Home Wake Forest, 10-0 at home, presents tough test for #10 Virginia on Saturday

Wake Forest, 10-0 at home, presents tough test for #10 Virginia on Saturday

Chris Graham
uva basketball
Photo: UVA Athletics

Wake Forest is 10-0 at home, and its wins include Duke and Clemson, both by double digits. So, yeah, a tough test is ahead for Virginia on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

The Demon Deacons (14-5, 6-2 ACC) are in a four-way tie for second in the ACC, with Virginia (14-3, 6-2 ACC) one of the other three (along with Miami and Pitt).

Steve Forbes had some serious heavy lifting to do in the offseason to get his program back on track after losing Alondes Williams (18.5 ppg) and Jake Laravia (14.6 ppg) to the pro ranks.

The way Forbes is running his Wake program, year-to-year change is going to be a feature, not a bug, for Wake basketball.

Forbes is carving out a niche in using the transfer portal to replenish his roster.

As he did with landing Williams last year from Oklahoma, Forbes got his leading scorer this season, Tyree Appleby (18.1 ppg, 6.1 assists/g, 47.0% FG, 42.6% 3FG), as a grad transfer from Florida, where he had been a double-digit scorer the past two years, after transferring there from Cleveland State.

Forbes also added 6’10” junior Andrew Carr (11.9 ppg, 6.0 rebounds/g, 50.6% FG, 34.6 3FG) from Delaware, where he had been a double-digit scorer as a sophomore a year ago.

Appleby and Carr have done well assimilating with holdovers Cameron Hildreth (13.1 ppg, 6.3 rebounds/g, 48.4% FG, 30.8% 3FG), a 6’4” sophomore, Damari Monsanto (12.0 ppg, 42.4% FG, 40.5% 3FG), a 6’6” junior, Daivien Williamson (8.9 ppg, 36.7% FG, 40.0% 3FG), a 6’1” senior, and Matthew Marsh (6.1 ppg, 4.6 rebounds/g, 89.4% FG), a 7’1” sophomore.

Monsanto and Williamson played for Forbes at East Tennessee State, where Forbes ran up an impressive 130-43 record in five seasons.

Hildreth and Marsh were members of Forbes’ first class of prep recruits at Wake Forest in the Class of 2021.

Does Bennett adjust his lineup?

Virginia coach Tony Bennett has had success of late with a “small” lineup featuring 6’8” forward Ben Vander Plas (8.1 ppg, 4.4 rebounds/g, 41.8% FG, 32.4% 3FG) as the small-ball center.

But Bennett may have incentive to decide to go “big” for this one, with Forbes having Marsh, at 7’1”, and his backup, Davion Bradford (2.9 ppg, 2.0 rebounds/g, 10.4 minutes/g), a 7’0” junior, in the middle.

Marsh and Bradford average a cumulative 29.3 minutes per game, and Carr, the 6’10” stretch four, goes for 31.2 minutes per game himself, with 6’10” freshman Bobi Klintman (4.3 ppg, 3.6 rebounds/g, 17.9 minutes/g) spelling him.

Bennett may decide to counter by going back to 6’11” redshirt junior Kadin Shedrick (7.8 ppg, 3.9 rebounds/g, 69.1% FG) for more minutes at the five spot.

Shedrick has only gotten nine minutes total in Virginia’s past two games, wins over Florida State and Virginia Tech.

If Bennett sticks with his lineup from the past two games, Wake would have a significant size advantage in the post with seven-footers at the five and 6’10” guys at the four working against the 6’8” Vander Plas and 6’6” power forward Jayden Gardner (10.4 ppg, 4.8 rebounds/g, 52.6% FG).

But then, in today’s basketball, a size advantage isn’t always an advantage. Bennett could decide to stick with his small lineup to try to maintain the flow of dribble-drives from point guards Kihei Clark (11.5 ppg, 5.9 assists/g, 44.1% FG, 38.5% 3FG) and Reece Beekman (9.9 ppg, 5.1 assists/g, 43.0% FG, 47.5% 3FG) to create in the paint.

The x’s and o’s here could be interesting.


  • EvanMiya: Virginia 71-66, 67.5% win probability
  • KenPom: Virginia 71-68, 61% win probability
  • Bart Torvik: Virginia 69-68, 56% win probability
  • ESPN BPI: Virginia +1, 53.8% win probability

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].