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Wake Forest vs. College of Charleston Preview

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How do the Deacs match up against the Cougars?

NCAA Basketball: Charleston Classic-Central Florida vs Charleston Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will compete for 3rd place in the Gildan Charleston Classic on Sunday evening when they take on the College of Charleston Cougars, who were upset by the UCF Knights on Friday evening. What can we expect when these two teams take the court on Sunday night?

College of Charleston is actually playing on their home court, so naturally they got upset in the 2nd round and now Wake Forest will essentially be playing a road game in a November tournament. College of Charleston was truly atrocious offensively against UCF and scored just 40 points on 60 possessions. They shot just 27% (WOOF!) from the field, but on the bright side they did shoot 70% from free throw line. Jarrell Brantley and Joe Chealey combined to make just 6 of 25 field goal attempts. In my opinion, that is not very good.

This game is going to feature two distinct tempos, as Wake Forest will look to push the ball almost every chance they get, while Charleston is very deliberate on offense. Wake has been sensational on offense so far this season, and has the 30th best adjusted offensive efficiency in the country. The offensive performance against Villanova was phenomenal, and should be a sign of excellent things to come. The problem, however, is that Wake Forest also has to play defense, and they just aren’t very good at that. The Deacs have the 152nd best defensive efficiency in the country, and really struggled at perimeter defense. Austin Arians and Dinos Mitoglou lack lateral quickness, and then it seems that every player gets out of position when they get in scramble mode.

On paper, this is a matchup of strengths vs. strengths as well as weaknesses vs. weaknesses. Wake’s aforementioned offense is excellent, while Charleston has the 36th best defense in the country. Wake’s defense is 152nd, and Charleston’s offense is 222nd.

Even though College of Charleston has a strong defensive efficiency, I believe Wake can have a lot of success against the Cougars. I don’t see anyone on the inside who can stop John Collins. Jarrell Brantley and Nick Harris will provide some rim protection, but I still believe that Collins will have yet another strong outing. Dinos should also be able to take advantage of some mismatches and post up when he gets those chances. He’s done that several times during the first three games, and I hope that he looks to do it again.

One area that could be problematic is protecting the ball. College of Charleston forces opponents to turn it over on 24% of possessions. While Wake has been very good at protecting the ball this year, it’s something they’ve been poor at in recent years, so I’ll remain cautious in this area. Wake should have an advantage on the offensive glass, so even if they miss initial chances, I expect them to be able to capitalize on put backs.

College of Charleston is pretty weak across the board offensively, but they have done a nice job of getting to the line. The Cougars haven’t done a nice job of grabbing offensive rebounds, but Wake has also struggled grabbing defensive rebounds, so hopefully Wake can have some success there. It’s frustrating when Wake doesn’t grab defensive boards because it mostly seems due to lack of boxing out. They clearly have the size and talent to consistently rebound at a high level, they just have to do it.

I know that Wake is playing a quasi road game in this one, but I’m going to take the Deacs to win this one because they are the better team. I believe that Wake is too talented offensively, and will do a better job of grabbing defensive rebounds and limiting College of Charleston’s second-chance opportunities. I think that Wake is going to have strong ball movement and will have 5 or more players score in double-figures.

The action tips off at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening. You can catch the action on ESPNU or the Watch ESPN app.