Southern Conference Preview

The Southern Conference has lost a lot of its luster since Davidson left for the Atlantic 10, but did have a top 100 team last season, as well as another that flirted with being in the top 150. The league also features one of the most exciting teams in the nation, VMI, which led the league in tempo last season and has finished among the 10 fastest teams every year since 2007.

Atop the league last season sat Wofford, who lost just two league games and narrowly missed an upset of Arkansas in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. The Terriers lose just one senior, and no one (that I can find) to transfer, so they should be a heavy favorite to get back to the NCAA tournament, and maybe even get bumped up a seed line. In any event, they will be a very trendy upset pick next March. Wofford has a tough nonconference schedule, but could make a definite case for a good NCAA tournament seed with games against North Carolina, Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech.

Chattanooga finished second in the league last season, and dealt the Terriers one of their two losses. The Mocs are led by Matt McCall, who is making his head coaching debut after four seasons as an assistant at Florida. McCall will have a veteran group under him, including possible conference player of the year Casey Jones. The Mocs led the conference in 2-point percentage and 2-point percentage allowed in conference play last season, but thanks to poor 3-point shooting and horrible numbers both offensively and defensively in turnovers, the Mocs were unable to lead the league in either offense or defense.

After those two, the league is pretty much a wasteland, so let’s talk more about VMI. The Keydets (awesome name) averaged just over 77 possessions per game last season and on offense took just 15.4 seconds to get the possession over with. College basketball might be going to a 30 second shot clock, but you’ll see no difference in Lexington. They shoot a ton of threes (51.7 percent of their field goal attempts last season). Unfortunately, head coach Duggar Baucom is now at the Citadel, so that will likely be the Southern Conference team to watch this season. Replacing Baucom is Dan Earl, who served as a Navy assistant the past four seasons. Sadly, Navy was 318th in tempo last season so the fun might be done in Lexington.

Predicted Order of Finish

1. Wofford

2. Chattanooga

3. Mercer

4. Western Carolina

5. UNC Greensboro

6. VMI

7. East Tennessee St

8. The Citadel

9. Samford

10. Furman

All League Team

Casey Jones, Chattanooga

Lee Skinner, Wofford

Jake Wright, The Citadel

Stephen Croone, Furman

Darious Moten, Mercer