Our City: Live Blogging the College of Charleston’s Big Dance

By |2023-03-24T12:59:15-04:00March 10, 2023|All News, Campus Life, Students|Comments Off on Our City: Live Blogging the College of Charleston’s Big Dance

Get the latest information and behind-the-scenes action as the College of Charleston men’s basketball team prepares for its first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.

From boarding the bus on Meeting Street to what we hope will be an historic, bracket-busting run through the tournament, we’ll be there to share the news and cheer on the Cougars! 

Check back here regularly for anecdotes, interviews, photos, videos and social shares. 

6:42 p.m., Thursday, March 16

5:28 p.m., Thursday, March 16

5:01 p.m., Thursday, March 16

The home crowd is with you – Go Cougars!

4:53 p.m., Thursday, March 16

4:19 p.m., Thursday, March 16

4:06 p.m., Thursday, March 16

4:03 p.m., Thursday, March 16

More than 400 fans are watching the game from TD Arena. The men’s basketball team’s home-base is filled with cheers and excited chatter as the team continues to lead the scoreboard.

3:51 p.m., Thursday, March 16

11 minutes into the first half and the Cougars are dominating the court 🏀 🔥

3:33 p.m., Thursday, March 16

3:08 p.m., Thursday, March 16

Fans eagerly awaiting tip-off at the watch party in TD Arena.

2:06 p.m., Thursday, March 16

Almost time!

11:22 a.m., Thursday, March 16

9:36 a.m., Thursday, March 16

Let’s do an experiment.

Think of a college pep band. Now raise your hand if that pep band includes a violin and a banjo.

This is usually the part of the experiment where Lilli Taylor and Amelia Tebalt are the only people raising their hands.

Lilli Taylor (violinist) and Amelia Tebalt (banjo player) travel with College of Charleston's pep band, Chucktown Sound, to the 2023 NCAA tournament.

Lilli Taylor (violinist) and Amelia Tebalt (banjo player) travel with College of Charleston’s pep band, Chucktown Sound, to the 2023 NCAA tournament. (Photo by Mike Ledford)

Taylor plays violin and Tebalt plays banjo in the College of Charleston’s pep band, Chucktown Sound. And yes, they are both very aware that their instruments are rare among college pep bands.

Taylor never expected to ever join a pep band. In fact, the only reason she filled out an application to join Chucktown Sound was to make her father happy, but she’s glad she did. Soon after submitting the application, band director Chris Gongora reached out and after a successful audition, Taylor was invited to join the group.

“I was a little surprised, but he (Gongora) mentioned that I may be mic’d up for games and so my music can be heard and not just music into the air,” says Taylor.

Tebalt started playing banjo at the age of five and has performed both jazz and old time Appalachian music for many years. Like Taylor, Tebalt excels in an instrument not normally associated with pep bands.

It was Tebalt’s mother who convinced her to bring a banjo to a pep band.

“My mom discovered there was once two accordion players in Chucktown Sound,” She says. “If anyone would let you play with them, she said it would be Chucktown Sound.’”

The two can be seen jamming with the rest of Chucktown Sound during the College of Charleston versus San Diego State game this afternoon. But they may be hard to hear.

“Unfortunately, Lilli and I will not be mic’d for the tournament because they will only allow an electric bass to be mic’d,  or amplified for the games,” says Tebalt, adding with a laugh, “but you know, we will still be there.”

7:36 p.m., Wednesday, March 15

Southern Division of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: By the numbers:

 379: The number of miles between TD Arena and the Amway Center in Orlando.

5.65: The cost of a tall Café Mocha in the Orlando Airport.

4: The number of College of Charleston logos and decals located inside the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Orlando.

8: The number of teams playing in Orlando this weekend for the first round of March Madness (College of Charleston, Furman, San Diego State University, Duke, Virginia, Oral Roberts, Tennessee, University of Louisiana).

28: The percentage of people filling out brackets in the CBS March Madness Bracket contest picking the Cougars to beat Sand Diego State in the first round.

20,000: The seating capacity for Amway Center.

