Duke (17-5, 6-3) – Wake Forest (14-8, 4-5) Preview
Randy Dunson(@RandyDunson) & Brian Horace
February 4, 2014
Duke returns to the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium after a heartbreaking loss to Syracuse last Saturday 91-89 in OT. There is no shame in this road loss to the now No. 1 team (were No. 2) in the nation and this game was deemed by many as an ‘instant classic’ and play between the two teams has now set up a new rivalry in the ACC. The loss did drop the Blue Devils a full two games behind Virginia, but there is a lot of basketball yet to play. They are still playing excellent basketball as of late and are as dangerous as Syracuse and UVA atop the ACC. Duke’s offense is ranked best in the nation in adjusted efficiency, and they are scoring a boggling 1.21 PPP in conference play. The Blue Devils are currently ranked No. 11 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches’ polls.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, is a team still struggling to find its identity. The game with Duke will begin a stretch that sees the Deacons play four out of five games on the road beginning with Duke. Wake then will enjoy a bye weekend following the Duke game before returning to the court on Tuesday, February 11, for a game at NC State. They are then back at the LJVM Coliseum on Saturday, February 15, when the Deacons host Florida State. The Demon Deacons lead the ACC in free throw rate (48.8) and is averaging 27 free throw attempts per game. The Deacons are scoring over 17 points per game at the line on the season.
Team Seasons Thus Far
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
In its last outing, Georgia Tech staved off a late comeback attempt from Wake Forest to beat the Demon Deacons 79-70 on Saturday, February 1 at LJVM Coliseum. Playing without leading scorer sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre (14.4 PPG, 3.8 APG) who suffered an ankle injury in the closing seconds of the first half, the Demon Deacons cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to five points with three minutes left and had the ball, but an offensive foul call killed Wake Forest’s momentum, allowing Tech to escape with the win. Senior forward Travis McKie (11.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG) scored a career-high 26 points, 18 of them in the second half to spark Wake Forest’s comeback attempt. The senior shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line and 6-of-10 from the field. He is the first Demon Deacon to shoot 100 percent from the charity stripe with at least 11 attempts since Justin Gray went 13-of-13 against Wisconsin in 2005. Miller-McIntyre scored 10 points in the first half before his injury. Sophomore forward Devin Thomas (11.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG) grabbed nine rebounds, scored seven points, and dished out four assists. Sophomore forward Arnaud William Adala Moto (6.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG) scored eight points, including a 6-of-7 mark from the free throw line, and sophomore guard Madison Jones (3.8 PPG, 3.5 APG) also had eight. Overall, Wake Forest shot 81.8 percent (27-of-33) from the free throw line in a foul-filled game, the Deacons’ best mark of the season.
With the loss to Georgia Tech, Wake Forest suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this season; the first occurring when it fell at Virginia and at Pittsburgh in early January. Graduate student guard Coron Williams (9.1 PPG, 1.2 APG, 0.2 TPG), has not committed a turnover in eight ACC games over a total of 192 minutes. Williams’ last turnover came on December 28 at Xavier. McKie, who was last week’s ACC Player of the Week after averaging 19 points in wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. The Deacons lead the ACC in free throw rate (48.1) and are averaging 27 free throw attempts per game. The Deacons are scoring 17 points per game at the line on the season. Wake Forest has lost 83 percent of the time this season (1-5) after recording 20 or fewer field goals made. When the opposition shoots a field goal percentage of 49.1 percent or better this season, Wake Forest has lost 100 percent of the time (0-4). When the opposition records 79 or more total points this season, Wake Forest has lost 80 percent of the time (1-4). Over the past four games, McKie has averaged 19.0 points while going 11-for-26 from 3-point range. In the four games prior, McKie averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds and gone 1-for-12 from beyond the arc. He has also led the team in scoring in five out of 22 games this season and has four straight double-digit point games. Thomas has led the team in rebounding in 13 out of 22 games this season.
