The Mocs are 3-0! It's nothing short of a surprising start in SoCon play. There was a time that I was
concerned the Mocs might not win five more games all year...now they have won five straight.
Admittedly, the Mocs have not played a SoCon team with a conference win yet. It's early in the year, so it's hard to judge that. But the Mocs won two road games in that stretch and beat a Samford team that many expected to finishi third or fourth in the SoCon in the preseason.
Now, things change. Wofford is one of the teams people think can win or contend in the SoCon. If the Mocs beat Wofford, it will be impossible to say that the Mocs haven't beaten anyone during this stretch. Are they ready for this kind of challenge? This is a serious challenge. It is also a serious opportunity. Enthusiasm hasn't been this high in years for Mocs basketball games. This game could be a springboard to bigger and better things- or proof that the Mocs aren't quite ready for primetime.
While the Mocs are 3-0 in SoCon play, Wofford is 2-1. They lost to Davidson. They beat Furman and The Citadel, two of the teams the Mocs have beaten. The Terriers won in overtime against The Citadel and was lucky to win in a lot of ways, as the best free throw shooting team in the SoCon only shot 9 of 19 from the charity stripe.
The Terriers are lead by two shooters, and boy do they shoot. Spencer Collins and Karl Cochran each are big time shooters. Cochran is taking just 11.5 shots per game, down from 16.3 shots per game a year ago. He is also averaging just 12.2 points per game, down from 15.6 points per game. In truth, this is good for the Terriers. Cochran shot 36.1% from the floor this year, and is up to 37.6% this year. That's still not good. But since he is taking a lower percentage of the shots, the Terriers are performing better. He is a 35% three point shooter, so that's not bad.
Collins also has his shots down from a year ago. Last year, he took 11.6 shots per game and now he is taking 10.5 shots per game. A year ago, he shot 37.6% from the floor. This year, he is up to 43.7% shooting. He still takes nearly three three pointers per game. He is shooting just 33.3% per game. He's averaging 13.6 points per game.
The most important Terrier may be Lee Skinner. He is undersized at 6-6. He is shooting 47.8% from the floor. He is coming up with eight rebounds per game and 1.9 assists. He is averaging 11.6 points per game. After scoring just seven against Samford, he has scored 50 points against Davidson and The Citadel and 22 rebounds. Skinner is a phenomenal player. He can make a huge difference in this one. He is a lot like Z Mason is for the Mocs. He is undersized for this position, but works hard for rebounds and is the energy on the team.
Cochran averages 2.7 assists per game and 1.6 steals. Indiana Faithfull averages 2.5 assists per game, while Eric Garcia averages 2.0. Cochran is also second on the team in rebounding, with 5.5 per contest. Garcia and Jaylen Allen each shoot just over 40.0% from three point range.
This is a team that forces turnovers at a high rate. They rank 77th in the country in TO%. They also rank 123rd in the country in DR%. Opponents are shooting 53.3% from two point range, which is 302nd in the country. They play decent defense. They are also one of the worst offensive teams in the country. They are not good on the offensive end generally. When Cochran is hot, the Terriers offense is really good.
The Mocs defense is not particularly good, but it has been getting better lately. The Terriers are the slowest paced team in the conference, while the Mocs are the second fastest paced. The contrast in styles should be interesting. How the Terriers defend Z Mason will be very interesting. Also, it will be interesting to see if Rico White can keep on scoring.
Mason is so good. Watching him and Skinner go against each other, should be interesting. Another key to the game will Casey Jones. He and Mason will be battling Skinner and 6-7 starter CJ Neumann. Neumann only averages 3.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. Still the Mocs need to be dominating on the offensive end in the paint. Mason and Jones are critical in this one. The Mocs defense then will be relied on heavily to prevent Cochran and Skinner from going off. This should be a very interesting game. I think Wofford travelling after an overtime game will not be easy, and I think that will be the difference in the long run. I'm changing my score pick from earlier in the week. Mocs 75, Terrier 68.