Tonight the Deacs take on the UMBC Retrievers in their first regular season game of the 2015-2016 season. The game tips off at 8 pm in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. This game is one of the "opening games" for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. The Retrievers are coming off a 4-26 season last year, though injuries played a significant role in that record. UMBC lost Rodney Elliot, who averaged 15 points per game in his freshman year, to season ending surgery after the first game of last year's season. UMBC is also an incredibly young team. They have just 1 senior and 2 juniors on the team compared to 5 sophomores and 6 freshman.
We took a look at UMBC earlier in the week, so heere are a couple things to look for in tonights game:
1. The Paint
Fully expect Devin Thomas to dominate the paint tonight with help from Doral Moore and John Collins. The tallest player for the retrievers is 6'10 and weighs just 225lbs. The bigs for the Deacs should be able to bully the Retrievers down low and score easy baskets in the paint all night long.
Wake Forest had 25 turnovers against UNC Pembroke last week, and that is simply unacceptable. This was likely a focal point in practice all week, and Danny Manning probably has the guys more focused and poised for this game. Look for the Deacs to take way better care of the ball tonight, and clean up some of the sloppy turnovers.
3. Black Ice
I'll be frank: this one should be a clear cut blow out win for the Deacs. Even with players returning from injuries, we're up against a very young team that only won 4 games last year. I suspect that we will see some of the walk ons get playing time down the stretch.
Prediction: 85-59 Wake Forest