The basketball season continues tonight at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons host the Dolphins of Jacksonville University. Jacksonville, a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, make the trip to Winston-Salem after a season in which they finished 14-18.
Cliff Warren returns for his 9th season as the Dolphins head coach. Coach Warren's teams have improved steadily since his first season (2005-2006), in which the Dolphins finished 1-26. Last season, Jacksonville averaged 68.2 points per game but were relatively inefficient on the offensive end (94.2 efficiency rating). Despite being ranked 302nd in effective height, the Phils managed to clean up the glass and were above the D1 average in rebounding. Jacksonville will need to replace a tremendous amount of rebounding production with the departure of Glenn "Big Daddy" Powell, who was responsible for 11.2% of the offensive and 19.8% of defensive rebounds. Tyler Alderman looks to be the most likely candidate to fill this void. Alderman played well as a freshmen, but was often in foul trouble as he averaged 7.8 fouls per 40 minutes.
After a tough loss to Gardner-Webb, the Dolphins start the season 1-2. Jacksonville receives production from a variety of sources as their bench has played 38.3% of the minutes. One of the most experienced contributors being South Carolina graduate transfer R.J. "Cole" Slawson. The former Coot, is an athletic 6'9 forward who scored 19 points before fouling out in 18 minutes against Gardner-Webb. Another key contributor for the Dolphins is senior guard Keith McDougald, who is the teams only legitimate threat from behind the arc. McDougald has played 77.5% of the minutes but only possesses the ball 21% of the time, so look for him to try to spot up in the corner for 3's. Wake Forest will also want to watch out for do-it-all guard Jarvis Haywood, who is averaging 16-points per game despite playing 46.7% of the minutes.
Wake Forest is off to a hot start as they took care of the Blue Hose Friday night to move to 3-0 on the season. Codi Miller-McIntyre can't stop, won't stop like Chingey and Gunz as he pulls off his third straight game with at least 20-points. The biggest improvement I've seen from Miller-McIntyre is his ability to get to the rim and draw fouls, CMM's aggression has helped him draw 7.3 fouls per 40 minutes. Miller-McIntyre's ability to get into the lane has also created points for his teammates, which is evident from an ungodly 27.1 assist rate. Another player I continue to be impressed with is Aaron Rountree. Rountree makes significant contributions for the Deacs despite coming off the bench and playing limited (40%) minutes. Rountree was able to be a spark-plug with a few big dunks and a block to really shift the momentum Friday night.
The Deacs have been impressive thus far in their ability to take care of the ball. Wake struggled last season in this area, turning the ball over on 20.7% of their possessions, but they have brought that down to an impressive 12.1%. Wake has also shown the ability to limit their opponents possessions by cleaning up the glass and minimizing offensive rebounds (20.9%). The Deacs are showing dominance in the paint when it comes to scoring the basketball, as 60.2% of Wakes points are from 2-point field goals. Expect this trend to continue Monday against a Jacksonville team that has struggled to defend in the paint.
Monday night should be exciting, as both Wake Forest (72.3) and Jacksonville (72.4) play at a high tempo. Jacksonville plays a man defense that has been ineffective so far this season, giving up 1.8 points per possession. Though Jacksonville turns the ball over on 24.8% of their possessions they still have a 10% advantage on Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars' offense. I expect Wake to turn these turnovers into buckets. If you like to watch teams who shoot well from three you may want to stay in and watch Hoosiers as neither team (other than Coron Williams) has displayed any kind of consistency from behind the arc this season. I think Wakes efficiency down low and ability to get out in transition will make this a fun game to watch. I wouldn't be surprised to see Codi continue his 20-point scoring steak and I fully expect to see a handful of huge dunks from Tree, McKie and Devin Thomas. I think Wake runs away with this one.
Wake Forest 93
Come out to the Joel and support the Deacs as tip off is at 7:00!