The year hasn’t ended yet but that doesn’t matter as conference action started on Saturday with 3 games and they went as expected. The fun now begins as this league is surely now a one bid league, unless a team runs the table in conference which I really don’t see happening but wouldn’t it be fun. Here are this weeks rankings.
The Bruins reclaim the top spot in our power rankings, but just barely as they fell to UCF Saturday night. Here is why I like this team and see them as the best, they shot just 37% and its hard to win on a game like that, but unlike my number two team, they fought back. Down by 12 at the half they were down 11 with 4:42 to go before fighting back to get within 2. This team lives and dies on the three ball and have the shooters to get it done.
The Racers have holes, and it begins on the glass. As soon as a game is over I flock to the stats sheet to see how many offensive rebounds they have given up, its generally over 10 (currently they have a streak of allowing 10 or more for 4 straight games and 7 of the last 8) and its hard to win when you give up the amount of second chance points the Racers do. Also the bench is weak, but its not the bench’s fault as they have only combined to take 99 shots this entire season. Can’t improve a bench without getting in a rhythm.
The team continues to amaze me, most team would give up knowing they can’t play postseason hoops but the Gamecocks seem to be a team that will be a huge spoiler. They hold teams to low shooting percentages from behind that arc, at just 25% for the year and hold teams to just 60pts a contest. Tough to beat a team that makes its name on the defense and I look forward to when they take on better 3pt shooting teams in the conference.
The Colonels are an interesting team, sure they started the season 9-0, but are just 1-3 since with 2 of their losses being money games. But their most impressive of their losses happened yesterday, as they stormed back to take a lead against West Virginia on the road overcoming a 12point to take the lead just before the final media timeout.That being said this team looks to do well as the conference season starts as they begin play with Eastern Illinois and SIUE. Should be two wins, but with how things go you never know. The Colonels haven’t lost at home this season at 7-0 which all came in November.
The Redhawks started off very slow, surrendering a 9-0 run to open the game to the Skyhawks and trailed until midway through the second half before they came alive and pulled out the conference opener at home. That being said they have a chance this upcoming week to move up the conference standings and show they are a contender as they host Murray on Saturday. They have the front court to really do damage as they have the best rebounding numbers in the conference led by Nino Johnson and Tyler Stone.
The injury to Robert Covington is huge for the Tigers that were looking forward to conference play beginning with their start on fire. Without him the team needs others such as Patrick Miller, Kellen Thornton to step up and take on even more of the scoring and rebounding. I watched them play EIU and boy they just missed Covington and let the Panthers hang in it.
They get the nod as the 7th best right now because they at least have someone that can get it done for the team. The team is young and is a crutch they can use for losses, but they fell to a very good Gamecock team on the road. They shot as other teams did and Jud Dillard had 12pts which means its an automatic loss when the Golden Eagles top man is limited. They face a short handed TSU this week then get Belmont, going 1-1 would be good for the young Eagles.
The Cougars seem to be getting healthy when the need it and in the wide open conference they could be a team to fight for a first round bye, they certainly have the talent to do so. If Kris Davis can get back to his potential and Jerome Jones and Mark Yelovich are hot, watch out. Right now they are not that though. The schedule ahead isn’t much better for the winless road Cougars who go on the death valley road trip.
I’m probably going to get a foul called on this, but once again they keep doing it. A blowout loss at home against your former coach is rough and its easy to say oh Southern Miss is good, which they are, but giving them 34 FT is just bad. Once again after every game you want to see how many fouls were committed by the league leading Eagles who are now up to 336 fouls (25.8per game).
You know things are rough when you have to simplify your offense, and I’m assuming its going to take some time for that offense to come along. One good note is they lead the conference in blocked shots, with Chris Horton averaging 3 per game! The conference schedule for the Govs starts out on the road at SEMO then at UTM (which yours truly will be covering, shameless self plug)
The Skyhawks got Terrence Smith back onto the court and he was a spark that almost gave them the upset win. The Skyhawks still have the potential for 3-4 wins in the conference which is a huge step up from the zero we saw last year. They are starting to get healthy which is what you want this time of year. They start the second season at home hosting the Racers and Govs. I can see this team going 1-1, I’ll let you decide who I have UTM beating.
They stuck around with a short handed TSU team and got going around the 8min mark cutting the lead from double digits to 4 before the Tigers hit a three to end the chance for the Panthers. They didn’t seem that bad to be honest but then again who knows with this team, could just be a blip of the radar. They join SIUE on the death valley trip going to EKU first on Thursday.