Wake Forest opens its basketball season tonight against the UMBC Retrievers. Both teams won their respective exhibition games handily and are feeling good headed into the opener. While KenPom believes Wake Forest will have an easy go of it, what does the Blogger So Dear staff think about the Deacs' chances?
Bart: Wake 86-60. UMBC is probably worse than a Pembroke team that Wake decimated for the second twenty minutes en route to an easy exhibition win. I expect the Retrievers to try and keep the game close with a good number of three point attempts while Devin Thomas dominates inside and puts up at least 20 and 10. Deacs will lead by double digits at halftime and the walk-ons will be in early as Wake kicks off the basketball season with a 1-0 start.
Rob: Wake 78 UMKC 60. UMBC, to be quite honest, is a very bad basketball team. The Deacs will just have too much size on the inside. I expect Devin Thomas to dominate, and I think Wake will block or alter a lot of shots, and control the glass. Bryant Crawford will have a better game than he did against UNC Pembroke, and the Deacs will cruise in their season opener.
GrumpyDeac: Wake 75-59. It will be interesting to see if Wake can limit turnovers and get out to a hotter start than we did against Pembroke. If not, I think there's a good chance it's a five point or so game at halftime. Regardless, Wake will pull away in the second half.
Samurai: Wake 82-60. UMBC, as has been said, might be worse than Pembroke, and I don't really anticipate us playing as sloppily as we did in the first half of that outing. Crawford, Collins, and Moore have gotten out their first game jitters, and Coach Manning will probably do less with screwy lineups given that this game will actually count.
Chris: Wake wins, 78-62. Sloppy game with lots of turnovers that we win easily. I'll be looking out for how the freshmen play and how the minutes are distributed with the short bench. The game may feel meaningless, but I'm guessing Manning is starting to get the sense of what players will be important over the course of the next season or two.
WakeJake: Wake 78 UMBC 60. Missing two starters for the season opener is challenging, but having the worst opponent on the entire schedule first should allow the Deacs to prevail. Thomas will lead the way, but it'll be interesting to see who else steps up to fill in the lost scoring.
Riley: Wake 85-67. While UMBC was one of the worst teams in the country last year, they add seven new players to this year, so it is really hard to determine what Wake Forest will see tonight. Overall I think Coach Manning would like to just focus on the Deacs' game and everything else will take care of itself. Limiting turnovers, winning each possession defensively, and executing in the half court are things that all need to be achieved to be successful in the early season.