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NCAA Tournament Preview Capsule: Wofford

As the prohibitive favorites to win the Southern Conference Tournament, the Wofford Terriers went wire to wire to end the season as good as they started it by winning the conference tournament title after beating an upset-minded Furman, 67-64, Monday to once again go dancing.

The Terriers head into the NCAA Tournament with an impressive 28-6 overall record after finishing 16-2 in conference play, while earning the regular season title as well. With an impressive (at least by mid-major standards) KenPom.com RPI of 90, this is a team you definitely don’t want to face. The Terriers are likely to be slotted anywhere between a 12 and 13 seed. Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com currently has Wofford as a 12 seed in his latest bracketology .

If you’ve been following the NCAA Tournament for the last couple of years, you should no doubt be familiar with Wofford. Led by coach Mike Young, who has done a great job of building this program into one of the better mid-majors, the Terriers have now been to the NCAA Tournament in four out of their last six years. Last year they were beat by Michigan, 57-40. Wofford has fought hard in their other two appearances, though, losing to Wisconsin by four points in 2010 and eight to BYU in 2011. The Terriers are certainly hungry for their first-ever NCAA Tournament win.

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 05 Wofford at Chattanooga

Karl Cochran and Wofford have both talent and NCAA Tournament experience heading into March Madness.

Already this year, the Terriers have beaten N.C. State, Iona and Sam Houston State (KenPom.com RPI of 76), so this is a club that won’t be starry-eyed and will give a full-out effort from the get go.

When dissecting this team it all starts with one name, and you should get to know the name Karl Cochran.

As the Southern Conference Player of the Year, this dynamic point guard is not just one of the best guards in the Southern Conference but one of the best in the entire country. The 6’1 senior is as clutch as they come. He finished his senior year by averaging 14.8 points, 2.7 assists (both of which are team highs) and 5.8 rebounds per game.

While Cochran didn’t have the best of nights in the title game (scoring just 11 points on 5-13 shooting), he still had a major impact in the game as he committed no turnovers in 28 minutes played while never forcing the issue and keeping calm the whole game. Cochran can no doubt score, but he can get others involved as well.

As for other players to watch on Wofford, 6’4” junior guard Spencer Collins is one to keep an eye on. Collins averages 11.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting .390 percent from three-point range. Senior 6’6” forward Lee Skinner is also a fine player, and for the year he averaged 9.8 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game.

Wofford has all the ingredients for an upset recipe: they have a great coach, experience (five of the seven main players in the rotation are either juniors or seniors) and the quintessential dynamic senior guard (Cochran) who can carry a team.

So it goes without saying, don’t take these Terriers for granted. They have the tools to go on a good run next week.

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