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NC State aims for a bounce-back win against Wake Forest

Let’s just forget about that UVA game.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Wake Forest Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Wake Forest broke through for its first NCAA tournament bid in seven seasons, largely on the strength of its elite offense. In the absence of John Collins, however, the Deacs have not been nearly as good in 2018, and at 8-9 overall, a second consecutive trip to the tourney looks unlikely.

Wake is still effective at the offensive end—it is 49th in offensive efficiency—but that has not been good enough to overcome a defense that ranks just 155th. The defense is actually a bit better this season, but without the luxury of a top-10 offense, finding wins has been more difficult.

— Collins did just about everything well, especially scoring in the paint, and the Deacs have struggled to replace that production in the aggregate. Their two-point accuracy has dipped from 52.1% (62nd nationally) last season to 48.2% (261st) in 2018.

— Big man Doral Moore is having a great season (72.4% on twos) but he doesn’t account for the same workload that Collins did, hence the team’s predicament.

— Wake shoots over 39% from three as a team and has five main rotation players hitting better than 35%, and this is what makes the Deacs most dangerous. It’s difficult to account for that many shooters.

— Other than that, though, the Deacs don’t do anything exceptionally well. They are average in terms of ball security and only a bit above average on the offensive boards.

— Defensively, Wake’s perimeter efforts have been lacking, and opponents are making nearly 40% of their threes. Opponents also shoot a lot of threes against this group, which is a bad combination.

— The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by five.