After finishing as finalist in the Big East tournament and going 20-13 in the process, the Seton Hall Pirates were rewarded with an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. However, they face a very troubling matchup as the 10th seed in the Midwest region. Their opponents is one of the better if not the best mid-major team in the country (Gonzaga doesn’t count as a mid-major here). The Pirates will be going up against the 7th seeded Wofford Terriers. Here is the run down on Seton Hall’s opponents from the Southern Conference.
|Records||29-4 (18-0 Southern; Finished 1st); Won Southern Tournament|
|Leading Scorers||Fletcher McGee (20.5 PPG); Cameron Jackson (14.6 PPG); Nathan Hoover (13.2 PPG); Storm Murphy (7.8 PPG)|
|Leading Assist Man||Storm Murphy (3.1 APG)|
|Leading Rebounder||Cameron Jackson (7.5 RPG)|
|Adj. Efficiencies||118.4 (Off.) | 97.6 (Def.)|
|Team eFG%||57.8% (Off.) | 50.2% (Def.)|
|Team 2PT%||55.1% (Off.) | 49.8% (Def.)|
|Team 3PT%||41.6% (Off.) | 32.2% (Def.)|
Wofford have been on a tear as of late and that’s putting it lightly. They have won 20 straight games with their last loss coming on December 19th against a tournament team in Mississippi State. In fact, they have only lost two games since the start of December and both of them came against a 4 seed in Kansas and a 5 seed in the Bulldogs. The Terriers went a perfect 18-0 in conference play and have dominated the rest of the league. To put it in perspective, UNCG is second in the Southern Conference with a record of 28-6 and they haven’t even come close to beating the Terriers. Wofford beat them by 29 and 30 points respectively in the regular season.
Things didn’t change in the conference tournament. They cruised past VMI by 27 points but struggled a bit by their standards against East Tennessee State, only wining by 9 despite shooting 59.3% from the field and 55.6% from three-point land. Things went much smoother in the Southern Conference tournament final as they rolled past UNCG by 30. Combine this with their first two losses of the year coming to North Carolina and Oklahoma and you can see why this has been a very successful year for Wofford. It’s not hard to see they are one of the more dangerous teams in the country and no matter who they were slated to face, they would be a challenge to deal with.
Wofford is ranked 12th in terms of offensive efficiency and they will test Kevin Williard’s defensive schemes. The Terriers have only three guys who average double digits in points but they are an explosive and efficient team. Five Terriers who get major minutes in coach Mike Young’s rotation have a TS% higher than 60. They take the right shots and rarely get frazzled when handling the ball. There won’t be many times where you see Wofford take ill-timed or forced up shots. This means very few times in a game where they go into an offensive lull. With one of the top offenses in the country, Wofford will always have a chance to get back into games with their shooting. Speaking of shooting, this is where they excel the best. Wofford shoot a whopping 41.6% from three, good enough for second highest in the entire country. They are fourth in the country and their guards take a lot of three-point attempts. Fletcher Magee, Nathan Hoover, and Storm Murphy all have 3-point attempt rates higher than 53%. Magee has the highest attempt-rate of any Terrier at 72.3% and he’s easily their most important player. He leads the team in points per game at 20.3, shoots 44.4% from the field, and is a 90% free throw shooter. He’s a walking bucket machine and when Wofford need a basket, they turn to him. It will be up to Myles Powell and Myles Cale to figure out how to stop him.
Defensively, Wofford isn’t as elite as they are offensively but still decent. One thing they do decently well is limiting their opponents shooting the three at 32.2%. But they do give up a lot of three’s and if the Pirates get hot, it could spell trouble for Wofford. The Terriers are in the top 20 teams in the country in terms of total rebounds and it aids them in controlling the tempo in the game. They control the glass and are able to get into their offense quickly or get offensive rebounds which lead to kick out opportunities.
This really is an interesting matchup for Seton Hall because it will be testing the best quality about the team which is defense. The Pirates are well drilled and are a well oiled machine when it comes to stopping the ball. The problem is that you could say the same thing about Wofford scoring the ball. Seton Hall’s defense will need their defense to come up with an extra special performance against one of the best offensive teams in the country.