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Preview: Wake Forest vs. Duke

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Wake Forest is coming off back-to-back losses and Duke is coming off two very impressive showings, even though one of them resulted in a loss at Syracuse. Can the Deacs pull off a miracle and win at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since Tim Duncan was a senior?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Wake Forest takes on Duke tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 9 p.m. For those so inclined, you can catch the action on ESPNU. We'll jump right into the four factor breakdown and it is most definitely not pretty.

Category Wake Forest Duke

Effective FG%

48.8% 55.2%
Effective FG% Defense 44.7% 48.6%
Turnover% 17.3% 14.1%
Turnover% Defense 16.6% 18.8%
Offensive Rebound% 30.9% 33.5%
Defensive Rebound% 68.5% 70.5%
FTA/FGA 48.8% 40.7%
FTA/FGA Defense 38.9% 38.6%

Update 7:57 p.m.:  Codi Miller-McIntyre has officially been ruled out.

Effective Field Goal %

Duke has the most efficient offense in the country and that's because they all shoot the ball extremely well. The team shoots over 41% from beyond the arc, and makes more than half of their attempts from inside. They have four players in Rodney Hood, Rasheed Sulaimon, Andre Dawkins, and Tyler Thorton who shoot at least 44% from beyond the arc. Oh by the way, they have this relatively unknown player by the name of Jabari Parker who shoots nearly 38% from deep, which is a higher percentage than Wake Forest's best shooter- Coron Williams.

Defensively speaking, Duke is above average and I believe their length will create a lot of problems and hurt Wake's ability to get off clean looks.

Turnover %

Duke treats the ball like a baby. No, not Michael Jackson's baby. They only turn the ball over on 14.1% of possessions, which is 7th nationally. Meanwhile, Wake Forest is well-below average at forcing turnovers, so I don't see any reason for Duke to worry about this facet of the game.

Wake Forest will perhaps be without Codi Miller-McIntyre in this contest, and if they are that's a huge problem for Wake Forest. Backup point guard Madison Jones has the highest turnover rate on the team at 37.9%, which CMM has a very respectable rate of just 13.9%

Rebounding %

This is an area that has fallen off dramatically for Wake Forest. At one point the Deacs were 9th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, and are now down to 201st, which is last in the ACC. I expect Amile Jefferson, Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood to control the glass tonight. Devin Thomas and Bill Moto will hold their own, but Duke will just attack the glass with more bodies.

Free Throw Rate

Typically this would be the part of the article where I make a joke about Duke getting all of the calls from the refs, but Wake Forest actually shoots a higher percentage of free throws relative to field goal attempts than the Blue Devils do. Unfortunately for Wake, they are making just 64.8% of their attempts, while Duke is making 74.5%. Overall, Duke has the edge in this category.

Conclusion

Duke is a far superior basketball team who is playing at home. Duke is a legitimate national title contender and Wake Forest would be lucky to make the National Invitation Tournament. Duke has Mike Krzyzewski and Wake Forest has Jeff Bzdelik. I wish I could muster up some enthusiasm for this game, but I simply cannot.

Prediction

Wake Forest: 60

Duke: 90

I'm pulling as hard as ever for the Deacs, but I won't blame you if you want to watch Modern Family re-runs instead. As always, go Deacs!