40: The number of confirmed College of Charleston watch party locations around the country, including sites in Nashville, New Orleans, San Diego, Waco and a lot more.

76: The forecasted temperature in Orlando at the time of tip off on Thursday.

5:36 p.m., Wednesday, March 15

College of Charleston President Andrew Hsu and Sports Director for WCIV (Charleston, South Carolina) Scott Eisberg worked to put together President Hsu’s March Madness bracket. Spoiler alert: College of Charleston to win!!!

4:59 p.m., Wednesday, March 15

When the Cougars take the floor against San Diego State on Thursday, they will not be the only ones in the national spotlight. Six College of Charleston cheerleaders will be stationed along the baseline of the court in Amway Center during the game.

Shaina Rosenfeld and Peyton Raybon

Shaina Rosenfeld and Peyton Raybon

Junior Peyton Raybon is excited about cheering during this national tournament, but admits she’s a little bit nervous.

“I think the real key is to stay calm and do the things I know I have to do,” says Raybon.

Shaina Rosenfeld agrees. Being a senior, she knows that this may be her last game as a College of Charleston cheerleader. “I am here to live in the moment and have the opportunity to cheer in a game like this one.”

Both say that their families and friends will be glued to the game to see if they can catch a glimpse of them during the broadcast on truTV.

Raybon says being a native of Charleston, she knows that this is a special moment for a lot of people in the Lowcountry.

“This is the biggest moment I have had as a College of Charleston cheerleader,” she says. “Being able to be here and support the basketball team during this magical year is really something special.”

2:59 p.m., Wednesday, March 15

11:54 a.m., Wednesday, March 15

The Charleston Cougars got their first look at the Amway Center in Orlando Wednesday morning. The hour-long session allowed the players to get a feel for the court before Thursday’s game against San Diego State.

11:39 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

9:24 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

There’s usually not a lot of excitement on a six-hour bus trip from Charleston to Orlando. But all that changed for members of the College of Charleston cheerleading team, pep band and dance team when they reached hour number four of their bus trip.

That’s when they stopped at Buc-ee’s on Interstate 95 just outside of St. Augustine.

In case you don’t know, Buc-ee’s is a massive Texas-based convenience store chain. How massive? The 55,000-square-foot store has 120 fueling stations and rows and rows of items such as clothing, home décor, sporting goods, 22 types of fudge, 20 types of jerky, 70 flavors of fountain drinks, boogie boards, windbreakers, wine glasses, and something called Buc-ee’s onesies ― for both adults and children.

Buc-ee’s quickly became the hot topic of conversation on the bus for the rest of the trip.

“The members of the dance team say that when they travel, they always stop at Buc-ee’s,” said Luna Riley, a member of the pep band. “It was overwhelming. I mean, there was actually an art gallery in the bathroom.”

“They had everything from furniture to food,” added pep band member Lilli Taylor, who also had never heard of Buc-ee’s until the bus ride on Tuesday. “It was really cool.”

8:02 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

Twenty eight members of Chucktown Sound, the College’s pep band, as well as six cheerleaders and six members of the dance team have also arrived in Orlando.

7:20 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

After a quick flight, the team arrived at the hotel in Orlando. Coach Kelsey was the first person off the bus proclaiming “Our City” enthusiastically to the people greeting the team.

4:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

And they’re off! Safe travels!

3:46 p.m., Tuesday, March 14

Can’t make it to Orlando to watch the game in person? No problem! Come cheer on the men’s basketball team with fellow Cougars’ fans at the NCAA Game Watch Party at TD Arena on Thursday. Doors open at 2 p.m.

watch party flyer

11:02 a.m., Tuesday, March 14

Come wish the Cougars well when they leave from TD Arena this afternoon at 4:15 p.m. to head to Orlando! The men’s basketball team will take on San Diego State on Thursday at Amway Center.


9:23 a.m., Tuesday, March 14

Get to know the players:

dalton bolon

Dalton Bolon

On the basketball court, Dalton Bolon has earned the nicknamed “Psycho D” because of his aggressive style of play. When it comes to his education, he is just as aggressive.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from West Liberty University in just three years. He was named to the NCAA Division II Academic All-American team during his sophomore and junior years.

