It doesn’t feel right to see Wofford as the better seed than Seton Hall, but it’s deserved after dominating the Southern Conference. The Terries didn’t lose a Conference Game and their only Four losses are home to UNC and on the road against other Tournament teams. They were early -3 point favorites (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), but that number probably would be higher if the team names were switched.
That’s not to say Seton Hall has had a bad season as it beat Kentucky early and made it to the final of the Big East Tournament, only that it’s been inconsistent. The Pirates also got swept by DePaul and lost at home to Saint Louis. The main reason to bet them is that they closed the season on a hot note, winning Four of five, three of those coming against Villanova and Marquette. Wofford maybe didn’t play in the Big East, but the Southern Conference had arguably its best season ever with teams like Furman, UNC Greensboro and East Tennessee State ranked fairly well in metrics.
Surprisingly, the one thing that separates these teams is Wofford’s offense as Seton Hall’s has lacked efficiency all season. In addition to having the second-worst effective field goal percentage in the Big East, they also turned the ball over on almost 20% of possessions. That’s not a recipe for success in March Madness, whereas Wofford has the 12th-most efficient offense in the nation.
This could end up being a back-and-forth Game late between Fletcher Magee (20.5 ppg) and Myles Powell (22.9 ppg) and that’s not a bad thing. Both love to jack up threes with Magee making 4.6 per Game. While he shoots at a solid 41.3%, teammates Storm Murphy (50.6%), Nathan Hoover and Tray Hollowell all shoot better and that’s why the Terriers are second in the country in three-point percentage. The question is if that can work against Seton Hall, which had the third-best three-point defense in the Big East, allowing 34.6%. Still, Wofford’s second leading scorer is Cameron Jackson (14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg), who works mostly in the paint. The team closest to Wofford in the Big East is likely Creighton and Seton Hall swept that series, though it needed to take the lead in the final couple minutes of both Games.
The other question in this matchup is just how good the Wofford defense is. There’s a reason it lost in the most difficult Games it had in non-Conference play, even if it was competitive in all of them. However, you can’t expect to beat a team like Mississippi State when you allow 98 points. The main problem is stopping Powell, who may be playing his best basketball of the season, scoring at least 20 points in the last seven Games, including at least 30 in three of those. Wofford doesn’t really have a guy for that situation with Hoover or Magee likely to draw that task, while Seton Hall will likely throw Quincy McKnight or Myles Cale onto Magee.
The underlying stat for the Pirates is that they don’t shoot well at just 32.4% from three as a team with no one above 40%. While Powell and Magee are the biggest names in this Game, there’s a chance this Game gets decided down low between Jackson and guys like Michael Nzei and Sandro Mamukelashvili. Sure, if Wofford shoots lights out, Seton Hall probably doesn’t have a chance, but if Seton Hall can win down low and Powell can match whatever Magee does, this Game is a toss up.
Our Pick – Seton Hall +3.5