FILE – In this March 11, 2021, file photo, Georgia coach Tom Crean directs players during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Missouri in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn. Crean enters his fourth season as Georgia’s coach with the Bulldogs picked by media to finish last in the Southeastern Conference. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
The Wofford Terriers (4-2) face an SEC program on the road for a second straight outing when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs (2-4) Sunday in Athens. Tip off is at 4pm ET on ESPN+ from Stegeman Coliseum.
Wofford enters the contest as slight favorites according to oddsmakers and KenPom predicts the Terriers will win 70-69.
O 140 (-110)
U 140 (-110)
Odds as of November 27th from DraftKings
All four of Wofford’s wins so far this season have come at home. The other two came against Power 5 conference squads (Clemson and South Carolina) at their place.
Now, the Jay McAuley’s squad will try to snap that streak — and enter Sunday’s contest with a legitimate chance of doing so. The Terriers got a career-high 27 points from their leading scorer, sophomore Max Klesmit, in the 11-point loss to the Gamecocks.
Three other players scored in double-figures, including Isaiah Bigelow — who scored13 and grabbed seven rebounds.
.@maxkle2 career-high: ✅
Game-high 2⃣5⃣ points | 5⃣ 3-pointers 🔥
WOF 70 – USC 78 | 2nd 1:36 | #GoTerriers pic.twitter.com/quoIgvUTGk
— Wofford Men’s Basketball (@WoffordMBB) November 24, 2021
Wofford is rated 112th overall by KenPom and in the top-60 in four offensive categories: offensive free throw/field goal attempts (60th), free throw percentage (29th), non-steal turnover percentage (60th) and, the big one, 3-point attempts/field goal attempts (7th).
Their guard-heavy attack starts with Klesmit. He’s a tough, skilled combo guard who shot 37.3% from deep last year while ranking second in the league in steal rate. He seems to have picked up where he left off in 2021-22.
📹 Highlights from Sunday’s 70-52 win vs. Georgia Southern 👇
– @ryanlarson_11 – 19 pts (matched career-high), 5-8 3FG
– @thebjmack33 – 17 pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts
– @maxkle2 – 13 pts, 3-6 3FG, 5 rebs, 3 asts
📰 https://t.co/NEbQCFWteB#GoTerriers pic.twitter.com/fZ2nxOwFxp
— Wofford Men’s Basketball (@WoffordMBB) November 22, 2021
Up front, juniors, Messiah Jones and BJ Mack are also players to be reckoned with. Jones, who is averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, is undersized for his position at 6-foot-6 — but makes up for it by being a fierce rebounder.
He led the SoCon in OR% two years ago and is a decent rim stopper.
Mack, who is averaging 12.0 point and 5.7 rebounds per game, is a wide-bodied post player who possesses a lightning quick spin move and surprising mobility on the perimeter. Both guys are pivotal to what McAuley wants to do on offense.
2022 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Georgia returns just one of its top eight scorers from a team that finished SEC play with a 7-11 record last season — so not a lot from a team that wasn’t great.
So far this season, UGA’s only wins have come against FIU (#278) and South Carolina State (#351) — with its losses coming to Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Northwestern. Braelen Bridges and Kario Oquendo each scored 12 points in Tuesday’s 78-62 defeat at the hands of the Wildcats.
Bridges is the team’s leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and Georgia’s second-leading rebounder, grabbing 6.0 board per contest. But it’s head coach Tom Crean’s second-leading scorer — Aaron Cook (who’s putting up 12.3 points and a team-high 7.5 assists per game) that is the one to watch Sunday.
The former SIU Saluki and Gonzaga Bulldog is playing for his third canine-mascotted school in Athens and has adapted well to his coach’s transition-heavy offense.
Cook has clearly taken on the floor general role early on after being relegated to bench minutes for such a loaded Zags team. He is a legitimate high-major talent who has proven he can run a fast break.
Lots of electricity in the Steg last night ⚡️#GoDawgs | #WorkHardPlayHard pic.twitter.com/ucN0A6XWM9
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) November 17, 2021
Another player is that has made the most of his opportunity is Jailyn Ingram. The 6-foot-7 senior is averaging 10.2 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game.
Ten games into the 2018-19 season, the former Florida Atlantic player was pouring in 19 PPG for the Owls — but knee injuries have sapped his burst. But Ingram has held his own so far and could be a key against an undersized Wofford group.
Wofford vs Georgia Pick
Wofford has a team that can shoot and should compete for a SoCon crown. But it’s unclear if they’re truly ready for primetime, losing to bigger in-state programs
As for the Bulldogs, It’s hard to be super-excited about a club that was picked to finish last in the SEC in the preseason media poll and has underwhelmed against fellow Power 5 programs thus far. But this one is against a mid-major at home. Sure UGA’s talent doesn’t jump off the page — but I like Crean’s group in this spot.
Pick: Georgia +1.5 (-110)