Last Updated: 2017-12-03
When it comes to the Southern Conference, there’s Mercer and there’s everybody else, at least when it comes to college basketball. Mercer has the best power rating in the conference by a decent margin, while you can interchange the remaining teams into a couple of groupings.
Mercer doesn’t have the greatest of records, sitting just a game over .500, but they have played a fairly tough schedule. Several teams have played comparable schedules, but they’re all several games under .500, if not worse. Because Mercer is the class of the conference and a team some people are familiar with due to qualifying for the tournament, the Bears may be overpriced at times, such as when they were favored by 2.5 points over Colorado in a game they lost by nine.
Southern Conference Power Ratings
East Tenn. State 74
NC Greensboro 73
West Carolina 65
After Mercer you have a tight grouping of three teams and it’s a bit difficult to get a good read on those teams, as they’ve played pretty soft schedules. East Tennessee State does have the best record of the three, but none of them are particularly impressive when you factor in who it is they’ve been beating.
Wofford is kind of sitting there by themselves right in the middle, a .500 team with a decent rating in strength of schedule. The Terriers haven’t fared too well when they play on the teams from a bigger conference, but have been able to take care of business against most of the smaller schools that they’ve played.
Next is another group of teams, Western Carolina, Chattanooga and Samford, who have played decent schedules for the most part, but are coming up on the short end of the scoreboard. Western Carolina has played a brutal schedule that includes the likes of Clemson, Cincinnati and Minnesota, so it’s little wonder they’re just 2-6 straight-up. The Catamounts are 4-3 against the spread.
VMI is a bit of a strange team, with Jeff Sagarin giving them a much higher rating than anybody, but once everything is factored in, VMI finds themselves well at the bottom of the ratings, trailing Citadel, who Sagarin had rated a fair amount lower than anybody else.
Overall, the Southern Conference is one of the weakest around, ranking in the bottom five in the country in terms of overall talent.