As a graduate student at West Liberty, he taught anatomy classes at the school in order to make some extra money. After he earned a master’s degree in biology, Bolon transferred to the College of Charleston and will complete the requirements for a master’s degree in communication this year.

“I’m blessed that basketball has allowed me to earn great degrees and meet some amazing people,” he says.

Bolon is not the only one pleased with his academic career.

“I know my mom is happy I got these degrees,” he says with a laugh. “Anything that pleases my mom makes me happy.”

If he continues at this pace, they may have to change his nickname to “Psycho Ph.D.”

3:42 p.m., Monday, March 13

Several national news organizations are focusing on the upcoming College of Charleston vs San Diego State matchup on Thursday afternoon.

Associated Press

“Fifth-seeded San Diego State will face Charleston in what could be a popular 5-12 upset pick for bracket pools along with the Furman-Virginia matchup.”

The Sporting News

“Someday, the committee will learn the value of dominance. Perhaps it will come if the Cougars smack No. 5 seed San Diego State out of the tournament in a 12-over-5 upset.

The committee seemed to get what Florida Atlantic was doing by finishing 31-3, but it seems to have needed convincing by FAU’s high predictive metrics rankings. Charleston was nearly 40 spots behind in those categories, so it wound up down on the 12 line.

Given the identity of the last two teams to make the field, Arizona State and Nevada, they could have been seeded onto the 12 line for their First Four games and Charleston could have been accorded the respect they earned with a 30-3 record.”

WTOP Radio (Washington D.C)

“It’s easy to get behind the College of Charleston. I’ve seen them play in-person during the CAA Tournament and have even posed for pictures with Clyde the Cougar mascot (last year I got to wave the flag, too). But the 31-win team is also a three-point shooting machine (10th in makes and 2nd in attempts in all of Division I). They shoot threes to get hot, and then they shoot threes to stay hot.

They also play six hours down the road in Orlando, while their first-round foe San Diego State has to fly across three time zones (the 12:10 p.m. PDT start isn’t deadly, but far from ideal for the Aztecs). If they get to the second round, they’ll likely face an offensively challenged Virginia team.”

USA Today

“With a gaudy 31-3 record, the College of Charleston is a nightmare draw on the 12 seed line. The Cougars are balanced, with four players averaging between nine and 12.6 points, and deep, with nobody having to play more than 28 minutes a game. That depth allows the Cougars to push the pace to the tune of just over 80 points a game, providing a stiff test for the strong defense of San Diego State.

The Aztecs, however, won’t be easy to topple. They claimed the regular season and tournament titles in the Mountain West, a league that clearly impressed the selection committee with three other teams chosen. This is another first-round matchup that will get a lot of attention.”

Sports Illustrated

“Upset Watch: No. 12 College of Charleston over No. 5 San Diego State. The Cougars present a stylistic opposite from the Aztecs, playing at a much faster pace, and they’ve seemingly forgotten how to lose (last time was on Feb. 2). SDSU coach Brian Dutcher has done a great job replacing Steve Fisher — except in this tournament. He’s 0-3, with two losses as a higher-seeded team.”


“I’m going to roll with the College of Charleston over San Diego State. It might not be the flashiest upset prediction as SDSU isn’t a big name program, but they’re still a top-25 team. Pat Kelsey has done a phenomenal job with the Cougars program and has them just outside of the top-25 as they’ve eclipsed 30 wins this season. Charleston is 14th nationally in points per game and like to get up and down while attempting a ton of threes. If they’re hitting, they can not only win this game, but be a dark horse for an Elite Eight run.”

Front Page Bets

Team to watch: College of Charleston

“Winners of the Colonial Athletic Association title, the College of Charleston is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018.

The Cougars will face No. 5-seeded San Diego State (27-6) in the first round in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday. The Aztecs won the Mountain West regular season and tournament championship this season and are making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 13 years.

The College of Charleston boasts a 31-3 record and one of the top-15 offenses in the country, averaging 80.8 points per game, and have five players averaging double digits.

