The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-2) head up to Virginia on Saturday afternoon to take on the Richmond Spiders (4-3). Wake Forest suffered a 65-58 loss at Northwestern on Monday night and Richmond lost 73-68 at Bucknell. Wake Forest defeated Bucknell 94-74 in the second game of the season, so hopefully the transitive property is our friend on Saturday. What can we expect out of Richmond?
Richmond is led offensively by senior T.J. Cline, who is averaging 18.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He makes more than 60% of his field goals from inside the arc, but is making just 24% of his shots from the outside. Richmond’s other lead player is guard ShawnDre’ Jones, who is averaging 18.4 points and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 43% from the outside. The pair combined for 35 points in last year’s 91-82 Richmond victory over Wake Forest early on in the season.
The Spiders are a balanced team who have the 108th best offensive efficiency and the 116th best defensive efficiency. They play with moderate tempo, which is a significant increase from prior Richmond teams that practically crawled the ball up the court. They are a poor 3-point shooting team, as they shoot just 32% from beyond the arc, but they do make 52% of their shots from inside the arc. They also protect the ball well, but are horrific at grabbing offensive rebounds, as they rebound just 22.5% of their misses and 30% is the national average. They are average at getting to the charity stripe, but shoot just 64% from the foul line.
Richmond’s defensive strength is field goal percentage defense. Opponents are shooting just 41% on two-point field goals, which is the 23rd best percentage nationally, and just 33% from the outside. It’s somewhat of a surprise that the interior defense is so good, however, as the Spiders block just 7.8% of shots inside the arc, which is 228th nationally. That leads me to believe that John Collins can still get a number of excellent looks on the inside, and I also hope that Dinos Mitoglou looks to post up several times. A relatively high percentage of opponents’ shots against Richmond come from beyond the arc, and this could be by defensive design. If so, that’s certainly something that Wake Forest can take advantage of.
Wake Forest was incredibly sloppy with the basketball against Northwestern and that could be problematic against Richmond if that trend continues, as Richmond forces opponents to turn it over on 21% of possessions. The two that Wake fans should be aware of most are guards Khwan Fore and De’Monte Buckingham. Richmond is also very bad at grabbing defensive rebounds, and that’s another area where Wake Forest can take advantage. Even if Richmond plays good initial defense, Wake can still overcome that by grabbing their misses and eventually converting. Richmond is also poor at stopping teams from getting to the charity stripe, which is Wake is shooting nearly 80% from the foul line.
The action will tip off on Saturday at noon on ESPNU.