Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Curry's absence good for Southern Conference?

Bobby Cremins and Bob McKillop might have two different views about what's good for the Southern Conference.

Cremins' College of Charleston Cougars face McKillop's Davidson Wildcats on Thursday at Belk Arena. The atmosphere will be different from last season, when the Charleston-at-Davidson game was so significant that it was televised by ESPN (with Dick Vitale on hand, too).

There will be no such national attention Thursday. Charleston should be favored: The Cougars lead the league's South Division with an 8-1 record (13-7 overall). Davidson, which has won the division's regular-season title for three straight seasons, is tied for third at 4-4 (9-11 overall).

Davidson, of course, is without departed star Stephen Curry, who helped the Wildcats to three straight division championships, two league tournament titles and two NCAA tournament appearances in his three seasons, before departing for the NBA a year early.

"When Stephen was there, Davidson dominated our conference," said Cremins. "They were an absolutely great team. But you hate to be (thought of as) a one-team conference."

Cremins, who coached at Georgia Tech from 1981-2000, remembers some of Duke's dominant teams in the ACC.

"Duke was on a ridiculous run, and it kind of hurt our conference from the point of getting teams into the NCAA tournament," Cremins said.

"(Without) Stephen, our conference is more balanced now."

McKillop, whose teams have finished lower than second place just three times since 1992, has a different take.

"With Stephen last year, we had ESPN and Dick Vitale doing the game," he said. "That quite clearly was something that was good for college basketball, the Davidson community and our conference as a whole.

"There are two sides of that coin. You can have balance and parity, but also a team that's the king of the hill. There's an argument for both sides."

And Cremins' concern about the Curry-era's dominance can be questioned, anyway. Charleston won that ESPN game 77-75, then beat the Wildcats in the Southern Conference tournament semifinals. Charleston lost to Chattanooga in the championship game. -- David Scott


John said...

Actually, your final paragraph isn't true. Charleston beat Davidson in a semi-final match and lost the championship to UT-Chattanooga. UTC appeared as a 16 seed in the tournament, while Charleston missed it completely. And of course, like all 16 seeds, UTC was roundly thrashed by UConn, losing 103-47. I think this actually favors McKillop's point. Balance and parity are all well and good but having a 16 seed in the tournament offers little to no benefit to a one-bid conference like the SoCon.

Anonymous said...

Cremins needs to make up his mind. Only months ago the Observer quoted him as saying that he was most persuasive with potential recruits by telling them, "Yes, we -- Charleston -- are in the same basketball conference with Davidson." Now, he changes his story. Well, all the Southern Conference schools will take in lots less money from attendance this year because Steph Curry was bringing in thousands of interested spectators. Let's hope all potential Charleston recruits recognize that Cremins has always been a pro at talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. He cannot be trusted ... friend today and foe tomorrow. This latest story just proves it once again.

Anonymous said...

Cremins couldn't be more off base. Having any exposure for a conference that is largely unknown outside the region is always a great thing, no matter how it comes. The Summit League might have great balance, but that doesn't mean it has any name recognition.