TV: RSN (check local listings)
Virginia Tech will look to begin ACC play with a 3-1 record when they host Wake Forest in Cassell Coliseum tonight. The Demon Deacons are 10-5 overall, and have a 1-2 record in conference play. After dropping their first two ACC games to Louisville and Duke, they rebounded to knock off NC State by three points over the weekend.
These two teams faced each other twice last season, with Wake Forest winning 73-70 in Winston Salem, and the Hokies getting an 81-80 win in the ACC Tournament. It was obviously an even matchup, and to the untrained eye it appeared Wake Forest had better players while the Hokies were better coached.
This meeting promises to be another good one. Let’s see how the teams match up. Here are Wake’s rankings …
Offensive Efficiency: #116
Defensive Efficiency: #262
Offensive Rebounding Rate: #40
Total Rebounding Rate: #64
Turnovers per Possession: #236
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: #330
The Demon Deacons are a good rebounding team, but they have really struggled on defense, and they are bad on both ends in turnovers.
Here’s how Tech ranks…
Offensive Efficiency: #136
Defensive Efficiency: #60
Offensive Rebounding Rate: #47
Total Rebounding Rate: #111
Turnovers per Possession: #117
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: #103
The Hokies have been much better defensively, and they have been a lot better when it comes to turnovers.
Of course, there are other ways to rank teams, including Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. Here’s how Wake looks…
Adjusted Offense: #71
Adjusted Defense: #150
Here’s how the Hokies compare…
Adjusted Offense: #153
Adjusted Defense: #106
Again, we see that Virginia Tech isn’t as good as Wake Forest offensively, but they are much better on the defensive end.
Wake Forest has played a very difficult schedule this season. They have defeated Indiana (#55 RPI) and UCLA (#48), and they’ve also lost to Vanderbilt (#69), Xavier (#3), Louisville (#28) and Duke (#9). They are a more battle-tested team than Virginia Tech, which explains why their numbers are pretty low in some categories.
However, the Demon Deacons are one of the most talented teams the Hokies will face this season. Here’s their starting lineup…
G Bryant Crawford (6-3, 200, Fr.): 13.2 ppg, leads ACC freshmen with 68 assists
G Mitchell Wilbekin (6-2, 175, So.): 7.8 ppg, dangerous outside shooter
G Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-3, 205, Sr.): 7.4 ppg, 21ppg vs. VT last season
F Dinos Mitoglou (6-10, 245, So.): 11.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, very skilled PF who can shoot
F Devin Thomas (6-9, 245, Sr.): 16.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg, one of the ACC’s top big men
Mitoglou and Thomas in particularly are going to present a big challenge for a Virginia Tech team that lacks size and post depth.
Even though the game is in Blacksburg, that’s not necessarily an advantage for Virginia Tech. Wake Forest is 3-1 on the road this season.
90-82 W at Bucknell
69-68 W at Rutgers
77-71 W at LSU
65-57 L at Louisville
Wins at Bucknell and Rutgers are nothing to brag about, of course, but the win at LSU at future #1 overall NBA pick Ben Simmons was impressive. This is a very capable, if inconsistent, Wake Forest team.