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Arkansas NCAA Tournament Preview: Q&A with Wofford

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John Roberts, who writes about the Southern Conference for Mid-Major Madness, was kind enough to answer our questions about the Terriers.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

AF: Really, to pull any upset in the NCAA Tournament, the underdog has to shoot the three ball. Can Wofford light it up enough for the upset?

JR: The Terriers are a decent three point shooting team. They made 37.1%  of their threes, which was good for 62nd in the country. Spencer Collins has a pretty good shot, though he is better at the mid-range jumper. Karl Cochran, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, made 37.5% of his three pointers on the year. However in January, he went off and made 6 of 6 from long range (many with a hand in his face) against Chattanooga in the final twelve minutes, bringing the Terriers back from fourteen down on the road to win. When he gets hot shooting, there are times he is completely unstoppable, regardless of who is guarding him. Eric Garcia and Jaylen Allen both can knock down the long range shot as well. All in all, this team is dangerous from beyond the three point line, especially Cochran if he is on target.

AF: The styles of these two teams are polar opposites, how can Wofford slow down the Hogs?

JR: Wofford has played other teams in the SoCon that like to play fast. VMI is the fastest team in the country. They press and run up and down the floor. The Terriers slowed the Keydets (who average 77 possessions per game) down to 69 possessions. Arkansas averages about 71 possessions per contest. The Terriers should be able to slow the game down some. They are a patient offense, and even when they break the press, they will run the clock. VMI forces turnovers on 20.5% of their defensive possessions, while Arkansas forces turnovers on 22.6% of their possessions. Wofford managed to turn the ball over just 11.5 times per game against VMI. The Terriers will do a decent job protecting the ball. That should help slow down the Razorbacks offense. Yes, VMI's athletes are not as good as Arkansas' obviously. But it provides an interesting comparison. I believe Wofford will slow the Razorbacks down some and will not be drawn into a fast paced up and down game entirely.


AF: By beating NC State, Wofford has shown they can beat an up tempo team. What was the key to their success in that game?

It was pretty simple. The Terriers held North Carolina State to three offensive rebounds. That was good for just 11% for the Wolfpack. The Terriers got nine offensive rebounds. The Wolfpack turned it over eleven times, while Wofford turned it over just four. So, by protecting the ball and cleaning up the defensive glass, the Terriers were able to limit the possessions North Carolina State and slow the game down to their pace (it wound up a 60 possession game). The Terriers may be undersized, but they are a scrappy, hard-working team on the boards.

AF: Arkansas fans have made a big deal about Wofford not having anyone that is taller than 6'7", so do they have anyone who can attempt to guard Bobby Portis?

JR: It is definitely true that the Terriers are undersized, and for them, guarding Bobby Portis could well be their undoing. Lee Skinner is the most likely to give it his best shot. He is not big, but he plays bigger than his size. He generally guards the opposing big man. While Cochran was the Player of the Year, it was Skinner that was the SoCon Tournament MVP. He also, in my opinion, is the team's most important player. Skinner plays with emotion and energy and the team feeds off of that from him. He will have his hands full with Portis, but he is the Terriers' best chance to guard him. CJ Neumann and Justin Gordon may also take turns trying to guard Portis. They bring a lot of effort and energy to the game as well. Neumann is a little bit bigger body and therefore may be the choice, but I think if the Terriers want to slow down Portis' athleticism, Skinner is really the only option.

AF: Game prediction?

JR: Last week, I wrote an article about the Terriers and said that they had a shot to win in the NCAA Tournament if they faced a team without a true big man that was preferably defense-centered. Talk about the opposite of that. This is not a good match-up for Wofford. While they are capable of winning a game like this and you never take anything for granted in March, especially in the 5-12 game, the Terriers appear outmatched. They will play hard, they will scrap for everything, and they will not be dominated. But Portis and Qualls are too much for the Terriers to handle and Arkansas will win by high single digits, low double digits. Razorbacks 71, Terriers 62.