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Preview: Myrtle Beach Invitational

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Wake Forest heads to the beach to play some basketball!

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina A&T at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will test its mettle this weekend when it hits the hardwood in Conway, SC for the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The inaugural tournament features: West Virginia, St. Josephs, UCF, Wake Forest, Valparaiso, Monmouth, Western Kentucky, and Cal-State Fullerton.

Wake kicks off the tournament tomorrow with an 11:30 AM tip-off against St. Joseph’s, which will air live on ESPNU. The Deacs come into the game with a 1-0 record, while the Hawks are 2-0, with a win on Monday night against Monmouth.

Here is a look at the bracket before things get under way tomorrow.

The tournament is pretty competitive overall, as six of the eight teams rank between 74th and 134th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. West Virginia is the overwhelming favorite, not just because of its KP ranking, where it sits 14th, but also because it faces Monmouth, the only other team outside of that range, coming in at 221st.

While Wake Forest would obviously like to win the tournament, getting two victories would be a nice weekend in my mind, as well as seeing how we matchup against teams right around us. The game tomorrow against St. Joesph’s will be the first litmus test of the team that we have this season.

I watched a bit of the Hawks game against Monmouth on Monday, and came away impressed with a couple of different players.

Lamarr Kimble is a quick point guard who can get to the basket, and Wake always struggles staying in front of shifty backcourt players. This also seems to play into one of the real weaknesses that I saw on Saturday against N.C A&T, which was poor help defense and secondary help.

The best player on the Hawks might be Charlie Brown (I know), a 6-7, 200 pound wing who can knock down the deep ball and create his own shot. He is 5-10 from behind the arc on the young season, and also draws a good bit of fouls.

Finally there is the big Achilles Heel to Wake historically, the big man who can knock down threes. 6-9 Taylor Funk is just 4-12 this season from three, but shot 39% last year on 213 attempts.

The game tomorrow will be a tough one and I fully expect it to be a close one.

From there Wake will take on either the winner or loser of the UCF-Cal State Fullerton game. The Golden Knights are a slight favorite in that one, but the Titans of CSF have a pretty good team this year as well.

I assume West Virginia will take care of Monmouth, leaving Western Kentucky and Valpo as the other first round game. WKU is a favorite in that one, and has the 6th ranked recruit from the 2018 class in 6-11 Charles Bassey.

Overall I think that Wake will manage to go 2-1, but I don’t know how that will happen. If the Deacs were to lose tomorrow it would make it easier to get the two wins because that would likely bring matchups against Cal State Fullerton and then Valpo. Should the Deacs get the opening round win it would draw UCF and then either WVU or Western Kentucky.

For an in-depth preview for the St Joes game tomorrow be sure to check out Les Johns’ work over at Demon Deacon Digest. He will be covering the games tomorrow live and providing his great insight.

What do you guys think? Can the Deacs spring a couple of mini-upsets and then get a shot at West Virginia in the finals, or will it be 1-2 win weekend in Myrtle?