Samford meets VMI in SoCon tourney

No. 9 seed VMI (8-23, 3-15) vs. No. 8 seed Samford (10-22, 4-14)

Southern Conference Tourney First Round, Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Asheville, North Carolina; Friday, 5 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: VMI and Samford are prepared to match up in the opening round of the SoCon tournament. In the regular season, Samford won both of the head-to-head matchups. The teams last went at it on Feb. 29, when the Bulldogs forced 16 VMI turnovers and turned the ball over just eight times on the way to the 84-78 victory.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED: Samford has been fueled by senior leadership this year while VMI has depended on freshmen. Seniors Josh Sharkey, Jalen Dupree and Brandon Austin have combined to score 54 percent of Samford’s points this season. On the other side, freshmen Garrett Gilkeson, Travis Evee and Kamdyn Curfman have combined to account for 46 percent of the team’s scoring this year and have scored 50 percent of all Keydets points over their last five.

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OFFENSIVE THREAT: Sharkey has made or assisted on 50 percent of all Samford field goals over the last five games. Sharkey has accounted for 33 field goals and 33 assists in those games.

WINLESS WHEN: VMI is 0-18 when scoring fewer than 73 points and 8-5 when scoring at least 73.

ASSIST-TO-FG RATIO: The Keydets have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Bulldogs. Samford has an assist on 36 of 82 field goals (43.9 percent) across its previous three games while VMI has assists on 48 of 82 field goals (58.5 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW: VMI as a team has made 10.7 3-pointers per game this season, which is third-most among Division I teams.

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