Tiny Dancers: Wofford wins the Southern Conference Tournament

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Lee Skinner led Wofford with 17 points in the 67-64 win. (USATSI)

Wofford will return to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in six years as Mike Young has established the Terriers as the team to beat in the SoCon moving forward. Monday night’s game in Asheville was much tougher than many expected, as Furman, the 10-seed, took Wofford down to the final possession in a 67-64 win for the defending champions — the closest margin the Terriers had in the entire tournament.

Furman beat the Chattanooga, the 2-seed, and Mercer, the 3-seed, before running out of magic with just two field goals in the final five minutes against Wofford. While Furman could not hit shots down the stretch, Wofford iced the game at the free throw line (shooting 81 percent for the game from the stripe).

While Wofford is a Top 50 RPI team with a quality non-conference win at NC State, a loss to the upset-minded Palladins would likely have bounced the Terriers from the NCAA tournament picture. That breeze you felt on Monday night was the collective exhale from Spartanburg, S.C. when the final horn sealed the win for Wofford.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 29-6 overall, 16-2 in the Southern Conference
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2014 (lost to Michigan in the Round of 64 as a No. 15 seed)
  • Jerry Palm predicts: 12 seed
  • RPI: 48
  • KenPom ranking: 82
  • Sagarin ranking: 86
  • Best wins: at NC State, vs. Sam Houston State, vs. Iona
  • Worst losses: at The Citadel, vs. Chattanooga
  • Notable stat: 61.6. Wofford takes it time on the floor and is not a team known to push the pace, ranking No. 315 in the country in adjusted tempo (61.6 possession per game). With good defense on one end and limiting turnovers on the other, Mike Young’s squad can shorten the game to hang with anyone in the country.
  • Closing quip: Wofford may not have put together the most convincing win against Furman, but the Terriers are hot and could be a dangerous 12-seed to draw in the tournament. The back-to-back SoCon champs enter the NCAA tournament as winners of eight straight and 15 of their last 16 games. A 12-over-5 upset is always something to spot when filling out your own bracket, so keep this disciplined Wofford team in mind when the field is announced on Selection Sunday.

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