NCAA tournament team previews: Wofford Terriers
As part of its preview of the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. All stats are through Monday, March 16.
Record: 28-6 (16-2 Southern)
Adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency: 103.3 (143rd)/97.5 (78th)
Seed: West No. 12
Impact Player: Karl Cochran, senior, guard. 14.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 105.2 offensive rating
The Case For: Now the Terriers might not appear to be a big-time team on paper, but this is no fluke mid-major 12-seed. Wofford won 28 games overall in the SoCon—six more than the next closest team, winning the regular-season title by a game.
But they challenged themselves out of conference, beating quality teams in Iona and at North Carolina State. It also played road games at Stanford, William & Mary, West Virginia and Duke. It lost all four, but that's got to count for something this time of year. Cochran is a sharpshooter of the highest order, ranking 12th in attempts and 16th in makes. He's part of an offense which is 56th nationally in three-point percentage, at 37.6%.
The Case Against: What makes the Terriers so dangerous—the three-pointer—is also their Achilles' heel. Just look at the numbers: Wofford only averages 67.0 points per game, a full 16 points fewer than the top-scoring team in the field, BYU. But while BYU goes up and down the floor, Wofford does not. It is content to let possessions develop and wait for the three-pointer to open up, but in the NCAA tournament, those plans get dictated by the opposition.
Wofford is near the bottom of the country in pace (305th in possessions per 40 minutes), meaning that a high-paced game might make for more rushed shots, for a team that is used to letting a play develop. Plus, there's a size disadvantage, as well. Wofford's tallest contributor is 6'7" junior forward C.J. Neumann, who averages 20.3 minutes but only 4.0 points per game.
SI Prediction: Lose to Arkansas in the Round of 64