Aside from Gonzaga’s WCC, I’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel so far and talking about a ton of one-bid leagues that will give us the 15 and 16 seeds of March. Today that all changes. The SoCon is a surefire multi-bid league that even has a ranked team! Wofford has been running a train on the league this season so far but, they do boast three other 20-win teams. As you’ll see by the standings and odds below, there is a STEEP drop off after that. The odds of a seeing a Cinderella here are piss-poor. Fun Fact: back in 1980, the Southern Conference was the first conference to integrate the three-pointer.
When and Where: March 8th-11th at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, NC
Defending Champ: UNC Greensboro
Who’s Good: Wofford
Who’s Sneaky: UNC Greensboro, Furman, East Tennessee State
Who Stinks Out Loud: Western Carolina is very bad
Coolest Team Nickname: Furman Paladins. Straight out of some Dungeons and Dragons nerd stuff with this one.
Seeding and Rules: All 10 teams in, with the top six receiving first round byes. The entire tourney is held at a neutral site.
Multi-Bid League: Yes, at least two teams should get in. Wofford and Greensboro are virtual locks with Furman firmly on the bubble.
Breakdown: While there are some other above average teams in the SoCon, Wofford has really set themselves apart this season. They’re 18-0 in conference and their 4 losses on the year have come at the hands of North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas and MissSt. By every metric I look at, including my own, they are a top 20 team in the nation and have a good chance at being the higher seed in their first tournament game. This is the first league where we start running into possible motivation issues. While you can’t question a team’s desire to keep winning but, for a team like Wofford or UNC-Greensboro it has to be in the back of their head that they will be just fine even if they flame out in the semi-finals here in Asheville. In the end though, this is probably just a minor concern as the three top teams are all still looking to improve their resumes to help with seeding or in Furman’s case, make a case for being a second SoCon At-Large.
My Pick(s): Along with everything else about them, my model loves Wofford and I think they should be closer to a -200 favorite to win the league. Even money or better is a gift if they play like they’re capable of. As a side note, the tournament site is only about an hour’s drive from campus so, they should have a nice cheering section. A nice part of being a few days deep into the conference tourney season is that other books are starting to open up numbers for these. As I try to pound into your heads on every podcast/article, it’s vital to shop around. I was fully prepared to also back the other team my model likes, UNC Greensboro, at +475 but, found them 6/1 elsewhere. So, I’ll also have a tickle on them and hope the two best teams meet in the final.
Wofford +115 (1x)
UNC-Greensboro +600 (0.25x)