Wake Forest 2009 NCAA Tournament Preview
Wake Forest Demon Deacons - Atlantic Coast Conference (24-6, 11-5)
Seed: #4 - Midwest Region
Big Wins: 1/11 North Carolina (92-89), 1/28 Duke (70-68), 2/14 Florida State (86-63)
Bad Losses: 1/31 at Georgia Tech (74-76), 2/4 at Miami (52-79), 2/11 at North Carolina State (76-82)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2005, Second Round loss to West Virginia
Coach: Dino Gaudio (First NCAA appearance)
Probable Wake Forest Starters:
Jeff Teague, Sophomore, Guard, 19.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 1.9 spg
L.D. Williams, Junior, Guard, 8.1 ppg, 1.1 apg
James Johnson, Sophomore, Forward, 14.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Al-Farouq Aminu, Freshman, Forward, 12.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Chas McFarland, Junior, Center, 8.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Key Wake Forest Roleplayers:
Gary Clark, Sophomore, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Harvey Hale, Senior, Guard, 4.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Ishmael Smith, Junior, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 3.5 apg
David Weaver, Junior, Forward, 2.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Tony Woods, Freshman, Center, 3.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Why The Demon Deacons Can Surprise:
Wake Forest ’s high flying offense that averages 82.0 points per game gets most of the credit, but the Demon Deacons success this season comes from their defense. The team allows the opposition to shoot just 39.4 percent from the floor and a dismal 30.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Deacons will always play tough defense and that certainly helps, but what makes them so great is their size. The starting frontcourt of James Johnson, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chas McFarland is 6-9, 6-9 and 7-0, respectively.
Johnson and Aminu are both dynamic scorers who will battle in the paint and step outside and hit the mid-range jump shot. However, they are also great athletes with long arms and that makes them a nightmare for opposing offenses. Johnson and Aminu are both solid shot blockers and will use their length to grab a steal or two every game. The starting group in the frontcourt will use those same skills to hit the glass and Wake Forest is a great rebounding team that will always hit the glass hard.
Why The Demon Deacons Can Disappoint:
It is not surprising that a team that scores so much commits a lot of turnovers, but 16.0 per game is too many for any team. Point guard Jeff Teague is one of the best scorers in the nation, but he also commits quite a few turnovers. It is a good trade off for Wake Forest, especially since Ishmael Smith can come in off the bench and allow Teague to move off the ball, but the turnovers have to stay under control if Wake Forest wants to beat strong, experienced teams that they cannot outmuscle. Perhaps more alarming than the turnovers are the lack of assists. For a team that ranks sixth in the nation in scoring, they should average more than 13.3 assists per game. That means the Demon Deacons are taking on their opponents one-on-one, which is usually not a bad thing in this case since they are good at it, but they could get better shots with an extra pass or two every once in a while.
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Who To Watch:
This is a team that has a ton of depth all over the floor. Tony Woods and David Weaver are capable reserves in the frontcourt. Neither will score very much, but they have plenty of size and will block shots and grab rebounds. L.D. Williams is the starter at the shooting guard spot, but there is also talent behind him in Harvey Hale and Gary Clark. Williams is not much of a shooter, but he is an effective scorer around the basket. Hale is the most effective long range shooter besides Teague and it is imperative that he provides Wake Forest a long range shooting threat and offensive spark off the bench.
Wake Forest By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 82.0 (5th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.1 (225, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.7 (3, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.4 (21, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.1 (320, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.2 (94, 9)
Rebound Margin: 6.4 (18, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (138, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.0 (299, 11)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss Utah
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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