One can look at Charleston’s overall record and conference record and imagine that they are a decent team. We are not buying it though. The Cougars are very similar to Georgia Southern. Big wins over Baylor, Boston College, Old Dominion and Vermont have been offset by losses to Anderson College, The Citadel and equally terribly Georgia Southern. They are the ultimate matchup team. Last year, Appalachian had just enough big men to turn back the Cougars in the conference tournament as Andre Williamson and Isaac Butts played lights out. This time around, Appalachian will have to do without the services of those players, and face Adjehi Baru and Trent Wiedeman without any experience to speak of in the front court.
Charleston has excelled this season when shooting the ball well, just like most teams, but really thrive on the three pointer. We talk about the three point shot a lot here, across both genders of basketball, because it is a very significant statistic. The Cougars have hit a ton of threes this season, 6.3 per game, and attempt close to seventeen treys a game. That is good enough for 37% on the season, which is second in the conference only to Davidson. Appalachian is third in the conference by percentage. But, the Cougars lose ground at the free throw line, making only 65.8% of their attempts from the charity stripe, which is 11th out of twelve conference teams. The Cougars have the best statistics as far as shooting from the field, and field goal defense. All these stats can swing one way or another significantly in any game, which leads to Charleston playing up and down to their competition. We know the Cougars have talent, it is just a matter of them playing to the best of their ability.
On the other hand, Appalachian has slightly less talent than Charleston. The Mountaineers cannot counter having a national player, like Andrew Lawrence on their roster. Even though Appalachian has a couple players that are talented Nigerians, it does not add up in Division I college basketball. Both Michael Obacha and Brian Okam are still learning the game, and neither have can match up in the post. The Mountaineers biggest concerns are on the injury front, as Mike Neal and Jay Canty try to recover. I feel Neal and his ankle will get better with time, but slowly, and I question whether Jay Canty will ever be the player he was early this season, for the remainder of this campaign. In the meantime, Appalachian must be led by the heart and soul of Nathan Healy and the driving ability of Tevin Baskin. Hopefully Tab Hamilton can become a scorer, but his off the ball skills are so limited, that one has to question if he ever will. With the ball in his hands, and space to dribble to a spot on the floor or set up on a jumper, he is as deadly as they are in the conference, but he cannot create his own shot. That will not get you very far in the SoCon.
Appalachian has lost four games in a row against the spread, after taking their first ten in a row. Charleston has not been as good against the line this season or historically. Their somewhat elevated status as a mid-major always keeps their lines quite honest. The Cougars open as 12 point favorites, which we feel is a very big number. Odds say that Appalachian should get off the bad end of things soon. Charleston is 9-8 this season against the spread, but are in the midst of a 3-5 streak. The Cougars are 5-6 at home against the line. Picking the Apps in almost every game has gotten old, but twelve points just seems like too many. We will wait and see what the line does tomorrow. Any movement should give bettors the idea who is truly favored in this game.
12:36 UPDATE: Line has see sawed back and forth. We have seen it as low as 10.5, but it has now bumped back up to 11.5. This one will probably settle down around 5pm. We will check back then.
Appalachian fought hard on Wednesday evening in Charleston, but another long scoring drought in the second half put to rest their hopes for an upset. Appalachian led by two points at halftime, and kept up with Charleston in the second half, until Appalachian went scoreless for six minutes of game time, while Charleston turned a small lead into double digits.
Former Mountaineer Anthony Thomas lit up it up for the Cougars with 14 points, 7 rebounds and three blocks. Thomas played his true freshman season with Appalachian during the second Buzz era, or shall we say his final season. Thomas never played and transferred once Buzz made a run for the money – again. Andrew Lawrence scored 16 points and dished out four assists. Appalachian did a goof job on Adjehi Baru, who only took one shot, making it, but was 7/10 on the foul line, finishing with nine points and nine boards.
The problem with this team, or shall we say, one of our concerns, is when this team was playing well, they were getting contributions from everyone. Problem is, you cannot guarantee good games from every player on every night. Teams have learned to neutralize one of App’s players, whoever gives the opposing team the better matchup, and shut them down. Tonight, it was Nathan Healy’s turn to get picked on. Healy was 2/13 from the field, 1/8 from three, and finished with 5 points and nine rebounds in 38 minutes. When one player has a bad game, it hurts this team tremendously. Jason Capel has decided, for whatever reason, that he is not going to play the freshman, and is just going to take their lumps with the eight man rotation and see where it takes them. Right now, it is looking like that is going to take them to a Friday game in the conference tournament and a first round exit.
We do not know where the spread ended up, but we do know it did not go up to 13. Either way, Appalachian did not cover, for the fifth straight game and they fall to 10-5 on the season, while we have slipped to 9-6. Seems like days ago, we were 9-1. Right now, the Mountaineers have Western, Georgia Southern and Davidson in front of them. That is looking like three losses right there. There are maybe 3 or 4 more wins left on the regular season schedule. I just dont see this team getting hot right now, and they seem to be exhausted. When does basbeball start?
|SoCon Men’s Basketball||SoCon||Overall|
|College of Charleston||7-3||.700||4-1||3-2||0-0||W3||15-7||.682||8-5||7-2||0-0||W3|