Wake Forest-UVA Game Preview

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Courtesy of the From Old Virginia Blog (game preview here as well)

Alright guys, let's get these previews back up and rollin'. We have been somewhat lackluster recently for several reasons. Admittedly it has been difficult to get the motivation to take the time to write these when we aren't seeing any wins. I'm going to change that and throw this one up for the game tomorrow!

This is a huge game for the Deacs (7-13, 0-5) as they take on the Virginia Cavaliers (11-9, 2-4) at the Joel today at 4 (ACC Network, ESPN3). The Cavaliers are coming off an embarrassing 66-42 at home on Thursday night to the Maryland Terrapins, and the Deacs are of course coming off of a better-played-than-the-score-would-indicate 83-59 loss to the #2 Duke Blue Devils last Saturday.

Click through for projected starting lineups, predictions/projections, and general information about the game.

Adj. Efficiency: 105.4 96 101.1 157 101.0
Adj. Tempo: 60.5 340 67.4
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 49.2 160 51.0 248 49.0
Turnover %: 18.1 48 19.4 239 20.6
Off. Reb. %: 29.2 275 29.0 51 32.6
FTA/FGA: 34.9 242 28.6 28 37.9
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 38.1 44 37.7 303 34.3
2P%: 44.8 273 48.1 186 47.7
FT%: 70.4 119 67.4 111 68.8
Block%: 9.4 189 8.5 195 9.2
Steal%: 8.3 66 8.8 222 9.6

UVA has played very well at times this year, but with the loss of Mike Scott, (their leading scorer and rebounder on the year) they have really struggled in ACC play. According to KenPom, UVA is by far the best chance left on the schedule if Wake Forest wants to win a game this year in the ACC (29%, next closest is 20% against State).

UVA has an above average offense, and an average defense, but neither is extremely impressive. They do not turn the ball over very much, but don't force turnovers either, so that is a wash. Offensively, their shooting is mediocre, but defensively they are not very good (allowing opponents to shoot a 51% eFG%). The interesting thing about the Hoos is the fact that when they have a sector that they do well offensively or defensively, they are just as bad on the other side of the ball in that sector (see offensive rebounding % and free throw rate).

GAME STATISTICS
Player GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Mike Scott 10 33.7 15.9 10.2 1.6 0.3 0.7 2.4 .482 .881 1.000
Mustapha Farrakhan 20 29.6 12.8 2.7 2.1 0.7 0.4 1.8 .446 .793 .381
K.T. Harrell 20 25.1 10.3 2.5 0.9 0.3 0.1 1.0 .454 .621 .438
Joe Harris 20 26.5 10.2 3.7 1.0 0.6 0.4 1.7 .452 .758 .429
Jontel Evans 20 27.7 5.6 2.4 3.7 1.4 0.1 2.1 .378 .568 .429
Sammy Zeglinski 13 19.5 4.9 2.5 1.8 1.2 0.0 0.9 .296 .636 .300
Will Sherrill 15 18.7 4.6 2.8 0.5 0.7 0.2 0.7 .450 1.000 .412
Assane Sene 20 19.1 3.6 5.1 0.1 0.3 1.2 1.1 .463 .600 .000
Billy Baron 17 11.1 3.0 0.7 0.8 0.4 0.0 0.5 .313 .692 .316
Akil Mitchell 18 13.9 2.6 2.9 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.7 .367 .529 .167
Will Regan 17 7.2 1.5 1.1 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.3 .423 .400 .250
Thomas Rogers 6 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000
Totals 20 -- 63 32 11 5 3 11 .424 .704 .381

With Mike Scott out for the year, the Cavs are relying heavily on Mustapha Farrakhan and KT Harrell to carry the scoring load. Joe Harris also has shouldered a bit of that burden. Farrakhan has stepped up to the challenge, and is averaging 16 ppg in his last 7 (including a 31 point output against Howard earlier this month). When Scott went down, rebounding is what really suffered. Assane Sene is the only other player on the team averaging over 4 rebounds. Since Scott went out, Sene has averaged 7.5 rpg, but that is not enough to make up for the loss of Scott.

Sammy Zeglinski, whose father, John Zeglinski played football and basketball at Wake Forest, has seen limited minutes after coming back from a cartilage injury in his left knee. He certainly has not been as effective this year, averaging 5 ppg and 2 apg, compared to 9 ppg and 3 apg last year. 

UVA will likely start the following players:

  • Assane Sene (C)
  • Mustapha Farrakhan (G)
  • Jontel Evans (G)
  • Joe Harris (G)
  • K.T. Harrell (G)

They do not have the best size in the ACC, and we should look to get Sene into early foul trouble to make that deficiency even more glaring. If this can happen, Carson could have a great day out there (especially if he can get his layups to fall). UVA will likely only get 7-8 players meaningful minutes (Sherrill, Zeglinski and Miller + the starters).

The Hoos have many of the same problems that the Deacs have had this year. They are a young team that isn't very big (especially with Scott out), and have had some bad luck with injuries. Tony Bennett is an outstanding coach (national coach of the year in 2007 at Washington State), and has proven that he can garner success at UVA in his first year and a half there. While this game may not be pretty to the outsider, I am quite excited about it because I think it will be a hard fought game between two teams that need a win to get back on the right track.

