Location: Charleston, SC
Last Year’s Record: 27-9
Why they’ll make it: These days in college basketball, a team needs quality guard-play to be successful. That’s exactly what the Cougars have. Andrew Goudelock and Tony White, Jr. are back for a squad that fell one game short of a NCAA tournament berth last season. They combined for close to 30 points per game last season and will step up to bigger roles this year. Throw in sixth man, Donavan Monroe and Andrew Lawrence, captain of the Under-20 Great Britain National team, and now, they have the depth to go with their talent. Head coach Bobby Cremins has coached great guards in the past and it looks like he has another outstanding crop this season.
Why they won’t make it: If there is any team in the SoCon that can match the Cougars’ firepower, its Appalachian St. Donald Sims in the backcourt and forward Josh Hunter lead a balance attack for the Mountaineers. The two of them and the rest of the supporting cast should thrive under new head coach Buzz Peterson. Peterson had his greatest success as a coach in his previous tenure at Appalachian St and he has the talent to repeat that success. Expect the Mountaineers to make a run at Charleston and the league title.