Basketball: Fearless Predictions

College basketball kicks off its season this weekend, and the Mountaineers will begin its season against Montreat. In a game that should be an easy win for the Mountaineers, it will be interesting to finally see what kind of rotation and starting lineups we shall see from the Mountaineers. Most of the starting lineup is set, but the first players off the bench are what we are most looking forward to seeing. The starting lineup should include, in no order, Nathan Healy, Jamal Trice, Jay Canty, Tab Hamilton, and Chris Burgess. If Trice is not ready to play, Brian Okam would be the most likely candidate to fill his spot, as the Mountaineers would go with a bigger lineup. Burgess will man the point until Mike Neal regains his eligibility.

On the day of each Mountaineer game, Vegas odds will be posted in games that warrant interest for the men’s games. The Montreats of the world do not garner such interest. We will choose a line, sometimes in favor of the Mountaineers, and sometimes not, depending on how we feel about the game, and keep track of our record throughout the season. There is no actual money being wagered, this is just a fun thing to do during the season.

Looking at Men’s schedule, we have decided to place a total on the number of wins we expect for this season. We feel there are about 6 games on this schedule that we can consider coin flips, and any record that results in a record over .500 would be considered a success for a team that is so young. So, we fearlessly predict 14.5 wins for Jason Capel’s squad. We realistically believe, in a worst-case scenario, this team will win 11-12 games, while in a best case scenario, this team is looking at 17-18 wins, including conference tournament play. However, the number we are going to with is 14.5 for an over/under number for this team.

On the Women’s side, the team has 28 regular season games scheduled, and it will probably be much easier to gauge how well this team will do compared to the men. There are three games that most would point at, would be guaranteed losses early in the season, against Virginia Tech, Xavier & West Virginia. I believe this team could possibly upset one of these schools, and it would not surprise me. In conference play, this team is staring at a record somewhere in the 16-4 to 18-2 range. Samford, Chattanooga and Davidson are the competition in this conference and most likely these teams will decide the conference race. We are going to with a pretty high number, as out of conference teams could test the Mountaineers, but we have confidence in this team. We would expect a record falling somewhere in the 21-7 to 23-5 range in the regular season, but would not be surprised if their record ended up better than that. Tonight’s game against Lees-McRae should be an ugly win.

Men’s Basketball vs Lees-McRae (exhibition)

This Mountaineer already had plenty of new faces on the team, and they must learn to play together quickly. Appalachian defeated Lees-McRae 76-55 Friday night at the Holmes Center in a game that was more competitive than it should have been. Appalachian was once again without Jamaal Trice due to a variety of illness, and starting point guard Mike Neal was declared academically ineligible earlier in the week. The Mountianeers struggled throughout the game without two sure fire starting quality players. Trice should return next week, while Neal will miss the first nine games of the season before he returns against South Carolina.

Appalachian played well in two categories that has historically plagued the team. The Mountaineers only committed ten turnovers on the night, and only one player turned the ball over more than once. Appalachian also shot well from the free throw line, nailing 84% (26/31) of their attempts. Tevin Baskin hit nine of his ten free throw attempts while Jay Canty knocked down all six of his free throws.

Both teams shot poorly for the night as Appalachian led the way shooting 37.7% for the night while the Bobcats shot 31.3%. Lees McRae outrebounded the Mountaineers 45-44, helped by a 22-17 edge on the offensive boards. Four Mountaineers scored in double r, led by Tab Hamilton with 20 points on 7/18 shooting. Canty added 15 points and nine rebounds. Nathan Healy notched 13 points and six rebounds and Baskin netted 11 points and seven rebounds.

Appalachian led by as many as 27 points in a game where their lead bounced back and forth in the second half. Appalachian held Lees to only seventeen first half points. The Mountianeers primarily used a six man rotation. Reserve point guard Chris Burgess logged 36 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out three assists to only one turnover. Brian Okam played for 18 minutes, yet still managed four fouls.


Appalachian State Mens Basketball: Western Carolina Postgame & Regular Season Review

Appalachian decided its fate Saturday with a lethargic end to the regular season. The Mountaineers lost to rival Western Carolina in Cullowhee by a final of 83-75. With the loss, their tournament future was clear despite several other conference games remaining on Saturday evening. The Mountaineers finished the season fifth in the SoCon North Standings. They will play College of Charleston on Friday at 11:30am in Asheville, NC. The Mountaineers regular season record stands at 12-17 and 7-11 in conference play. The seven conference wins were over each team in the North and Furman twice. The Mountaineers five non-conference wins were over Winthrop, Tennessee Tech, Campbell, Milligan and Lees-McRae.

Clearly, a disappointing season for a team that will have no players on the all-conference team and will be lucky to get Mike Neal on the all-freshman team. Appalachian was picked to finish second in the North division and senior Omar Carter was selected as the preseason player of the year. The Mountaineers final RPI number will be in the 275 range. Appalachian regressed from last years 16-15 record and 10-8 record in the SoCon. Losing Donald Sims was obviously a huge reason for the decline as Appalachian could never find a consistent scorer. Omar Carter is the only player averaging more than ten points a game.