Wake Forest 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview
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Wake Forest Demon Deacons - Atlantic Coast Conference (19-10, 9-7)
Seed: #9 - East Region
Big Wins: 12/31 Richmond (74-68), 1/3 Xavier (96-92), 1/12 Maryland (85-83)
Bad Losses: 2/20 at NC State (54-68), 2/27 North Carolina (68-77), 3/11 vs Miami (62-83)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, First Round loss to Cleveland State
Coach: Dino Gaudio (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Probable Wake Forest Starters:
Ishmael Smith, Senior, Guard, 13.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 1.8 spg
C.J. Harris, Freshman, Guard, 10.0 ppg, 1.2 apg
L.D. Williams, Senior, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 5.6 rpg
Al-Farouq Aminu, Sophomore, Forward, 15.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Chas McFarland, Senior, Center, 7.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Key Wake Forest Roleplayers:
Gary Clark, Junior, Guard, 3.3 ppg
Ari Stewart, Freshman, Forward, 7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
David Weaver, Senior, Center, 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Tony Woods, Sophomore, Center, 4.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Why The Demon Deacons Can Surprise:
Wake Forest has a pretty potent offense, but this team is winning games with its defense. They rank fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense and seventh in three point field-goal defense, allowing the opposition to hit a mere 28.3 percent of their attempts from long range. Certainly the guys on the perimeter have to be good defenders to put up numbers like that, but it all starts in the frontcourt with Al-Farouq Aminu. Not only does Aminu lead the team with 15.7 points and 10.7 rebounds, but he is also a fine shot blocker and a quality all-around defender.
Aminu is just the leader of a group who are great rebounders and shot blockers. Underappreciated starter Chas McFarland and fellow center Tony Woods also block about a shot per game and David Weaver would too if he could find his way onto the floor more often. McFarland is the best rebounder on the team after Aminu and has had some great games in big situations during his senior season. However, he has been inconsistent and the Demon Deacons need him to be productive.
Why The Demon Deacons Can Disappoint:
Wake Forest deserves some credit for recognizing that they are not a good outside shooting team, but the lack of a consistent outside shooter makes them much easier to defend. Wing Ari Stewart and freshman C.J. Harris are the only two legitimate long range shooting threats and both of them are pretty inconsistent. Harris has worked his way into the starting lineup and has a ton of potential, but his outside shot simply needs work. In the meantime, Harris will attack the basket and do plenty of scoring and that is what he does well at this point in his career. Stewart is the shooter who can provide a spark off the bench with his shooting, but he has yet to develop that threat into something that can be done game in and game out.
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Who To Watch for Wake Forest:
Turnovers are another problem for Wake Forest, but that cannot be blamed on point guard Ishmael Smith. In fact, Smith is one of the few players on the team that actually has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Smith dishes out 6.0 assists per game and is equally competent flying down the floor in transition or working in the half-court. He will attack the basket very effectively and do plenty of scoring, although his free-throw shooting is atrocious. The 6-0 senior is a great leader on a relatively young team that needs a leader and Wake Forest will go as far as he can take them.
Wake Forest By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.4 (83rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.9 (173, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.1 (144, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.9 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.4 (312, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (260, 9)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (35, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.0 (237, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.4 (280, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Kentucky