#115 R.P.I. Wake Forest @ #122 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
TV coverage: 2pm Saturday, A.c.c. Network and ESPN3
Vegas line: VT-4
$-line: bet $1.55 on VT to win $1, bet $1 on Wake to win $1.35
Wake Forest is 9 up and 6 down right now and was picked middle to slightly south of middle of the A.c.c. pack just a few months ago. Wake also played on Tuesday night and was basically spanked out on the road by the Clemson Tigers by 16 (60-44) – this after the Decs had been rounding into (better) forum having gone 5-1 in the six games previous to that. All of that posits to me that the Dec’s are prolly a lesser post-season caliber basketball tournament team at this stage of the 2012-2013 game. The Dec’s have one of if not the best two-punch combo inside the Atlantic Coast (Harris + McKie) this year; and they have several talented freshmen in their most recruiting class. What they don’t have is ideal size and they do have a gap in class rank terms between the big-2 and the rookie year inaugural season V.H.T.’s (very highly touted’s) with only one junior year baller on this seasons squad.
These Dec’s are not unbeatable; although someone must guard C.J. Harris and Travis McKie and make someone else beat J’s boys this Saturday afternoon down inside Cassell Coliseum. On the other hand, our Hokies finally snapped outta their post-wvu funk on the road at Georgia Tech last time out. Even if you could argue that they are 10 minutes (two OT’s) removed from being on a 1 since December 1st schnide as well.
Wake Forest at a glance:
- 52nd in offensive 3-point percentage (37.1%)
- 73rd in blocks (4.5)
- 76th in offensive FG percentage overall (45.6%)
- 252nd in turnovers per game (14.9)
- 29oth in offensive rebounding
Wake Forest Frontcourt:
N.B.A. pros= 1, (Forward, 6`7“ 210 lb. Travis McKie, might slot overseas, though this guy is a skilful big and there is always room for that on somebodies court home or abroad)
Injuries= 1, (Daniel Green, out for the year, torn right-A.c.l., God bless! Danny was a 6`10, long, athletic, bouncy gazelle of a over-sized Wing now listed as a P.F/C combo. Real match-up problem if he could have ever added some right-mass at a mere 21o lbs., worker-bee and offensive rebounding machine; first team all-AAAAAA Texas as a scholastic senior)
Wake returns the Top-2, well, returning scores in the whole entire A.c.c. At least in 2012 close of business terms. Mr. McKie who’s metrics are listed above, is a third year swap-meet forward who can play the three (Small-Forward) just as easily as he can man the four (Power-Forward). McKie is a Richmond Va. high school (John Marshall) Commonwealth escapee who is very good at Wake and likely would have been a frontcourt star at Vah.Tech. Travis is a long athletic Wing who can finish, and who can shoot at least a little bit on top of that at 30% from range. If you don’t believe my all-‘round vibe, check out Travis’ stat-line down at Wake. Right now he is barely second in scoring (15.2 ppg), first in boards with 7.5, first in steals with 1.7, second in blocks at .7, and first in FTA’s for the Dec’s with 99 FTA’s. 77% from the FT-stripe may not be A+ epic, though it ain’t much below a flat-B in today’s game either. Travis is also durable, having started every single collegiate game since he arrived on campus three autumns ago. Right now he is on pace to bust 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds this year! That does not suck and neither does one of the more dependable frontcourter’s in the A.c.c. right about now. Not bad for the 12th ranked small-forward outta high school; even if he is a Va.H.S. refugee.
Wake Forest Backcourt:
Association pros=1, (there are three things the Association always needs more of: rebounding, defending and shooting. C.J.Harris has the final two of those three)
C.J. Harris is a 6`3“ 190 lb. senior year baller homegrown from Winston-Salem itself. Cee.Jay is the extremely rare three-year team Captain and that right there tells you all you need to know about his leadership attributes in and of itself. C.J. is sixt in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and first on the Dec’s in the same at 15.7 ppg. Mr. Harris also gets you a couple of boards and assists and he is positively setting it on fire from downtown at 45% on the 3-ball this year. C.J. is known for his defense, his ability to play both backcourt spots and his high basketball Intelligence Quotient. C.J. likewise pockets 54% from the floor and 82% from the FT-line. That’s borderline superlative for a baller who routinely plays so far away from the basket that he only has two offensive rebounds on the year! C.J. is another former big-time V.P.I. recruit who is a national honor society member, a quad-A state champion and the 19th ranked point-guard coming outta the same a few years back.
Wake Forest Bench: (2 regular subs, 2 role-players)
Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
Coach J’s boys are at the tipping point of the 2013 basketball season as I type. As our next three teams are not unbeatable anymore than they are gimmies; and our closing 2013 schedule basically only firms up after that. And the difference between possibly finishing this trifecta at 13-6 or at 10-9 is very likely the difference between achieving any manner of post-season bid and finishing the year spring-broke. Home for Wake, home for france and then at Klempson says so … or at least it does compared to playing NC.State once, U.N.C. once, and Duke and Miami twice in our final 12 games of the year. Accordingly to my 36 hours of calc’ and stat’s that’s very likely code for no better than .5oo or 6 up and 6 down and some would consider even that to be utopian at best.
Or in other words, to borrow on Coach George Allen’s epic book, The Future Is Now for Coach J’s and his hot starting and tail-spinning club ever since. We really do need to pull a Shop-Vac, Electrolux or Hoover and sweep these next three games. As 13-6 surely puts us within a normative striking distance of finishing the year even, or .5oo and that hopefully will get our post-season tix punched in some manner or another.
Apologies for the delay in this preview this week. Been out scouting High School players including one for Tech. (more on that later).
The Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame predicts a 14 point victory in favor of the visiting Decs in this one. And all recent 5-game trend fingers point to that as well. Wake is 3% better from the floor, a stunning 13% better from beyond the arc, and out-rebounding Tech by nearly +5 boards per game! Also don’t like the fact that M.Rankin is listed as “QUESTIONABLE” for this one with the frozen shoulder after the really awkward and downright insalubrious looking upper-body tie-up he suffered down in the ATL. Where it looked like his shoulder may have come outta socket in fact. So I’ma gonna pick the Decs to beat the Hokies –right? ‘rong!
Actually, I’ma gonna pick the team that is +3 on rest and playing at home where the home team typically wins 7 outta 10 times in Atlantic Coast play. As Wake is only 20% out on the road this yea and has been getting beat by 6 ppg on average. That may not sound like a lot, primarily because it ain’t. so I’ll be picking a tight one here. Albeit a tight one in favor of Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech=7o, Wake Forest=67