The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will host the Virginia Tech Hokies today at 2 p.m. Wake Forest is on a four-game losing streak, but three of those games have been on the road and decided by either one possession or fewer or went to overtime. The Hokes are coming off a 70-67 home victory over Pittsburgh, so both teams will be looking for ACC win #2 today. How do the teams match up?
Virginia Tech may be without arguably their best player today, as Justin Bibbs is still recovering from a concussion. He was limited in practice yesterday and is a game-time decision. The 6'5" freshman has made 48% of his three-pointers this season, so this would be a big loss for the Hokies.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hokies?src=hash">#Hokies</a> freshman guard Justin Bibbs (concussion) was limited in practice today. Will be a game-time decision for tomorrow's game at Wake.</p>— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) <a href="https://twitter.com/RTD_MikeBarber/status/561220854361890816">January 30, 2015</a></blockquote>
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When Wake Forest is on offense, there isn't much that has to give in this contest. Wake currently has a eFG% of 47.3%, while Virginia Tech has allowed opponents to have an eFG% of 47.9%. Wake turns it over on 20.1% of possessions, while VT forces turnovers on 20.5% of possessions. The offensive glass is where Wake Forest can make their money today. Wake grabs 35% of their misses, which is 68th nationally, while the Hokies allow opponents to grab 38.2% of their misses, which is bottom 10 nationally. Wake Forest has clearly not shot the ball well this season, so Wake will need to capitalize on those second chance opportunities. Wake Forest has done an excellent job all season at getting to the foul line. They have the 29th best free throw rate in the country, unfortunately they shoot just 64.5% from the line. Virginia Tech is good at not fouling, so this will be one area to watch. The Hokies also lack size, so Devin Thomas should have an excellent game in the post.
When the Hokies are on offense, it will be important to contest three-point attempts. The Hokies have the 55th best eFG% in the country because they shooting nearly 39% from beyond the arc as a team. If Bibbs is out, that is huge for Wake Forest. Still, limiting Adam "Invisible Hand" Smith will be critical, as he knocks down 44% of his 3's. Turnovers should be a wash, as Virginia Tech turns it on on 19.1% of possessions, while Wake forces turnovers on 18.4% of possessions. Wake should again dominate the glass, as Virginia Tech is well below average at offensive rebounding, while Wake is elite at defensive rebounding. Virginia Tech does not excel at getting to the charity stripe, and when they get there they only shoot 60.7%.
Wake Forest should win this game. They are at home, and should be able to win the battle on the boards all day. I'll take Wake to win 70-63.