The Davidson Wildcats, thanks to a furious comeback in their 65-62 win over Appalachian State yesterday, are once again in the Southern Conference tournament title game. The only thing standing between the Wildcats and the big dance is the Charleston Cougars, who took down No. 2 Elon in the semifinals, 68-60.
The top-seeded Wildcats ride the nation’s longest winning streak (16 games) into tonight’s match-up with the Cougars, who have won four straight including a pair of eight-point wins in the SoCon tournament.
Davidson is looking for back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances while the Cougars seek their first trip since 1999.
For Davidson’s Bob McKillop, the championship game is nothing new–he’s looking for his seventh SoCon tournament championship. For Charleston’s Doug Wojcik, who is in his first season after coming over from Tulsa, he’s got the Cougars one win from the dance floor.
Davidson got the better of Charleston both times this season, earning a nine-point win at home and a 16-point win at the TD Arena in Charleston.
Davidson is the better team but the Cougs are no pushover. At 14-4 in SoCon play this year, they finished just three games behind the Wildcats and were the second-best team in the conference.
Charleston, led by Adjehi Baru‘s 8.5 rebounds per game, is 45th in the country with 37.7 rpg and have a decided advantage on the boards despite being out-rebounded in both losses to the Wildcats this year. A thin bench could spell disaster for the Cougs tonight–in two tournament games, their bench has scored only 20 points while Davidson has gotten 40 points from their backups.
Davidson’s high-scoring offensive attack combined with efficient play will be the factor in what is looking like a one-sided game. Couple that with Davidson’s ball control and depth and it could be a long 40 minutes for the Cougars.
The Wildcats should be dancing once again in around the 13- to 14-seed range.