The biggest battle of Wednesday’s game between WakeForest and Miami will not be between any two players, but rather a clash of styles.
You would expect the team that starts three guards, all under 6’4”, to be the ones pushing the tempo against the fifth tallest team in the nation.However it is Miami’s starters, despite giving up 15 inches to Wake’s starting five, who will be looking to slow down the game on Wednesday.
Miami is a perfect 14-0 this season when holding their opponent under 72 points.And in the seven games in which they have given up more than 72 points? Miami is 0-7. This is not a good sign given that Wake averages 82.9 PPG, sixth in the nation, but the Deacons have only surpassed the 72-point-mark once in their past three attempts.
Miami’s adjusted tempo ranks just below the national average, and the Hurricanes seem more at home in a half court set than in an up and down style of play.With an offense that rarely turns the ball over and a defense which ranks 314th in the nation in turnover percentage, Miami doesn’t get or give many fast break chances.
The Demon Deacons, on the other hand, love to run the court.WakeForest has the nation’s seventh fastest tempo, often relying on turnovers to spark fast break opportunities.In fact, Wake PG Jeff Teague averages more steals per game than Miami’s starting three guards combined.
One thing these teams can agree on is the importance of rebounding.Ranked 2nd and 3rd in the nation in rebounds per game, Wake and Miami both are coached to crash the boards.The Deacons have been struggling on the glass recently, getting outrebounded by six in each of their last two games.Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have outrebounded each of their last three opponents, and rank in the top ten in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage.
Even though Miami has gotten the best of their past three opponents on the boards, they lost all three contests, the first two in overtime.This three-game trend of OT loss, OT loss, loss is one that WakeForest is all too familiar with.The last team in the nation to follow this pattern?Georgia Tech… in the three games leading up to defeating the Deacons last Saturday.
Should be a close one in Coral Gables, but if Wake can score more than 72, which they should, how can you pick against them.