With their perfect 19-0 record on the line, the Syracuse Orange will be traveling to Winston-Salem, NC Tuesday night to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in an ACC matchup.
The Orange are looking for their second 20-0 start in team history, doing it the last time in the 2011-2012 campaign. They do have quite the task ahead of them, as the Demon Deacons, 14-6 (4-3), are undefeated at home this year.
The Orange will be looking to score the basketball a little more today, as the Demon Deacons are 109th in the country in scoring defense, giving up 68.7 points per game. The Demon Deacons, however, are 14th in the country in three-point field goal percentage defense. Their opponents only shoot 28 percent from beyond the arc, so there will be some good defense on Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney. The Orange will have to go inside the arc, where teams shoot 47 percent against the Wake defense.
The Deacons are not great on the offensive end. They rank 218th in the country in three-point percentage, making only 32.9 percent of their threes. They also struggle from the free-throw line, shooting just 64 percent. The zone defense is perfect for a team like this. The Orange will try to keep the ball from going inside the arc and force the Demon Deacons to take long shots, and if they get close to the basket the Orange can foul them and force them to make shots from the charity stripe.
Players to look out for on Wake Forest are Cody Miller-Mcintyre and Devin Thomas. Miller-Mcintyre, a sophomore guard, averages a team-high 15.2 points along with 3.1 assists and four rebounds. Thomas, a sophomore forward, averages 11.5 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds. Combined, the two average 4.3 turnovers per game. Look for the Orange to pressure them into making some bad choices. On a side note, sophomore Tyler Cavanaugh will be playing against his hometown team Tuesday night. Cavanaugh played at Jamesville-Dewitt High School just outside of Syracuse with Orange big man DaJuan Coleman before deciding to attend Wake Forest.
The Pick: Yes, Wake is undefeated at home, but they have only played two ranked teams. They are 1-1 in those games, losing to Kansas and beating North Carolina, who has since fallen unranked and are 12-7 on the season and 2-4 in the ACC. I think the zone provides a huge problem for Wake Forest,who struggles from three-point range. Since the Orange struggle to pull away, I think they win only by ten, 70-60.
Where: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-salem, North Carolina
When: 9 p.m. ET
Televison: ESPN3/FSN Regional