East Tennessee State at Mercer, 2:00 PM Eastern, espn3
It is New Year’s Eve, making today’s Under the Radar Game our final UTR Game of the Day for 2017. The honor of today’s selection heads to Macon, Georgia as the Mercer Bears play host to the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in the SoCon opener for both teams. Head coach Bob Hoffman’s Bears enter today’s game at 7-6 on the season, though all of their losses have been respectable (to the likes of UCF, Colorado, Alabama and more). This has landed them at 89th in the KenPom ratings enter play today, the top such rating among all SoCon teams. Ria’n Holland has led the way for Mercer, including a pair of games in which he scored more than 30 points.
East Tennessee State enters play today at 9-4, having won 7 of their last 8 games, with the only loss being a near miss at Xavier on December 16. Desonta Bradford led the way in that game, scoring 20 points and pulling down 10 boards against the Musketeers. ETSU’s performance has landed them at 92 in the KenPom ratings, making today’s game a matchup of the two highest rated SoCon teams in that metric — both better even than Wofford, the team that won a road game at North Carolina! With so much depth in this league this season, today’s matchup may not be the conference championship preview, but it would not be a shock to see these teams right there at the top of the conference standings in March.