Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about Wake Forest

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 8, 2018 at 8:02 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR After losing to Wake Forest for the first time in program history on Jan. 3, Syracuse tries to get back on track on Sunday at 1 p.m. inside the Carrier Dome. The Orange (16-8, 5-6 Atlantic Coast) is coming off probably its best win of the season against Louisville while the Demon Deacons (9-15, 2-10) have dropped two straight, at home against Clemson and on the road at Miami. Since beating SU at home last month, WFU has had a rough go in conference play that included a seven-game losing streak. Syracuse, after playing WFU the first time, knows the weaknesses and will now try to exploit them.Here’s what you need to know ahead of Sunday afternoon’s matchup.All-time series: Syracuse leads 5-1Last time they played: On Jan. 3 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Syracuse lost to Wake Forest, 73-67, mostly because the Orange defense allowed three straight 3-pointers from guard Bryant Crawford in the corner down the stretch. Crawford’s team-high 19 points were buoyed by Terrence Thompson (13) and Mitchell Wilbekin (10) in the victory. Syracuse’s bench played 15 total minutes — freshman Marek Dolezaj had nine of them — and Frank Howard had a game-high 23 during his 3-point shooting hot-streak. But, ultimately, it wasn’t enough because the Demon Deacons crushed the Orange on the glass.The Wake Forest report: The Demon Deacons have lost nine of the 10 games since its meeting with Syracuse, only fending off Florida State at home to end the seven-game slide. Since beating the Seminoles, it has lost to Clemson and at Miami, 87-81, in Florida on Wednesday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe biggest trouble for Wake Forest over its dismal ACC stretch wasn’t the offense — WFU scored 67 or more points in 10 of 12 games — but its offense has been unable to contain even the most offensively challenged conference opponents. Beyond the arc, especially, teams have found success and, this season as a whole, Wake Forest has allowed 38.8 percent of team’s points to come from there, one of the nation’s worst rates, according to Kenpom.com. Strangely, teams also hit 73.9 percent of their free throws against WFU, one of the nation’s worst rates.On offense, WFU goes as Crawford does. He ends nearly 30 percent of the Demon Deacons’ possessions with the ball in his hands, one of the country’s top percentages. He has shot well — a 54 percent true-shooting mark — but on most nights it has not been enough. Wilbekin, a senior guard, has also missed a few games with an ankle injury and that has left WFU without one of its best all-around players. His status for Sunday’s game is unclear.How Syracuse beats Wake Forest: Keep Wake Forest off the offensive glass.The key to this would be stopping Doral Moore, WFU’s 7-foot-1 and thick center out of Atlanta whom we profiled earlier this week. Moore grabbed nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end, in these two teams’ last meeting. The Demon Deacons won the overall rebounding battle (38-to-29) and pulled down a dozen offensive boards total to garner the extra possessions it needs to beat the Orange. Ensuring this does not happen again is crucial for SU.This might be difficult, because backup center Bourama Sidibe’s season seems to be in jeopardy because of recurring pain in his left knee due to tendinitis that will eventually need surgery. He has missed both of Syracuse’s last two games and his availability for WFU is unclear. Without him, Syracuse has three available forwards and one center, Paschal Chukwu. If any of them encounter foul trouble like they did against Louisville, then this might inhibit any ability to get tough inside and stifle Moore and the Demon Deacons down low.Stat to know: 17.5 percentWake Forest’s defense, which has struggled to stop opponents all season, has particularly struggled to force turnovers. On defense, it picks up turnovers on only 17.5 percent of its opponent’s offensive possessions and that has stunted any offensive opportunities for the Demon Deacons.Kenpom odds: Kenpom gives Syracuse a 75 percent chance to win the game, its best odds for the rest of the season. Kenpom predicts the Orange follow up its offensive outburst with another and beat the Demon Deacons by a score of 70-63.Player to watch: Doral Moore, junior center, No. 4The 7-foot-1, 280-pound Moore has been an imposing presence all season, and he’s also the first player who visibly frustrated Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu. Moore went to work on Chukwu in the two team’s first meeting, out-rebounding him nine to five. Also, Moore’s presence in the lane affects teams the same way Chukwu does. The shot-blocker will affect Syracuse’s offense, which is primarily one-on-one and relies on drives from Tyus Battle and Frank Howard. Commentslast_img

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