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Wake Forest vs. Charlotte Preview

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A look at Wake Forest’s matchup against the 49ers.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Charlotte vs Syracuse Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons return home tonight after a 75-67 victory at Richmond. They will face the Charlotte 49ers, who is now 6-2 after defeating Oregon State 69-66 on Saturday. What can we expect when these teams take the court tonight?

Tonight’s contest promises to be an up-and-down contest between two North Carolina schools. Wake Forest averages 72 possessions per game (73rd nationally), while Charlotte averaged 74 (30th nationally). Look for tempo and both teams to push with every opportunity.

Pushing the tempo for Charlotte will be Jon Davis, who is leading the team with 20.8 points per game. He is one of four 49ers who averages double figures, along with Andrien White, Braxton Ogbueze, and Anthony Vanhook. The team averages 81 points per game, and offense is definitely Charlotte’s strength.

Charlotte has the 144th best offensive efficiency in the country. They are outstanding at shooting three’s, and make 39% of attempts, but are quite poor at making shots inside the arc, as they make just 46% of those. What’s unique about the outside shooting is that they only have 4 players who have attempted more than 5 3 pointers.

Charlotte is extremely disciplined with the ball, and turns the ball over on just 14% of possessions, which is the 9th best rate in the country. If they miss shots, however, don’t expect them to gain many additional attempts, because they grab just 22% of their misses (318th nationally). They are slightly below average at getting to the foul line, but then they get there they make 77% of attempts.

Charlotte’s defensive efficiency is 203rd nationally, but it could actually be worse than that. They allow opponents to attempt a lot of three’s, and while opponents are only making 33% of attempts, teams like Wake Forest could easily make them pay. They also allow opponents to shoot above 51% from inside the arc, so expect John Collins to feast yet again. I’d also like to see Dinos Mitoglou posting up, and it’s possible that Wake can get Doral Moore some looks as well.

The 49ers are very good at forcing turnovers, so it’s important does not make careless passes on the perimeter that allow Charlotte’s guards to generate transition opportunities. Wake also has to do a better job of feeding the post with intent and touch. Charlotte is also horrific on the defensive glass. They are a guard oriented team, and that’s a sacrifice those teams make. Even if Wake Forest isn’t able to make their initial shots, they should be able to get plenty of additional opportunities. They also do a fantastic job of not letting opponents get to the charity stripe, so that will be another area to watch.

Overall, Wake Forest should absolutely be able to take care of business tonight. The key will be contesting three point attempts, limiting turnovers, and controlling the offensive glass. If they can do those three things, then the Deacs should get to 7-2 pretty comfortably.

The action begins tonight at 7:00 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. What are your thoughts on the game?