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What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Wake Forest

wake forestWake Forest finds itself pretty much just stuck with Danny Manning, after giving him a six-year extension following his one half-good season, in 2017, that has him under contract through 2025.

Three of Manning’s five full seasons have ended with Wake at 11-20; a fourth had the Deacs at 13-19.

The one good season was a 19-14 team that ended with an NCAA Tournament bid and loss in the First Four.

But, hey, that was the first Big Dance invite for the program since the end of the Dino Gaudio era in 2010, so it probably felt like things were moving in the right direction.

They’re not, and that’s a surprise.

Manning was a popular hire in 2015, after a long stint as an assistant at Kansas, his alma mater, and a two-year run at Tulsa as the head coach that included an NCAA Tournament appearance.

You would have assumed Manning, with that pedigree, and then, oh, yeah, he was a pretty good baller in his own right, and dude is 6’11”, so can you say, commanding presence in a recruit’s living room talking with mom and dad?

Yeah.

No. Hasn’t worked out.

The 2019-2020 Demon Deacons (9-9, 2-6 ACC) have some nice wins: Xavier, at Pitt.

I want to say they’re playing better of late, hanging around late in a 10-point loss to Florida State, a nice 18-point home win over Boston College, a three-point loss at Clemson earlier this week.

Rotation

Brandon Childress is a familiar name and face. The 6’0” senior point guard is the leading scorer (15.2 points per game) and leads the team in assists (4.7 per game).

Childress isn’t a classic attacking point guard: 45.1 percent of his shots are threes, per Hoop-Math.com, and he shoots a modest 32.2 percent from long-range.

I say that, but then, Childress does seem to get to the line a fair amount (5.3 attempts per game).

Still no word on the status of his backcourt-mate, 6’5” junior Chaundee Brown (13.3 ppg, 6.5 rebs/g, 46.2% FG, 34.6% 3FG), who has been out of the lineup of late with an unspecified lower-leg injury.

His minutes have been going to 6’3” senior Andrien White (8.8 ppg, 41.1% FG, 40.0% 3FG), who had 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting in the loss at Clemson on Tuesday.

The lineup has a 7-footer who is a force in the paint in junior Olivier Sarr (13.0 ppg, 9.5 rebs/g, 53.0% FG).

Sarr’s shot profile shows him with 48.5 percent of his shots coming at the rim, and he converts on 65.6 percent of those shots.

Sarr also gets to the line: averaging 6.0 free-throw attempts per game, and shooting a nice 78.4 percent at the line.

The rest of the rotation:

  • 6’8” freshman Isaiah Mucius (6.4 ppg, 4.3 rebs/g, 37.3% FG, 27.6% 3FG)
  • 6’3” senior Torry Johnson (6.2 ppg, 37.5% FG, 27.3% 3FG)
  • 6’8” freshman Ismael Massoud (4.7 ppg, 37.5% FG, 37.5% 3FG)
  • 6’3” freshman Jahcobi Neath (4.2 ppg, 41.3% FG, 45.5% 3FG)
  • 6’9” freshman Ody Oguama (3.1 ppg, 61.3% FG)

How Virginia matches up

Manning likes to go big: going three-guard, two-forward almost exclusively, which should allow UVA coach Tony Bennett to go with his preferred frontcourt lineup of 6’9” Mamadi Diakite (13.1 ppg, 6.8 rebs/g, 46.2% FG, 37.1% 3FG) and 7’1” Jay Huff (9.0 ppg, 6.1 rebs/g, 59.5% FG, 30.8% 3FG) with 7’0” Francisco Caffaro (1.9 ppg, 63.6% FG) getting bench minutes for the bulk of the day on Sunday.

Braxton Key, at 6’8”, probably creates a tough defensive matchup for Wake at the three, considering the minutes of late at the three have been going to White and Neath, both 6’3” guys.

Key (10.2 ppg, 7.2 rebs/g, 46.2% FG) is getting 47.0 percent of his shots at the rim this season, and converts on 67.7 percent of those opportunities.

Look for Key to have a chance to go off a bit in this one, and force Manning’s hand in terms of his rotation, that or try some zone to take away the paint.

In fact, the more I look at it, Manning almost has to have some zone ready, though I say that and wonder why everybody doesn’t just zone this Virginia team, which is shooting a pathetic 26.7 percent from three this season, eighth-worst in the nation.

A reason you don’t see it more might be that going zone concedes tempo to a UVA team that is already the slowest team in D1, averaging 59.2 possessions per game, 1.7 fewer per contest than the next slowest team, per KenPom.com.

(One guess who that is … time’s up. Liberty. Ritchie McKay.)

Wake likes to get up and down the court: averaging 70.2 possessions per game.

They won’t get anywhere near that on Sunday, as you know.

Story by Chris Graham


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