Davidson at Appalachian State (Southern)
Holmes Center - Boone, NC
7:30 PM EST
Every so often, the rules must be broken. There are some very traditionally great yet somewhat diluted matchups out there on this Monday night -- the Atlantic Sun's Battle of the Boulevard
is back on (Lipscomb's struggling), and the SWAC's regular season and tourney champs go at it
(but Mississippi Valley State is 1-14). So we're going to go ahead and settle on the game we'll be at. Besides, we owe the G!O!T!N! camera crew dinner, and there's this great
Subway across from the Holmes Center.
Davidson. It's mid-January, and is there anything else to say? The Wildcats are 11-3 and 4-0 in the SoCon, and this game represents the quarter-pole in what could still theoretically be a third perfect league season in five years. The three nonconference losses (Oklahoma, Purdue and Duke) are all to national powers, but that's enough drops for the poll voters to spurn you (unless you're Notre Dame). Stephen Curry
) the nation's leading scorer at 29.4 ppg, is now known by casual fans and their mothers, and is Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible and Bad Horse all in one man. But the difference between winning and losing is Andrew Lovedale
, the team's generally overlooked 6-8 senior. Take the NBA Efficiency Model
, which adds up good stats and subtracts the bad. When Lovedale is in double digits (he was at 13 in Saturday's comfortable win at The Citadel
), Davidson is 10-1. Single digits? 1-2.
The last time the Wildcats lost a SoCon game was just over two years ago -- on Jan. 20, 2007, Appalachian State beat them 81-74
at Belk Arena. Curry was just a freshman then, and he went 1-for-11 from 3 but still scored 15 points. (Departed PG Jason Richards scored 15 as well.) The Mountaineers have gone through plenty of roster turnover themselves. But this year's edition has covered a disappointing noncon run with a 3-1 mark in the Northern Division, just a half-game behind Western Carolina, and is coming off a bitter OT loss to UNC-Greensboro
. Rebounding is this team's greatest strength -- with big beef like Ike Butts
and Josh Hunter
, the 'Eers grab 39 boards per game, sixth-best in the nation. Getting a handle on the ball has been an issue: 17.9 turnovers per contest.
And this is still a great series. Last year was the infamous "Steeven" game
, when the App State PA announcer pronounced it wrong and Curry (with "fire in his eyes," according to Thomas Sander) went for a career-high 38.Basketball State Preview/Box