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Seton Hall Pirates vs. Wofford Terriers Prediction: NCAA Tournament First Round Preview

Seton Hall Pirates vs. Wofford Terriers Prediction: NCAA Tournament First Round Preview

Seton Hall Pirates vs. Wofford Terriers Prediction: NCAA Tournament First Round Preview

There probably isn't a hotter team in the nation than Wofford heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Terriers own a 20-game winning streak and feature an offense that scores in bunches. Seton Hall gets the not-so-simple task of becoming the latest team to try and contain the Southern Conference champs.

Wofford earning a No. 7 seed is no fluke. The Terriers lost only to North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi State, and Oklahoma during the regular season. They went unbeaten in conference play and have one of the nation's best 3-point shooting teams.

Seton Hall teetered on the bubble with several bad losses before winning four of five and reaching the Big East Tournament championship game to nail down an at-large bid and a No. 10 seed. The Pirates are a strong defensive team, but also struggle on offense enough to cancel it out at times.

Seton Hall is seeking NCAA Tournament victories in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1993. A win for Wofford would be the school's first in six NCAA Tournament appearances.

Midwest Region: No. 10 Seton Hall Pirates (20-13) vs. No. 7 Wofford Terriers (29-4)

Time: 9:40 p.m. ET (Thursday)

Where: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena (Jacksonville, Fla.)

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Keys for Seton Hall

Myles Powell needs a big game for the Pirates. The junior guard did tons of damage on offense during the Big East Tournament, piling up 26.0 points per game to help Seton Hall finish as a runner-up to Villanova. Powell is the most reliable source of offense for the Pirates, averaging 22.9 points per game. When he's in peak form, Seton Hall is tough to beat.

The Pirates need to control the pace and keep this a low-scoring affair. Seton Hall allows 73.9 points per game, while Wofford scores 83.0 points per contest. One thing the Pirates can do to bring those numbers down is crash the boards and use their size to keep Wofford from getting more than one look on each possession. If the Terriers fizzle on the perimeter, it could play to Seton Hall's advantage.

Keys for Wofford

When Wofford can make it rain from the perimeter, there are few teams who can keep up with the Terriers. Wofford ranks second nationally in 3-point field goal shooting percentage (.416). Fletcher Magee leads the way in attacking from outside. Magee leads the nation with 151 made 3-pointers and scores 20.5 points per game. Getting off to a hot start from the perimeter will help the Terriers combat Seton Hall's size advantage in the interior.

Taking care of the ball is essential. The Pirates thrive on making defensive plays to boost their offense. Seton Hall ranks third among Big East teams with 7.0 steals per game and will apply tons of pressure on the ball. Wofford is good at limiting turnovers, giving up just 11.0 per game. The Terriers have a plus-3.0 turnover margin per game on the season.

Final Analysis

Wofford scores in bunches. Seton Hall has an offense that isn't built for shootouts. That could be a problem with a hungry mid-major team eager to justify a better-than-normal seed. Wofford is capable of reaching the second weekend in the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates are much too inconsistent to offer enough resistance to keep it from happening.

Prediction: Wofford 78, Seton Hall 69

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.