Michigan fans wondering what to make of the Wolverines' first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament - the Wofford Terriers - should grab on to this nugget:
REGION/SEED: Midwest/No. 15
OPPONENT: No. 2 Michigan (25-8)
WHEN: 7:10 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Bradley Center, Milwaukee
COASTAL CAROLINA (21-12)
REGION/SEED: East/No. 16
OPPONENT: No. 1 Virginia (28-6)
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Wofford is from the same league as Appalachian State.
App State's 2007 upset of a No. 5-ranked Michigan football team remains the gold standard for David vs. Goliath upsets in college sports, and one of the greatest moments in Southern Conference history.
The 15th-seeded Terriers will try to pull off the basketball equivalent of that shocker against No. 2 Michigan on Thursday in Milwaukee's Bradley Center.
Wofford players know it won't be easy. After all, the Wolverines played in the national championship game a year ago, losing to Louisville. And only seven times in NCAA tournament history has a No. 15 seed upset a No. 2.
And then there's the sheer size of the schools involved. Michigan has more than 43,000 students; Wofford College, in Spartanburg, is the smallest school in the tournament and the second-smallest in Division I basketball with 1,536.
"I'd rather play the Milwaukee Bucks," is the way Wofford coach Mike Young put it after the brackets were revealed on Monday night.
But as No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast proved last season, it's not impossible. The "Dunk City" crew upset No. 2 Georgetown, 78-68, during a run to the Sweet 16.
"They can't underestimate us, and we can't overestimate them," said Wofford guard Karl Cochran, a junior who averaged 15.7 points and was named Most Outstanding Player in the SoCon tournament. "At the end of the game, the result will depend on who has the most heart and who wants it more."
The No. 15 seed was actually a compliment to Wofford, which went 20-12 this season. Some bracketologists had the Terriers going to Dayton for the dreaded "play-in games" or facing off against a No. 1 seed as a No. 16.
The Terriers have been cast in this role before. Wofford was a No. 13 seed when it lost to No. 4 Wisconsin, 53-49, in the 2010 tournament, and was seeded 14th for a 74-66 loss to No. 3 BYU in 2011.
This season, Michigan went 25-8 and won the Big Ten regular season title before losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament title game. The Wolverines have a pair of 6-6 sophomore guards in Nik Stauskas (17.5 ppg) and Caris LeVert (13.3 ppg). Glenn Robinson III, another 6-6 sophomore and son of former NBA star Glenn Robinson, averages 13 points.
"They have really great talent," said Wofford guard Spencer Collins. "But anybody can win when you get on a neutral floor. We have really high confidence on this team right now."
Wofford has a bit of insider knowledge through assistant coach Darris Nichols, who played point guard for Michigan coach John Beilein at West Virginia.
"Darris is one of the smartest, brightest point guards I have ever had," Beilein said Sunday. "Now, I really wish he didn't understand our offense. But he knows everything about us. We have a challenge with a guy on the other bench who knows a lot of what we do."
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