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By Stetson Marlin
The Wofford Terriers are college basketball’s best-kept secret so far this season. Here’s why:
If you’ve paid attention to the AP Top 25 Poll throughout the season, you would notice there is a new team that has entered their name into the rankings. That team is the Wofford Terriers of the Southern Conference. The Terriers emerged on Monday as the 24th ranked team in the country.
After Thursday night’s win against UTC, the Terriers now boast a record of 25-4 while holding a 17-0 record in the SoCon. As March rolls around, this is a team you need to be paying attention to.
If this team takes care of business in the conference tournament, they could possibly find themselves sitting as a single-digit seed. It’s very possible Wofford could find themselves as an eight or a nine seed. Joe Lunardi, ESPN Bracketology expert, has the Wofford Terriers sitting at an eight-seed in the Midwest region.
It’s also very possible that if the Terriers get upset in the conference tournament that they could also find themselves earning an at-large bid. It’s nearly unheard of for a mid-major conference to place more than one team into the NCAA Tournament. The SoCon is a tough conference this season, as they have four teams sitting in the Top 70 of the new NET rankings. Wofford is currently at #19 in the NET rankings, while Furman currently sits at #41, UNC Greensboro at #61, and ETSU at #66. If the Terriers were to get upset in the conference tournament, which is a very high possibility, as Furman, UNC Greensboro, and ETSU all have a realistic shot, they have a very solid case to make the tournament as an at-large bid. Here’s why:
With the emergence of the NET rankings, quadrant wins have also gained a ton of relevance when it comes to determining whether or not a team has a solid case to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The quadrants are hard to explain, but if you want more of an understanding on the quadrants, this site explains the rankings at the bottom of their article. Wofford currently has a 3-4 record in Q1, which includes more wins than Nevada and Buffalo. That means that all four of the Terriers losses have come against teams in Q1, which is very good for Wofford if they have a shot at an at-large bid. To go along with their 3-4 record in Q1, they boast a 4-0 record in Q2, a 3-0 record in Q3, and an 11-0 record in Q4.
All four of Wofford’s losses have come against very good teams. They began the season with a tough 11-point loss to North Carolina, a team that was ranked eighth at the time. Their next loss came against an Oklahoma team that is now currently sitting on the bubble. Their third loss of the season was to a healthy #2 Kansas team. Their fourth loss of the season was to a ranked Mississippi State squad on the road. As of now, the Terriers don’t have a single bad loss, as three of their losses have been against teams ranked at the time. They also have wins against South Carolina, Furman(2x), ETSU(2x), and UNCG(2x) to help strengthen their resume. I’m no expert, but I fully believe that Wofford should gain an at-large bid if they were to get upset in their conference tournament.
Here’s why they are successful:
Wofford has a perfect blend of talent to pull off some upsets in the NCAA Tournament here in a few weeks. Fletcher Magee is leading the charge for the Terriers. You might’ve heard Magee’s name a few times this season, as he’s etched his name into the NCAA record books. Along with his 20.1 points per game this season, he’s now currently sitting ranked second all-time in the NCAA record books for career three-pointers with 482. He needs to hit 23 more three-pointers this season to sit atop those rankings.
Cameron Jackson is also a key contributor for the Terriers this season, as he currently averages 14.8 points per game and 7.4 rebounds a game. Nathan Hoover is also a key contributor, averaging 13 points per game while shooting 44.3 from beyond the arc.
The Terriers are also very well coached. Mike Young was placed as a candidate for the Naismith Men’s College Basketball Coach of the Year.
If you want to find a team to pull off some upsets once March Madness rolls around, the Wofford Terriers are your team.