
I know I already mentioned him, but he Goody deserves a section for himself. He’s that good. He had 24 points and hit the game-winner in a win last season against North Carolina. He had 27 at Maryland, 28 at North Carolina, and 31 at Tennessee this year. He’s for real.
I think Wofford has the best chance to win the conference tournament. I like their experience (they won it last season) and I think losing Jeremy Simmons will hurt Charleston. That said, I think that Charleston has the best chance to pull an upset should they get there.