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Scouting Wake Forest

There's no question the Demon Deacons possess one of the biggest frontcourts in the ACC. With three starters standing 6-foot-9 or taller, Wake Forest has the ability to control a game on most nights from the inside out.

The Demon Deacons rank first in the ACC in field goal percentage (48.4 percent) and second in rebounding margin (+2.4), blocked shots (5.1 per game), field goal percentage defense (41.5 percent) and scoring offense (79.1 ppg).

Wake Forest (22-5, 9-5 ACC) is big, powerful and intimidating in the interior, but that is not to say the Demon Deacons are flawless. In fact, the secret to the best method of containing Wake Forest's vaunted frontline was let out about a month ago.

On Feb. 4, Miami operated out of a tightly-packed zone defense, which limited entry passes into the post and forced Wake Forest to beat the Hurricanes from the perimeter. But the Demon Deacons were unable to do so. They shot 3 for 20 from three-point range and ended up losing by 27 points. Wake Forest is shooting 32.9 percent from beyond the arc on the season.

On Saturday, Virginia tried to limit Wake's effectiveness inside via a zone defense, as well, though the Cavaliers had considerably less success. Wake Forest still proved inept at breaking the zone with its three-point shooting, but the Demon Deacons did not submit to the intentions of the zone as they had done a month earlier. Wake shot 2 for 9 from beyond the arc, but the 22.2 completion percentage was less important than the low number of attempts.

Against the Cavaliers, Wake Forest drove the ball into the post, rather than settle for outside shots, and the Demon Deacons were rewarded with a 10-point victory.

Though Wake's collective strength lies in its frontcourt, the Demon Deacons are led by sophomore guard Jeff Teague (6-foot-2, 180 lbs.). Teague is averaging 19.7 points and 3.7 assists per game. He is shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 48.2 percent from three-point range, while also leading the team with 54 steals.

Heading Wake's trio of frontcourt giants is sophomore forward James Johnson (6-foot-9, 245 lbs.). Johnson is tallying 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is shootin 54.0 percent from the field and leads the team with 41 blocks.

The play-making abilities of Teague and Johnson have taken some of the burden off of freshman forward Al-Farouq Aminu (6-foot-9, 215 lbs.), who entered the season amid considerable hype. Aminu is averaging 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He ranks second on the team in blocks (31) and is shooting 52.1 percent from the field.

Rounding out the trio is junior center Chas McFarland (7-foot-0, 235 lbs.). He is averaging 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field.

Junior guard L.D. Williams (6-foot-4, 210 lbs.) is Teague's backcourt partner. He averages 8.4 points per game.

Serving as Wake's sixth man is junior guard Ishmael Smith (6-foot-0, 175 lbs.). Smith ranks second on the team in assists (85) and averages 5.6 points per game. While his role at the beginning of the year was mainly to spell Teague, Smith recently has been used to complement Teague's scoring abilities.

Freshman center Tony Woods (6-foot-11, 245 lbs.) and junior forward David Weaver (6-foot-11, 240 lbs.) provides Wake even more size off the bench. Woods recorded six points and six rebounds in 16 minutes against Virginia.

By Steve Yanda  |  March 3, 2009; 7:36 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Now we're talking! Solid post. In-depth analysis backed up by an abundance of relevant stats. Plain and simple yet informative. Can we get more of this and less "investigative journalism?"

Posted by: fushezzi | March 3, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Zone zone zone zone zone. If Teague gets hot from outside maybe a little box and one like we did with McClinton. And free Jerome Burney! Hopefully he isn't hurt again and Gary has been saving him for this game. Go Terps!

Posted by: Lee26 | March 3, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

This will be an interesting contest. Wake is abundantly talented but the rabid Maryland crowd may rattle their young players. Aminu looks like a lottery choice some nights and a high school senior on others.

I'm guessing that in addition to the zone, the Terps do their best to make Teague run the court on defense and tire him out. If he's not hitting, the team really suffers. If he is -- it's often curtains. Because they're going to get rebounds.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 3, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It's funny Wake is really just a better version of Miami. They have the one deadly shooter/scorer and a bunch of big bodies that can get the job done. Their bigs are more athletic and better than Miami's but the general make up of the team is pretty similar. If MD can step up it's game a bit and execute the same game plan used vs. Miami they might be able to pull off the upset.

Posted by: Lee26 | March 3, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I think there are two keys to this game:

1) Vasquez needs to have another big game. The team seems to be riding his coattails right now and drawing off of his energy.

2) The Terps need to force Wake into an abundance of turnovers, probably 15 or more. If Wake can successfully break the press, their front line will dominate.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | March 3, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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