HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: Wake Forest (18-10) at Virginia Tech (15-13) 530PM CW Network

HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: Wake Forest (18-10) at Virginia Tech (15-13) 530PM CW Network

Wake Forest (18-10)
At Virginia Tech (15-13)
March 2nd, 2024
Cassell Coliseum
530 p.m. ET
CW Network
Virginia Tech Sports Network

CW Network
Play-by-Play:
Analyst:

Local Radio
Virginia Tech Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Zach Mackey
Analyst: Mike Burnop

Current Spread: VT -1.5
Over/Under: -149.5

No idea
The Hokies struggled through another bad road loss at Syracuse and now return to Cassell to face off against a team that beat them by 23 earlier this season. Both teams come in having lost three of their last five games.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons squad comes in having just lost to Notre Dame after beating Duke. This will be the 73rd meeting between the Hokies and Wake Forest. The Hokies are 38-34 and looking to end a three-game skid to the Deacs. The Demon Deacons have been coached by Steve Forbes since 2020. Wake Forest is his third head coaching job. He also spent time as an assistant at eight different programs since 1989.

Wake Forest returnees Cameron Hildreth and Andrew Carr are major contributors. The Deacons also got transfers of two former Gonzaga players Hunter Sallis and Efton Reid, with Sallis starting and Reid playing significant minutes when he plays. Other transfers include Kevin Miller from Central Michigan, who has become a starter due to injuries, and Abramo Canka, a lengthy international guard who has played sparingly since coming from UCLA.

Wake lost Jao Ituka and Damari Monsanto to injury, both of whom averaged double-digit scoring last season. The Monsanto injury was a huge loss as he was expected to lead this team.
Wake returned four of their top five scorers but only two have played. They have three freshman newcomers this season. Guards Parker Friedrichsen and Aaron Clark and Wing Marqus Marion join the Deacons this season. Friedrichsen and Marion have both played in every game this season, both getting about seventeen minutes per game.

The Demon Deacons have four players averaging more than 30 mpg and three more that regularly average at least 15 mpg. The starting five are Sallis, Hildreth, Miller, Carr and Keller. Friedrichsen and Marion are the two primary subs off the bench.

Forbes focus is transition opportunities and high energy defensive play. His teams focus on defending corner 3-pointers, gap defense, rim protection and off-ball screen coverage using a variety of zone to collapse on the paint. So far opponents have shot 32% from outside. They focus on defensive rebounds to limit second chance opportunities and look for quick outlook passes to beat the defense back up the court.

Offensively, the Demon Deacons are looking to beat opponents up the floor and take a significant number of transition perimeter shots. They are shooting 23 threes per game, shooting just over 37%. Sallis and Friedrichsen combine to attempt nearly ten threes per game. They also employ dribble penetration to draw the defense which allows multiple lob passes to Carr and Keller for quick hitters underneath. They use a variety of perimeter screening actions to create separation.

Demon Deacons Backcourt
Hunter Sallis
23 JR G 6-5 175
18.3 Pts, 4.1 Reb, 2.5 Ast

Kevin Miller
0 SO G 6-0 165
15.5 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 3.8 Ast

Cameron Hildreth
2 JR G 6-4 195
13.5 Pts, 4.9 Reb, 2.6 Ast

Parker Friedrichsen
20 FR G 6-3 195
5.5 Pts, 1.4 Reb, 0.6 Ast

Demon Deacons Frontcourt
Andrew Carr
11 SR F 6-9 210
13.6 Pts, 6.6 Reb, 1.4 Ast

Efton Reid
4 JR C 6-11 238
9.0 Pts, 8.0 Reb, 1.4 Ast

Damari Monsanto
30 SR F 6-6 225
5.1 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 0.6 Ast

What to expect from Wake Forest?
In the game in late December, Wake Forest got double digit soring from all five starters but only ten points in bench contributions. That has been an Achilles heel for them. In any game starters have had foul trouble, they have found scoring is hard to come by.

In that blowout loss, the Demon Deacons hit 19-21 free throws and scored 36 points in the paint. That has been a recurring theme in Hokies losses, allowing opponents to score at will inside. The biggest problem though was turnovers. Pedulla had six of the Hokies 19 turnovers leading to Wake scoring 23 points.

The Demon Deacons will run a constant three guard/two forward set looking to push the pace. They are led in scoring by their starting guard trio of Sallis, Miller and Hildreth. These three and Friedrichsen combine to take over 17 of the teams' 23 attempts from outside. That said, the Deacs only get 27 points from outside of 81 points per game. Sallis though doesn't hesitate to take it right to the rim and has blow by speed on dribble penetration combined with the physicality to go up against big bodies.

Carr inside picks up quite a few off-side baskets when defenses over commit. Efton Reid seems to be playing a much more significant role since his return and Young likely counters him inside with Poteat, he has played starter level minutes. As seen below he is a shot blocker, so Hokies have to find a way to counter this.

Wake plays a very disciplined style of defense and has only been called for twenty fouls three games this season. Carr, Hildreth and Reid all average at least 2.5 fouls per game with Reid averaging 3.4 per game. In the rest of ACC play Wake has not generated nearly the number of turnovers they had against the Hokies as they average only 9.9 takeaways.

This will be a much taller starting five than the majority of the Hokies opponents so far this season. Carr and Keller being on the floor together may force Young to adjust his lineup. He may rely on Beran to counter Keller considering he is not much of a scoring threat so far this season.

The Demon Deacons are relatively equal in the rebounding side, although its more focused on defensive opportunities. Offensive rebounds are very limited, and second chance opportunities have only led to four points per game so far.

The Hokies
This team plays well at home. The difference between road and home games is unbelievable. Hokies are now 12-2 at home and 1-9 on the road. There really is no good explanation for the disparity. The good news is three of their four remaining games are in Cassell and their one remaining road game is against 8-20 Louisville.

The Hokies technically should have the size advantage in the paint but that not how the last game played out as Carr got isolation opportunities against Beran and either got to the rim or got to the line. Beran finished the game with four fouls. The surprising aspect for me against this physical inside scoring was that Poteat only got seven minutes of playing time. Hopefully that doesn't happen today. Maybe him being the Twitter post player will be an omen of good things.

On defense, the Hokies need to put less emphasis on guarding the perimeter and more focus on denying paint touches. Wake can shoot the three but it's a better risk than allowing 50+ points in the paint or from the line.

Who can be the X Factor for the Hokies? They need at least one player to have a big game considering how balanced Wake is across their starting five. The Hokies have shown a willingness to go inside but need a much more productive version of that if they are going to be successful.

In Closing
The Hokies and Wake use very similar strategies in terms of possessions, aiming to get defensive rebounds and turn them into open perimeter looks first and inside opportunities as they present. The speed and way they go about it are vastly different but seem to lead to very similar results. This game unfortunately will be in the long line of who controls the paint.

Both teams seemingly match in terms of size and athleticism. The difference may come down to who dictates the style of play more or if last game rears its head, who takes better care of the ball. Wake wants fast possessions, lots of points and quick transition from defense to offense. The Hokies prefer a methodical approach on both ends and limiting possessions.

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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We put the K in Kwality

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We put the K in Kwality

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Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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We put the K in Kwality

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We put the K in Kwality

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We put the K in Kwality

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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We put the K in Kwality

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We put the K in Kwality

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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We put the K in Kwality

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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We put the K in Kwality

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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We put the K in Kwality

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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We put the K in Kwality

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I seldom speak to loluva grads, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries.

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My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

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Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

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We put the K in Kwality

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-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

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___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.