|When Furman and Wofford clash Saturday at Timmons Arena, it could be one of|
the biggest games in Southern Conference history. Photo courtesy of Furman
Both teams had a full week to prepare for that intense barn burner. When the teams face off in Saturday's rematch at Timmons Arena at 4 p.m., that will once again be the case. While the rest of the league was in game action Thursday, the Paladins (22-5, 11-4) and Terriers (23-4, 15-0) were preparing for what could prove to be one of the most historic SoCon basketball games ever.
Even with Wofford having already wrapped up the SoCon's regular season title and No. 1 seed for the SoCon Tournament, there's so much still on the line Saturday:
- It's the last home game for Furman's seniors, including the winningest players in school history - Andrew Brown and Matt Rafferty.
- Furman is going for its seventh consecutive win and trying to break the record for most regular season wins in school history.
- Wofford, which is knocking on the door of the AP and Coaches' Top 25 polls, is trying to extend its school-record winning streak to 15 games.
- It's the latest installment of what's become the best rivalry in the SoCon over the last four-and-a-half seasons. Ever since a last-place Furman team - playing without star Stephen Croone - lost 62-60 to a first-place Wofford team in the 2014-15 regular season finale, eight of the nine meetings have been decided by single digits. The only one that wasn't was last year's game in Greenville, which Furman won 76-52.
- A Furman win Saturday could prove to be crucial in SoCon Tournament seeding tie-breaker scenarios with ETSU and UNCG, both of whom were swept by Wofford.
- A Wofford win would tie the school record for most SoCon wins in a season set in 2014-15. It would also greatly increase the chances of the Terriers joining Davidson as the only SoCon members to ever go at least 18-0 in league play. The Wildcats went 20-0 in 2007-08.
- While either player would surely trade any personal glory for a win Saturday, it will also be the last chance for SoCon Player of the Year voters to see Rafferty and Wofford legend Fletcher Magee on the court at the same time.
"It's a really, really good team (Wofford). ... It's going to be a great challenge, there's no doubt about it. It's going to be a great Saturday afternoon for college basketball and it just shows how good this league is."
"They're a good team obviously, but we've played well on our home court and gotten even better on defense since the last time we saw them last," Rafferty said. "It's Senior Night and a lot of family will be there. It should be a good one and we're all excited for it."