CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 1, 2005) -- Despite being winners of two straight Southern Conference Tournament Championships and back-to-back participants in the NCAA Tournament, the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team enters the 2005 SoCon Tournament looking for redemption after a 2004-05 regular season that did not go as planned.
The Buccaneers begin their quest to win a third-straight SoCon Tournament title on Wednesday at 6 p.m., as they will face the Furman Paladins in first round play at McKenzie Arena. Live broadcasts from the tournament can be heard locally on any of the Mountain States Health Alliance Buccaneer Sports Network radio affiliates, or by clicking on the network logo located at ETSUBucs.com.
Thanks to a bevy of preseason injuries, several in-season injuries and player defections midway through the year, a depleted Buccaneer roster struggled for continuity throughout much of the 2004-05 regular season and finished the campaign with a disappointing 9-18 overall record and 4-12 SoCon mark. In their final trip to the SoCon Tournament before heading to the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2005-06, the Bucs hope their history of hoops success will be enough for one more run at greatness.
Led by the league's leading scorer in junior point guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), who is averaging 21.3 ppg, and the league's best rebounder in junior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago), who is averaging 9.6 rpg, ETSU second-year head coach Murry Bartow hopes to rally his troops for one more battle. Along with Smith and Sneed, veterans like Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio), James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) and Sam Oatman (Neenah, Wis.) have made the trip to the SoCon title game twice before and will be counted on again in 2005.
But the road will not be easy, as the Bucs face a task never before accomplished - win four games in four days to capture the championship and a berth in the NCAAs.
For more on the Bucs as they head to the SoCon Tourney, click on the media guide link located at the top of this story.