Team Previews: Chattanooga

Last Season: 19-12 (10-8 SoCon)

Major Non-Conference Wins

  • @ Tennessee
  • Marshall
  • @ Coastal Carolina

Major losses

  • Tre’ McClean – 13.7 ppg 5.4 rpg
  • Justin Tuoyo – 13.6 ppg 6.6 rpg
  • Greg Pryor – 12.0 ppg
  • Casey Jones – 9.5 ppg 4.1 rpg
  • Matt McCall (Coach – UMass)

Top Returners

  • Makinde London – 6.0 ppg 3.5 rpg
  • Trey Chatman – 5.3 ppg 2.2 apg

2017-2018 Schedule Highlights

  • 11/10 @ Wyoming
  • 11/13 @ UAB
  • 12/10 Charlotte

Outlook

  • The Mocs looked great for most of the season last year, but a February swoon that included a host of in fighting rumors led to a huge roster turnover for this season. Almost all contributors from last season will have to be replaced. That’s not something that will happen overnight.
  • However with all the roster turnover, back is talented Makinde London who has All-Socon talent but needs find consistency this season.
  • The schedule sets up to work in UTC’s favor as it is not filled with Power 5 teams that could kill this team’s confidence before the season really starts.
  • It may take some time for new coach Lamont Paris (Wisconsin) to put his personal stamp on this team in terms of style and roster. How quick both of those things happen will be the keys to the Mocs success this year and going forward.

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Team Previews: Western Carolina

Last Season: 9-23 (4-14 SoCon)

Major Non-Conference Wins

  • High Point
  • App State

Major losses

  • Kyle Rhoades – 2.3 ppg 2.0 rpg

Top Returners

  • Haboubacar Mutumbo – 11.7 ppg 5.3 rpg 2.2 apg
  • Devin Peterson – 10.5 ppg 3.6 apg

2017-2018 Schedule Highlights

  • 11/10 @ Clemson
  • 11/13 @ Cincinnati
  • 11/19 @ Minnesota
  • 12/6 @ UNC-CH

Outlook

  • Western fans may be upset at being picked this low in the Socon, and they might have a good argument. The Catamounts return virtually all of their important players from last season, as well as getting back Deriece Parks for a redshirt season (Parks only appeared in 10 games last season). This is a very senior laden team.
  • The schedule makers at Western have done this year’s team no favors. This schedule is loaded with high major road games. This team will struggle to pull out more than 5 non-conference wins. That’s not an indictment on the Catamounts, but a testament to how challenging this schedule will be for WCU.
  • Haboubacar Mutumbo is truly one of the biggest stars in the SoCon. I’m expecting him to have an All-SoCon type season.
  • Shooting doomed the Catamounts last season and it’s the main reason why they are ranked here to start the year now. WCU shot only 39% from the field and 30% from three point range last season. Coach Larry Hunter will need his team to shoot better in order for his grinding system to be more effective. If that happens, look for Western to place much higher this season and serve me up some crow.

Team Previews: VMI

Last Season: 6-24 (3-15 SoCon)

Major Non-Conference Wins

  • Charleston Southern

Major losses

  • QJ Peterson – 19.6 ppg 6.5 rpg 2.4 apg
  • Julian Eleby – 12.9 ppg 5.1 rpg 2.2 apg
  • Trey Chapman – 9.6 ppg 5.3 rpg

Top Returners

  • Armani Branch – 7.8 ppg 3.5 rpg
  • Adrian Rich – 6.5 ppg 2.0 apg

2017-2018 Schedule Highlights

  • 11/10 @ NC State
  • 12/5 @ Davidson
  • 12/22 @ VCU

Outlook

  • The Keydets lost a lot from their 2016-2017 team, and that team only won a handful of games. VMI Coach Dan Earl has a major roster overhaul he’s currently having to deal with due in part to a huge change in philosophy. Coach Earl would like to play a defensive game with his team placing emphasis on getting good shots. It’s pretty much the mirror opposite of previous coach Duggar Baucom.
  • The trio of Peterson, Eleby and Chapman accounted for over 60% of the scoring, 50% of the rebounds and 45% of the assists from last years team. That’s a ton to have to replace. VMI is adding a huge freshman class though (7 players). Incoming freshmen Jordan Ratliff and Samuel Patel scored well in their European trip this summer though.
  • Branch and Rich will have to step up their games this season. I expect both will become center pieces for the new look Keydets.
  • Size will be an issue for VMI. Only 3 players on the roster are 6’8″ or taller.
  • How well VMI does this season will probably hinge on how well these new freshmen adapt to life at a military academy and to Division 1 basketball. I expect a lot of early struggles, but improvement as the year progresses. But progress might not be measured (or noted) in terms of wins.