NCAA Basketball Betting Analysis: Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. UConn HuskiesWake Forest vs. UConn
Tip Off: 6:30 PM EST, Friday, Nov 16, 2012
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Spread: UCONN -10
M/L: UCONN -550, WAKE +450
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Wake Forest is expected to be much improved from last year’s squad which went 13-18 and 4-12 in the ACC, tying them for 9th place in the conference. They have the best backcourt returning duo in the ACC with C.J. Harris and Travis McKie, both of whom are All-ACC candidates. Harris is a terrific bomber and McKie is great on the glass, so the tandem should help the Demon Deacons who are expected to finish eighth in the ACC by Lindy’s Magazine.
They lost Tony Chennault, who transferred, but Codi Miller-McIntyre is very good, and Miller-McIntyre is premier defender and great playmaker, whereas Channault was average in both aspects. Harris played some point last year but should be able to focus on the off-guard position more this season. Madison Jones will help in the backcourt too, as he is a pure point and a great talent.
Travis McKie was sixth in ACC scoring, 12th in rebounding, and 5th in shooting percentage, and he had five double-doubles in ACC play. McKie will be joined by Arnaud Adala Moto, Devin Thomas, both of whom are freshman and should make an immediate impact. Daniel Green and Andre Washington return from last year’s squad and are good on the interior and tough. They’ll also incorporate freshman Tyler Cavanaugh, who is a pure shooter that will provide instant scoring.
The Demon Deacons are “moving forward” according to coach Jeff Bzedelik, and he believes the “foundation has been established.” As to what it is building towards, we’re not quite sure, but he has the talent in the backcourt to upset a lot of conference and non-conference opponents alike.
Last year, UConn finished 20-14 with an 8-10 record in the Big East. They missed out on the NCAA tournament for the second time since 2010 and three years prior to that they failed to qualify for any tournaments.
UConn is ineligible for postseason play in 2013 due to a poor Academic Progress Rate. The fact that they were ineligible for postseason play likely played a role in the quick departures of Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb to the NBA draft. They also lost Alex Oriahki, who transferred to Missouri. Roscoe Smith transferred to UNLV; Michael Bradley left for a JUCO program.
All those departures have left a decimated roster.
The remaining Huskies are young and inexperienced, and the most talent they have really remaining is Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.
Napier averaged 13 points per game and 5.8 assists per game last year, and Boatright contributed 10.4 points per game and four assists per game. That backcourt will likely be among the best in the Big East, but the front court has been overhauled, so the Huskies are weak at three positions.
Drummond’s departure left a giant hole in the front court, and they’ll look to fill it with Tyler Olander, who averaged under four rebounds per game and 4.2 points per game last season. DeAndre Daniels, a sophomore, may be heavily counted upon, too.
The Huskies do have a 7’1″ postman in Enosch Wolf, but he had almost as many fouls as points last season. They’ll need a better contribution from Niels Giffey and need a lot of help from newcomer Phillip Nolan, who is a 6’10” forward with a lot of upside.
“The kids here understand you only have to play so many times to play basketball, not everyone is going to win a championship. We won one a year ago, and games are games. Winning is winning. Getting better every single day is a part of the deal,” Jim Calhoun said prophetically.
The Huskies will utilize a lot of small lineups and maximize the usage of both Boatright and Napier. They will be better in the second half of the season after they have had time to gel some, with so many newcomers, but it’s unlikely they finish in the upper half of the Big East, and will likely settle for a 7th or 8th place finish.
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