BYU's Final Four hopes were hurt tremendously with the loss of Brandon Davies. But fans were still hopeful an NCAA Tournament would be possible with the right matchups.
Unfortunately for the BYU hopefuls, the Cougars got slammed with a tough matchup on Thursday night. As the No. 3 seed in the Southeast, they will take on No. 14 seed Wofford.
The Terriers were expected to be one of the top mid-majors in college basketball, but they struggled in non-conference play. Now, they are playing their best basketball of the year, winning eight straight games entering the tournament.
However, as always, it will be hard for the lower-seeded Terriers to pull off the upset.
So here is what both BYU and Wofford have to do in order to be successful on Thursday night.
Keys for BYU
Find ways to score in the post
Brandon Davies was the Cougars' biggest post threat. Without Davies, BYU has struggled in the paint. Wofford is not the strongest post team. The Terriers have a pair of good big men in Tim Johnson and Noah Dahlman, but both are undersized.
If BYU cannot find a way to score in the post, the Cougars could be kissing their NCAA Championship hopes goodbye very early.
Shut down Dahlman
Dahlman is the key to Wofford's offense. When he gets going, the whole team gets going. In the Southern Conference Championship game, Dahlman got off to a slow start. Once he got going in the second half, the Terriers blew away Charleston.
If Dahlman can be held to single digits in the scoring column, BYU will not have to worry about being upset in the first round.
The three-point shot
BYU tends to live and die by the three. The Cougars make over eight three-pointers per game and shoot 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Fredette will always hit his share of three-pointers. There is no real doubt about that. However, there is some doubt about whether his teammates will be able to hit their share of three-pointers.
The rest of BYU is somewhat inconsistent from beyond the arc, but when all the Cougars are shooting well, they are very hard to stop.
This is the year
If BYU has any chance to make a run in the NCAA Tournament in the near future, it is this year. The Cougars had all the pieces with Brandon Davies, and they still have most of the pieces without Davies. They have leadership, a strong backcourt, and killer three-point shooting.
Keys for Wofford
No Davies, More Dahlman
Without needing to deal with Davies, Wofford will have more chances to score in the post. Standing at only 6'6", Dahlman is undersized for his position. Without Davies guarding him, Dahlman should not have too many problems.
He should be Wofford's first scoring option as often on possible. The offense runs through him; and when he is feeling it, the whole team is feeling it.
Wofford's opponents make only five three-pointers per game. If the Terriers can somehow keep BYU's made three-pointers around that number, they will be in great shape.
Wofford has mediocre perimeter defense, and the Terriers will have to step it up against BYU on Thursday.
Get it done on the glass.
BYU is easily the better rebounding team. However, Wofford's rebounding numbers are a little deceiving. The Terriers play a slower style of basketball, and not as many shots go up. Even though their 32.5 RPG is a little deceiving, they are still not as good as BYU on the glass.
So many games are won and lost on the boards, and that is what this game could ultimately come down to. Wofford needs to find a way to rebound against BYU.
This Wofford team has a lot of experience. Five of the major Terriers are seniors, and a few of the other main players are juniors. They have experience under their belt, and they need to use it.
In order to upset BYU, Wofford will need to be nearly perfect, and the upperclassmen cannot afford to make any mistakes.
My pick: Wofford played a great game against Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament last season, and most of last year's team is back. So even though BYU has more success in the NCAA Tournament, both teams have experience.
With Brandon Davies, this is a no-brainer; BYU would win easily. But without Davies, things really get interesting.
Despite Wofford's non-conference struggles, the Terriers have what it takes to pull off the first round upset as long as they play like they have been playing for the last few weeks.
Wofford 71, BYU 69