One of the most impressive lines in the standings this season is that of the Charlotte 49ers. Often an over-thought in the competitive A-10 Conference, standing a perfect 9-0, one of 14 remaining unbeaten teams in the country. With a win over Davidson in particular, this Charlotte team has shown it can hang around.
But, for how long? Don't expect this win streak to continue for Charlotte, especially with a road game at Miami (FL), a team on the rise, and Florida State before opening A-10 Conference play with an athletic La Salle team.
Charlotte's success this far has been built around stellar defense, particularly in the paint. They are allowing opponents to hit under 50 percent of their shots from up close and 30 percent outside the paint. What's really impressive is this team is blocking 20 percent of all attempts at the rim, yet this roster does not have a single player averaging more than 1 block per game; they do, however, have six players averaging at least .5 per game, with clear game-changing athleticism and length.
Offensively, Charlotte is getting the ball into the post with forwards Chris Braswell and Willie Clayton. But their guards, DeMario Mayfield, Terrence Williams and Pierra Henry have excelled thus far at getting into the heart of the defense and getting easy looks at buckets in the paint. Williams aside, all four of these players are hitting better than 62 percent of these shots, converting them when given the opportunity has clearly been the key to Charlotte's success.
Don't expect Miami (FL), Florida St. and the A-10 teams to allow the 49ers to get inside as easily and if they do, Charlotte has struggled at the foul line this year to date, so until they can capitalize further, expect the clock to tick on Charlotte's undefeated start.