Wake Forest lost to Clemson on Saturday in a heart-breaker at the buzzer, now it is Danny Manning's responsibility to make sure the Tigers don't beat the Deacs again. Wake heads down to Tallahassee to face the Florida State Seminoles tonight at 7 PM in the Tucker Center.
The Deacs led for over 39 minutes of the game on Saturday before surrendering the game on a last second tip-in to Josh Smith.
With the loss Wake fell to 9-11 overall and a paltry 1-6 in conference play. The Seminoles head into the game with a 10-10 record (2-5 in the ACC). The Noles are coming off of a hard fought loss in Chapel Hill on Saturday 78-74.
Freshman guard Xavier Mathan-Rayes poured in a career high 35 points on 14-26 shooting (5-11 from 3-pt). He also pitched in 5 rebounds and 4 assists. He is shooting 25% from 3's on the year.
Florida State boasts the second tallest team in the country with three guys over 7-feet tall. Their starting lineup goes 6-4, 6-3, 6-8, 6-8, 7-3 (depending on who is starting it may be 7-0, or 7-1). That's a pretty impressively tall lineup.
Despite the height, the Noles rank just 146th in offensive rebounding, and 164th in defensive rebounding. That could be problematic, as the Deacs are 4th in offensive rebounding, and 84th in defensive rebounding.
FSU does block a lot of shots, ranking 11th in the country there. That translates into a pretty good defensive efficiency against 2-pt shooting (24th in the country).
Minus rebounding, Florida State does what you expect a tall team to do--score a lot of points in the paint, block a lot of shots, and struggle from behind the 3-point line.
The biggest problem for Wake tonight could be its inability to defend the 2-point basket. The Deacs rank 291st in the country, allowing teams to shoot 51.4% from inside the arc. If that isn't remedied tonight it could be a long trip to Florida.
One of the stats that sticks out to me in the frequency that Florida State fouls on defense, and how often Wake gets to the line. In ACC play Wake is 2nd in the conference getting to the line, while Florida State is last in allowing teams to get there. The good news for the Noles is that Wake is shooting 60% (YES 60%) from the free throw line in conference play.
If the Deacs want to win any close games moving forward then they have to make free throws. That is especially true for Devin Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre, who have missed over 90 free throws combined this year already.
Wake and FSU are similar teams in terms of being defensive oriented, yet struggling on the offensive end. It will probably wind up being a close, low scoring game, and come down to the wire at the under-four timeout. The Deacs have fared horribly in close games this year, so hopefully tonight will be the straw that breaks the camels back and the result will be a road win.
The past few games I have picked the Deacs and it has backfired on me, so tonight I am going with Florida State in a close one to try to reverse the jinx.
Florida State- 66