Wake Forest at Boston College
Wake Forest (10-8, 1-3) at Boston College (7-11, 2-2), 12:00 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3
At the beginning of the year, I thought these two teams would split their two meetings. Now, I would be almost shocked to see Boston College lose either one. The Eagles are just fighting harder than Wake Forest right now, and BC is at so much more of a physical disadvantage in terms of size and speed than Wake is. It would be so much easier for them to get discouraged, but they don’t. It bodes really well for the future at BC if all of these players stick around and develop, particularly physically. It does not bode as well for the future at Wake Forest.
Stat to watch: Wake Forest’s field goal percentage. Boston College has struggled to stop teams from scoring all year, and Wake Forest’s offense had been pretty good. Those roles have reversed in ACC play as Wake is allowing 43.4% and 0.90 points per possession (11th in the league). They also force just a 12.7% loss of ball, last in the league. Boston College, meanwhile, is just a spot below North Carolina at 0.85 points per possession allowed. Boston College has held two ACC opponents to under 60 points and is 2-0 in those games; Wake has been under 60 twice (once in a win) and managed just 40 against N.C. State, a team that is improving but far from great defensively. Wake did put up 73 at Duke and had its second-best shooting day in league play (43.4%) and got to the line 35 times, one more than their previous three ACC games put together. That’s a good sign for Wake’s offense in general but they’re a team prone to mistakes. If they make a lot against BC, whether it be bad shots or turnovers, the young Eagles will capitalize on them, particularly at home.
Most important players: Matt Humphrey, Boston College and Tony Chennault, Wake Forest. At N.C. State on Thursday, Humphrey was back in the starting lineup but he had his worst game since December 18th with four points on 2-of-8 shooting. He was 0-of-5 from three (2-of-3 from two) and got to the basket well, so perhaps he’ll remember to drive more than he pulls up. In ACC play so far, he’s shooting 42%, a fast improvement from his 30% out of conference, but his three-point shooting has gone down from 28.9% to just 22.2% in league play. He drove by N.C. State’s entire backcourt at one point for a lay-up, yet he kept shooting three’s. He needs to get to the hoop more because he excels at that.
Wake’s Chennault had a nice game at Duke all things considered, getting to the foul line five times (and making three) and shooting 5-of-11 from inside the arc. That’s about as aggressive as he’s been all year in any game, and the Deacons need that from their point guard. He got by some of Duke’s slower-footed guards early in the game and he can certainly do that against Boston College. Teams are focusing on defending his teammates C.J. Harris and Travis McKie and if he can make them pay for that, the Deacs might win a few more ACC games.
Random stat(s): Wake’s Ty Walker is eighth all-time in Wake Forest history in blocked shots with 115, and with two more blocks he’ll pass Kyle Visser, who played for four years. Walker has 115 blocks in 59 games, but everyone else in Wake’s top ten in career blocked shots has played at least 107 games. Walker’s not catching Tim Duncan (481 blocks, which is 278 more than second-place Anthony Teachey) but he could get as high as fifth probably: Josh Howard owns that spot now with 143 blocks in 127 games.
Prediction: Boston College 69, Wake Forest 63
Last week: 6-5
Season: 76-27 (15-8 ACC)