The Miami (FL) Hurricanes will be eager to end a three-game losing streak when they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the BankUnited Center on Saturday afternoon. Miami is coming off consecutive setbacks against N.C. State, Louisville, and Florida State. The Demon Deacons have dropped two in a row of their own at the hands of Georgia Tech and Duke.
Wake Forest and Miami did not get their ACC campaigns off to auspicious starts and they are still seeking their first conference victories heading into Saturday. For the Demon Deacons, finding a way to shut down opposing shooters is the key; they are not contesting shots well enough and are letting opponents have their way. In their two ACC losses, the Deacons watched Georgia Tech nail 55.8 percent of its shots and let Duke shoot 58.1 percent from the floor. In its setbacks against Power 5 competition, Wake Forest gave up 92 points to Georgia Tech, 87 to Duke, and 83 to Tennessee.
“We need to stay in front of the ball,” head coach Danny Manning commented. “Sit down in your stance and moving our feet and staying in front of the ball are the biggest things we talk about. We need to do a better job.”
We return to action with a Saturday afternoon matchup at Miami
— Wake Basketball (@WakeMBB) January 11, 2019
Compounding the Demon Deacons’ issues against Duke in their last outing was their inability to put the ball in the hoop themselves, as they hit just 33.8 percent of their own field goals and had 13 shots blocked. Even star guard Brandon Childress (team-high 16.6 ppg) was off target, struggling with his worst shooting percentage of the season (.333) and a season-low (tied) 12 points–one game after posting career highs for points (28) and three-pointers (seven) against Georgia Tech. Freshman forward Jaylen Hoard is living up to his preseason billing and is second on the team in scoring (15.3 ppg), with double-figures in every game except one. He is the only player in the ACC with two 20-point, 15-rebound performances.
Couldn’t throw it in the ocean
The short-handed Hurricanes don’t figure to pose nearly the same sharp-shooting challenge as Duke or even Georgia Tech. They are coming off a poor shooting performance in their 68-62 loss to Florida State on Wednesday, compiling a 29.2 percent (7-of-24) mark after intermission–their second-lowest performance in any half this season–and 37 percent for the game, largely due to their inability to hit from long distance (4-of-18).
With only seven scholarship players on the roster, including just one center, the Hurricanes ran into some difficulties against Florida State when Ebuka Izundu was limited to 27 minutes due to foul trouble. Still, he finished one rebound shy of his sixth double-double (13 points, nine rebounds). Sophomore guard Chris Lykes moved up to seventh in the ACC in scoring (17.5 ppg) after leading the team with 17 points in the loss to FSU. Lykes is one of five Hurricanes averaging double0figures. Guard Anthony Mack is getting more playing time of late, averaging 21 minutes and 4.5 ppg in the last six. He has started the last two, finishing with a career-high four assists against the Seminoles in 26 minutes of work.
The Miami (FL) Hurricanes are:
- 13-3 Under in their last 16 home games
- 8-3 Under in their last 11 games following a loss
- 34-16-1 Under in their last 51 home games against teams with losing road records
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are:
- 9-22 ATS in their last 31 overall
- 4-10 ATS in their last 14 road games
- 5-17 ATS in their last 22 games against the ACC
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The home team has won the last seven meetings in this ACC rivalry, with the Hurricanes taking last year’s lone battle 87-81 in their own friendly confines. Miami may not be deep, but it remains plenty skilled. The Demon Deacons are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 on the road against opponents with winning home records, 4-11 ATS in their last 15 on the road against opponents with home winning percentages over .600, and 6-13 ATS in their last 19 following a loss. It is also worth noting that the home team is 8-1-1 ATS in the last 10 head-to-head matchups.
Prediction: Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Full-Game Total Pick
Eighty seems to be the magic number for Wake Forest; it is 7-1 when holding opponents below 80 points and 0-6 when allowing at least 80. Miami has hit that number just once in the last five games and twice in the last nine. Fortunately for the ‘Canes, though, they can play plenty of defense and Wake is not exactly an offensive juggernaut. The under is 5-2 in the Demon Deacons’ last seven overall and 5-1 in their last six following a loss. It is also 13-3 in the Hurricanes’ last 16 on the road, 8-3 in their last 11 following a loss, and 34-16-1 in their last 51 at home against opponents with losing road records. Look for this one to stay under the total.