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Previewing Wake Forest

Scouting Report / Game Plan
Season Stats (pdf)
Schedule
Roster

Wake Offense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%53.846Turnover Rate21.2114Off Reb Rate34.1157FTM/FGA30.441
It's not quite the offensive rebounding juggernaut it was during the Eric Williams era, but Wake Forest continues to maintain a good offense. Like NC State, the Deacs take relatively few three pointers and are among the best two-point shooting teams in the country.

Probable Starters (Nine different Deacs have started a game this season, so bear with me...):

Ishmael Smith (5-11, 155) -- Smith is the Deacs' second-leading scorer, averages better than 9 assists per 40 minutes, and is among the nation's leaders in assist rate. His turnover rate (26.3%) is within what I consider an acceptable range for a point guard. He's shooting the ball well from the field but has only made 44.7% (21-47) of his free throws.

Harvey Hale (6-2, 186) -- Thrust into major playing time as a freshman last season, he struggled with his shooting and turned the ball over a lot. While his shooting still needs work, he has cut down on his turnovers in 2007. He takes a high proportion of the team's shots (25.2%) while he is on the court.

LD Williams (6-4, 210) -- Solid contributor, if not a major part of the offense. His workload looks to be right where it should be.

Jamie Skeen (6-8, 220) -- There is a lot to like about Skeen already. He scores efficiently, he has range, he gets to the line often, and he's grabbing a good number of offensive rebounds. Where he needs work: defensive rebounding, two-point shooting, protecting the basketball.

Kyle Visser (6-11, 255) -- One of the league's most improved players from last season to this one:
 ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% 2FG% OR% DR% TO% PPWS

2006 95.5 19.7 17.6 45.7 44.9 13.0 14.9 25.9 1.00
2007 120.5 26.9 27.8 63.9 64.3 14.1 19.8 12.4 1.27

Even with a much larger workload, his shooting is way up, and he's halved his turnover rate. It remains to be seen how much of a toll conference play takes on his numbers, but through Wake's first three ACC games, Visser has a 115.5 offensive rating.

Bench:

Michael Drum (6-6, 204), Anthony Gurley (6-3, 185), and Shamaine Dukes (6-1, 175) are the main contributors off the bench, while David Weaver (6-10, 224), Kevin Swinton (6-7, 224), and Cameron Stanley (6-6, 214) will also get minutes.

Drum will be the sixth man if he isn't starting; he is a threat from outside (39.5% from three) and one of the few Deacs you do not want to send to the free throw line.

Gurley takes a bunch of shots--in fact, no Deacon takes a higher pecentage of the team's shots while on the court. He is seventh on the team in minutes played, third in field goal attempts.

Wake Defense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%52.5255Turnover Rate21.6190Off Reb Rate32.9142FTA/FGA38.6202
Wake has been lit up this season, both inside and out. They put opponents on the line often, but have been fortunate to have those opponents make just 64.3% of their free throw attempts.

Despite the problems, they're allowing fewer points per possession than we are. Yes, we've reached the point now where our defense is statistically worse than Wake's. For shame.

This game is close to a coin flip. Wake Forest has a slightly better defense and the home court advantage. NC State has a slightly better offense. Can we put forth the effort at the defensive end that we'll need to win? It's hard to be optimistic about that.

Pomeroy has Wake by five: 83-78. I've got Wake by a hair: 81-80.