College of Charleston (2-4, 0-0)
El Cid (3-3, 0-0)
Tipoff at 7:30 pm on MyTV Charleston and CofCSports.com
The Puerto Rico tipoff package of games (3 on the island, and a non-bracket game against West Virginia a week later) provided the young Cougars with a staunch 4-game stretch of major conference foes. They came out battered (just 1-3 over the stretch) but as we've seen with mid-major conference mates like UNC Greensboro and Delaware, the lumps you take from the big boys in the early season can toughen into calluses that benefit you when the level of play recedes to the mean.
The next three games for the Cougars - all at home - against The Citadel, South Carolina State and Campbell, should provide a better measuring stick for CofC. We've seen flashes of excellence offensively and defensively from Earl Grant's squad, only to have it unravel against the superior athleticism of the Big Six conference teams. The Cougs should be favored in these three home games and need to get back on the positive side of .500 ball in preparation for conference play.
Up first is crosstown rival Citadel.
After floundering for years as one of the worst programs in Division 1, the peninsula's honorable protectors are skating by with a 3-3 record that doesn't look bad at first glance. Except that they're 0-3 against other D1 teams. Their wins come against the embarrassing likes of Toccoa Falls, Bob Jones (?) and Warren Wilson. They picked up 2 losses as the annual punching bag at the Armed Forces Classic and lost by 11 to Florida State.
So...they're better than usual, in being "semi-competent" in games, but Coach Driesell's team remains one of the lower D1 teams in the country. They're staying in games with their defense and plodding pace of play and being led by junior Ashton Moore.
This game has all the narrative characteristics of both an easy win and a trap game. Overlooked opponent, long gap between games, the natural emotions of a rivalry etc. Grant and the Cougars should earn their first home victory of the season tonight, but it will be up to them to determine if that is via blowout or drawn-out 50 point stinker.