Friday, January 09, 2009

Before and After: 1/9

So, introducing a new mid-major hoops series, Before and After. The idea is to briefly preview an intriguing or high-stakes game on a given day's mid-major slate, then come back with a second post briefly wrapping up the game and looking at the fallout. So sort of like K-Dub's G!O!T!N! feature, but with a back half. And I won't repeat any G!O!T!N! choices, because it's already hard enough writing anything mid-major-related that doesn't already overlap with something at the TMM.

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Mercer at Jacksonville: Hey, remember Mercer? The team that seemed to prove early this season that if it played in the SEC and was located in Alabama, it would be the state's best SEC team? That followed that up with an OT loss to Georgia Tech? That might say more about the Tide, Tigers, and Jackets than the Bears, since it's kind of been downhill from there for Mercer. Their RPI is holding at an excellent-for-the-A-Sun 107 thanks to several high-profile power-conference opponents, but they didn't come close to an upset after November and much more damningly have started 1-2 in A-Sun play. The losses haven't been pretty, either: a 20-point home defeat to league-leader East Tennessee St. and--ugh--a 15-point loss at middle-of-the-conference-pack Campbell. If Mercer's ever going to prove this year's early-season upsets aren't the flukes that last year's USC takedown wound up being, now would be a good start.

As for Jacksonville, it was still just three seasons ago the Dolphins won one game and looked like potentially the worst program in D-I. After edging league favorite Belmont and taking ETSU to the wire on the road, JU is 3-1 in the A-Sun and looking capable of taking the league title fight to the Bruins and Bucs all the way to the wire (particularly with Belmont looking so generally disinterested against their fellow Davids). If the 'Phins really are ready to contend, they should be able to score a win at home against the Bears--after all, Campbell did it.

1 comment:

easyedwin said...

What about UAB???