Mocs hope for long SoCon run

Mocs hope for long SoCon run

March 1st, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

Drazen Zlovaric packs just one bag for most road trips.

He loaded two duffels onto the bus before the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga departed for the Southern Conference tournament on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward said it's tough to pack enough clothes for this trip into one bag because the trip is going to be long.

"I've got enough stuff until Monday," said Zlovaric, referring to the date of the SoCon championship game.

That's what he and the rest of the Mocs are planning -- to play and win the SoCon tournament championship on Monday -- even though they are 11-20 overall and went 5-13 in the SoCon.

So players need enough socks, T-shirts and underwear to get them through practice Thursday, shoot-around Friday and up to four games if they keep winning.

One loss makes over-packing unnecessary, especially if it comes against Georgia Southern (14-14, 12-6) at 8:30 on Friday evening in the first-round of the tournament.

"I packed more for this than our long road trips," point guard Keegan Bell said. "As long as our team is ready to be there for a long time, I think we're in good shape.

"I stuffed my bag so much that I could barely zip it up."

Senior Ricky Taylor said he did not pack his 2009 SoCon tournament championship ring. He did not consider showing it off the newcomers as part of a motivational play. He did in 2010 and it didn't work.

"I packed a lot of snacks this time to make sure I'm happy on the trip," Taylor said. "I want another one. I purposely didn't bring it because another one would be nice."

But he did stuff his bags with enough clothes to get through Monday -- even if somebody dumps a PowerAde bucket on his head.

The UTC managers, including junior Jared Hawkins, are responsible for washing practice and game-used apparel. Socks, underwear and pajamas are not part of the job.

It can be a big job for the managers.

Two years ago in Charlotte, when UTC beat Georgia Southern by 20 in the opening round, they found the team hotel did not have washers or dryers available to them. Hawkins tried sweet-talking the maids into letting him use the industrial machines. They declined.

So Hawkins, Brian Murphy and Brett Stuart walked six blocks, just before midnight, with sweat-soaked, game-worn uniforms to a 24-hour laundromat.

"We took a cab back," Hawkins said. "It was interesting. That was my first time in a cab."

He won't need to take a cab in Asheville. The team hotel has washers and dryers.

He checked -- just in case the managers need them.