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In the SoCon Championship game, the #1 seeded Furman Paladins (26-7; 15-3 in conference play) will take on the #7 seeded Chattanooga Mocs (18-16; 7-11). Forman had a dominant win over #8 seeded Mercer in round two 73-58 before surviving a potential upset against #4 seeded Western Carolina Catamounts 83-80 in overtime in the semifinals. Chattanooga took down the #10-seeded VMI Keydets 92-73 before shocking the #2-seeded Samford Bulldogs 85-82. The Mocs would take down the #6 seeded Wofford Terriers 74-62 in the semifinals.
Furman is a hard-pressed offensive team as they rank 11th in College Basketball in points per game (81.9). They are led by their dynamic duo of guard Mike Bothwell and forward Jalen Slawson. Both Bothwell and Slawson were huge in the overtime win over Western Carolina as they combined for 50 points. As a team against Western Carolina, the Paladins combined to shoot 30-of-46 at the free-throw line. They are a team that can change their offensive philosophy to win key games.
The Mocs are a team that is getting hot at the right time as they have averaged 83.7 points per game in the conference championship tournament. One of the biggest reasons is the tremendous reasons for the Mocs making it to the championship final is center Jake Stephens. Through the three games in the SoCon Conference Championship tournament, Stephens is averaging 22.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, three assists and 1.3 blocks per game.
Furman defeated Chattanooga both times in the regular season. In the closest game between the Paladins and the Mocs, the Mocs had Stephens in the lineup and had a tremendous performance, outside of his five turnovers. Furman would force 15 total turnovers in the 77-69 win over Chattanooga with Stephens in the lineup.
There is a great chance that Stephens will have a big, impactful game for the Mocs. The Paladins will also likely see a big set of performances from Bothwell and Slawson.
FanDuel currently has Furman as a favorite at -7.5. The over/under is set at 157.5, the fourth-highest among the 14 Men’s College Basketball games being played on Monday. This game has a chance to be a high-scoring game.
In the Sun Belt Conference championship game, the #2-seeded Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (25-7; 13-5) will take on the #8-seeded South Alabama Jaguars (19-15; 9-9).
Louisiana dominated the 7th-seeded Georgia Southern Eagles 67-48 in the quarterfinals before defeating the #11-seeded Texas State Bobcats 64-58. The Jaguars defeated the #9 seeded Appalachian State Mountaineers 68-61 in the second round. South Alabama would go on to create one of the biggest upsets in conference tournament play yet this postseason by defeating the #1 seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles 78-61 in the quarterfinals.
Finally, the Jaguars defeated the #4-seeded James Madison Dukes 75-66 in the semifinals.
Junior forward Jordan Brown is essentially the driving force of the Ragin’ Cajuns offense. He has been the leading scorer in 20 of Louisiana’s 32 games this season. He scored 18 points in the win over Texas State and 16 points in the win over Georgia Southern. The Ragin’ Cajuns are a team that likes to attack the paint and the mid-range early and often.
South Alabama is a dark horse that has a roster of either junior college transfers or long-time Jaguars. They are an offense that likes to spread the ball around the court and have multiple players contribute. In the win over Appalachian State, the Jaguars had five players score double-digit points. They also had four players score double-digit points in the wins over Southern Miss and James Madison.
One of the most underrated attributes of the Jaguars that could make a significant difference in the championship game against the Ragin’ Cajuns is their defense. South Alabama’s defense has given up 65 points per game this season, which is ranked 44th in the nation in points allowed per game. One of the biggest reasons is Jaguars center Kevin Samuel, who accounted for 15 rebounds, six blocks and three steals against Appalachian State. As a team, South Alabama forced Southern Miss to turn the ball over 16 times. Finally, South Alabama held James Madison to shooting 2-of-16 from the three-point arc. In other words, the Jaguars’ defense finds ways to win.
The Ragin’ Cajuns defeated the Jaguars twice in the regular season. In both of those wins, Brown combined for 53 points shooting 22-of-27 from field goals. This could be another game where Brown goes off for another significant performance against the Jaguars to secure the conference tournament title.
According to FanDuel, Louisiana is coming into this game as a favorite at -0.5, which is the lowest among all 14 games played on Monday. This game has a chance to be a big win for the Ragin’ Cajuns or give the Jaguars a convincing upset for their first conference tournament title since 2006.
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