The basketball season continues tonight at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons host The Citadel. The Citadel, a member of the Southern Conference, make the trip to Winston-Salem after a season in which they finished 8-22 and lost in the first round of the SoCon Tournament.
Chuck Driesell, the son of Lefty Driesell, returns for his 4th season as head coach of the Bulldogs. Last season, The Citadel averaged 64 points per game and had a defensive efficiency rating of 117.5, which was the second worst in all of D1 hoops. For the Dogs, opponents were on the glass more than Jesse Pinkman in season 2 of Breaking Bad, collecting offensive rebounds on 36.2% of their possessions. The Citadel will also need to replace Mike Groselle who led the team in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 per game).
After a tough loss to the Tennessee Volunteers, the Bulldogs start the season 2-3. So far this season, the defensive woes have continued, as the Dogs are giving up 1.12 points per possession and continue to give up an absurd amount of offensive rebounds (38.9%). The Citadel has also struggled controlling the basketball, as their turnover rate is only second to companies that sell health insurance (22.5%). The Bulldogs are going to rely heavily on sophomore forward Matt Van Scyoc. Van Scyoc had a stellar freshman campaign, in which he averaged 11 points per game and was a memeber of the SoCon All-Freshman team. Van Scyoc has picked up where he left off, averaging 18.2 points per game and boasting an offensive efficiency rating of 122.9. Scyoc will also have help from back-court mate, Ashton Moore. Moore is an efficiency powerhouse; as he is on the court for 85% of the minutes, has a 33.9% assist rate, and is shooting 47% from behind the arc.
It wasn't pretty but the Deacs took care of business Monday night and are off to a 4-0 start. Codi Miller-McIntyre continues to call cups as he pulls off his 4th straight game with at least 20-points. Travis McKie had his best game of the season, recording a double-double with 22-points and 10 boards. Devin Thomas continues to dominate the glass, as he collected 16 rebounds which puts him 9th in the country in defensive rebound percentage (33.8%). The Deacs also had contributions from Tyler Cavanaugh who has shown the ability to get to the paint and finish at the line. Cavanuagh ranks 96th in the country when it comes to fouls drawn per 40 minutes, which is huge as Cavanaugh shoots a high percentage from the charity stripe (76%).
Despite the undefeated start, Wake Forest still has room to improve before conference play begins. Perhaps the most glaring is on the defensive end, as the Deacs have struggled to force turnovers. The Deacs are stealing the ball on just 6.2% of possessions, well below the D1 average, which has resulted in a defensive turnover rate of 13.1%. Wake shot well from deep against Jacksonville, and we hope that continues as Wake is making just 28.4% of their shots from deep.
Thursday will be an interesting match up as each team has competing strengths and weaknesses. The Citadel shoots very well from behind the arc, as they are making 39.4% of those shot and accounting for 30% of their points. This does not bode well for Wake, as they have struggled to defend the 3-ball and are allowing teams to shoot 36.3% from that area. On the other hand, the Dogs are allowing opponents to score 56.4% of their points inside and the Dogs are blocked by the opponent on nearly 12% of their possessions. Where the Dogs have been weak the Deacs have been strong, giving up offensive rebounds a mere 22.5% of the time and only giving up 38.4% of their points inside. Wake Forest also scores 51% of their points from inside the 3-point line. If the Deacs can keep Scyoc, Harris, and Moore at bay I think Wake wins in runaway fashion.
Wake Forest 94
The Citadel 77
Come out to the Joel and support the Deacs as tip off is at 7:00!