GAME NOTES: The second-seeded Michigan Wolverines and 15th-seeded Wofford Terriers will tip off the Midwest region portion of the NCAA Tournament bracket when they meet in a head-to-head clash at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
The winner of this game will advance to the third round to face either Texas or Arizona State on Saturday.
Wofford earned the Southern Conference automatic bid by defeating Western Carolina in the SoCon championship game, 56-53, and was awarded a 15th seed in the Big Dance. The Terriers enter this second-round matchup having won their last three games.
Michigan, which finished the year ranked seventh in the country according to the Associated Press, made it to the Big Ten championship match after defeating Illinois and Ohio State to get there. But the Wolverines were dropped by Michigan State, 69-55, in the title game, yet still earned a second seed.
The two squads have met one other time in history - back on Dec. 4, 1996. The Wolverines won that matchup, 83-49.
Wofford took a seven-point lead over Western Carolina in the Southern Conference championship contest back on March 10, which was plenty for the Terriers as they hung on in the second period for the victory. It wasn't without some stress, though, as the Catamounts shaved off four points from Wofford's first-half lead. Karl Cochran scored a game-high 23 points to help lift the Terriers to victory. Cochran added a team-best four assists and four steals in the game. Lee Skinner chipped in 11 points with eight rebounds for Wofford, which held Western Carolina to just 35.1 percent shooting in the game.
Cochran paced the Terries this season with a 15.7 ppg average, which he takes with him into this matchup with Michigan. He also tallies 3 apg (97 total on the season) with 53 total steals and 5 rpg. Spencer Collins adds 12.8 ppg for Wofford, while Skinner rounds out the double-digit scorers for the Terriers at 11.2 ppg. Skinner chips in a team-high 8.6 rpg mark for a team grabbing 33.3 boards per outing. Wofford averages 67.7 ppg as a team in scoring, and gives up 62.4 ppg to its opponents.
Michigan will try to earn yet another trip back to the national championship game, and hope for a better result this year. The Wolverines were exposed by Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, as the Spartans held Michigan to just 31.5 percent shooting from the floor. Nik Stauskas netted 17 points for the 2013 national runner's up, while Derrick Walton Jr. chipped in 11 points. Michigan State went into the half up by nine points, 38-29, and continued to pile onto that advantage in the second frame.
Stauskas had enjoyed a stellar season for Michigan, as he leads the team with a 17.5 ppg average, also with 104 assists on the year. The Wolverines as a unit score 74.4 ppg and give up just 65.4 ppg to opponents. Caris LeVert chips in with a 13.3 ppg mark, and Glenn Robinson III nets 13 ppg. The Wolverines earned the second seed even without top big man Mitch McGary, who played in only eight games this season. Without McGary, Jordan Morgan tops the team in rebounding average at 4.7 boards per game.
Wofford had a great year in its conference, but seriously struggled in non- conference action. Michigan's high-powered attack is far greater than any other competition the Terriers faced, so Wofford has quite the uphill battle ahead.
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