The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will play their first game of the 2012-2013 basketball season tonight against the Brock University Badgers in St. Catharines, Ontario. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM EDT and according to Wake Forest Sports official website live stats will be available here.
As noted by the official website, both of the games will be played under international rules, which is more like the NBA rules than the college rules that most are familiar with. That includes a 24 second shotclock, four ten-minute quarters, and a handful of different rules.
Brock University (2011-2012 player stats)
Brock University has already played a handful of exhibition games this season, which includes a 90-44 loss at the hands of the University of Tulsa on August 15th, as well as a closer 78-71 defeat to Niagara (of the MAAC) on September 28th.
In the Tulsa game, 6-0 guard C.J. Smith led the Badgers with 13 points on 4-12 shooting from the field. 6-6 forward Mark Gibson led Brock with 9 rebounds, but also had four turnovers. Overall it seemed that the Badgers had great difficulty in protecting the basketball, as they gave it up 27 times in the 40 minute game.
In the second game against American college teams, 7-0 senior forward/center Mike Luby recorded 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks against Niagara. Despite falling 78-71, the Badgers played much better basketball overall and actually led 71-69 with four minutes left, but were unable to score the rest of the way.
I think that the talent level will be too much for Brock to keep up with. The Badgers are coming off of a 10-12 season last year, and from the stats it appears they are replacing their starting point guard from last year with Jay Fast.
The one player the Deacs need to watch out for (and presumably will go head to head with Travis McKie), is Jameson Tipping. Tipping averaged a team-high 14.9 PPG last season to lead the Badgers. He also chipped in 4.5 RPG as well.
The Ryerson-Wake Forest game will be played on Saturday at 7:00 PM in the historical Mattemy Athletic Center (home of the Toronto Maple Leafs for over 60 years from 1931-1999). This game will not have live stats, but rather live video, which can be seen from this link here
Ryerson University is a different test than Brock University by Canadian basketball standards. They reached the CIS Final 8 for the first time in 14 years last season and return their top four scorers for this year.
Jahmal Jones runs the point for Ryerson and should be a good matchup for Codi Miller-McIntyre. Although he is only 6-0, he averaged 15.7 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 4.1 RPG. Hopefully when matched up against a physical, bigger PG like CMM he will struggle. It will be fun to see how Codi can handle this situation in only his second game in the Old Gold and Black.
Judging by the numbers, Ryerson can also shoot the 3-ball, which will be a good indicator of how far the Deacon defense can stretch early on in the season.
Although this game should be closer than the Brock game tonight, the Deacons should still handily win this game.
Theoretically, neither one of these two games should be very close. Wake Forest should not only win each of these games, but win them by a lot. I don't want to say that there would be a lot of concern if either one of these games are close, but it would be alarming for a team, especially of Brock's status to play the Deacons close.
There are plenty of excuses that could be made if either one of these things happens (injuries to Washington and Thomas, freshmen playing for the first time, difference in atmosphere and rules), but Wake Forest needs to go up to Canada, build some chemistry, and show Canada what basketball is all about in the ACC. A failure to do so would be pretty disheartening, even early in the year.
I can talk up how good each of these teams are within the context of Canadian collegiate basketball (one not so good, one above average), but the Deacs need to come out and TCOB against inferior opponents and get at least some spark of enthusiasm for the fan base.
There are many fans out there looking for the straw that might break the camel's back in terms of reaching the point of no return for Coach Bzdelik and this year's team in itsellf,(heck, there are those that have already turned against the team and won't attend many games) but this game may be even more important in determining how many fans will turn out for early season games than it is crucial for practice time and bonding time for the players.