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Wofford Preview

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Wofford Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

After the narrow win against Stanford, Kansas could use a pick-me-up blowout type win. Unfortunately, Wofford isn’t the team to do that against. The Terriers blew out South Carolina and had somewhat narrow losses to Oklahoma and North Carolina. Oh and they have probably the best shooter in the country. That probably won’t be important against a team that struggled to defend the three, right?

Wofford has taken right around 46 percent of its shots from three this season, and is making 38 percent of its 3-point attempts this season. That’s a pretty good recipe for pulling an upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament (or in Allen Fieldhouse). They don’t do much else well on offense, ranking 337th at getting to the free throw line, 155th in offensive rebounding, and 101st at turning the ball over (and the turnovers are likely more due to taking so many threes than any special affinity for taking care of the ball), but when you can shoot like that it doesn’t really matter.

As has been the case all too often this season, Kansas will be fighting its opponent as well as math. Wofford doesn’t have a ton of size inside, so Kansas will likely be pounding the ball inside early and often. Opponents haven’t shot terribly well inside the arc against them this season, but both North Carolina and Oklahoma were around 50 percent on twos against them.

They have also done a pretty good job of hitting the defensive glass, even against their power 5 opponents. KU’s best way to even the math odds is to take advantage of the extra possessions they could get via offensive rebounds and by not turning it over, as the Jayhawks have done a good job taking care of the ball this season and Wofford doesn’t force many turnovers.

The other way for Kansas to get some easy points, and to potentially tire Wofford out on the other end, is to run. Wofford really only plays five guys major minutes, so if they can run over and over not only can they get easy baskets, but hopefully tire out the opposing offense and limit Wofford’s movement.

Players to Watch

Fletcher McGee, 6-4 senior guard

During the Marquette game I called Markus Howard the best shooter in the country. Apologies to McGee, who actually is. He is only shooting 34 percent from deep this season, but is a career 43 percent shooter on a ridiculous 812 attempts. He’s going to take over 1,000 3-pointers in his career and is going to make over 400. That is insane. He’s naturally going to go about 12-15 tonight.

Nathan Hoover, 6-4 junior guard

Hoover is another great shooter for the Terriers, shooting 39 percent for his career on 330 attempts and 50 percent for his career. He and McGee don’t offer a ton else, but if Kansas continues its habit of allowing open 3-point attempts, both McGee and Hoover could have very memorable nights.

The Pick

Kansas could use a get right game. Sadly, Wofford has better pregame odds of winning than Stanford did. I think Kansas will score enough to get the win, but Wofford is (offensively) to take down the Jayhawks. It’s likely going to be a bit of a white-knuckle affair, but I think the Jayhawks will take a narrow 78-71 win.