NCAA – SoCon Tournament Preview

Weighted Total Shot Ratio (MAX 2.00)

(2) Furman – 1.41
(3) Mercer – 1.35
(1) Samford – 1.30
(6) Western Carolina – 1.30
(4) East Tennessee State – 1.13
(5) UNC Greensboro – 1.09
(7) Wofford – 1.05
(9) The Citadel – 0.80
(10) Chattanooga – 0.43
(8) VMI – 0.37

Schedule (WTSR difference in parentheses by home side/higher seed)

SoCon Tournament First Round – 10/29 (Higher Seed)

(7) Wofford (+0.62) vs (10) Chattanooga – 7:00 PM

(8) VMI (-0.43) vs (9) The Citadel – 3:00 PM

SoCon Tournament Quarterfinals – 11/01 (Higher Seed)

(1) Samford vs TBA

(4) East Tennessee State (+0.04) vs (5) UNC Greensboro – 5:30 PM

SoCon Tournament Quarterfinals – 11/02 (Higher Seed)

(2) Furman vs TBA

(3) Mercer (+0.05) vs (6) Western Carolina

SoCon Tournament Semi-Finals – 11/07 (Cullowhee, NC)

TBA vs TBA

TBA vs TBA

SoCon Tournament Final – 11/09 (Cullowhee, NC)

TBA vs TBA

Quick Hits:

As you might expect with a league decided on the final day, it’s a pretty tight race atop the WTSR ratings for the SoCon.  Preseason favorite Furman may have been pipped to the title by Samford, but it’s the Paladins who are favored by the computers.  Furman already beat Samford once this season as well and enter having won five in a row, so they are definitely in form.  League champs Samford are only ranked as the #3 team in the WTSR rankings, but they have the easier path to the title at any rate and are still a major threat to win the auto bid to go along with their league title.

Western Carolina is the dark horse and actually tied with Samford for #3 in the WTSR despite a sixth place league finish.  Add in home advantage for the final two rounds of the tournament, and the Catamounts are a sneaky pick to spring a shock.  They drew with Furman in the regular season but were also beaten on the road by Samford and Mercer.  The problem for WCU is that their quarterfinal is in Macon against Mercer, and they’ll be a solid underdog there.  Look out if they can spring an upset though.

East Tennessee State is probably getting a lot of love due to their international flair and Golden Boot contender Hannah Short.  But the Lady Bucs graded out exactly as they finished in the league table: a mid-table team capable of putting a hurt on some of the league’s doormats.  They’ll be favored to get to the second weekend, but a 1-2-0 record against the league’s top three means they are hardly among the favorites for the auto bid.  Joining them in the long shot category is quarterfinal opponent UNC Greensboro and unlucky Wofford, much better than the three teams below them and just a little off the mid-table sides.

Wofford are big favorites to squash Chattanooga again in the opening round after a 10-0 win in the regular season.  VMI is actually rated by WTSR as the league’s worst team, which doesn’t exactly ring true if you’ve paid attention to Chattanooga.  But the system still says VMI will be heavy underdogs to first round opponents the Citadel, even with home advantage.

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