WakeJake: The obvious choice is interior defense. As you know, last time out Wake made Dwayne Collins look like Patrick Ewing as he beasted his way to 23 points and 11 boards. Collins is a good player, but Deacon fans who have not watched Miami in any other games probably have the wrong impression.
Since the Wake game, he has scored 9, 11, 15, 5 and 7 against teams that are much smaller than Wake. Clearly, Chas McFarland, Tony Woods and David Weaver will need to man up tonight and not let Collins get the best of them again. Other than Collins and bad luck, what else do you think led to the Deacs' demise in Coral Gables?
MRickman:It was just sloppy. You know, I wonder if maybe the back-to-back overtime games before the trip to Miami had something to do with it. Road games are always troublesome, but I think maybe the Deacs were just a little out of focus.
Numbers-wise though, Wake had a bad shooting night and did not get good games out of C.J. Harris or Ari Stewart. And it is important to recognize just how poorly Wake shot from beyond the arc. The 26.7% is bad, but if you take away Gary Clark's 3-4, the rest of the team shot 1-11. That's not exactly getting it done.
WakeJake:That sounds a lot like what happened in Atlanta as well, but the Deacs were blown out in that case because GT is a superior team.
MRickman:It's no question. GT is head and shoulders above Miami. Which leads me to ask, what exactly is wrong with the Hurricanes?
WakeJake: After the Wake game, it seemed like Miami was pressing a bit to prove that they could be a tournament team. They went on the road for two consecutive games in the state of Virginia and got manhandled in both. that obviously damaged their confidence, but a home game against BC looked like a sure win, especially after they built a 17 point lead on the Eagles. However, the Canes relaxed a bit too much and ended up losing, putting them further into the ACC cellar.
Another road loss at Maryland was expected, but took the streak to four. On Saturday, Miami looked very good in the first half and held on this time to beat VT. Honestly, I think most of their problems deal with playing away from home.
MRickman: Isn't that the case with all the ACC teams this year?
WakeJake: Sure is. You just have to win your home games (*coughUNCcough*) and steal a couple on the road to get that Thursday bye. What sucks for Miami is that their next 5 games are: @ Wake, @ FSU, GT, @ Clemson, Duke. Wow.
MRickman:mentioned that in the power rankings yesterday. It seems like a lot of teams are getting the shaft when it comes to second half scheduling this year.
WakeJake: Thankfully, Wake's road is pretty nice from here on out.
MRickman: Sure is. Always good to have a chance to finish strong. So, as far as this game is concerned, aside from defending the paint, what do you think the Demon Deacons need to do to beat the 'Canes?
WakeJake: Wake needs the freshmen to show up. When Stewart and Harris do not hit the long ball, it makes it much tougher for the Deacs to build a nice cushion and get some momentum. If C.J. is not connecting, it would be nice to see him be more aggressive when he gets the chance and create some free throw opportunities.
MRickman: I think they will come to play today. The team has had six days to regroup and their performance against Georgia Tech might have been a wake up call that if you don't show up to play every game, you can't just go out there and expect to hit your shots. As much as I love seeing Ari jack it up, if he finds a way to get an assist or two, that would make his game that much more dangerous.
I also feel like the bigs were embarrassed last time against Miami and against the Yellow Jackets last week. something tells me that they might have something to prove tonight.
WakeJake: Yeah, definitely look for Chas McFarland to be aggressive tonight like he has been in the past several home games. His hustle on the boards usually results in a tip-in or keeping the ball alive for Al-Farouq Aminu's tentacles to suck it up. If Chas sticks to the baby hook instead of the fadeaway baseline jumper, I think he will be much better off as well.
MRickman: Prediction time: what's going down at the Joel tonight? And will we learn anything at all about the mystery of Jacob's List on the Lost premiere?
WakeJake: I think the Deacs come out mad and pull away comfortably in the second half. Miami is a solid three point shooting team (Malcolm Grant is 2nd in the ACC in 3PT% in league play and Dews is solid as well) so I think that will keep them close in the first half.
However, I see the Wake transition game wearing at the shooters in the second half and the Demon Deacon bigs doing a much better job on Collins, which has surely been a focal point in practice this week. I'm going to say Wake-81, Miami-66 with an Al-Farouq SportsCenter top ten dunk, courtesy of Ishmael Smith. As for Lost, IDGAF, ask GTJosh.
MRickman: I've got a great feeling as well. Sunshine Brigade or not, I feel like this is a "drop the hammer" game for Wake. We haven't see this team blow people out much at all and every time they get a big lead it seems to dwindle down. I just feel like revenge always gives a team that little extra oomph. So I'm close to you on this one, I've got Wake-78, Miami-62. And on the Island, I think we learn absolutely nothing because that's how Lost is. But it's one more show to TiVo every week.
WakeJake: Look for the awesome guy in the tie-dye and Ish jersey in the student section. I certainly deserve some ESPN2 airtime. LLLEEEEGGGOOOOOO Deacs!