In the always-fun 12-5 matchup, Charleston might be just the team to pull off the first upset of this year’s tournament.”

11:42 a.m., Monday, March 13

Still carrying that watch party energy from Sunday into Monday and all the way to Thursday!

9:42 a.m., Monday, March 13

CBS Sports has released the team of announcers calling the College of Charleston/San Diego State game on Thursday, March 16, 2023.  Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner and Stan Van Gundy will be working play-by-play and commentary. Lauren Shehadi will be the sideline reporter.

The game will start at approximately 3:10 p.m. on truTV.

By the way, this year’s men’s Final Four will be the last one in the play-by-play chair for CBS’s Jim Nantz.

6:36 p.m., Sunday, March 12

“I think we are up for the challenge.” – Guard Dalton Bolon

6:08 p.m., Sunday, March 12

We’re going to Orlando – lookout San Diego State 👀

5:53 p.m., Sunday, March 12

The team takes the court amid fans’ excited cheers. Forward Charles Lampten is among players to sign autographs for young fans.

5:43 p.m., Sunday, March 12

Rebecca Pugh, center middle, and her son, Ayden, holding the Croatian flag, came with friends to the watch party to cheer on Croatian player Ante Brzovic. (Photo by Mike Ledford)

Rebecca Pugh, center, and her son, Ayden, holding a Croatian flag, came to cheer on Croatian player Ante Brzovic. (Photo by Mike Ledford)

Rebecca Pugh brought her 12-year-old son Ayden to the watch party. Pugh has been a Cougars fan for years, but really got excited when she discovered that a player on the team, Ante Brzovic, is from Croatia.

Being of Croatian heritage, Rebecca and Ayden have closely followed Brzovic this season.

“We started following the team and was excited to hear about Ante,” said Pugh on Sunday just shortly before the start of the Selection Sunday show. “They are a lot of fun and amazing to watch!”

Waving a Croatian flag, Ayden predicts that the Cougars will have a good run in the Tournament, noting “we only lost three games.”

5:02 p.m., Sunday, March 12

Doors are open!

4:30 p.m., Sunday, March 12

Fans are already lining up outside TD Arena on Meeting Street for the Sunday Selection Show Watch Party. Doors open at 5 p.m. 

Inside the arena, the Chucktown Sound pep band is warming up. The giant TV screens are on and tuned to CBS Sports. 

Athletics staff are setting up lights on the court.

The Cougarettes Dance Team just arrived with pom-poms in hand.  

6:59 a.m., Sunday, March 12

Today is the day! Who’s EXCITED?

12:30 p.m., Friday, March 10

Are you unsure about the possible location of the Cougars’ first game in the NCAA basketball tournament next week?

You aren’t the only one. Even the sports pundits can’t agree on where the College of Charleston will travel and their prospective opponent in the opening round.

  • The Washington Post believes that the College will play Texas A&M in Sacramento, California.
  • The website Inside the Hall thinks the College will play the University of Miami in Orlando, Florida.
  • 24/7 Sports predicts that Miami and Charleston will meet in Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • Both ESPN and the website Heat Check CBB predict the College will play Iowa State in Greensboro.
  • Both USA Today and The Athletic predict the College will play the University of Virginia in Greensboro.
  • CBS Sports also has Charleston playing Virginia, but they predict the game will be in Albany, New York.
  • Bleacher Report has the College playing San Diego State in the NCAA Southern Regionals but did not predict the location.

In other words, it may be a good idea to hold off on making travel plans.

All the speculation comes to an end on Sunday, March 12, 2023, when the men’s NCAA bracket and field will be revealed during the selection show Sunday at 6 p.m. on CBS.  The College will host a viewing party of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Show in TD Arena starting at 5 p.m. The free event will feature player introductions and remarks from men’s basketball Head Coach Pat Kelsey prior to the CBS broadcast.

1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 9

Get excited for Selection Sunday! Join the College of Charleston men’s basketball team on Sunday, March 12, 2023, for a NCAA Selection Show Watch Party at TD Arena. Doors open at 5 p.m.

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