Danny Manning got the second ACC win of his head coaching career at Wake Forest and wants to go ahead and notch victory number three as Mark Gottfried and N.C. State head to Winston-Salem for a North Carolina brawl.
The game tips off at 8:00 PM and Coach Manning has requested that fans wear gold to the game.
N.C. State comes into the game at 14-9 overall (5-5 in the ACC), while the Deacs sit at 10-12 (2-7). Both teams got close victories on Saturday over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech respectively. The Pack's win was a bit closer than Wake, as Trevor Lacey hit a long three as time expired to win 81-80 in overtime.
Wake led for most of the game against Virginia Tech, but once again let an opponent back in the game late. Fortunately big free throws from Mitchell Wilbekin and Madison Jones sealed the deal for a 73-70 victory.
Tonight is the second game of the year against N.C. State (the first such occurrence this year). Wake fell in Raleigh on Dec. 6th, 78-65 in 72 possession game.
Codi Miller-McIntyre led Wake with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Devin Thomas and Wilbekin chipped in 10 points apiece as well.
Ralston Turner poured in 21 points, while Lacey and Barber had 15 and 14 points.
The big thing that stuck out in that game was the rebounding margin. N.C. State outrebounded the Deacs 39-31. The 21% offensive rebounding effort for the Deacs is the second worst on the year (behind the Duke game). If Wake wants to turn it around and get a win tonight it will have to do a better job on the boards.
Thomas is seemingly a completely different player now than he was in early December. It will be a good test to see how he matches up against Beejay Anya, who completely dominated the interior in the first game.
N.C. State ranks 32nd in the country in offensive efficiency (1.112 PPP), while Wake ranks 109th in defensive efficiency (.984 PPP). Vice versa, the Deacs are 130th in offensive efficiency (1.034 PPP), and the Pack ranks 129th defensively (.994 PPP).
The offense of N.C. State is clearly the best sector of the four in the game tonight. It will be a big test for the guards of Wake Forest to defend Lacey, Turner, and Cat Barber. I am concerned about the height on the perimeter, especially if Wilbekin is going to see meaningful minutes (which he obviously should).
Both teams have fouled a lot in conference, which doesn't bode well for either team, as they both shoot under 66% in ACC play from the charity stripe.
Once again for the Deacs it is going to come down to where offense is going to come from outside of CMM and Devin Thomas. At this point you can rely on Codi to score around 20 points (he is averaging 17 PPG, 5 RPG, and 4 APG in ACC play), and Devin to get around a double-double (averaging 16 PPG and 10 RPG in ACC play).
The big questions is who else will contribute? Cornelius Hudson, Konstantinos Mitoglou, and Mitchell Wilbekin have done an excellent job at times, and at least two of the three guys will need to have big games to push the Deacs over the top.
I think N.C. State is a pretty tough matchup for the Deacs, particularly on the perimeter. Usually I am pretty optimistic going into games, but I see a lot of problems in the man-to-man defense against the length of the Pack. Due to that I am taking:
N.C. State- 76
Once again, I hope I am incorrect in this assessment and Wake wins by 40 points, but I foresee a tough one tonight at the Joel.