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Three Things Wake Forest Must Do To Win Tonight

What are the three things Wake should focus on to get the win tonight?

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we took a look at the three things that Kansas State needs to do in order to come out with a win tonight. Today we will focus on Wake Forest and the three benchmarks that they need to meet that will lead to a victory.

Three Things Wake Forest Must Do To Win Tonight

1. Have a Free Throw Rate of at least 40%.

Basically this means that Wake Forest needs to get to the free throw line a lot. Free throw rate is determined with the formula: FTA/FGA. When Wake Forest gets at least a Free Throw Rate of at least 40% they are 15-2 on the season. When they fail to hit that number they are 4-11. This makes a lot of sense because Wake Forest is so lethal from the free throw line, ranking 12th in the nation at 77%.

A big part of the recent hot play has been getting to the free throw line. In 4/5 games, Wake has gotten to the 40% number, and the last time they lost when getting there is to Duke at the end of January.

Kansas State has only allowed a 40%+ FT Rate in 6 games this season. This tells me that they play good defense without fouling. A lot of this number can be achieved by getting John Collins the ball early, and also driving aggressively to the basket.

2. Shoot at least 40% from the 3-point line

This stat is a little more straightforward than the last one. When Wake Forest shoots over 40% from the three-point line they are 15-3 on the year. They fall to a 4-10 record when they fall short of this mark. The good news is that Kansas State is one of the worst teams in the country at defending the perimeter, while Wake is one of the best at shooting the 3-ball.

The Wildcats have allowed opponents to eclipse the 40% mark 13 times this season, yet hold a respectable 6-7 record in those games. This shows that they know how to win when opponents hit a lot of threes, meaning it’s not a high priority for them to stop the three-ball as long as they do well in other facets of the game (primarily forcing turnovers).

3. Hold the opponent to under a 115 offensive efficiency.

You will remember from yesterday that Kansas State’s defensive benchmark is to hold the opposing team to a 100 offensive efficiency or below. Well for Wake’s defense it is a much easier bar to reach, as the Demon Deacons are a whopping 18-3 when they hold the opposing team to under a 115 offensive efficiency. When they fail to do this they fall to 1-10 on the year. This is the single-most important metric that indicates whether Wake will win or lose.

When Kansas State gets to 115 or better, as they have in 9 games, they are 8-1. A 115 offensive efficiency corresponds to roughly 1.15 points per possession, or approximately 75-80 points in a 65-70 possession game.

All of these stats make sense, even when you look at the big picture instead of the exact number that Wake needs to achieve. The Demon Deacons have a really good offense, and when they get to the free throw line, make a high percentage of three-pointers, and play even mediocre defense, they win a lot of their games.

On the Kansas State side all three of their keys were on the defensive side of the ball, where they must limit the opposition to a low offensive efficiency, and force a lot of turnovers in order to win the game.

These are all keys that you can be aware of when you watch the game tonight.