And so it begins. The NCAA Tournament was officially underway yesterday with the "First Four" play-in round; but today the real fun starts. The "Round of 64," the second round-although I still think it's the first round-or whatever else you want to call it, is finally here. And our team, the BYU Cougars, is one of the lucky 64 teams that have earned the opportunity to participate in this exclusive-or not so exclusive-event. Today we play the Wofford Terriers, the champion of the Southern Conference and another of the lucky 64.
Who are the Wofford Terriers? The Terriers are an extremely experienced team. In fact, they're one of the most experienced teams in the nation, with an average of 2.73 years. Their top three scorers are all seniors-they have 5 seniors-and last year they made the tournament. As a 13 seed Wofford took 4 seed Wisconsin down to the last minute before losing 53-49. So don't expect them to be shell shocked by the tourney atmosphere; they'll come out ready to play.
Wofford also had a very similar style of play to BYU before we lost Davies; a body banging post man surrounded by stellar outside shooters. This inside-out style one of the main factors for their astounding shooting percentages. The shoot a remarkable 47.9% from the field and 40.7% from three, that's good for eighth and sixth in the nation respectively. Both of those numbers are higher than BYU's.
Who should we watch for? The one player on Wofford everyone knows by now is Noah Dahlman. He is their starting power forward, leading scorer, and second leading rebounder. His averages are 20 ppg and 5.5 rpb; he also shoots a mind blowing 61.2% from the field, although just about all of that comes from under the basket. He's vastly undersized at 6' 6" but he plays like he's three or four inches taller.
Two more players to watch out for are their starting back court, Cameron rundles and Jamar Diggs. Both average double digit scoring, at 14 and 12.5 points respectively, and have decent assist numbers, 2.5 and 3.2 apg. And both are great shooters from distance with 41.3% and 35.6%. Diggs is their best defender and is expected to be put on Jimmer Fredette. He's had a similar task in guarding College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock, the fifth leading scorer in college at 23.4 ppg. But rundles is expected to help him along with other players.
A few other guys to watch out for are Brad Loesing, Kevin Glitner, and Tim Johnson. Loesing and glitner both shoot above 40% from three and Johnson is their leading rebounder.
Other Facts of Note: Although they have a gifted interior player they are 289th in the nation in rebounds per game at 32.5 rebounds. Even with their horrid rebounding they still manage to out rebound their opponents by 1.2 rebounds. Wofford is 108 in the RPI and have only beaten one top 50 RPI foe. The single similar opponent Wofford and BYU have had is Air Force, who we beat soundly twice but the Terriers lost in overtime at home to.
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