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SF’s Take: Queens vs. Wake Forest Exhibition

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Riley already gave us a solid recap, but I thought I’d’ give some additional thoughts considering I was there and may have some further insights.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Four-Kansas State vs Wake Forest Brian Spurlocki-USA TODAY Sports
  • I really don’t think we’ll have many, if any games as ugly as this one was. Queens was built to disrupt in the most unconventional of ways, being comprised almost entirely of rangy not-bigs-but-not small guys who would almost exclusively pack the lane in an effort to wreak havoc on defense.
  • In that vein, we missed a TON of good looks both inside and out, and while the shooting percentages were abysmal (free throw line excepted), it would be disingenuous to suggest that the Deacs weren’t executing on offense. Honestly, the stretch in the late first half that saw us balloon the lead to near 20 is more what I anticipate seeing as a general rule, especially against competition of this level. There was no supernova shooting performance that wasn’t sustainable or anything, it was more a regression to the (much better) mean in terms of a return on investment from solid execution and plenty of athleticism.
  • The play of the game was by far a chasedown block by Bryant Crawford that made me exclaim “HE LEBRON’D HIM!” It wasn’t a full LeBron, as he didn’t hit it against the backboard, but boy howdy was it ever a denial of a sure layup that came, like an RKO, out of nowhere. (Gotta work in the occasional wrestling reference, sorry all.)
  • Chaundee Brown was LOCKED IN on D. If this translates to the rest of the season, then he’s one young wing we won’t need to worry about being a rotational liability. To his credit, Olivier Sarr also seemed very engaged..
  • The turnovers were just plain ugly. 20 of them in all, and 5 for Keyshawn Woods. I’m going to choose to believe this was an anomaly though, because Wake teams under Danny Manning have always been good about not turning the ball over too much, especially in the context of live ball situations.
  • We did do darn well from the free throw line, going a rather staggering 29-39 as a team. If you can draw contact and convert like that, then you can avoid some ugly shooting nights, and that kind of reliability at the line can win you some close games.
  • My biggest takeaway from this game was that the team still needs to adjust to the losses of John Collins and Konstantinos Mitoglou. I still think Doral Moore, Terrence Thompson, Olivier Sarr, and Sam Japhet-Mathias will be able to fill the hole by committee a bit more effectively than we saw tonight, but it’s clear the same level of confidence and chemistry just isn’t there yet, and I don’t think that’s necessarily worth going Chicken Little over.

I’m going to go on record and say I think we’ll be much better in the season opener next Friday. Any questions? Ask me in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer! On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF