Samford (13-19) vs. Davidson (19-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Cellular Center (7,654) -- Asheville, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Samford 11-2, Davidson 8-4. Away Record: Samford 5-11, Davidson 10-3. Neutral Record: Samford 2-1, Davidson 1-4. Conference Record: Samford 10-6, Davidson 15-1. Series Record: Davidson leads, 10-1.
GAME NOTES: The second round of the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament will get going on Saturday afteroon when the top-seeded Davidson Wildcats square off with the eighth-seeded Samford Bulldogs at U.S. Cellular Center.
Davidson's miserable start to the season is a distant memory, as the Wildcats storm into the postseason having dominated the SoCon. After going 4-10 in non- league play, they went 15-1 against conference competition, with the lone loss being an 87-85 overtime setback to Elon. The Wildcats have been the class of the SoCon for awhile now, as they are in search of their third straight league title in this year's tournament.
Samford already collected a win in the tournament, topping No. 9 Appalachian State on Friday, 70-56. The Bulldogs also claimed a victory in the regular- season finale against Western Carolina, but they had lost four straight prior to that. They enter this contest with a 13-19 overall mark.
The Bulldogs were no match for Davidson in the only meeting between the two squads during the regular season. The Wildcats coasted to a 109-88 triumph on Feb. 6, marking their 10th win in 11 all-time meetings with Samford.
Tim Williams finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in Samford's opening- round victory over Appalachian State. The Bulldogs pulled away in the second half, as they shot 48 percent from the floor, with their 16-8 advantage on points off turnovers proving useful as well.
Although they are rarely that productive on offense, Samford has been one of the more efficient shooting teams in the SoCon this season, ranking second in field goal percentage (.474). They actually lead the league in assists (13.8 apg), but let up 76.4 ppg on 46.4 percent shooting at the other end. Williams (18 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is a potent scorer and effective rebounder. He led the SoCon in field goal percentage (.607) and also blocks 1.4 shots per game. Isaiah Williams (12.2 ppg) and Raijon Kelly (10.2 ppg) also figure in the mix, but it was Michael Williams and Connor Miller who were the most effective alternative options against the Mountaineers, tallying 14 and 11 points, respectively.
The Wildcats got revenge in the regular-season finale, as they made up for their only league loss of the season by logging an 86-69 beatdown on the road against Elon. Brian Sullivan netted 26 points and De'Mon Brooks added 24, as Davidson shot 62 percent from the floor in the victory.
It should come as no surprise that Davidson sits atop the SoCon in most offensive categories, considering how thoroughly they controlled the league this season. The Wildcats are the top team in the conference in scoring (78 ppg) and field goal percentage (.479), ranking 25th nationally in the latter. Brooks (18.4 ppg, 7 rpg) was named the SoCon Player of the Year earlier this week and for good reason. He ranks third in the league in both scoring (18.4 ppg and field goal percentage (.590) and is the best player on Davidson's roster. Sullivan (13.5 ppg), Tyler Kalinoski (10.9 ppg) and Tom Droney (10.6 ppg) give the Wildcats plenty of depth.
Williams is certainly a fine post player for Samford. However, he is no match for Brooks and company. The talent level for the Wildcats will be too much for Samford to overcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Davidson 81, Samford 69
03/08 10:13:09 ET