Monday, February 11, 2008

Davidson set to clinch postseason berth

Talk is starting to bubble up about whether Davidson should make the NCAA tournament, but the Wildcats can become the first team in the nation to clinch some kind of postseason berth this week.

If Davidson wins Wednesday at UNC Greensboro and Saturday at home against Furman, the Wildcats will clinch the Southern Conference regular season title. So, even if Davidson doesn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats will be guaranteed a spot in the NIT as the regular season champion.

Getting that distinction this early means two things: 1. Davidson is really strong against conference opponents. 2. The rest of the top teams in the Southern Conference are underachieving.

Every other conference team has at least four conference losses, and some of the top teams have slid down to the pack in recent weeks. Appalachian State (10-4) lost to College of Charleston Thursday, and barely beat The Citadel - which is winless in conference play - in overtime Saturday.

Chattanooga (10-5) has lost three of its last four games, and its only win in that stretch came against Furman (4-11). UNC Greensboro (7-6) has lost three straight games, and now faces Davidson twice and Appalachian once in its next three games.

Georgia Southern (10-5) is the only other conference team with a winning record who is playing well. The Eagles have won three straight, but lost their only game against Davidson by 25 points.

All of that means Davidson will be one of the biggest favorites in the nation once conference tournaments start (the Southern Conference tournament begins March 7). That will put more pressure on the Wildcats to avoid an upset loss that could knock Davidson out of the NCAA tournament.

-- Kevin Cary


Anonymous said...

davidson hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since....when?! stop all the talk about them deserving an at-large spot in the dance. they've had plenty of opportunities to prove themselves on the national stage and have failed to do so.

Anonymous said...

Davidson is definitely the best team in the SoCon. That has definitely been shown. But to say all the top teams are underachieving is making a bit of a sweeping generalization. App might have struggled against The Citadel and lost to CofC the game before, but they ended the game strong when they pounded it down low to the best big man in the conference Donte Minter. App's struggles are related to poor shooting from the field the past 5 games or so. Last night they hounded a strong Wofford team by nearly 30 points and now are a game and a half in front of UTC for 1st place and have won 9 out of 11. Davidson is the best for sure, but don't completely discredit other teams. Also, there is definitely no way Davidson gets in as an at-large 1-6 non-conference? They had their shot for sure.

Anonymous said...

"they've had plenty of opportunities to prove themselves on the national stage and have failed to do so."

Yes, let's count all those teams from the big conferences that have agreed to play at Belk .....
Ummm ... ZERO! (is that plenty?)

Zero opportunities to play a quality non-conference opponent at Belk.

GetOverIt said...

shut up seriously. Davidson is the best the SoCon has. If Davidson was, and is, as good as they claim to be and deserving to get an at-large bid to the dance they would have pulled out some of those games. A loss to state by 1 point and a double digit lead against UCLA? I'm sorry but you were good enough to keep it close and have leads why couldn't you finish the deal? I'm sorry but as a mid-major you don't get the chance to play big schools at your place. Take what you cant get and capitalize. Only Davidson didn't do that. You'll be in the dance when you win the conference tournament. But certainly that's the only way.

Anonymous said...

Who knew suggesting that a good local team should get at-large consideration would raise such ire in people that couldn't have less invested?

When did this become the hate Davidson show?

They're right down the road (presumably) from the readership of this newspaper, but people get upset when anyone suggests that seeking challenge and coming up just shy means you get sent packing when you know your conference schedule isn't going to get you a thing.

Why not reward the ambition?

Davidson -- a decidedly tiny college with drastically underfunded athletic programs -- could go 20-0 in conference play, and commenters here write them off for not capitalizing on UCLA? The most storied basketball program in history? On an away court in Anaheim? When they were ranked in the top 5?

Davidson played the toughest non-conference schedule in the country this season and came up short. Certainly lamentable, but completely understandable. Give them the benefit of the doubt, especially if you're a Charlotte local.

What the hell do you care anyway? Want to see 9 Big East teams dance instead?