NC State goes for the season sweep of Wake Forest on Wednesday night, when we’ll learn what DJ Burns has in mind for an encore, and if Steve Forbes conjured a couple different things to throw at him.
Burns was by far the player of the game in the first matchup, scoring 31 points to spearhead a big comeback win for NC State. That was a crucial win in a toss-up game and probably the first time I started feeling pretty good about the Pack making the NCAAs.
State has kept on track in the time since and can further solidify that bid by handling the Deacs tonight. That’s unlikely to be a simple task, as Wake Forest can score with anybody and has been the ACC’s best shooting team in league games. The Deacs lead the league in three-point attempt rate and rate second in 3FG%; they only made a third of their threes in the first game, but still averaged over 1.1 points per possession.
Wake’s defense, on the other hand, remains not much good at anything in particular. The Deacs are coming off a loss at Miami in which they surrendered 96 points on 1.27 PPP. Scored 87, though!
I wouldn’t expect tonight’s game to be quite so high-scoring, but whenever Wake’s involved, the opportunity for a back-and-forth affair with plenty of offense is always there. And Wake Forest needs to, at minimum, win-out the regular season to even think about getting back on the bubble, so the Deacs will be desperate.
That Pack has its work cut out again defensively, but they gotta guard us too, pal. KenPom likes NC State by seven.