Syracuse hosts Wake Forest at the Dome

Syracuse 16-8 (5-6) takes on Wake Forest 9-15 (2-10) at home in a must win game for the Orange.

Opponent: Wake Forest

Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY

Date: Sunday, February 11

Time: 1:00pm EST

TV: ACC Network or stream on the WatchESPN app

Line: Syracuse -7.5

Demon Deacons season is going downhill quickly

Wake Forest beat the Orange 73-67 on January 3 to improve to 8-6 (1-1 in the ACC). Since then, the Demon Deacons have lost 9 of their last 10 games and are now sitting at 9-15 (2-10). The recent schedule hasn’t been nice to Wake Forest as they’ve played #9 Duke twice, #2 Virginia, at Louisville, vs. #16 Clemson and at #25 Miami in the last month. Their lone win during the recent skid was against a solid Florida State team. The Demon Deacons shot 47.2% from the field and made 8 three pointers against the Seminoles.

The Demon Deacons are likely better than they look on paper, 14th in the ACC and 117th in the RPI standings but this is a much win game for Syracuse and its NCAA Tournament hopes. A loss to Wake Forest at home would look terrible for the team’s resume.

Top Players

Junior guard Bryant Crawford (pictured below) is carrying the scoring load for the Demon Deacons this season at 16.3 points per game. Although he leads the team in scoring, he isn’t very efficient. He is shooting only 39.4% from the field and 36.4% from three point range. Crawford has shown he can distribute the ball well and is averaging 6.5 assists over the last 4 games.

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Junior guard Keyshawn Woods has been critical to Wake Forest’s success this year as well. Unfortunately for Woods, he suffered a knee injury in the Syracuse game on January 3. Woods averaged 15.7 points per game prior to the injury. He was forced to missed the Demon Deacon’s next game against Boston College and hasn’t been the same player since because he’s been hampered by the injury. He’s only averaging 9.8 points since he sustained the injury last month.

Junior center Doral Moore (pictured below) is a beast on the boards for Wake Forest. He’s averaging 9.1 rebounds per game and has registered double digit rebounding efforts in his last 7 games. He’s an inconsistent scorer but recently dropped 18 points on Duke and 16 points on Louisville.

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Strengths

Wake Forest has been a great three point shooting team all season. The team shoots 38.5% from long distance which is 4th in the ACC. Woods shoots 39.2% and senior guard Mitchell Wilbekin (pictured below) shoots 41.9% from three range. Wilbekin has missed the last 4 contests with an ankle injury but could return to action on Sunday. Woods is only 1-10 from three range his last two games and if Wilbekin doesn’t play the Demon Deacons will likely lose their three point shooting edge. It was reported that Wilbekin practiced on Friday and will likely see some action in the game.

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The Demon Deacons have also been effective crashing the offensive glass. The team averages 10.9 offensive rebounds a game which is good for 6th in the conference. Moore leads the charge with 3.1 offensive boards a game. Paschal Chukwu will need to neutralize Moore on the glass.

Weaknesses

Wake Forest turns the ball over too much at a rate of 13.7 per game. They turned it over 20 times in a bad loss to Louisville on January 27. The Demon Deacons can remain in most games if they can limit their turnovers.

The Demon Deacons defense could use some work as they allow 75.2 points per game, which is the worst in the ACC. We all know that Syracuse is a scoring machine but look for the Orange to score more than their average of 68.5. Wake Forest gave up 96 points to Louisville and 89 points to Duke earlier this season.

Syracuse vs. Wake Forest All-Time Series

Syracuse holds a 5-1 all-time record against Wake Forest. The Orange lost on the road to the Demon Deacons 73-67 on January 3. Crawford scored 19 points and made 4 three pointers for Wake Forest in the win. Check out the highlights from the game:

Prediction

Syracuse wins 69-67

 

**cover photo courtesy of The Daily Orange**

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