What To Watch For: USF vs. Wofford
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What To Watch For: USF vs. Wofford

South Florida hits the road Saturday for the Holiday Hoopsgiving event in Atlanta to face Wofford. The LSU Tigers were the Bulls original opponent but Wednesday LSU announced they would not play due to Covid issues in their program.

USF is coming off a 73-62 win over Stetson Tuesday night in the Yuengling Center.

In its first game against a Division I opponent, Wofford lost to No. 19 Richmond 77-72.

USF Bulls Basketball South Florida
Wofford Terriers guard Storm Murphy (5) shoots as North Carolina Tar Heels forward Luke Maye (32) and guard Jalek Felton (5) defend at Dean E. Smith Center. (Photo: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

BullsInsider.com has your quick facts and what to watch for against Wofford:

Quick Facts

Matchup: USF (3-2) vs. Wofford (2-1)

Date: Saturday, Dec. 12

Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Location: Atlanta, Ga. | State Farm Arena

Watch: ESPN3

Radio: Bulls Unlimited

History: This is the second meeting between the two programs. Last season USF defeated Wofford 69-55 on Nov. 21 in the Yuengling Center.

The Opponent: Wofford returns nine players, but just two starters, from a 2019-20 team that finished 19-16 (8-10 Southern Conference) and lost in its conference championship game. The Terriers were selected to finish fifth in the Southern Conference preseason polls by both the coaches and media. Wofford has had three games canceled this season.

We love the way Wofford spaces the floor, screens, passes and takes care of the ball. As a team they hunt threes and always had three guys on the floor against Richmond that can really make shots. The Terriers have attempted 77 three-pointers in three games – USF has attempted 59 in five games. Wofford has three players –Storm Murphy, Morgan Safford and Tray Hollowell – who have attempted at least 10 threes and each have made at least 36 percent of their attempts.

Murphy, a senior guard, was named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference Team. He is Wofford’s leading returner in scoring and assists. He is more than a catch-and-shoot guy. Murphy can score off the bounce and will go to the rim if he has a lane.

Hollowell is mainly a catch-and-shoot guy. Seventy-five percent of his jump shots are no dribble jumpers. Only one of his jumpers has been a two-point attempt.

Safford is effective in transition as a jump shooter.

Keep your eyes on 6-foot-9 Sam Godwin and 6-foot-6 Messiah Jones. They are Wofford’s best offensive rebounders and are effective scorers around the basket. Jones also has five steals in three games.

Former Bull B.J. Mack is used very differently at Wofford than he was at USF. He frequently had the ball in his hands on the perimeter against Richmond making 2-of-6 three-pointers. On one possession Mack sprinted to the corner in transition and called for the ball, as if he was Ray Allen, got it but missed his shot. The Bulls know Mack well, obviously, and know he’ll be juiced to prove the staff didn’t use him well. We expect Alexis Yetna to guard Mack.

Wofford tries to tilt the floor and will go into continuous side ball screen action. Watch for a big-to-big cross screen to free up a big for a ball screen which, in theory, would open him up to slip the screen because his defender is behind him. This season their bigs aren’t as experienced or as talented as last season’s team.

Defensively Wofford plays mostly man, 82 percent, with pack line principles. We did not see them switch on screens at Richmond. Keep in mind that the Terriers stats include two games against non-Division I teams. We noticed Wofford was average at defending post-ups. Richmond’s 6-foot-10 center made 55 percent of his two-point attempts against Wofford.

Prediction

USF 73 Wofford 70

To win USF needs to guard the ball well, particularly on the perimeter, and contest all shots. Get paint touches and dominate the glass at both ends of the court.