With the beginning of ACC play, we have another edition of #therivalry on our hands, as the Boston College Eagles travel to North Carolina to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
With the game upcoming, we join up with our partner BloggerSoDear.com, and basketball writer Robert Reinhard to preview the Deacs.
1. Wake has struggled a little bit to open up ACC play. To what do you attribute this to?
The FSU loss wasn't totally unexpected, as they seem to be a legit top 15 or 20 team in the country. Wake had a 66-61 lead with about 9 minutes to go due to bad turnovers and then bad transition defense. It didn't help that sophomore John Collins missed a lot of the game with foul trouble. Against Clemson, Wake had about a 95% win probability with 3 minutes to go, but blew that game because the Deacs completely forgot how to play basketball. It didn't help that Wake's two best players were sitting on the bench at that time for no apparent reason. The biggest culprit at the end was a lack of care for the basketball, which led to bad turnovers and easy run outs for Clemson.
2. It's Danny Manning's third season. How's he doing?
It's tough to say. He's an improvement over Jeff Bzdelik, but that's not exactly the highest hurdle in the world. Wake finished around 120th in Ken Pom during each of his last two seasons. Last year started off promising in non-conference play with wins over Indiana, UCLA, and LSU before dreadful performances in conference play. I've seen us play so many tight games, but we routinely find ways to lose them.
He has clearly improved the talent level of the roster, Wake is now up to 44th in Ken Pom, and Wake has a McDonald's All-American candidate/high four star recruit signed to play next year. He's good at a macro level, but his substitution patterns can be infuriating throughout the game, and especially late.
3. Who is an x-factor to keep an eye on?
I'll go with Dinos Mitoglou. The stretch 4 from Greece was incredible in Wake's blowout victory over LSU. He was knocking down triples left and right, and finished with a career-high 28 points. He also has the ability to post up smaller defenders, and I think he can occasionally take advantage of Connar Tava if Tava is defending Mitoglou.
4. Can we not talk about the game BC and Wake played last year? Like ever again?
That's fine. I don't think either of us want to talk about conference play from last year, so I'm cool with this truce.
5. Best case? Worst case?
Best case is that Wake is knocking down triples and feeding John Collins on the interior en route to a 20+ point victory that instills some confidence moving forward. Worst case is a loss, by any margin. This is a game that Wake absolutely has to win.
I'll take Wake Forest to win 72-60. I believe that John Collins will have a decided advantage on the inside, and Bryant Crawford will get a few steals that will lead to easy transition baskets.