Team preview: Chattanooga

Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 326 Division I teams. To order the complete 2006-07 edition of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Last year, his second as Chattanooga head coach, John Shulman may have turned in an even better coaching performance than his first season, when the Mocs beat Tennessee, won the Southern Conference championship and hung tough in the NCAA Tournament's first round.

Sure, the '05-'06 team won two fewer games and lost two more, and was thumped by Davidson in the SoCon title game, but it took some serious work to squeeze out the success the Mocs eventually had.
They lost one of their top big men before the season started, had two more starters academically ineligible until mid-season, and then lost top player Alphonso Pugh for the season to a knee injury.

Somehow, the Mocs still found themselves in the championship game.

"The year before, everything we did turned to gold," Shulman said. "Last year, everything I touched turned to stone. But that's life. You can't just quit the season. You've gotta keep going.

"To lose Pugh, that was huge. He was one of the top scorers and rebounders in school history. With the things that happened to us, we had to play small ball, but we won some games. We boxed out, rebounded the ball and hung in there enough to get back to the championship game."