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2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: (2) Michigan vs. (15) Wofford

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: (2) Michigan vs. (15) Wofford

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Michigan Wolverines 25-8, 15-3
Playing without their talented center Mitch McGary for all but eight games this season, last year’s national runner up still enters the tournament capable of stringing together a couple of wins, if not more. As expected, top 10 NBA Draft pick Trey Burke has been missed, but in his place Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert have emerged as stars in their own right. Stauskas is leading the team offensively with 17.4 points and 3.4 assists a contest, while LeVert is second in both categories, averaging 13.4 points and 2.7 rebounds respectively. While young, Coach Beilein’s team is quite disciplined. They’re one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country (76.3 percent), they have a team assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.55:1 (ranked sixth nationally) and they foul less than any team in the country. Their 75 points scored and 65 allowed on average puts them in the top 65 of both nationally. They played the 13th most difficult schedule in the country and went 10-5 against the RPI top 50, with their lone bad losses coming at the hands of Indiana on February 2 and Charlotte on November 24. In their losses against quality competition, their defense, which does not block many shots or force a lot of turnovers, gave up nearly 10 more points than they do on average. Explosive offensive teams could give them trouble, although they’re equipped with plenty of firepower to counter. McGary is steadily progressing in his rehab and hasn’t ruled out a potential comeback this season, a storyline worth keeping an eye on if they make a deep run.

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Wofford Terriers 20-12, 11-5
After a 15-1 run through regular season play in the Southern, Davidson was the heavy favorite to take the league’s automatic bid for the third straight year. However, the Terriers won three games in three days at the conference tournament to earn their third trip to the tournament and end their two-year hiatus from it. Davidson was upset in the semis by Western Carolina in overtime and the Terriers squeaked past them by three in the championship behind 23 points from Karl Cochran. Cochran leads the team in points (15.7 ppg), assists (3 apg), steals (1.7) and is second in rebounds (5). The Terriers strength of schedule was ranked 251 and all of their wins came against teams ranked outside of the RPI top 150. They went 0-3 against teams in the top 50, falling at Minnesota, Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth in convincing fashion. Whoever the Terriers play against, they’re going to make them earn what they get offensively as they really take pride in their defense. They only allowed 62 points a game. For a team that only has one senior, who isn’t a big part of the rotation, they are gaining invaluable experience and setting the stage for potential consecutive appearances next season.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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