Remember when it was said that every game is a big one? Well, that's true, but this one has some added weight. Tonight, the Terriers will look to continue defending the BenJo as Chattanooga comes to town.
Here's a couple things to chew on:
The Mocs will be out to avenge a shocking loss. Assuredly, Chattanooga had the Terriers in the perfect position on Jan. 5 -- a charged home crowd in the "Roundhouse," a lead as high as fourteen points, and a bevy of momentum to lose. Lose it they did, as Karl Cochran dropped twenty-seven points in the second half to lift Wofford over the Mocs and preserve what was then an unblemished league record.
Now, two games behind the Terriers and knotted up with Mercer for the second-place conference spot, Chattanooga (16-9, 9-3 conf.) will aim to return the favor on Wofford's home hardwood. While the Terriers have notched seven consecutive victories after a road loss against The Citadel, the Mocs are reeling from a close edging at Western Carolina, arguably one of the toughest places to play in the Southern Conference.
Watch out for Tuoyo. The tallest player on the Mocs' roster, Justin Tuoyo (6-10, 220 lb. forward) currently ranks fifth in the nation in blocked shots with an average of 3.2 swats per contest. Tuoyo, a transfer from VCU, is one reason Chattanooga holds the ninth spot for team blocks nationally.
Beware the slow start. No longer can we deny it; it's just become a thing. Wofford is going to start slow, then pick up the pace -- and usually flip a deficit around -- and finally give an alarming amount of slack in the final minutes of the game. While this obviously doesn't operate like a script on every occasion, this has undoubtedly been the norm for the Terriers' conference schedule so far.
It's always worried me, though, that against tough squads like Chattanooga, a laggard start may bring on a challenge too insurmountable. However, if things continue to go the way they've been going, it may just prove to be this outfit's style of play -- and key to winning -- against the sturdy adversity this league boasts.
Ride the crowd. Something I can find solace in is the fact that the BenJo should be packed tonight. This is another stop on the road to Asheville and hopes of some future glory. Nevertheless, the Terriers don't need to give up any more space in between them and the rest of the pack. While the rest of the SoCon is, in fact, crowed closer together, there will be ample opportunities for others to catch up -- this is one of those chances. Let's make sure it doesn't happen.