Preview: Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech

Lance King

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will look to start a new home court winning streak when they take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a Saturday matinee. The action will start at the Joel at noon.

Georgia Tech will get out of the snow storm in Atlanta and head to Winston-Salem for a Saturday showdown between the Yellow Jackets and the Demon Deacons. Can the Deacs beat the #SoftNosed team from Atlanta?

(Please note the intended sarcasm)

ategory Wake Forest Georgia Tech

Effective FG%

49.5% 48.3%
Effective FG% Defense 44.2% 47.4%
Turnover% 17.1% 18.5%
Turnover% Defense 16.1% 15.3%
Offensive Rebound% 31.2% 32.7%
Defensive Rebound% 68.7% 72.2%
FTA/FGA 48.1% 35.3%
FTA/FGA Defense 38.5% 36.8%

Effective Field Goal %

In every preview we discuss the high importance of effective field goal percentage. Look no further than this metric to understand why Georgia Tech is currently 11-10 and just 2-6 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets have an eFG% of just 48.3%, which is 219th nationally. A main reason for this is that they make just 30.1% from downtown. Georgia Tech's best 3-point shooter is Solomon Poole Jr., who is shooting just 35% on the season, but has missed the past six games due to migraine issues. Trae Golden shoots more than 4 3's per game, but he makes just 32% of them. They somewhat counter this with Daniel Miller on in interior, who shoots a very impressive 60% from the field. Robert Carter Jr. was also shooting 55% from inside the arc, but he is still recovering from a torn meniscus.

On the defensive end, Daniel Miller blocks and alters a lot of shots, and is a reason why the Yellow Jackets are at least top 100 nationally in eFG% defense. His presence will make it difficult for players like Codi Miller-McIntyre to penetrate. Devin Thomas and Tyler Cavanaugh will have to utilize pump fakes when around to basket in order to get cleaner shot opportunities. Is it possible Daniel Miller is the next victim of #BillMotoGang? Don't be shocked. Also, did you think the co-founder of the #BillMotoGang was going to pick any other cover picture for this one?

Turnover %

Wake Forest was fantastic the other night against Syracuse when it came to protecting the ball. The Deacs turned it over on just 12% of their possessions, which is excellent considering that Cuse forces opponents to turn it over on nearly 24% of possessions. Georgia Tech forces opponents to turn it over on just 15.3% of possessions, so protecting the ball should not be an issue for Wake Forest in this game. The Jackets struggle to hold onto the ball, but Wake is bad at forcing turnovers, so a thing to watch will be if the Deacs can force turnovers in this game.

Rebounding %

The battle on the boards will be a matter of strength vs. strength. The Yellow Jackets are top 40 nationally at defensive rebounding, so Devin Thomas and Bill Moto will have to work hard for their rebounds. Daniel Miller, and Kammeon Holsey are both very solid rebounders. Miller will obviously be a threat, but I actually expect the Deacs to win the overall rebounding margin.

Free Throw Rate

The Yellow Jackets are below average at earning trips to the foul line, which further adds to their overall inability to score. They do a good job of not fouling, which is a testament to their ability to play solid interior defense, but Wake Forest does a very good job of getting to the charity stripe, so they will be challenged for sure.

Conclusion

Wake Forest has to win this game if they want to play in the post-season and I believe they will come out and take advantage of a Georgia Tech team which is nowhere near full strength. Georgia Tech simply isn't going to be able to score enough to win this game. At the start of the season I thought this team had an outside shot at making the NCAA Tournament, but they have just been decimated by injuries. Wake's home winning streak ended at 13 after losing to Syracuse on Wednesday, but I expect a new one to start against on Saturday.

Update:

The injury bug keeps getting worse for Georgia Tech:

Prediction

Georgia Tech: 60

Wake Forest: 74

Tip off is at noon, so come on out to the Joel and support the team. As always, go Deacs!

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