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Conference Tip-Off Primer: Southern Conference

The Southern Conference will never be the same after this season. What does the conference look like and what are the stories to keep an eye on going into an end of an era?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It's the end of an era in the Southern Conference as the complete makeup of what you see now will be totally different a year from now. How will the swan song pan out for Davidson, Elon, Georgia Southern, and Appalachian State?

Conference Standings:

Place Team Record
1 Elon Phoenix 7-7
t-2 Georgia Southern Eagles 7-8
t-2 UNC Greensboro Spartans 7-8
t-2 Western Carolina Catamounts 7-8
5 Furman Paladins 6-7
6 Chattanooga Mocs 6-8
7 Wofford Terriers 5-7
8 Samford Bulldogs 6-9
9 Appalachian State Mountaineers 4-8
10 Davidson Wildcats 4-9
11 The Citadel Bulldogs 4-10

Top Scorers:

Rank Player PPG
1 Jelani Hewitt (Ga Southern) 20.5
2 Stephen Croone (Furman) 20.1
3 Trey Sumler (Western Carolina) 19.8
4 Tre Bussey (Ga Southern) 18.3
5 Z Mason (Chattanooga) 18.1

Assists Leaders:

Rank Player APG
1 Marshall Harris III (Citadel) 4.4
2 Trey Sumler (Western Carolina) 4.3
3 Brian Holmes (Ga Southern) 3.6
Tyler Kalinoski (Davidson)
Stephen Croone (Ga Southern)
Gee McGhee (Chattanooga)

Top Rebounders:

Rank Player RPG
1 Michael Obacha (App State) 9.9
2 Kyle Cain (UNCG) 8.6
3 Z Mason (Chattanooga) 8.4
4 Lee Skinner (Wofford) 7.7
5 Brian White (Citadel) 7.3

Biggest Surprise:

The standing being upside down has to be the biggest surprise in the SoCon thus far. In our preseason preview we picked Davidson to finish second in the conference and challenge for the conference title before bolting for the Atlantic 10 next year. With an injury to DeMon Brooks the Wildcats have been below par, but have played the conference's toughest schedule.

On the other end of things, we picked UNC Greensboro and Georgia Southern to finish ninth and eleventh respectively in the conference. The Spartans have moved on nicely from the Trevis Simpson era and Wes Miller has his club close to .500. Georgia Southern and first year head coach Mark Byington lost their leading scorer and rebounder, Eric Ferguson, in the preseason. The Eagles have been just fine though and are also surprisingly close to .500.

Player of the Year:

With the injury to DeMon Brooks and the under-performance of Elon's Lucas Troutman, Western Carolina's Trey Sumler has to be the front-runner right now. Sumler is averaging 19.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. As long as Sumler keeps on performing at a high level then Larry Hunter's Catamounts have a good chance at winning the SoCon.

Biggest Storyline:

The biggest storyline remains the departure of four schools, after losing Charleston to the CAA a year ago. Can one of the departing teams take the conference title or will one of the remaining teams start a new era of SoCon hoops before VMI, Mercer, and East Tennessee State join the fray.