Winners of six straight games and 14 of its last 15, Furman (27-7) is making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1980. The Paladins, who claimed the Southern Conference regular season title with a 15-3 league mark, downed Chattanooga, 88-79, on March 6 in Asheville, N.C., to capture their first SoCon Tournament title in 43 years.
Furman gets the word. A 13-seed vs. 4-UVA Thursday in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/di8f2Kgo1R
— Pete Yanity (@pyanity) March 12, 2023
Fifth-year seniors Mike Bothwell and Jalen Slawson, both first team All-SoCon selections and finalists for the Lou Henson National Player of the Year Award, have paced the Paladins to a school-record 115 wins in their five years at Furman. Bothwell, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, ranks as the SoCon’s leading scorer at 18 points per game and has tallied 20 or more points 12 times this season. Slawson, the SoCon Player of the Year, ranks as one of the most versatile players in the nation. The 6-foot-7 forward and NBA prospect has averaged 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocked shots per game this season.
In six years as the Paladins’ head coach, Bob Richey has posted a 138-53 overall record and 78-27 SoCon worksheet. The Paladins have posted five 20-win seasons under Richey and rank as one of just 16 Division I teams to win at least 25 games in three of the last five seasons.
— Furman Paladins (@FurmanPaladins) March 12, 2023
Each of Furman’s six previous NCAA Tournament appearances came from 1971-80. The Paladins are 1-6 all-time in the tournament with their lone victory, a 75-67 opening round triumph over South Carolina, coming in 1974 when they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before falling 81-78 versus Pittsburgh. In its last trip to the NCAA Tournament, No. 10 seed Furman dropped an 80-69 decision to No. 3 seed Tennessee in the opening round in Greensboro, N.C.