Needless to say everyone on the staff failed to pick Wake Forest to fall to Delaware State and with good reason as there was a 93% chance according to KenPom's ratings of winning, with the expected margin being a 15 point Wake Forest victory. Well that game was a perfect example of the 7% on KenPom as Wake failed to make open shots, played careless defense at times, and Delaware State consistently knocked down contested jumpers to pull off the shocking win.
The writers look to get back on track this week with a game against Big 10 opponent Minnesota, who ranks in the top 40 of the KenPom ratings (Wake stands at 112). While this is seemingly a large gap, basketball is indeed a game of margins and with homecourt advantage worth roughly 3 to 4 points this game should theoretically be a good one. Indeed the picks match the logic that it should be close and for the first time this season there is truly a diversity in views about how this game will go down. Let's jump in and take a look at what the BSD crew expects to happen:
Riley: Minnesota 72-64
Rob: Minnesota 68-63
Jake: Wake 64-61
Bart: Minnesota 74-65
Chris: Wake 71-70
Matt: Minnesota 88-77
Griffin: Minnesota 72-65
Shayn: Wake 71-70
BSD Average: Minnesota 72-67
KenPom: Minnesota 68-67 (43% chance of Wake winning)
The objective statistical metrics are actually more favorable to the Demon Deacons than the writers which likely stems from a little bit of eyewitness bias from our staff. It's difficult to consciously reconcile the fact that a team that lost to a very bad Delaware State team just four days ago could legitimately defeat a top 50 Minnesota team even at home, but it's important to keep in mind that Friday's game was just one data point in a larger statistical projection. In other words, we remember Wake lost to a bad team and figure we cannot beat a good one. On the other hand, KenPom is still taking into account preseason projections (and won't be as reliable as usual until around the beginning of normal conference play after the new year) so it's hard to pin down exactly how this game will go.
Generally speaking though, this should be a closely contested game on average but a blowout either way is, as always, a distinct possibility. Tune in to check out the game on ESPNU tonight at 7 P.M. and chat with BSD on the live game thread. And as always, go Deacs!