Just when you thought they were out, they pull you back in. The Chattanooga Mocs (18-14) are in postseason play for the first time since 2009 earning a spot in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, commonly referred to as the CIT.
This is the first entry in the CIT for the Mocs, but it’s not the first meeting with the first round opponent. It’s a “Rivalry Renewed” as long-time foe East Tennessee State is the first round opponent. The rivalry was expected to be restored in 2014-15 when the Bucs returned to the Southern Conference.
That timeline has been accelerated. The Mocs travel to Johnson City to square off with ETSU on Tuesday, March 18, at 7 p.m., in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. It’s the 76th meeting with Chattanooga leading the all-time series 43-32, 14-18 in Johnson City.
“We are excited to be a part of post season play,” Head Coach Will Wade said. “Our guys have worked hard and earned this opportunity. The experience our young team will gain from the CIT tournament will be valuable as we continue to build our program.
“We are looking forward to renewing an old rivalry with ETSU,” Wade added. “This is game that fans of both schools are excited about, and it’s a close trip for our fans.”
Chattanooga is 18-14 after a quarterfinal exit in the SoCon Tournament. It finished second with a 12-4 record in conference play. ETSU is 18-15, 10-8 tying for fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference where it fell in the tourney semifinals.
The Mocs and Bucs are one of the storied SoCon rivalries since the two joined the league (Chattanooga, 1977-78/ETSU 1978-79) and before ETSU departed after the 2005 season. The two played 62 times while members of the league, with Chattanooga holding a 38-24 advantage in those matchups, 30-18 in regular season conference play.
In those 28 seasons, the Mocs won 24 SoCon titles (10 regular season, five division & nine tournament) which is far and away the most in the league. The Bucs were second with 12 (three regular season, four division & five tourney), while Davidson was third with 11 (one regular season, seven division and three tournaments).
How dominant were the two? In the 17 campaigns from 1981-97, one of the two represented the SoCon in the NCAA Tourney 12 times (Chattanooga 8/ETSU 4). They won or shared the regular season crown 11 times before the league shifted to divisions in 1994-95.
The Mocs and Bucs met in the SoCon Championship title game five times with Chattanooga winning in 1983 and 1993. ETSU won in 1992, 2003 and 2004. The Mocs are 7-6 overall in postseason matchups between the two.
Southern Conference Schools in the CIT
Canisius 69, Elon 62
ETSU 76, Furman 63
Marshall 90, Western Carolina 88
App State 91, Harvard 73
App State 80, Marshall 72
Pacific 64, App State 56 (Final 4)
Old Dominion 67, The Citadel 59