On a day that the ACC Champion in football will be crowned, Richmond (1-6) travels to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest (3-4) in a 4 PM afternoon tilt at the LJVM. The game will air on RSN (ACC Network) and should be on television for anybody in the ACC footprint.
Richmond is coached by Chris Mooney, now in (unbelievably) his 13th season at the helm of the Spiders. Wake Forest is coached by Danny Manning, currently in his fourth season.
The season has not been very fun so far for either team, with each team dropping head-scratching games to start the year. While Wake fell to Georgia Southern and Liberty before going 1-2 in the Paradise Jam, a tournament that the Deacs were favored to win to start the year, Richmond lost its first two games at home to Delaware and Jacksonville State.
The Deacs have won two games in a row, including a midweek win over Illinois in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Richmond has lost four games in a row, two at neutral sites and two at the Robins Center.
This is the first road game of the year for the Spiders, but the road team has won the last three match-ups in this meeting.
The Spiders are a young team and are led in scoring and rebounding by 6-10 freshman Grant Golden, who is averaging 15.7 PPG and 6.1 RPG. He is also averaging 2 blocks and 2 assists per game. It appears that Mooney has struck “gold-in” this one (thank you for humoring me).
The match-up between Golden and Doral Moore should be a fun one to watch. Although since Golden can step out and hit the three I would not be surprised to see Wake Forest go back to the 2-3 zone that was so successful against Illinois to help Moore defensively and also keep him out of foul trouble.
In addition to Golden, Richmond has a 5-9 freshman point guard in Jacob Gilyard, who is playing 35 minutes per game and averaging 10 PPG.
Richmond has some serious weak spots that stick out upon closer examination. It is allowing opponents to shoot nearly 59% from two-pointers on the year (9th worst in the nation), which could prove very problematic since Moore is shooting almost 85% from the field this season, primarily on dunks and alley-oops.
On the offensive end the Spiders struggle immensely from behind the three-point line, which has been the Achilles Heel of the Deacs so far. This will be a battle of attrition, as the Spiders shoot 29.2% from behind the arc, while the Deacs allow opponents to shoot 42.5% from behind the three-point line.
Another battle of weaknesses is on the rebounding side of things. Richmond is 327th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and Wake Forest is 318th in defensive rebounding percentage. Somebody has to win there, so that will be nice for at least one of the teams.
Overall I think that Wake Forest matches up very well in the game today, which is payback for all the years that it didn’t match-up well against the Spiders. Usually when I am overly optimistic about a game things go the opposite way, so I apologize if I jinx the Deacs today, but I see this one being a double-digit Wake Forest win.
It will be a bit slower and more methodical than we are used to seeing out of Wake, but I think Doral Moore gets a double-double with at least 15+ points as the guards pound it to him inside relentlessly.
I’ll take the Deacs 75-59 over Richmond to notch its third straight win and get back to .500 at 4-4.
If you are planning on going to the basketball game today then be sure to make it a double-header with the soccer game over at Spry Stadium on campus. The No. 1 seeded soccer game kicks off at 7 PM against the two-time defending champion No. 9 Stanford with a berth to the College Cup (the soccer Final Four) on the line.
Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance, as the game is nearing a sellout as of this article going live.