At 6-6, it’s safe to say Davidson is ready to move on from its non-conference portion of its schedule. The Wildcats tend to have issues before league play but always seem to figure it out later in the season. Losing Luke Frampton on a leave of absence as well as Kishawn Pritchett with a knee injury hasn’t helped. Still, the Wildcats have underwhelmed given they have the most talented backcourt in the conference.
Davidson’s best win came on the road against Loyola Chicago behind an inspiring performance from Hyunjung Lee. The Wildcats also downed Northeastern on the road. Davidson’s non-conference schedule was not easy, and Davidson really didn’t play many games at Belk Arena; it’s already played 4 true road games before the start of conference play. The Wildcats also beat a top 100 Nevada team at home pretty convincingly, but that was about it in terms of somewhat good wins.
Davidson’s worst loss was a head-scratcher against Charlotte on the road in a rivalry game. The Wildcats also dropped one on the road to Vanderbilt — it’s not a terrible loss, but the Commodores are not very good this year, and the final score made it seem like the game was a lot closer than it was. The strength of schedule was tough, but Davidson wasn’t able to win any of the big games on its slate — Auburn, Marquette, and Temple all ran away from the Wildcats despite them keeping it close at times.
Davidson is one of those teams you can’t count out in league play. Davidson’s 2017-18 team got off to a worse start at 5-6 before league play but ended up winning the conference tournament to go to the Big Dance. Still, this team has some holes; there’s not a lot of post depth, and the Wildcats haven’t been very good on the defensive end. A bit like Dayton, Davidson has struggled with physical opponents. I think the Wildcats will fare decently against some of the smaller teams in the league, but teams like Saint Louis could eat the Wildcats alive in the post. Davidson feels like a middle-of-the-pack team, but I have to imagine this team will be tough to beat when Kellan Grady and Jon Axel Gudmundsson are playing well.
Non-Conference Grade: C-
I’m giving Davidson a bit of a pass because it scheduled really well and wasn’t afraid to go out and play some powerhouses before league play. Still, Davidson wasn’t able to win any of its big games, and the loss to Charlotte pretty much buried any at-large hopes just 2 games into the season. Compared to the rest of the league, Davidson didn’t have a terrible showing out-of-conference, but given the preseason expectations that this was going to be an NCAA Tournament team, it’s been disappointing. Davidson could be competitive in conference play, but it won’t be in the conversation for an at-large bid.