Southern Conference Tournament 2013: De'Mon Brooks, Davidson hope to avoid letdown

Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE

Davidson's De'Mon Brooks and Charleston's Adjehi Baru are two good reasons why you should watch the SoCon tourney this weekend.

Davidson raced through the Southern Conference largely unchallenged this season, but they'll still need to get it done in the SoCon Tournament to earn themselves a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Who, What, When

The Southern Conference Tournament takes place at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C., March 8-11.

Format

All 12 teams in the Southern Conference have a chance to win the automatic bid. The top four teams get a bye into the quarterfinals with the remaining eight teams left to try to play their way into the quarters.


Friday: No. 8 Wofford Terriers vs. No. 9 Georgia Southern Eagles (Game 1); No. 5 Samford Bulldogs vs. No. 12 Furman Paladins (Game 2); No. 7 Chattanooga Mocs vs. No. 10 UNC Greensboro Spartans (Game 3); No. 6 Western Carolina Catamounts vs. No. 11 The Citadel Bulldogs

Saturday: No. 1 Davidson Wildcats vs. Game 1 winner (Game 5); No. 4 Virginia Military Keydets vs. Game 2 winner (Game 6); No. 2 Elon Phoenix vs. Game 3 winner (Game 7); No. 3 Charleston Cougars vs. Game 4 winner (Game 8)

Sunday: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner; Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner

Monday: Championship

Who the Numbers Like

Davidson: The defending SoCon champions, went 17-1 in conference play with their only loss coming at the hands of Georgia Southern. The Wildcats already got revenge once, trouncing the Eagles, 85-48, in the regular season finale. Davidson comes in at No. 65 in the Kenpom efficiency ratings; the next highest ranked SoCon team is Charleston at No. 153.

Who the Eyeballs Like

Davidson: Davidson is clearly the class of the conference and if they are on their game, no one else can stick with them. The Wildcats have won 14 straight and were rarely challenged by any SoCon teams with the exception of their one loss. They should keep their focus and intensity during the tournament as a loss would likely ruin any NCAA Tournament hopes they may have, with an at-large bid highly unlikely.

Dark Horse

Charleston: The Charleston Cougars are the No. 3 seed in the tournament, and feature a player who has some NBA hype surrounding him in Ivory Coast native Adjehi Baru. The Cougars have also been tested against top level talent with games against Louisville, Baylor, and St. John's.

Best Possible Title Game

Davidson vs. Western Carolina: Last year these two met in the finals after a surprise run by the Catamounts and the championship game was a classic. Davidson needed two overtimes to pull out a 93-91 win of the team that will have the closest thing to home court advantage in Asheville, N.C. When they met earlier this year at Western Carolina, Davidson only managed a five point victory

Who Might/Will Get In Anyway

No one has much of a chance. At 23-7 and with a decent schedule, Davidson would have an outside shot, but a slim one. They lost a tight game to New Mexico back in November; had they won that, they might have the quality win needed on their resume, but as is, it's automatic bid or bust.

Players To Watch

De'Mon Brooks: Davidson's 6'7 junior has garnered some NBA prospect buzz and will be key for the Wildcats. Brooks shot 2-of-8 from the floor and scored just six points in Davidson's 70-57 loss to Georgia Southern on Jan. 14, but bounced back to score 20 in the next meeting between the two teams.

Jake Cohen: The SoCon Player of the Year, Cohen does it all for the Wildcats. He averaged 14.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. When they need points look for Davidson to turn to their senior leader.

Adjehi Baru: Baru wowed scouts by pulling down 15 rebounds in the Cougars' upset win over Baylor earlier in the season, and backed that up with a 16-point, 14-rebound performance against Louisville a few days later.

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