The good news for Davidson is that they did not particularly hurt themselves in the non-conference with regards to their losses. The Wildcats dropped three games to high ranked opponents on the road: (Kansas and UNC are both top 10) and lost to a fringe-top-25 Clemson squad on a neutral floor. On paper, they were expected to lose all three. Despite losing a bit of a disappointing game on the road against College of Charleston, Davidson doesn’t have any of what a committee would consider “bad loses”. However, for a team looking for a resume boost to potentially propel them to an NCAA Tournament at-large birth, Davidson did not do themselves many favors. Looking at the schedule before the season started, it was a consensus among Davidson fans that they needed to knock off one of the three top teams on their schedule as a major resume booster come March. While Davidson led Kansas at the half and mounted a serious comeback against UNC, pulling within 3 points late in the second half, neither game went the way of the Wildcats. Their best chances for a top quality win gone, home conference games against Rhode Island, Dayton, and VCU loom even larger.
Davidson’s best win so far was a 68-60 neutral site victory over Arizona State. The Sun Devils are rebuilding under second-year coach Bobby Hurley, and sit at 8-6 heading into conference play. Despite the six losses, Arizona State sits (barely) within the top 100 teams in the country per Kenpom at 97th. We will see how they fare in a trip-heavy Pac 12 that boasts several top teams. After the Arizona State victory, nothing really jumps out on Davidson’s resume. Missouri was a nice name to beat, but they look to finish in the bottom of the SEC and have ranked around 200th nationally – this isn’t the Frank Haith Missouri team of a few years ago. Despite sitting in a similar range per Kenpom (199th), Davidson got a 22 point home win over rival Charlotte. Beating a rival, regardless of circumstances, is always a good win.
Davidson lost four games in the non-conference portion of their schedule, and only one doesn’t look to great. There’s no shame in dropping games to top 25 teams, but Davidson blew a lead against College of Charleston, and ended up losing by 15. Hopefully for the Wildcats they will pick up the needed big wins in conference play, and this loss will not come back to bite them. On the bright side for Davidson, Charleston looks like one of the best teams in the CAA this year, and maybe can play their way out of the “bad loss” territory.
Non-Conference Grade: B
Davidson showed up and did what they were supposed to do against 7 teams on their schedule, and something has to be said for that. The Wildcats even notched a (as of right now) top 100 win over Arizona State. They hung in the games against the top teams on their schedule, but ultimately couldn’t pull any of them out. The loss at Charleston pulls them down from a B+ to a B for me personally.