Reminders from Wake Forest’s coaching staff ...
... about where the Deacons were picked in the preseason ACC poll don’t come nearly as often these days, junior guard Chuandee Brown said.
Still, the Deacons keep the last-place forecast in mind.
“We’ve just gotta buy in with everything and not just being satisfied with one win, but we’ve gotta come in the next day in practice. And I feel like we just get too laid back, too comfortable with one win,” Brown said after the Deacons’ 74-57 win against North Carolina on Tuesday night. “They still picked us 15th in the league, so we’ve still gotta work.”
Wake Forest’s work continues with a game against Miami, which has the same 4-10 record in the league as the Deacons.
Here are five things to watch in Saturday’s game at the Watsco Center:
1. Andrien White’s surge
White has turned up his production in the last nine games, averaging 14.7 points per game — he averaged 7.6 in the first 15 games of the season.
White's uptick in production started in the time that Brown was out with an injury, but now that Brown has returned the Deacons have a pair of experienced wings capable of scoring at a high clip.
“Making more shots,” Coach Danny Manning said of what’s been behind White’s surge. “Andrien is a guy who works extremely hard on his game. … He’s rebounding the basketball. He’s always done a pretty good job of rebounding the basketball.”
2. Deacons going small (?)
Olivier Sarr played only 12 minutes against North Carolina because he was “banged up,” according to a team spokesman. As of Friday morning, it was unclear whether Sarr practiced Thursday, rendering his status for Saturday’s game unclear.
If Sarr is unable to play at Miami, the Deacons will be down to one interior player — freshman Ody Oguama — and will need Isaiah Mucius, Ismael Massoud and Brown to contribute at the four and five positions.
3. Not too satisfied
Brown has been a part of each of Wake Forest’s 11 losses in ACC games following wins, and now the Deacons are once again in a position to win back-to-back ACC games for the first time since the end of the 2017 season.
“This is the first step for us, but we’ve gotta keep going,” Brown said Tuesday night. “I mean, we get too happy with ourselves. We’ve just gotta buy in, especially in the second half with our defensive principles.”
4. Indefensible defense
Miami’s defense is the worst in the ACC, with a defensive efficiency rate (104.4 points allowed per 100 possessions, per KenPom) that ranks 210th in the country.
In a four-game losing slide in January, Miami gave up at least 80 points in each game. Last weekend, the Hurricanes gave up 99 against Florida State.
Wake Forest hasn’t scored more than 80 points since a Dec. 7 loss to N.C. State.
5. Hurricanes’ health
Coach Jim Larranaga said early in the week that he was hoping his team would have a full arsenal of players available for the first time in a while for Wednesday night’s game against Boston College.
“If we have our full roster, it’ll be interesting to see how well we can play,” Larranaga said.
Miami bludgeoned Boston College 85-58 on Wednesday night, the Hurricanes’ third win of the calendar year. Wake Forest and Miami are tied for 13th in the ACC, ahead of only North Carolina in the standings.
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