Tourney Preview: Wofford

Submitted by Brian on March 19th, 2014 at 4:38 PM


WHAT Michigan (25-8, 15-3 B1G) vs.
Wofford (20-12, 11-5 SoCon)
WHERE Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
WHEN 7:10 pm Eastern, Thursday
LINE Michigan -12 (KenPom)


Win or go home.


Projected starters are in bold:

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss SIBMIHHAT
G 2 Karl Cochran Jr. 6'1, 175 79% 29% No
SoCon Trey Burke: huge usage, excellent A:TO, post-like DREB. Make him shoot twos.
G 5 Eric Garcia Fr. 5'11, 170 63% 15% Not at all
46% from deep but took only 82. Not just a shooter: assists. Make him shoot twos.
G 32 Spencer Collins So. 6'4, 195 77% 22 Yes
Driver hits 49/30% on 2s/3s. Low TO rate, gets to line.
F 34 Lee Skinner Jr. 6'6, 220 82% 23 Very
DREB machine at 6'6 probably SoCon artifact. Gets to line a lot. Not a shooter.
F 31 CJ Neumann So. 6'7, 230 50% 12 Very
Doesn't shoot much but is 64% from two. FT% terrible, foul if in dangerous spot.
F 24 Justin Gordon So. 6'6, 205 45 21 Very
Other post-type substance pounds offensive boards. Another horrible FT%.
G 20 Jaylen Allen Fr. 6'3, 180 33 21 No
Like Garcia, but slightly worse everywhere.
G 3 John Swinton Jr. 6'2, 185 25 10 Very
Drink if he takes a shot, let alone makes one.



Cochran is the Wofford offense.

Wofford's offense revolves around 6'1" guard Karl Cochran exactly as much as Michigan's previous team revolved around Trey Burke. Cochran's SoCon Burke impression is fair, but he struggles inside the three-point arc (43%) and doesn't have Burke's astronomical assist rates. He is still a multifaceted guard who will be tough to check for Michigan's wonky perimeter defense. He's just a 29% shooter on two point jumpers, so run him off the line and live with the consequences if you have to.

Eric Garcia is not quite a Designated Corner Gunner mostly on volume. Normally a guy hitting 46% gets off 200 or so if he wants to be a DCG; Garcia is well under that. His height is a limiting factor. He's by far the most efficient Terrier, so limiting his attempts will be key. Stauskas likely to check him because he's the least threatening Terrier guard on a drive, but Michigan will be switching so much it won't matter.

Wofford has three "posts" that range from 6'6" to 6'7". None of these guys has three point range. All rebound well in the SoCon context; CJ Neumann and Justin Gordon are extremely bad FT shooters should they grab a putback opportuniy. Lee Skinner is a more frequent and more notable presence; he is a frequent recipient of Cochran assists under the basket and makes a respectable 63% at the rim.

6'4" guard Spencer Collins is a slasher more likely to create his own shot than anyone other than Cochran, and he's pretty good on two point jumpers. Unless he starts going Shannon Scott on Michigan, sagging off him and responding is the likely recipe. Likely to draw Caris LeVert defensively with Walton on Cochran.

Aside from Gordon, the third post-type guy, Wofford's bench is short. Very short. Like one guy short. That guy is Jaylen Allen, a freshman who shoots decently (45/38%) on normal usage. He doesn't get to the line or assist much and turns the ball over quite a bit. The only other Terrier to see time is John Swinton, who has a total of 33 FGAs on the year.


As mentioned in a previous post, Wofford has struggled against teams approaching Michigan's stature even when we take the most liberal possible view of stature:

Wofford's ventures into the Kenpom 100 have not gone well. At all:

  • #75 Georgia: L 72-52
  • #76 Iona: L 76-55
  • #57 Minnesota: L 79-57
  • #34 Saint Louis: L 66-52
  • #12 VCU: L 72-57

All of these games were double-digit losses, as were Wofford's two conference matchups against #118 Davidson. In their only other game against a team in the top 200 on Kenpom they lost to William and Mary by three, at home.

All of those games against the top 100 were on the road, for what it's worth. Not much when the closest game is a 14-point loss.

A closer look at the Minnesota game is in order since you're familiar with the Gophers. Minnesota put up 79 by shooting 61% from two, with just about everyone contributing an above-50% performance. Wofford stayed somewhat in contact by getting 18(!) offensive rebounds but shot 38%/19% from the floor. Cochran came off the bench (discplinary?) and hit just 3 of 13 shots. Minnesota blocked a whopping 12 Wofford attempts.

When not playing teams in the top 100, the Terriers finished 11-5 in the SoCon, tied for third.


UPDATE: Ace provides his graphs.


Wofford is a grim offensive team that is respectable defensively. They finished second in the league on both offense and defense, so it's safe to say that it's their offense that bogs down against higher level competition. When they've got the ball:

  • They don't shoot many threes despite being a whole lot better at hitting those than hitting twos.
  • They rarely get to the free throw line, and rarely hit their FTAs when they do get there.
  • They're okay at rebounding.
  • They don't turn it over much.

On defense:

  • They do everything fairly well except defend twos and block shots.
  • They prevent three pointers from being launched and don't let a lot of them go in.

The Minnesota game suggests that driving to the basket is going to be there. Wofford has even less shot-blocking than Michigan does, possibly less shot blocking than any other team in the tournament.

Wofford is a really slow team—only 14 percent of their shots are in transition. That plays into Michigan's hands.


All eyes on Cochran. He's their alpha and omega, and that usually means you can clamp down a guy

Defeat their rebounding. For such a short team, Wofford rebounds well. They're nationally average on offense and quite good on D; they were third and second, respectively, in conference. Michigan is as good on defense as the Terriers against a slightly different schedule and is not good at offensive rebounding.

With turnovers projected to be low, rebounding will be the main source of shot advantage.

Be patient and drive the ball. Against a fierce defensive team that forces a lot of turnovers, quick long-ish shots are defensible with Michigan's lineup of shooters. Against a team with no inside presence that apparently emphasizes preventing threes, Michigan should probe for at least 20 seconds before defaulting to shooting mode.


Michigan by 12.



March 19th, 2014 at 4:54 PM ^

Not to be THAT guy, but I don't want to tempt KenPom fates. 

If you are predicting the same thing as KenPom, shouldn't it be Michigan by 9 (based on the essentials block).

snarling wolverine

March 19th, 2014 at 10:46 PM ^

I don't really agree with it.  I mean, I understand the notion that a good 3-point shooter is expected to make some threes, but isn't anger somewhat justifiable if we let a hot shooter keep on shooting?  Especially if he's not a point guard (in cases like Yogi Ferrell, it's a little tougher to prevent him from shooting).




March 20th, 2014 at 8:18 AM ^

from an overdue optometrist appointment and recording the game, so I'll be able to start watching while you all start the second half.  I'd appreciate it if you all wouldn't post anything on the blog about the game until at least 8pm.  Okaythanksappreciateit.

Wonky Donkey

March 20th, 2014 at 12:15 PM ^

UM drives the lane for points against the Terriors the mentality carries over through the tourney.  If LeVert and GRIII start hitting the paint for points now, it will only help the outside shooters later.  GO BLUE!!!