Duke Blue Devils
Oh my, what a beautiful game for both teams on Saturday night, February 1! Unfortunately, Syracuse snapped Duke’s five-game win streak with a 91-89 overtime thriller, which was undefeated Syracuse’s smallest margin of victory this season. This was Duke’s first overtime game this season, and first since a 70-65 win against Virginia Tech on February 25, 2012. Sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon tied the game with three-pointers twice in the final minute of regulation, knotting the score at 75-75 with 48 seconds left and then at 78-78 at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Sulaimon also hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds remaining in a 69-64 win against Virginia on January 13. Duke weathered early foul trouble to senior guard Andre Dawkins, sophomore forward Amile Jefferson, and freshman forward Jabari Parker, who each picked up their fourth fouls with more than nine minutes remaining in the game. Sophomore forward Rodney Hood was also charged with his fourth with 2:02 remaining in the game. Duke played the entire overtime period without Parker and Jefferson. The Devils hit a season-high 15 three-pointers on a season-high 36 attempts. Both the made three-pointers and three-point attempts tied for the ninth most in a single game in Duke history. The 15 made treys marked Duke’s most since hitting 15 against Bradley on December 8, 2010, while the 36 attempts were the most since Duke attempted 36 at North Carolina n Feb. 8, 2012. Duke became only the second team all season to top 80 points against Syracuse and only the third to score over 70. Syracuse entered the game holding opponents to 57.8 points per game. Jefferson and Parker combined for 11 of Duke’s 18 offensive rebounds. Duke totaled 22 second-chance points, marking the fourth straight game, and fifth time this season, that Duke has gotten at least 20 points on second-chance opportunities. Syracuse held a 38-35 lead at halftime, marking the first time all season Duke trailed at the half.
Duke leads the all-time series with Wake Forest, 162-77. The Blue Devils have won each of the past seven meetings, including twice last season. The Wake Forest-Duke series is the oldest in the ACC, dating back to the 1906 season. The series is also the league’s most frequently played, as it is in its 240th all-time meeting. With the recent ACC expansion, Wake Forest and Duke are now annual rivals who will play twice every season. The Blue Devils replace Georgia Tech as one of Wake Forest’s two rivals, along with NC State.
In terms of a few select statistical parameters, Duke pretty much predominates in each, which gives the Blue Devils a significant edge head-to-head.
|TEAM||AVG SCORE||AVG ½ SCORE||FG%||REB||3PT MADE||STEALS|
|Wake Forest||69.2||34.1||43.4||34.6||41 – 120||5.5|
|Duke||80.2||40.8||45.3||35.9||73 – 212||8.0|
Four Factors to Winning
Duke has the upper hand in three of the four factors to winning for this game. They include shooting (eFG%) at 55.2 vs. 48.8, ball handling (TO%) at 14.1 vs. 17.2, and offensive rebounding (OR%) 33.5 vs. 30.9. Wake has a slight edge in shooting free throws (FT Rate) at 48.8% vs. 40.7%.
For Duke turning this Wake team over will be important, Duke will need to convert Wake turnovers into points. Wake has played a very good non-conference schedule, going against Xavier, Tennessee and Kansas. Unfortunately or Wake they did not win any of those games and to make the tournament they are going to need a signature win, and with Duke having played its best game of the season this could very easily be a trap game for the Devils.
Duke will need to take care of business at home and use the Cameron Crazies to their advantage and feed off that crowd. Duke will need to defend without fouling much better than it did against Syracuse. Losing its top two rebounders at crunch time spelled doom for Duke on Saturday and could again. Duke will also need to get to free throw line with much more frequency – it’s a telling stat when it comes to offensive aggressiveness. Duke needs to look inside-out, rather than outside-in. Duke should utilize the weapon it has in Jabari Parker, he should never go a game without getting 6-10 attempts at the free throw line. Duke, as a team, needs to do more drive and kick, only good things can happen when you penetrate the defense. You have shooters at nearly every position and passers in Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee who can get them shots with interior to exterior passing.
If trends continue then Duke should win this game but in the ever-unpredictable ACC, each game is its own narrative. Duke will need to build on its performance in the Dome against the Cuse and we feel that they win this game by double figures. We believe that Wake will turn the ball over double-digit times and that Duke will out rebound the Demon Deacons by at least 8. We look for a good game from Quinn Cook on the offensive end, he will rebound from his shooting woes against Syracuse. In addition, Amile Jefferson will record a double-double for the Blue Devils, as will Jabari Parker. We would like to see a much more aggressive Rodney Hood, one that uses his 3 point shot as a decoy to get to the rim, finish and get to the line.