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SoCon Primer: A Change In Plans

The weekend schedule has changed drastically for the Southern Conference.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The snow has wreaked havoc on the East Coast and has moved the schedule all around in the Southern Conference. The Chattanooga-VMI game was postponed to an unknown later date. Mercer-Western Carolina and Samford-UNCG were moved to Sunday.

All in all, a schedule that originally had five games on Saturday, none on Sunday and one on Monday featuring all ten teams and two teams playing twice now has two games on Saturday, two on Sunday, and one on Monday featuring nine teams and one team playing twice (Furman).

With the results of Thursday's action, things have changed drastically. The race for the final spot is in a completely different place thanks to The Citadel winning in Cullowhee against Western Carolina and Samford losing at VMI. That moved Samford and Western Carolina down a peg, and pushed the military schools back into that race.

So, instead of looking at just the games in Saturday, let's go ahead and look at all the games between Saturday and Monday.

Furman Defined. The Paladins are 3-3 in SoCon play. Now, they play two games in three days. They host Wofford on Saturday in a huge game between the two local rivals. The Terriers are 4-2 in SoCon play and the two time defending conference champions. That is a rematch of the SoCon Championship Game from a year ago. Then, on Monday, the Paladins head to VMI. The Keydets have been blown out on the road, but have actually played reasonably well at home, including when they beat Samford on Thursday. The Paladins can make a statement that they are in the race for the long haul, or, with a couple of losses, we will know that Furman does not belong in the top tier of the conference. It's time to find something out about these Paladins.

Bounceback in Cullowhee. The two most disappointing losses on Thursday night may have belonged to Mercer (an overtime loss at ETSU, which may not have been a bad loss, but was gut wrenching) and Western Carolina (a one point loss to The Citadel, after blowing a seven point lead in the final three minutes, at home, to a team who hadn't won a conference game a week before). Now, the two teams are playing each other, both needing to bounce back. Another Western Carolina loss would be their third home conference loss of the season already. Another Mercer loss would be their third conference loss, putting them further back in the SoCon regular season title race. It's time to bounce back.

Another Bounceback in Greensboro. Samford lost in stunning fashion at VMI on Thursday night, while UNCG was blowing a ten point second half lead against Chattanooga. Both teams have two conference wins. This game is critical to both teams trying to get to the final bye spot. The Bulldogs were in great shape to get a bye heading into conference play, but has been unable to win on the road and has not looked good doing so. UNCG has been up and down, but has been playing better lately. They could really use a win over Samford on Sunday afternoon to get back on track. The winner actually gets themselves into some pretty good shape for the final bye, at least for this early time in Southern Conference play.