Predictions

KenPom: UVA 69 WFU 64 (71%)

ESPN AccuScore- I would usually put this in here, but it has a prediction of what Mike Scott is going to do (leading scorer for UVA), so I'm not going to add it. If you are curious, it has UVA winning 72-66 (approximately a 70% favorite).

My Prediction: Wake 71 UVA 68

You all probably think that I am certifiably insane for picking Wake Forest to win this game. Here are 3 reasons why Wake Forest will win tomorrow.
  1. Short Turnaround for UVA- The Cavs are coming off a thrashing in their own arena to a hated rival in Maryland on Thursday night. The Deacs have had a week since their last game against Duke, and should be well rested. UVA can come out one of two ways: they could come out sluggish and sleep-walk through the first half, or they will be jacked up and ready to play, embarrassed with their previous game. If we were a powerhouse team this year like Duke, I would suggest the second option is more likely for UVA, but obviously we are not. Since we are the worst team they have the rest of the way, I believe they will get off to a slow start, and we will capitalize early to get a lead, and hold it at the half (maybe 6-8 points). The only hesitation I have here is due to Tony Bennett being the head coach and really getting them up for this game.
  2. UVA's lack of ability to defend the 3-ball- Opponents are shooting 37.7% against UVA this year from behind the arc. With a renewed confidence from our game last week against Duke, as well as the determination to finally get that first ACC win,  the Deacs will come out all cylinders firing to not only get off to a good start, but shoot red-hot from the field. Gary Clark will get a few early looks as Tony Bennett packs in his defense to help Sene down low, and limit Travis McKie. If Clark can hit these early shots it will open up the inside, as well as the driving lanes for Harris and Chennault to get to the basket, or kick out for more 3's.
  3. We have to win a game in the ACC- We cannot possibly go 0-16, I mean ZERO AND SIXTEEN?!?!? A win tomorrow would be absolutely huge for our teams morale and momentum. It would reinforce what the guys are learning in these "legendary practices", and give an unquantifiable confidence surge for the guys as they start looking towards the second half of the season. I want to see these guys succeed so badly, particularly because everybody is calling them out and questioning them right now, not just in the North Carolina media, but the national media as well. Get it done boys and shut the critics up.
Final Words

As a blog, rather than a newspaper or a message board, Blogger So Dear is a unique website for Wake Forest fans. Y'all get opinions (when we don't slack off), and y'all get some good fundamental reporting on events that you cannot attend due to geographic restrictions, or other reasons. Y'all also can communicate with each other and the writers; and frankly that isn't really anything fancy because we, just like you guys, are diehards who happen to write for a blog. I love this mix because we have a fantastic balance of rational opinions, and that leads to great conversations about games, coaches, and Wake Forest athletics as a whole.

The reason I bring this up at all is because lately there have been some things written that have bordered on personal attacks and insults. This is not "the boards" where ripping on each other is a way of life. I have immense respect for everybody that comments and posts on here, and it is because of you guys that I continue to write and dish out information. I love the discussion, and it is hard to get that even in person sometimes on campus these days, and especially not the message boards. I am 100% sure that Jake, Martin, Bart, and all the other writers would agree with that as well.

I will never ask any of you all to censor your comments as long as they are not personal attacks and insults, but I want to ask that we not continue to rehash the same things over and over again when it is obvious that they are not going to change anytime soon. The things that Coach Bzdelik has done in the past are just that, things in the past. They will not change no matter how many times we say it over and over and over again. I understand that they are frustrating things to say the least, and I share some of the concerns about it as well. I do feel that we should give the whole situation a fair shake before we go absolutely crazy. As Ron Wellman has stated in seemingly every public forum over the past week, he is fully behind Coach Bzdelik. Now is this the correct move? I have absolutely no idea. If I had a crystal ball I would care a lot less about Wake Forest athletics, and a lot more about PowerBall numbers. I am going to give the situation a chance to play out before I criticize it again, and in 2-3 years we will likely have our final verdict on the issue at hand.

I have been overly critical at times this year, and have become more level-headed, particularly after attending the coaches luncheon this past week. I am not too stubborn to say that I may have reacted too strongly at the beginning of the Coach Bzdelik regime, and I will not be too stubborn to criticize him again....in 2-3 years if it is obvious that he is not the answer. This doesn't mean that I won't say things out of anger that are harsh, but as a bigger picture, I am going to take a step back and let it all play out instead of trying to microanalyze every little thing. I merely offer this as a suggestion to y'all that you attempt to do the same. Get behind these guys, they need it more than you can imagine. You may even be a little surprised at what you see in the next few games.

Sorry I went off on a bit of a tangent there in this game preview. I may expand more on this in an upcoming article, but I wanted to get that "rant" if you will, out there to the readers that I enjoy sharing Wake Forest athletics with. As always, comments are welcome and let's get that first ACC win of the year tomorrow. GET BIG YOU HAIRY DEACS!!!!!!!!!!
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