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Previewing Wofford: Southern Conference favorites visit Raleigh

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Wofford @ StatSheet
Wofford roster
Wofford schedule
Wofford 2014 stats / 2015 stats

Wofford Offense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2013-14 48.8 (207) 16.4 (57) 30.9 (192) 33.0 (329)
2014-15 53.5 (48) 19.8 (151) 32.0 (152) 28.9 (311)

Wofford head coach Mike Young likes to make his rebuilding efforts a leisurely stroll, and hey, if you have that kind of job security, more power to you. Young's first NCAA tournament team at Wofford came in 2010, during his eighth year at the helm. It was the first of back-to-back Southern Conference tournament titles, and the Terriers once again captured the league's NCAA bid last season.

The Terriers returned a ton of experience from a team that was 11-5 in league play a year ago (14-5 if you include the conference tourney), which made them the easy pick for preseason SoCon favorites. They put three players on the preseason all-conference team, while leading returning scorer Karl Cochran was named preseason SoCon player of the year.

This might be the best team Young has had, though there is work to do yet in order to catch the 2010 team that finished 68th in the Pomeroy Ratings. (This team is currently 84th.)

The Terriers are playing better defense this season, but the difference for them in being just another 13-seed in March and an Uh-Oh 13-seed is probably the offense, which was just 257th in adjusted offensive efficiency a year ago. So for all of the preseason accolades this group has enjoyed, it has a lot left to prove.

The Terriers have been average at best from two in recent years--understandable since they have no true interior presence--and don't rely heavily on threes. And they've been average from outside over the last few years, anyway. These dudes have a lot of experience working together on the floor, it just hasn't translated into good shooting.

Maybe that's changing this year in one respect: although the Terriers come into Sunday shooting a modest 47.8% inside the arc, they're at 44% from three, which ranks fourth nationally. This is out of character for the program, so is it just a hot shooting binge? Short answer is yes, absolutely: since 2002, only a half dozen D-I teams have cracked 43% in a full season. Two of those finished at 44% or better.

But it could still represent some carryover from end of last year, and just because it isn't a true 44%-shooting team from outside doesn't mean it can't be scary. The Terriers did score efficiently in league play, and the major reason for that was the Terriers' improved shooting, especially from three.

And they have Cochran leading the improvement this season with his three-point accuracy at 41.5% (on 65 attempts). He shot 38% from outside last season, so this year's number doesn't look nuts by comparison. He's also accounting for 40% of the team's three-point attempts.

Starters

Karl Cochran (6-1, 175) -- Cochran has always been a heavy-workload guy, more of a volume scorer than a model of efficiency. I've mentioned that his three-point shooting got better over the latter half of his career, but his two-point accuracy remains something of an adventure. I'm impressed his accuracy is as high as it is what with all the shooting he's done.

Cochran %Shots (National Rank)
2011-12 27.1 (228)
2012-13 40.0 (2)
2013-14 33.7 (16)
2014-15 34.3 (33)

That there is a man doing all the things. T.J. Warren was at 37.3% in this category last season.

Although the basketball seems to be in his hands constantly, Cochran isn't creating a lot of problems at the rim. Drawing fouls has never been a strength of his, as he's never attempted more than 74 free throws in a season. Go figure.

Eric Garcia (6-0, 181) -- In 1+ seasons, Garcia has been a terrible two-point shooter and a great three-point shooter, with his attempts split roughly 50-50 between those areas.

Spencer Collins (6-4, 195) -- Collins is 12-26 from three this year; in the two seasons prior he was a combined 60-205 (29.3%) ... so, uh, yeah. I dunno. This is a thing that is occurring at this point in time currently.

Justin Gordon (6-6, 205) -- Active player inside--grabs a lot of offensive boards, draws fouls at a solid rate. Shoots under 50% for his career both from two and at the free throw line. Take yer pick! He will not be shooting threes because if he does coach will send a note home to his mom.

Lee Skinner (6-6, 220) -- Excellent defensive rebounder, and not bad at the other end either. Shooting 47% from two for his career. Like Gordon, not a three-point threat.

Bench

Jaylen Allen (6-3, 180), Cameron Jackson (6-7, 255), C.J. Neumann (6-7, 230), John Swinton (6-2, 190), Derrick Brooks (6-2, 190). Aside from Allen, scoring from the bench should be minimal. The other guys are there mainly to eat minutes, maybe hold the basketball for a sec, then give it to a teammate over there, then run up over this way here, and whoops my shoe's untied -- hey are there shoelace timeouts in basketball I think there are but better not risk it I can set this screen regardless if I have the courage and hmm? Sorry, coach, right, I been subbed out, I knew that.

Wofford Defense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2013-14 49.5 (166) 19.7 (74) 29.0 (65) 39.4 (154)
2014-15 47.8 (145) 23.2 (42) 24.8 (16) 50.0 (321)

Wofford should look similar to Charleston Southern at the defensive end with the whole lack of size thing goin' on. The Terriers are subsisting on turnovers and defensive boards, which they've made a near necessity thanks to their poor interior defense (opponents are making 51.4% of their twos) and propensity for fouls. So far, the strengths are compensating for the weaknesses and then some.

Fun fact! Wofford has nine blocks all year. State can do some damage in the paint against these guys, if the Pack's patient enough, but the Pack needs to be strong with the ball with these swipey mcgees buzzing around them constantly.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by six.