2010-11 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest

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(home games)
  • Date: Saturday, January 15, 2011
  • Time: 8 pm
  • TV: The ACC Network

After a tough Thursday night loss to North Carolina, the Hokies have a quick
turnaround game with Wake Forest on Saturday night in Blacksburg. This is
another must-win home game for Virginia Tech, and they’ll be facing a Wake team
that has struggled against just about everyone they’ve faced.

Wake Forest is 7-10 on the season, with an 0-2 record in conference play.
Wake’s best victory was a 63-56 win over Hampton in November. Other than that,
they have failed to beat anyone ranked in the top 150. They have lost to
Stetson, Winthrop, UNC Wilmington and Presbyterian. They barely got past 0-15
UNC Greensboro by two points.

In short, this is a very bad basketball team. They have already lost six home
games, and have won just once away from Lawrence Joel Coliseum. That victory
came against Elon, who isn’t quite at the same level as Virginia Tech. In their
other road games, Wake lost to Xavier (83-75), Richmond (90-74) and NC State
(90-69). The Demon Deacons are obviously having a lot of trouble playing
defense, particularly on the road.

That’s mostly because first year head coach Jeff Bzdelik has a very young
basketball team. Despite the fact that the ACC seems a bit down this year, it’s
going to be a long year for Wake Forest.

Wake
Forest Starting Lineup
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G C.J. Harris 6-3 185 So. 10.5 3.7
G Gary Clark 6-4 205 Sr. 11.5 2.5
F Ari Stewart 6-7 205 So. 11.2 5.6
F Travis McKie 6-7 205 Fr. 13.2 7.8
C Carson Desrosiers 7-0 235 Fr. 4.3 3.6

Finding guys who can score is not an issue for the Demon Deacons. They have a
number of guards and wings who can put the ball in the basket, and some of them
were heavily recruited by Virginia Tech. C.J. Harris, Gary Clark and Travis
McKie were once recruiting targets of Seth Greenberg.

Richmond native Travis McKie is Wake Forest’s best overall player, despite
spending some of his minutes out of position at power forward. McKie is a
physically strong player who should have a very good career as a combo forward.
He was a top 60 recruit coming out of high school, and he appears to be a
four-year starter for the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest has a backcourt that is capable of putting up big numbers on any
given night. C.J. Harris is a talented combo guard that Virginia Tech wanted
badly. He’s a good scorer, a competent outside shooter, and he leads the Demon
Deacons in assists with 68. However, Harris also leads the team with 60
turnovers, an unacceptable number.

Last season, with Ish Smith running the point for Wake Forest, there wasn’t a
lot of pressure on Harris. He had a very good freshman season. However, as
Wake’s primary ball handler this year, his overall performance has dropped a
bit.

Gary Clark has finally broken into the starting lineup for Wake Forest as a
senior, and he is currently third on the team in scoring. Clark has good size,
and he is also an excellent shooter when left open. He is shooting 54.4% from
the field, and is 28-of-44 (63.6%) from three-point range this season.

Ari Stewart is another talented wing who played a lot last season as a
freshman. He is averaging just over 11 points per game, but like Harris, he is
struggling with turnovers. Stewart has 46 turnovers on the season, twice his
number of assists.

The team’s leading scorer has been coming off the bench recently. J.T.
Terrell (6-3, 175, Fr.) is a very quick guard who is averaging 13.3 points per
game. Terrell is a good outside shooter (38.7% from three-point range), and he
can also finish well on the inside. Once he adds some weight and gets stronger,
he has the ability to be one of the top guards in the ACC.

On the inside, the Demon Deacons start Carson Desrosiers, a freshman with
very good size. Desrosiers had seven blocks and nine rebounds in Wake’s most
recent loss to Maryland. He can use his length to his advantage, but he is still
developing as an offensive player. Wake will also bring Ty Walker (7-0, 230,
Jr.) off the bench, and he has blocked 55 shots on the season.

Wake Forest has some impressive individual talent, but they are a very young
group that has not molded into a team as of yet. They have 266 turnovers on the
season, compared to 200 assists. Opponents meanwhile have 254 assists and just
211 turnovers. Easy buckets have been relatively easy to come by for Demon
Deacon opponents on the season, while the Deacs themselves have a lot of trouble
protecting the ball.

Wake Forest is also being outrebounded by nearly three boards per game. Like
Virginia Tech, they often play with a small lineup on the court, which cuts into
their rebounding numbers.

Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have had some great battles since ACC
expansion. Overall, the Hokies have had more success against the Demon Deacons
than any other ACC team.


Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest

Year

Margin

Winner
2005 20 Wake Forest
2006 6 Virginia Tech
2006 3 Virginia Tech
2007 19 Virginia Tech
2007 2 Wake Forest
2008 22 Virginia Tech
2009 7 Virginia Tech
2010 4 Virginia Tech

There have been some very memorable games, such as last year’s game in
Cassell Coliseum where Virginia Tech rallied from an early deficit to win 87-84,
and Tech’s 78-71 victory over #1 Wake Forest back in 2009.

This will be a tough turnaround game for the Hokies. After playing UNC until
11pm on Thursday night, they likely arrived back in Blacksburg very early on
Friday morning. After getting some rest, they’ll have just one day of practice
followed by Saturday’s walk-through to prepare for the Demon Deacons.
Fortunately, if there’s one ACC team you want to face in a quick turnaround
game, it’s Wake Forest.

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