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StLouHoo's Preview:

A Respite

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Virginia returns home from a hard-fought road loss to face the potentially worst team in the ACC. Is there any potential for a let-down?

Game Details:

Date/Time:Tuesday, January 22nd, 9:00 pm ET
Location:John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
TV:RSN

 

What 'They' Say

Vegas:UVA -24.5; O/U 133; equates to ~79-54 UVA win
TAPE:Ranks WF #161, predicts a 75-52 UVA win, 99% confidence
KenPom:Ranks WF #153, predicts a 77-53 UVA win, 99% confidence

 

Depth Chart:

Starters
PG#0 Brandon Childress, 6'0" 190, JR
36.9 mpg, 16.8 ppg, 4.2 apg, .440 3P%
SG#2 Sharone Wright Jr., 6'5" 180, FR
22.7 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 0.8 apg, .229 3P%
SF#23 Chaundee Brown, 6'5" 215, SO
28.2 mpg, 11.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, .398 FG%
PF#10 Jaylen Hoard, 6'8" 215, FR
30.4 mpg, 14.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, .470 FG%
C#30 Olivier Sarr, 7'0" 235, SO
19.9 mpg, 5.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, .443 FG%
Key Reserves
G#4 Torry Johnson, 6'3" 170, SR
20.4 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 1.3 apg, .292 3P%
F#20 Michael Wynn, 6'6" 200, FR
4.1 mpg, 1.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg, .238 FG%
F#1 Isaiah Mucius, 6'8" 190, FR
22.5 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, .374 FG%
C#35 Ikenna Smart, 6'10" 245, SR
14.6 mpg, 2.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, .607 FG%

 

The ABC's of Wake Forest:

A) This is a very young team. Wake suffered an exodus after last season, seeing 4 players prematurely leave the program in addition to two graduations. They brought in a well-ranked freshman class, but already lost a 4-star PG to dismissal (Jamie Lewis). The remaining rotation features 3 freshmen and 2 sophomores, in addition to two grad transfers (Smart and Johnson), so chemistry is unsurprisingly bad. There's an argument they're playing for the future, though with Manning in his 5th season in the ACC you'd expect a better foundation, and there's little expectation Hoard will return.

B) They're a great rebounding team. For all their struggles, the Deacons are hitting the glass surprisingly well, both ends of the floor. They're 33rd nationally in grabbing offensive boards, recovering over 34% of their misses for a number of second chance opportunities. Defensively, they're keeping opponents off the glass, 55th nationally, forcing their opponents to be one-and-done. Wake's three big men (Sarr, Hoard, and Smart) all excel on both ends, so expect UVA to have to work hard to check the Wake front court, though that changes if Smart can't play (nagging back issues).

C) Childress is a bright spot. Brandon Childress, the lightly-recruited son of Wake Hall of Famer Randolph Childress, is doing everything he can to carry Wake. The junior has an Offensive Rating of 123.0, which ranks 101st in the country, and blows away the rest of the Deacons (2nd is Chaundee Brown's 107.8). He leads the team in scoring, assists, steals, 3P% and true shooting %. He's stayed hot through the first five games of ACC play as well. If the Hoos can shut Childress down, expect the rest of the Deacons to follow.

 

Their Season To Date

Wake Forest is 8-9 on the season, 1-4 in the ACC. Their best win is over NC State at home in a game where the Wolfpack were missing their start PG. They have bad losses to St Joe's, Houston Baptist, Richmond, and Gardner Webb. Most recently they lost by 16 at VT.

 

Keys to getting the win:

1) Live in the paint. There will be nights to exploit the three point line. No need to in this one. Wake's defense sells out to shut down the perimeter, holding teams to 32.2% from 3. But they're abysmal defending the paint. They're in the bottom 10% nationally in 2P% defense, and between our big men, our slashing wings, and our expert passing, the Hoos should relentlessly attack the rim. Their centers aren't intimidating shot blockers anyways, and are often foul prone to boot.

2) Turn them over. Wake, through the early ACC schedule, is turning over the ball at a scary clip, opponents getting steals on an eye-popping 11% of their possessions. Childress is a good ball handler but the rest of the team is really struggling in ball security. Virginia can expect to prevent Wake from running much set offense at all (also a league worst in assist-to-FG ratio in ACC play, under 40%), forcing Wake into hero ball without the horses to succeed in it.

3) Sprint to a big lead early. Wake can't be allowed to hang around into the second half. They're on par, per the computers, with Marshall, a team we boat-raced to a 50-25 halftime advantage. Virginia needs to come out on fire, and make Wake fold by halftime, to ensure an easy second half follows. Opportunities to let the starters have a light load are rare.

 

 

Predictions:

Nothing complex here, folks. Don't let the win over NC State fool you, Wake is bad. UVA would beat them by 20 points at their place. At JPJ the only reason we shouldn't cover is if we empty the bench prematurely. Virginia will stymie their best players in Childress, Brown, and Hoard (Childress should be a good matchup for Clark) and they won't have the bench to keep up.

Hoos Win 77-55