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Todd Shanesy | Spartanburg Herald-Journal | February 25, 2019

Wofford basketball is ranked in AP Top 25 poll for first time in school history

March Madness: Andy Katz breaks down 10 teams on the bubble for the NCAA tournament

Wofford men's basketball coaches were in a meeting room Monday when it became almost impossible to concentrate.

Alert notifications on their phones started going nonstop.

"I don't take my phone in there," Wofford head coach Mike Young said. "But all of the sudden, I kept hearing those swishy sounds coming from the other guys' phones. I said, 'Will you turn those things off?' (Assistant coach Kevin) Giltner said, 'I think something's going on.' "

Giltner took the phone out of his pocket and checked.

Wofford was in the Top 25.

"That was special," Young said. "That was awesome."

The Terriers cracked the Top 25 for the first time in program history, coming in at No. 24 on the Associated Press list and an hour or so later at No. 25 on the USA Today coaches' list. Wofford is 24-4, all four losses to power-five conference teams that are or were nationally ranked (North Carolina, Kansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi State). The historic run has reached 16-0 in the Southern Conference with a regular-season title clinched even before the 62-54 win Saturday at Furman.

SOCON RACE: 3 takeaways from Wofford's 15th straight win against Furman

Wofford has for a few weeks been on the verge of the Top 25, climbing as high as No. 27 last week. Three teams in the AP top 20 (Louisville, Iowa State and defending national champion Villanova) dropped out Monday and the Terriers jumped in.

"Is it a big deal right now? Maybe not. But then again, maybe it is," Young said. "It's deserved. This team is 24-4 and hasn't lost since Dec. 19 (at Mississippi State). It's rewarding. It's great for our college and our basketball program."

Wofford, which created so much excitement that six of its home games at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium were sold out, has two more games, both on the road, before the conference tournament. The Terriers play Thursday at Chattanooga and Saturday at Samford, which took them to overtime on Jan. 24. They will begin postseason play March 9 as the No. 1 seed at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C. The winner there gets an automatic berth for the NCAA tournament.

A NEW NO. 1: Gonzaga takes over No. 1 in Andy Katz's Power 36 Zags, UVA lead new AP poll

But if this run continues, Wofford could be in line for the league's first at-large bid regardless of whether it wins the SoCon championship. The Terriers are No. 19 in the NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings, a new formula that is being used for the first time this season to help select and seed teams for the 68-team NCAA tournament.

Being ranked in the Top 25 goes in an imaginary box, Young said.

"We use that analogy," he said. "There is a box in our locker room. We will box all this stuff up, all these rankings and the nice things people are saying about us and all the national recognition, and we will enjoy them at a more appropriate time. That time is not now.

"However far this thing goes, we'll look back with a great deal of pride and a great deal of sheer joy. But we've got to stay the course. We have an unbelievable team and the most magical time of the year is approaching."

This article is written by Todd Shanesy from Spartanburg Herald-Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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