Streaking Wofford seeks first tourney win vs. Seton Hall
No. 19 Wofford carries the label as the hottest team in the country into the NCAA Tournament.
The small private school in Spartanburg, S.C., is about to take a step up in competition.
The Terriers, who are the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, meet 10th-seeded Seton Hall on Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla.
Wofford has been an emerging curiosity as it has risen through the polls. Coach Mike Young said he has enjoyed the process.
"It has been gradual," Young said. "But it's all about players. Anyone can coach this bunch."
Wofford (29-4) holds a 20-game winning streak, the longest active string in the country.
With 502 career 3-point baskets, senior guard Fletcher Magee of Wofford is two behind the all-time leader. Travis Bader of Oakland ended his career five years ago with 504.
But he has other concerns than his shooting numbers in the postseason.
"Advancing to the NCAA Tournament in our last year together is probably the most rewarding feeling," Magee said. "We came in together (and) our goal was to win the conference tournament and go to the NCAA Tournament and win some games in the NCAA Tournament."
Even with Magee, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, averaging 20.5 points per game, the Terriers have other options. Guard Nathan Hoover tallied 20 second-half points in the Southern Conference tournament final as Wofford overcame UNC Greensboro.
Wofford is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time, still seeking its first victory. This marks the third time it has been assigned to Jacksonville, but it's the first time the Terriers have been seeded higher than 12th.
Seton Hall (20-13) is in the tournament for the fourth year in a row, tying the program record for consecutive appearances. The team is an at-large selection for the third straight season.
"I'm so proud of what we accomplished and where we are," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "I'm also excited, if we play that hard (in the NCAA Tournament), I'm excited about it. I really am. That's what I told the team."
Seton Hall reached the Big East Conference tournament final last weekend, falling to Villanova by 74-72 in the title game. The league tournament gave the Pirates a sense of what they might be capable of.
"This team has been so much fun to coach and so much fun to be around, so much fun to battle with," Willard said. "They seem to fight everything and stay together and just keep making great plays. It's been an absolute pleasure to kind of be along for the ride with them."
Seton Hall owns a pair of victories against Marquette and one against Villanova. Those types of performances late in the season have bolstered the team's confidence.
"We know we can play with anybody in the country when we're playing our basketball," Pirates guard Myles Powell said. "We're just going to get ready for the tournament."
Powell, who averages 22.9 points per game, has been on a roll. He racked up 78 points in the Big East Tournament, marking the eighth-most points in a single tournament.
A year ago, the Pirates defeated North Carolina State for their only NCAA Tournament victory since 2004.
This will be the first Seton Hall-Wofford meeting. The winner meets No. 2 seed Kentucky or No. 15 seed Abilene Christian in Saturday's second round.
--Field Level Media
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