JACKSONVILLE — Wofford is living the dream.
The Terriers (30-4), coming off an 84-68 win over Seton Hall for their first NCAA Tournament win, are embracing the challenging of facing off against No. 2 seed Kentucky Saturday here at VyStar Veterans Arena. Tipoff is set for 2:40 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional semifinals next week.
“The thought of Wofford coming back on Saturday to face off against one of the great programs in our country in the Kentucky Wildcats, that's pretty cool stuff,” Wofford coach Mike Young said. “We look forward to it.”
The players are well aware of Kentucky’s stature on the college basketball circuit as one of the most storied programs in history and have taken note of the team’s success this season.
“We've definitely watched Kentucky,” Wofford senior Cameron Jackson said. “They're on TV all the time. They're a very talented team. They've got a lot of guys that can score the ball. They're very athletic. So it's going to be a tough game. But we're welcoming the challenge.”
Wofford brings a 21-game winning streak into the contest and its top scorer — Fletcher Magee — set an NCAA record for most 3-pointers in a career (509) after sinking seven treys against the Pirates.
Young said Magee, who is from nearby Orlando, consistently works to master his craft.
“What you don't have a pulse of is how uncommon he is and how hard he's worked time and time and time again in that gym,” Young said. “I go over often to watch film. I enjoy it, no phones, and I can't tell you how many times I walk in that gorgeous building of ours and there's a ball bouncing, and I know it's him. 9 at night, 10 at night, and he's not messing around. He's going at it, getting better.”
In addition to senior leadership, Wofford has been battle-tested. The team’s four losses were to North Carolina (78-67), Oklahoma (75-64), Kansas (72-47) and Southeastern Conference member Mississippi State (98-87), all of which made the NCAA Tournament.
Junior guard Nathan Hoover said the Terriers “can’t get caught up in the moment.”
“We can enjoy it, but we know we have a lot of preparation to do and we're going to have a very tough game (Thursday),” he said. “We know we came here to win and we came here to make it as far as we can, so we're just going to get ready for Saturday.”
Gametracker: Wofford vs. Kentucky, 2:40 p.m. Saturday. TV/Radio: CBS, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.