The Mocs played Wofford just eight days ago. I wrote a preview then. Has anything changed since
Not much. The Mocs beat Wofford last Saturday night in a one point game and then beat Appalachian State on the road on Thursday night. Wofford has not played since Saturday when they lost to Mocs.
Now the Mocs hit the road, looking to come up with a fourth SoCon road win, to get to eight straight wins for the first time since 1996-97 (the Sweet Sixteen year), and get to 6-0 in SoCon play.
Wofford is among the seven SoCon teams that seem to be best positioned to get a SoCon bye and can realistically dream of an NCAA Tournament win. However, heading into today, they are the only one of those seven teams with two losses. A third Terrier loss really would start putting them in a serious bind. It would certainly hamper their chances of finishing ahead of Chattanooga. They would be three losses behind the Mocs, and have been swept in the season series. The Mocs would have almost put the Terriers in their rearview mirror with a win today.
Given that I did a preview so recently on Wofford, I won't get into particulars about the Terriers. I'm going to talk about what needs to be different in this game for the two teams than the first game.
For Wofford, they need Lee Skinner to perform a little better from the floor. He made just 4 of 11 from the floor. He scored just ten points. Yes, he had 15 rebounds, but he was not the dominant offensive presence that the Terriers need to win. Truthfully, Spencer Collins and Karl Cochran played well. They made 12 of 26 shots from the floor and Cochran made 3 of 6 from three point range. But the team other than Cochran made just 1 of 12 from three point range. The Terriers need to shoot better from long range.
For the Mocs, they need to do a better job on the defensive glass. The Terriers collected 15 offensive rebounds. The Mocs got 14, so they did a good job on the offensive glass, but the Mocs need to do a better job controlling the defensive glass. They also need to do a better job in end game situations. The Mocs were up by double digits late in the game, and watched the lead dwindle, until it was a one point game and the Terriers had the ball as the clock ran down. The Mocs made just 16 of 26 from the free throw line. They will have to do a better job from the line.
The Terriers are not equipped to deal with guys like Z Mason and Casey Jones inside. The Terriers just don't have the inside presence to do that. Yes, Skinner can compete with them, but Jones and Mason should again be great. Can the Terriers contain Rico White? White scored 15 last Saturday.
Here's a thought on the most important player- Martynas Bareika. Who saw that coming? Bareika is a very good three point shooter, but did not make a single one last Saturday night. He played just eleven minutes and had three fouls. He did not score. Could Bareika have an outburst tonight? If he scores in double figures, the Mocs present yet another dangerous offensive weapon. If he does not score again, the Terriers may be able to control the Mocs offense. Can Mason and Jones go off again? My bet is that the Terriers shoot better from long range than they did last Saturday night. The Mocs will be very competitive and have every opportunity to win this one. The Terriers are hungrier and better rested, not to mention at home. The Terriers get away with a win, but this one should be a very interesting game. Terriers 76, Mocs 68.