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Three Up, Three Down: Miami

Well that was satisfying. A game that was pretty close at points but in which Wake never trailed and always had an answer, this outing was exactly what both the team and the fans needed.

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

John Collins. 27 points. 9-11 shooting. 9-9 from the line. 7 boards. This was the most dominant performance by any Wake Forest big man I can ever personally recall. The good news is that Collins is dominating. The bad news, if he keeps dominating like this, he might not be here much longer. All I can say is, please stay another year, John.

Ball Movement. For the most part, the passing in sets was crisp, skilled, and effective. The Deacs had a fantastic 17 assists on 30 made baskets. There’s a reason Miami had absolutely no answer for our offense, because we gashed them all night. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that Miami’s defense is one of the best in the country, and we still exposed it.

Always Having An Answer. The fact is, Miami did not go away. They kept fighting. and they went on some really scary runs over the course of the contest. That said, though, Wake Forest showed tremendous mental toughness and composure under pressure. When Miami cut Wake Forest’s lead to 6 points with a few minutes to go, rather than collapsing like in the Clemson game, the Deacs buckled down and went on an 8-0 run of their own to seal the game away. If we had that kind of instinct before, we’d have won the Clemson game most definitely, and quite possibly some others.

The Downs

Unable To Break The Press. At times, watching the Deacs try to break the full court press of Miami in the second half was absolutely painful. I was really surprised that, with the ballhandlers we have, we didn’t do more with trying to break the press on the floor. It seemed like we almost exclusively tried to break the press with over the top passes that led to bad turnovers. If we don’t work on breaking a press, a team like Louisville is going to absolutely eat our lunch.

Second Half Defense. Miami shot almost 70% in the second half. That is just...atrocious. There are no two ways about that. I don’t know what happened, but whatever it was, it was not good. We are extremely lucky we did as good of a job as we did on offense. Otherwise I can tell you we’d have lost this game.

Doral Moore: Made An Impact, But Was Limited. Doral Moore did one heck of a job in this game when he was on the floor, but the big man fouled out of the game in only 12 minutes. That’s a consistent problem with Doral, and something he really needs to improve if he wants to continue to help the team, which I’m sure he does.

The Bottom Line

We’re projected to be in the NCAA Tournament as of this writing, and that speaks volumes. This was the best offensive clinic we have seen literally in the better part of a decade, and if our defense can catch up even somewhat to our offense, we’ll be cliimbing the ACC ranks before long The game against State is huge. If we can win tomorrow, I’ll start to believe, not just in the future, but in the present.

On to the next. Go Deacs.