Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 30, 2013

Region's hoops teams have had ups and downs

By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — It’s early in the season to claim parity has come to the men’s college basketball teams in this region, but close results are the norm and blowout wins against lesser foes have given many fans a chance to see what their teams, and their bench players, are made of.

Bluefield College (3-2) claimed its first Mid-South Conference game of the year 65-64 at Campbellsville, Ky., on Nov. 21. Two days later, the Rams lost 83-74 to league foe St. Catharine College.

BC’s last two games, not counting exhibitions, were non-conference wins by four and 29 points.

The Rams overall have outscored their opponents by three points on average, 76.4 to 73.4. League statistics show BC with 71 assists and 70 turnovers, and 45 steals.

Bluefield State, which has had to knit together a schedule without being in a conference, was 3-6 prior to hosting last weekend’s annual Currence Classic.

The wins have come by two, four and 10 points. The losses have been administered by institutions large and small. The Big Blues took North Greenville (S.C.) to overtime before dropping a nine-point decision, 117-108, on Nov. 22.

Concord (4-3) has wins by margins of four, seven, three and five points and has lost games by two, three and 10 points.

CU has played some quality teams in their opening stretch, battling Winston-Salem State and new league foe Notre Dame College before taking losses.

An exhibition loss to Marshall is not counted among the statistics.

Through six games the Mountain Lions were averaging 77.7 points per game — and giving up exactly the same average.

The Athenians had a decided advantage with 23 blocked shots, an average of almost four per game, but were being out-rebounded 38 to 33.8.

West Virginia (5-2) has been outscoring its opponents by 14.3 points, a figure inflated by big wins over non-conference foes such as Old Dominion, Presbyterian and Georgia Southern.

The Mountaineers’ losses have come by five points at Virginia Tech and Wednesday’s 70-63 setback to Wisconsin at the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.

WVU has made slightly more than half of their field-goal tries (208 of 414) and have averaged 15.4 assists per game. Opponents have shot 41.4 percent from the floor and hold a slight overall rebounding advantage against the Mountaineers (35.4 to 34.6).

Marshall (4-3) started the season with all but one of their first six games at home.

The new-look Thundering Herd has alternated two wins and two losses this season, a pattern that stayed true with Saturday’s 88-78 loss at East Tennessee State.

Virginia Tech (5-3) stubbed its toe coming out of the starting gate with a shocking one-point loss to South Carolina Upstate.

After losing in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the nation’s top team, Michigan State, and to Seton Hall, again by one point, the Hokies have beaten Furman and Radford at Cassell Coliseum by margins of 21 and 25 points.

Virginia was 6-1 coming into a matchup with Missouri State in the Corpus Christi Challenge late Saturday night. The Cavaliers were riding a five-game winning streak, two of the wins over in-state competition from Liberty and Hampton.

The only loss was by three points, 59-56, to VCU in Charlottesville on Nov. 12.

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com