Opponent Preview for 2/7/19: Wofford

On Thursday, ETSU will take on the Wofford Terriers at Freedom Hall. Wofford is 11-0 in the Socon, 19-4 overall and #31 in Kenpom.

Wofford is the most experienced team in the SoCon with the best overall talent that Mike Young has ever had . With all the disciplined offense that you expect from a Mike Young team: 15th in D1 in Adjusted Offense in Kenpom’s ranking to 97th for ETSU. But overall Defense according to Kenpom is 93rd in D1 to 50th for ETSU. 

Experience

Led by Seniors Cam Jackson (14.5 ppg with 7.1 rebounds) and Fletcher Magee (20.9 ppg on .412 with 4.5 makes from 3) and Junior Nate Hoover (14.0 ppg on .450 from 3 with 2.5 makes). With Sophomores 6-9 225 Keve Aluma and 5-11 point guard Storm Murphy who have already had a year as starters. They’ve all played together for from 1 to 4 years. These 5 guys get 22 to 33 minutes and carry the load. With Junior Trevor Stumpe rejoining the lineup the last 2 games, he adds another experienced 20 minute a game guy with shooting, passing and rebounding. When he’s healthy he makes everybody on this team better.

There are 3 key role players getting 12-15 minutes: 6-9 225 Rs-So Charleston transfer Chevez Goodwin, who has already had a year working with them in practice while he sat out last season, 6-2 185 So Tray Hollowell and 6-0 180 Fr Ryan Larson. Stepping into a crew like this is a little like joining the New England Patriots. Everybody accepts and knows an unselfish disciplined system, and the new guys get brought right along.

A fourth guy joins the rotation if he’s healthy: 6-11 260 Senior Matt Pegram, a key part of their win over the Bucs, has missed the last 2 games to an ankle injury. He’ll get 15 minutes if he’s healthy. Last time against the Bucs he got 19 minutes, 10 points on 5-7 shooting and 6 rebounds.

Rebounding

Wofford is dead even with Bucs in rebounding in conference play at +8.0 per game. In the last 5 games they have been better as the Bucs have averaged +3.6. Last time out they kicked our butts inside, outrebounding us by 13, 36-23. They are led by 6-8 255 wrecking ball Cam Jackson (7.1 rpg in conference) , much improved 6-9 225 So. Keve Aluma (7.9 rpg), and 6-9 225 Goodwin (4.1). And this is the best ever Bucs team for rebounding margin. Mike Young has been handing out much deserved compliments to his new strength and conditioning coach. He says it was embarrassing that weren’t better in that area until this year. ETSU was frankly not entirely ready for them on December 1st, not quite a month into the season, with Lucas N’Guessan not yet eligible, and on their home court in Spartanburg. It was the worst early SoCon matchup that an inexperienced team could have gotten. Jeromy got 7 rebounds, 5 to Bo, 1 to Mladen – no N’Guessan. If 6-11 260 Senior Matt Pegram (3.8 rpg in conference, but 6 against the Bucs) is out they could have a tougher time inside. We’ll see if he plays. And what effect Lucas N’Guessan has. I hope that Lucas brings the energy and aggressiveness that he showed against Chattanooga. He could be a real difference maker. And is Jeromy healthy after a couple of games below his usual astronomically high standards?

Wofford is 18th in D1 in ppg with 83.3 – ETSU is 38th with 80.1. They are 7th in D1 in 3 pointers per game at 10.9 and 6th in D1 in 3pt% at .410 (but are even better in conference at .431). Fletcher Magee has come back from an uneven OOC start to hit 20.9 points on .412 from 3 with 4.5 makes in conference. 

Wofford is 43rd in D1 in ppg allowed – ETSU is 64th . But as noted, the Bucs rate significantly higher in overall Defensive efficiency in Kenpom’s ranking (50th to 93rd ). ETSU is slightly higher in FG% defense (.438 to .447) and about even in 3pt% defense (.359 to .357 for Wofford, with 8.6 makes allowed to 8.2 makes allowed for Wofford).

Turnovers and points off turnovers have been big for the Bucs in recent games. Turnovers were one area where we led Wofford the first time out, forcing 15 from them and making only 9, our second lowest total all season. 

The Terriers have struggled at times in the winter conference slog and should have lost at home to Samford. But in their last 2 games against Mercer and Citadel they were crushing it. 

A week ago Kenpom had the Bucs favored by 1. Right now they have Wofford favored by a single point (71-70) in what they see as a “51%-49%” call. This game isn’t the season – that will play out in March in Asheville. But it should be a good measure of how far we’ve come in the two long months since December 1st. 

All stats are conference play only, unless otherwise noted:

Guards:
#03 6-4 195 Sr. Fletcher Magee; 33.4 min., 20.9 ppg, .412 from 3 (4.5 makes), but only .477 2 pt FG%, 2.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 t.o.’s
#10 6-4 180 Jr. Nate Hoover; 29.3 min., 14.0 ppg, .450 from 3 (2.5 makes), .481 from 2, 1.9 rebounds
#5 5-11 180 So. Storm Murphy; 25.9 min., 7.1 ppg, .586 from 3 (1.5 makes), .478 from 2, 1.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 t.o.’s
#21 6-2 185 So. Tray Hollowell; 12.7 min., 5.5 ppg, .536 from 3 (1.4 makes), .368 from 2, 1.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.6 t.o.’s
#11 6-1 175 Fr. Ryan Larson; 14.3 min., 3.0 ppg, .222 from 3 (0.2 makes), 1.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 t.o.’s
#31 6-1 185 Jr. Donovan Theme-Love; in 9 of 11 games, 7.7 min., 1.3 ppg, .333 from 3 (0.2 makes), 1.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.2 t.o.’s

Front Court:
#33 6-7 250 Rs-Sr Cam Jackson; 22.3 min., 14.5 ppg, .600 from 3 (0.3 makes), 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 t.o.’s, 1.3 blocks, 1.5 steals
#24 6-9 225 So. Keve Aluma; 27.7 min., 7.9 ppg, 0 from 3, 7.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.5 t.o’s, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks
#01 6-9 225 So-Tr Chevez Goodwin; 12.3 min., 3.7 ppg, 0 from 3, 4.1 rebounds, only 1 block on the year, 0.9 t.o.’s
#15 6-5 205 Jr. Trevor Stumpe; (2 games) 20.5, 4.0 ppg, .143 from 3 (0.5 makes) 2.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists 
#50 6-11 260 Sr Matt Pegram; (missed last 2 games with injury) 15.0 min., 6.9 ppg, .182 from 3 (0.2 makes), 3.8 rebounds, 0.3 blocks

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