Wake Forest and Maryland are coming off tough losses to Florida State and Duke, respectively. Let 's check the four factors to find out who has the best chance of bouncing back and winning Tuesday night's ACC contest.
|Effective FG% Defense
Effective Field Goal %
Wake Forest has the advantage in both offensive and defensive effective field goal percentage when looking at the entire season, but Maryland has a better offensive effective field goal percentage in ACC play. The Terps have four players (Dez Wells, Evan Smotrycz, Seth Allen, and Jake Layman) who shoot at least 36% from beyond the arc, which is three more than Wake Forest has if you exclude Madison Jones' 2-5 shooting. Wake's best hope is for Nick Faust to take contested 3's because even though he has shot the second most 3's on the team, he has the lowest percentage among players who have at least ten attempts.
Wake is superior to Maryland on the defensive end and that appears to be partially due to Maryland's lack of a shot blocker who protects the rim. This is big for Devin Thomas who, at 6 foot 9 inches, will be at least as tall as the tallest players on the court unlike Wake's previous games against Florida State and North Carolina State.
The Terps have turned the ball over more than Deacs over the season, but have actually taken better care of the rock during conference play, presumably because sophomore point guard Seth Allen returned from injury. Wake is going to have to protect the rock because they cannot allow Maryland's guards to get out and get easy buckets.
Maryland has an unbelievable advantage on the glass. Charles Mitchell, who learned that #CameronRims might be a myth, grabs 16.8% of available offensive rebounds, which is 7th nationally. Mitchell also grabs nearly 23% of defensive rebounding opportunities, which is 76th nationally. In addition to Mitchell, Evan Smotrycz is nationally ranked in defensive rebounding. The Terps also have players in Shaquille Cleare, Damonte Dodd and Jonathan Graham, who are very effective rebounders in their relatively limited time on the floor.
The Deacs were once 9th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, but since the Deacs finished eating the cupcakes in early November they have dropped to 228th nationally (could be wrong, but I think that's worse than 9th). In fact, if you only look at conference play, Wake is 14th in offensive rebounding % and 15th (last) in defensive rebounding %. Wake just can't expect to send only Devin Thomas and Bill Moto to the glass and expect to win that battle. Jeff Bzdelik's teams are simply embarrassing at offensive rebounding percentage. His national rank over the past nine seasons starting in 2005-2006 (330,332,323,342,341,321,321,294,188). That's not winning basketball.
Free Throw Rate
Wake Forest has an advantage in this aspect of they game as the Deacs continue to be able to get to the line, even in ACC play. The problem is that the Deacs simply cannot convert once they get to the charity stripe as they only make 64.2% of their attempts, which is 332nd nationally. Maryland doesn't get to the line as frequently as the Deacs do and they only convert 66.2% of their attempts. Unfortunately for Wake, this aspect of the game is far less important than the first three factors.
The faster pace of this game may help Wake as they struggle with half-court offense and Maryland likes to play up-tempo, but the more possessions also favors the superior team which is Maryland. I just believe Maryland will grab too many rebounds for Wake to be competitive. Perhaps Wake will come out hot like they have in each of the past three games, but in all three of those games we have aggressively regressed to the mean. I expect Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas to have big games, but I unfortunately don't believe that will be enough.
Wake Forest: 65
Tip off is at 7 p.m., so tune in and support the team. As always, go Deacs!