Friday, February 24, 2006

College of Charleston preview

Although most Davidson fans feel confident that the 'Cats will pull out a win on Saturday against the division rival Cougars, here is a point-counterpoint analysis of the matchups for the big game.

Importance: Both teams share the same record, and although College of Charleston cannot capture a share of first place, they certainly don't want to fall into the fourth slot. However, the last several years that the tournament has been in Charleston, they have been beaten in that quarterfinal night game that the three seed must play. Davidson will be playing for a chance at first place and a final home win for a remarkable Senior class. Advantage: Davidson.

Frontcourt: With the emergence of Andrew Lovedale supplementing the always tough duo of Ian Johnson and Thomas Sander, the Cats will look to secure the rebounds and play clean ball. Boris has shown greater strength with the ball as of late and Davidson hopes that it will carry over to this game. Jermaine Johnson and Josh Jackson have the potential to be solid big men, but an inability to hit inside shots has hurt them all season. As long as Davidson doesn't let the Cougar rebounders leap over them, they should be fine. Advantage: Davidson

Backcourt: Davidson committed a season-high 28 turnovers against Georgia Southern last Monday, 18 of which came from their backcourt. Kenny Grant has emerged into relatively solid floor leader, however he can get flustered sometimes and play out of control. The Wildcats will need to be more patient with their shot selection and hit the open shots that they get. The Cougars' Dontaye Draper might be one of the most underrated players in the conference. Averaging 19.0 ppg, he has an ability to create off the dribble and take any defender to the lane. He caused problems for Davidson's slower defenders in the first game in Charleston but the Cougars were unable to get inside floaters and shots to fall. If the Cougars start getting points in the paint off of Draper's drives, Jason Morton will have to play more as he is the only Wildcat guard quick enough to guard him. Advantage: Cougars

Coaching: Bob McKillop is the conference's winningest coach and there's a reason for that: vision. Coach McKillop always sees where he wants to take his team and he imparts that to his players very well. This season he has had to conform to the needs of his starters, trying to take pressure off of them in practice and game situations. Tom Herrion, on the other hand, has no idea who his team is and it seems they don't seem to care either. Altercation after altercation has left several players suspended for different stretches of games. Herrion has a tendency to lose himself and his team doesn't seem to respond well to that. Advantage: Davidson

Keys to the game
Davidson: The Cats need to stick to their home winning formula. Jump out to a quick lead with easy shots inside, transition run-outs and one shot opportunities on the defensive end. If they establish Ian inside and play a clean game of ball security and smart shots they should win it.

College of Charleston: They need to get on top of Davidson from the beginning. Using pressure defense they can fluster Kenny into committing turnovers and keeping Davidson from getting many shot opportunities. Offensively, the Cougars should exploit their team speed and work to slash into the lane, getting Thomas in foul trouble and shooting high-percentage shots. If they make it a game of attrition and take the crowd out of it, the Cougars can take advantage of Davidson's struggles with close games.

Final Prediction: Davidson 81 College of Charleston 74

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