Miami Looks To Continue ACC Success At Wake Forest

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes (22-3, 13-0) travel to Wake Forest to face the Demon Deacons (11-14, 4-9) in a battle of ACC foes. The game can be seen on the ACC Network or ESPN3, or heard via 560 WQAM. Miami trails the all time series 8-6.

Fun fact: Miami has not lost a basketball game since I came on board at State of the U, right before the La Salle game. We’re also undefeated in conference play, which is when Juan joined the team. We are solely responsible for the success of this team, and accept donations. Thanks in advance!

On Saturday, the Canes look to extend our incredible streak (fine, their incredible streak, whatever) at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons enter the contest having lost two straight and 6 of 7 overall.

Wake Forest Scouting Report

Contrary to Miami’s last two opponents, Wake Forest plays a much more up tempo style of basketball. The Deacons average about 69 possessions per game, compared to Miami’s usual 65. After last second wins in their last two games, I’m sure the Canes are welcoming this change of style. Wake Forest is led by senior guard CJ Harris, who averages 15 points on 47% shooting from the floor (and 39% from deep). Junior forward Travis McKie serves as a nice complement to Harris; McKie is averaging 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Outside of that, however, the cupboard is pretty bare in Winston Salem. Wake Forest only averages 0.97 points per possession, which ranks them 238th in the nation… So yeah, they like to push the pace, but they struggle offensively, just like Virginia and Clemson do. Furthermore, they struggle on the glass, averaging only 33 rebounds per game. With a higher pace, you’d expect more rebounds per game, due to the increased volume of shots being taken. This is clearly not true.

What’s really going to trouble Wake Forest in this matchup is their turnovers. They turn the ball over on 21.1% of possessions. One out of every five Wake Forest possessions ends in a turnover. Miami thrives when they can get out in transition, and if the Deacons are going to turn it over that often, they’re going to be out of this one in a hurry.

Defensively, things don’t look much better. Virginia and Clemson are both elite defensive squads, but Wake Forest doesn’t fit that bill. They allow 1.01 points per possession, which ranks them 200th in the country. The Deacons also do a bad job of defending without fouling – they average 20 fouls per game, which is 30th worst in D1. Durand Scott and Shane Larkin will have field days if Wake is going to hack them whenever they get in to the lane.

Key For The Canes

Hit Threes. Miami has struggled immensely from beyond the arc over the course of their last two games. Against Clemson, the Canes shot only 3-19, and against Virginia, they went 1-7 from deep. 4 for 26 over a two game stretch. That’s 15%. That isn’t very good. The only way Wake Forest will stay in this game is if Miami struggles once again from deep, and even that’s a bit of a stretch.

Prediction

Any team that turns the ball over as often as the Demon Deacons do is going to be in trouble against Miami. Larkin, Scott and Trey McKinney-Jones are notorious for living in the passing lanes, and those guys are great in transition. It would take a major letdown performance by Miami on the offensive end for Wake Forest to have a chance, but then again, after our last two performances, would you really be surprised? I expect a statement to be made after a few people have soured on Miami over the last week or so. Final score: 74-54 Miami.

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