History and comparative schedules favor the College of Charleston when the Cougars take on The Citadel at 8 p.m. today at TD Arena.
The College of Charleston (5-1) has won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Bulldogs (2-3) and holds a 47-39 overall advantage in the series that began in 1901.
The teams' only common opponent thus far is Clemson. The Tigers rolled to a 73-50 win over The Citadel at McAlister Field House. Three days later, the Cougars got off to a fast start and hung on for a 72-69 win at Clemson.
But the fact that the game is a battle between crosstown rivals and also the Southern Conference opener for both schools puts a much different spin on the game. It's early in the season, but the game could set the tone for the season for both schools.
"It's going to be a tough game. It's always a tough game every time we play The Citadel," said College of Charleston junior guard Andrew Lawrence. "We look forward to it. It should be a great atmosphere.
"They're going to come in and give us the best they've got. We have to be ready."
Said Citadel junior center Mike Groselle, who is averaging 18.2 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, both tops in the Southern Conference: "It's at their place. It's usually pretty packed. It's for bragging rights until we play them next. Every game it seems like we're playing better and better together."
The Bulldogs certainly have the respect of College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins, who praised Groselle
and noted that the Bulldogs lost in overtime at High Point, a team that lost by two points at Purdue.
"That tells me The Citadel has some talent, and I know they'll be ready to play," said Cremins. "There are no easy games in our league. It's a rivalry, but more importantly it's a conference game. The Citadel had some great wins in the conference last year. They went up to Davidson and beat Davidson. That was a great win."
Citadel coach Chuck Driesell is trying not to put too much emphasis on the game, working on the philosophy that the next game on the schedule is the most important and it just happens to be against the College of Charleston.
"Coach Cremins has them going again this year," Driesell said. "We're going to have to play well to win."
The Citadel at College of Charleston
RECORDS: The Citadel 2-3, College of Charleston 5-1.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: TD Arena TV: WMMP/ESPN3
RADIO: WTMZ 910-AM, WQNT 1450-AM.
NOTES: Citadel junior center Mike Groselle leads the Southern Conference in both scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (11.2 rpg). College of Charleston's Antwaine Wiggins is second in scoring (17.5 ppg) while Trent Wiedeman is third in rebounding (8.0 rpg)…Only common opponent thus far is Clemson, which beat The Citadel at McAlister Field House, 73-50, and lost at home to College of Charleston, 72-69…Citadel sophomore DeVontae Wright (9.2 ppg) scored 26 during 21 minutes earlier this season in win over Army…Cougars backup freshman point guard Anthony Stitt had 23 points in Cougars' win over Massachusetts…Charleston leads overall series, 47-39, and has won seven of last 10 meeting. But the Bulldogs have won 2 of last 3 games played at TD Arena.