Wake Forest’s basketball team will have had four full days to flush the frustrations of losing at Clemson on Tuesday night, a game the Deacons led for the majority.
The recipe to move on, senior guard Andrien White said, was part forget, part extraction.
“You get here on the road and, you know — we fought hard and just couldn’t get it done,” White said. “But we’re going to watch a lot of film on this one, try to strengthen some things up and put that toward Virginia.”
Five things to watch in today’s game:
1. Set each other up
Wake Forest recorded a season-low six assists at Clemson on 25 made field goals.
Perhaps more troubling was that Brandon Childress had every assist.
“We need more guys to facilitate,” Coach Danny Manning said. “We also need guys to knock down shots when they’re open.
“You can’t control shooting the ball all of the time, but you have to make some to give yourself a chance. We missed some good looks in the second half.”
2. White’s timeliness
Andrien White scored a season-high 22 points at Clemson and matched a season-high with six rebounds.
He has emerged as more of a threat in the last three games for the Deacons. Against Virginia Tech last week he scored what was then a season-high 14 points, and then had nine points against Boston College — six of those coming on 3s on back-to-back possessions early in the second half, which helped Wake Forest pull away from the Eagles last weekend.
“This team needs something from me, and I have to be able to bring it every night, whatever that may be, whether it’s scoring or trying to get on the boards, help the bigs out down there,” White said.
3. Brown’s return
If an individual workout two hours before the game at Clemson is any indication, Chaundee Brown is close to returning.
The junior guard, who hasn’t played since a Jan. 4 win at Pittsburgh because of a left foot injury, went through a workout with associate head coach Rex Walters for about 20 minutes before the rest of the Deacons took the court for warm-ups.
Brown also participated in some pregame warmups with the team, such as layup lines and shoot-around.
4. Solving Virginia
Wake Forest stayed winless against Clemson in Manning’s tenure and gets another chance to beat the Tigers on Feb. 1.
First comes this game against another one of the four ACC teams that Wake Forest hasn’t beaten since 2014.
The Deacons are 0-7 against Virginia in Manning’s tenure. Two of those losses — at Virginia in 2015 and at home in 2016 — came by one point. But it hasn’t been as competitive lately.
The reigning national champion Cavaliers have beaten Wake Forest by an average of 16.7 points per game in the last three seasons, and held the Deacons to their lowest score of the season two years ago (59-49) and to their second-lowest score of the season last year (68-45).
5. Scoring issues
Virginia has seemingly never played fast under Coach Tony Bennett, just as the Cavaliers have seemingly always been strong defensively in his 11 seasons.
Those things are true again this season: Virginia is dead last in the country in KenPom.com’s tempo rating (353rd) and is second nationally in defensive efficiency (trailing Kansas, which stands to take a hit after this week’s brawl-induced suspensions). Virginia has ranked 340th or worse in tempo for the past seven seasons and its worst defensive ranking in that time was seventh (for the 2015-16 season).
But Virginia ranks 256th in the country in offensive efficiency after it was second last season. The worst offensive efficiency in the previous six seasons was 50th (in 2016-17). Virginia hasn’t scored 60 points in a game since a Jan. 4 win against Virginia Tech (65-39).