Zane Najdawi Citadel

The Citadel's Zane Najdawi was named first-team all-Southern Conference this week. Provided/Citadel Athletics 

Dr. Duggar Baucom pronounced his diagnosis during the postmortem of a recent Citadel basketball game.

“If our team was one person, we'd be diagnosed as schizophrenic,” the Bulldogs coach said with a shake of the head.

Baucom's analysis begs the question: Which Citadel team will make the trip to Asheville this weekend for the Southern Conference Tournament?

Will it be the Bulldogs' team that knocked off four of the top five teams in the league, splitting regular-season games with No. 2 seed ETSU, No. 3 Furman, No. 4 Wofford and No. 5 Mercer?

Or will it be The Citadel squad that went 1-7 against the bottom half of the team?

"That's a great question," said Baucom, whose team faces No. 9 seed VMI at 5 p.m. Friday at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. "I'm optimistic that we're going to have a team that's very focused and excited about the tournament and the opportunity that lies ahead. I certainly hope it's the team that's played so well against some of the best teams in our conference."

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Zane Najdawi Citadel (copy)

A highlight of The Citadel's season was an 80-78 upset of Wofford on Feb. 1, celebrated by the Bulldogs here. Zach Bland/The Citadel 

Baucom, in his third season at The Citadel and in his 14th as a head coach overall, said he's never had a team with quite the split personality of this bunch, which is 10-20 overall and 5-13 in the SoCon, good for the eighth seed out of 10 teams.

"Probably not, but I've never had a team this young either," he said. "Six freshmen and no seniors; I don't think I've ever had a team with no seniors, ever."

Statistically, the Bulldogs have been at their best when they play at a slightly slower pace than normal, and when they shoot well from 3-point range. In the five SoCon wins, The Citadel averaged 75.2 possessions and shot 40.4 percent from long distance; in 13 losses, the numbers were 79.2 possessions and 31.5 percent from beyond the arc.

"We're at our best when we're not turning it over, when we're shooting it well and we're getting a contribution from people other than our big two," Baucom said, referring to top scorers Zane Najdawi and Matt Frierson. "When that's the case, we've proven we can play with anybody in the league.

"If we're a two-man show, that makes if difficult."

Freshman guard Kaiden Rice has shown signs lately that he could be that third scoring threat, with 14 and 28 points in his last two games on 12 of 25 from 3-point range.

Sophomore point guard Frankie Johnson points to defense as a factor.

"When we play the better teams, that's when we are at our best," said Johnson. "But when we play the lower teams, we kind of play down to their level. We play more defense against the better teams, I think, and then just try to outscore the other teams."

The numbers back up Johnson's contention. In 13 SoCon losses, The Citadel allowed 90 points and 48.1 percent shooting by foes; in five Bulldog wins, opponents averaged 85.4 points on 46.3 percent shooting.

Baucom's former school, VMI (9-20, 4-14), has posed a particular challenge for the Bulldogs this season, sweeping two regular-season games by scores of 88-81 and 75-71. Bubba Parham, the media's SoCon freshman of the year, scored 24 and 25 points in those games, respectively.

The Citadel faced a similar situation last season, when it lost two regular-season games to Western Carolina, then knocked off the Catamounts, 76-67, in the first round of the tournament.

Najdawi makes all-SoCon

Citadel junior Zane Najdawi was named first-team all-SoCon by the league's coaches and media this week. He averaged 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds for the season, and in league play averaged 19.5 points and 6.2 rebounds, shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 47.9 percent from 3-point range.

ETSU's Desonta Bradford was the coaches' player of the year, with teammate Bo Hodges the freshman of the year and UNCG's Wes Miller coach of the year.

The media chose Wofford's Fletcher Magee as player of the year, VMI's Bubba Parham freshman of the year and Miller coach of the year.

Coaches' all-SoCon team

First team—Zane Najdawi, The Citadel; Desonta Bradford, ETSU; Devin Sibley, Furman; Francis Alonso, UNCG; Fletcher Magee, Wofford.

Second team—Jalan McCloud, ETSU; James Dickey, UNCG; Justin Coleman, Samford; Mike Amius, Western Carolina; Cameron Jackson, Wofford.

Third team—Daniel Fowler, Furman; Matt Rafferty, Furman; Jordan Strawberry, Mercer; Marvin Smith, UNCG; Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, Samford.

All-Freshman—Mladen Armus, ETSU; Bo Hodges, ETSU; Isaiah Miller, UNCG; Bubba Parham, VMI; Storm Murphy, Wofford.

Media all-SoCon team

First team—Zane Najdawi, The Citadel; Desonta Bradford, ETSU; Devin Sibley, Furman; Francis Alonso, UNCG; Fletcher Magee, Wofford.

Second team—Stephon Jelks, Mercer; Jordan Strawberry, Mercer; James Dickey, UNCG; Marvin Smith, UNCG; Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, Samford; Cameron Jackson, Wofford.

Third team—Jalan McCloud, ETSU; Daniel Fowler, Furman; Matt Rafferty, Furman; Justin Coleman, Samford; Mike Amius, Western Carolina.

All-freshman team—Bo Hodges, ETSU; Isaiah Miller, UNCG; Bubba Parham, VMI; Matt Halvorsen, Western Carolina; Storm Murphy, Wofford.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC