Wake Forest (8-11, 1-6) will look to snap a five game losing streak when the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils come to Winston-Salem for a 9 PM tipoff (ACC Network).
The Deacs lost to the Blue Devils just 10 days ago 89-71 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. In that game freshman phenom Marvin Bagley went for 30 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Bryant Crawford led the Deacs with 21 points and 6 assists on 17 shots.
Head coach Danny Manning is 2-23 against KenPom top 25 teams since taking over at Wake Forest and will look to get that turned around.
There’s not a lot to write about since we previewed and recapped a game against Duke just 10 days ago, and not a lot has changed since then. Duke has won four in a row, while Wake has lost five in a row.
Duke is the 2nd most efficient team in the nation on offense, but struggle a bit defensively, ranking 82nd nationally. Bagley is the No. 3 player in the KP Player of the Year award, trailing only Trae Young of Oklahoma and Jock Landale of Saint Mary’s.
The Deacs put up a good fight against No. 2 ranked Virginia, but once again faded late as the defense fell apart down the stretch en route to a 59-49 loss.
In order for Wake Forest to win tonight it will have to get better play from the guard positions. We have discussed this a lot lately, but the back court shooting, shot selection, turnovers, and perimeter defense all continue to be below the level needed to win in ACC play.
I would like to see Donovan Mitchell get some more time for Wake Forest as he is the only scholarship player with a positive +/- in ACC play at +28. Everybody else is in the negatives.
While I do not think Wake wins tonight I do think it will cover the spread of 9.5 and have a game that is similar to the last few we have seen. That means good play early, disciplined passin, and intense defense at times, but still a failure to close out the game when the pressure is on the most.
Duke has absurd talent in its front court and it will be important for Doral Moore to stay out of foul trouble.
I predict Bryant Crawford will snap out of his slump and go for at least 20 in a fairly efficient shooting night (by his standards).
KenPom has Duke winning 89-78, but once again I believe we will keep it within single digits.
After tonight Wake travels to Louisville to take on the Cardinals at 8 PM on Saturday. Duke also resumes ACC play on Saturday when it hosts No. 2 Virginia at Cameron Indoor in a battle of top four teams in the country.