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Snowflakes: Smaller Conference Hoops

Posted: Feb 06, 2008

One mid-major club that higher seeded teams will not want to see in the Big Dance is Davidson from the Southern Conference. The Wildcats are perfect 13-0 in league play and have one of the country’s best guards in Stephen Curry. The son of former NBA player Dell Curry, the sophomore guard is a great pure shooter and leads the league in scoring at over 24 a game. Davidson showed the ability to hang tough with the big boys in the non-conference slate as they only lost to North Carolina by 4, Duke by 6, and N.C. State by 1. A probable 13 or 14 seed, the Wildcats definitely look to be a solid upset choice when the brackets are set in March.

There is quite a battle going on in the Southland Conference as several teams could end up winning the league. The current leader in the East division is Lamar as the Cardinals have rebounded well from a 1-5 start to the season. Coach Steve Roccaforte has his team playing much better in conference as they have won 5 of 6 games in league play. The leader in the Western division is Stephen F. Austin, who is probably the overall favorite to win the conference. The Lumberjacks are 17-3 overall and play a stifling brand of defense that has their opponents averaging less than 55 points a game. Stephen F. Austin also has two of the top five scorers in the league in Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley so look for them to be the team to beat come conference tourney time.

There is another great race going on in the Ohio Valley Conference. The two leaders currently are Austin Peay and Murray State, with Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State also in the conversation. Both Peay and Murray have fairly veteran squads and are very balanced across their lineup in scoring. Right now, I would put the favorite label on Austin Peay because of the presence of OVC Player of the Year Drake Reed. The 6’5” 240 lb. junior really has a knack in the paint and averages close to 16 points and 6 rebounds a game. The Governors have also had huge scoring nights from guards Derek Wright and Wes Channels, and I believe that firepower will be the difference down the stretch in the OVC.

- Patrick Snow

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