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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

by Nick Swope | March 11th, 2009

Good Wins: North Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Boston College (2), Clemson (2)

Bad Losses: @ Georgia Tech, @ North Carolina State

Strengths:
1. Shooting – Wake Forest shoots the ball at an alarming rate; 50% as a team (No. 3 in the country).  That means the Demon Deacons are getting high-quality shots.  Big guys James Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu are extremely athletic and can play above the rim. Both shoot the ball over 52%. Super sophomore guard Jeff Teague shoots 47% from 3-point range.

2. Scoring – The Demon Deacons are not as high-powered as North Carolina on offense, but they are close. Wake Forest averages 82.0 points per game (No. 5 in the country). Dino Gaudio’s squad is 7-1 in games when it has scored at least 90 points. Wake Forest is very similar to North Carolina in the sense that the team looks to push the tempo with point guard Ishmael Smith and jump out on the fast break at any given opportunity.

Weaknesses:
1. Inconsistency – The problem with the Demon Deacons is that it’s hard to know which team will show up on a certain night. The Wake Forest that beat North Carolina, Duke, Clemson and Florida State looked like a Final Four team, while the Wake Forest that lost to Georgia Tech, Miami, and N.C. State appeared to be NIT material. In order to avoid an early-round upset in the NCAA Tournament, the Deacons must use those losses to their advantage. Knowing what happens if they lose focus, if they play with consistently high intensity throughout the Big Dance, they can make some noise in March.

2. Youth – Wake Forest has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2005. The Deacons big trio of Teague, Johnson and Aminu consists of two sophomores and a freshman. How Wake Forest will react to the biggest stage in college basketball (and perhaps in all of sports), is a question mark heading into the tournament.

Tournament Prediction:
Sweet 16 – Wake Forest has the offensive firepower to make a run in the tournament. With only one senior, reserve Harvey Hale, in their rotation, the youthful Demon Deacons are probably a year away from the Final Four.

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