Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#857 Boston College 139 vs.
#858 Wake Forest -5
Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 6:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#857 Boston College
#858 Wake Forest University
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It’s a battle of ACC programs on the college hardwood down on Tobacco Road. The Boston College Eagles are on the road as they travel to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Sunday evening. Boston College comes in off a 76-50 beating on the road at the hands of Syracuse Wednesday night in their last game. Wake Forest was outgunned 80-70 at home by Virginia Tech in their previous contest Tuesday night. The Eagles lead the all-time series between the teams 15-10 and have won the last three meetings. That includes a 77-70 home win in the first matchup between the teams this season back on November 6, 2019.

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Boston College Eagles Seek to Get Back in Win Column

Boston College has had a roller coaster season to say the least and the one thing Jim Christian would like his team to find is consistency. The Eagles started the year 4-1 before losing four straight contests, with home losses to DePaul, Saint Louis and Northwestern along with a road loss to Richmond. Boston College bounced back with four straight wins, including a road win over Notre Dame and a neutral-site win over Cal. Since then, the Eagles have dropped three of four with a loss at Duke and a home loss to Georgia Tech sandwiching a home win over Virginia before getting pasted by Syracuse.

The Eagles come into this contest 326th in scoring offense with an average of 64.1 points per game. Boston College is 309th in rebounding by pulling down 33.9 rebounds per game while ranking tied for 253rd by dishing out 12.6 assists per contest. The Eagles are 130th in scoring defense as they limit the opposition to 67 points per game. Derryck Thornton contributes 12.7 points and 3.4 assists per contest to lead the team this season. Nik Popovic chips in 11.8 points plus 5.9 rebounds per game while Jay Heath chips in 11.7 points a night. Jared Hamilton, CJ Felder, Steffon Mitchell and Julian Rishwain are important pieces for Boston College as far as logging double-digit minutes a night goes. Boston College shoots 39.8 percent from the field as a team on the year. The Eagles are knocking down 6.5 triples a night while shooting 29.2 percent from beyond the arc. Boston College has been mediocre at the free throw line, sinking 66.1 percent of their attempts. Popovic has been out since early December with back spasms and is out indefinitely.

The numbers on KenPom show that the Eagles have work to do offensively but that they are sound defensively. Boston College is 271st in the nation in offensive efficiency and 88th in defensive efficiency this season. The Eagles play at a decent pace as they are 110th in tempo with 70.1 possessions per game on the year. Boston College is just 315th in effective field goal percentage at 45.4 percent this season. The Eagles are 317th in three-point shooting and 276th in two-point shooting (46.4 percent) on the year. Defensively, Boston College is 27th in turnover percentage as they force opposing teams to turn the ball over on 23.3 percent of their possessions. The Eagles are 15th in steal percentage at 12.5 percent.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons Hoping to Regroup

Danny Manning’s group continues to cause issues for fans as they are, to borrow a phrase from Dick Vitale, a group of Dow Jones guys. They’re up and down from game to game with no solid track record to lean on. Wake Forest lost the opener to Boston College and won five of their next six, including wins over Davidson in Charlotte along with triumphs over Charleston and Long Beach State in the Wooden Legacy. The Demon Deacons followed that up with three straight losses to Arizona, Penn State and NC State before reeling off three straight wins. That included a home win over Xavier and a road win over Pitt. Wake Forest has lost three straight coming in with home losses to Florida State and Virginia Tech sandwiched around a road loss to Duke. As it stands, the Demon Deacons are 8-8 overall and 1-5 in ACC action.

The Demon Deacons puts up an average of 72.3 points per contest this season, which is 153rd in the nation in scoring offense. Wake Forest grabs 38.1 rebounds per contest (tied for 107th in the nation) while dishing out 12.6 assists a night. The Demon Deacons are 290th in the nation as they allow 73.9 points per contest. Brandon Childress leads the team with 15 points plus 4.4 assists a game on the season. Chaundee Brown is a force on the glass as he averages 13.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a night. Torry Johnson, Isaiah Mucius (6.6 points), Olivier Sarr (12.7 points, 9.1 rebounds) and Andrien White (eight points) are all making contributions on the offensive end this season. The Demon Deacons shoot 42.5 percent from the field this season as a team. Wake Forest knocks down six triples a night while shooting 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Demon Deacons are very good at the free throw line as they hit 74.3 percent of their attempts at the stripe this season.

When you look at the numbers on KenPom, you’d think that the Demon Deacons would be better than a .500 team on the year. Wake Forest is 85th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 139th in defensive efficiency this season. The Demon Deacons are excellent at getting to the charity stripe as they are sixth by attempting .428 free throws per one field goal attempt. That’s a big reason why Wake Forest is second in the league as they get 25 percent of their points at the free throw line. It helps offset the fact that the Demon Deacons are 238th in effective field goal percentage at 47.7 percent. Wake Forest is a fast-paced team as they are 67th in the nation in tempo with 70.9 possessions per game.

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Both teams have been up and down this season, which is something that has to be maddening for the fan bases of the programs. Boston College has dealt with injury issues and the Popovic one is the toughest one for Christian’s group to overcome. The Eagles have to be better on the road as they are 2-3 while Wake Forest is 5-3 at home on the year. Wake Forest has a decent rotation and they are good at the charity stripe, both in getting to the line and in knocking them down. That gives the Demon Deacons the edge in this contest, along with their home-court edge.

Prediction: Wake Forest Demon Deacons -7

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Normally, you'd look at Wake Forest's numbers defensively and think that Boston College was in for a big night. The Demon Deacons are 259th in field goal percentage defense (44.2 percent) and 255th in three-point field goal percentage defense (34.1 percent) this season. Boston College has been awful on the offensive end shooting the ball though, as they are 334th in field goal percentage and 324th in three-point shooting. One thing that one has to keep in mind is that these teams combined to go over this total in their first meeting, which came in the season opener. With more time to adjust and work through their rotations, you have to think that both teams are better prepared. Look for this one to end up over the number as well.

Prediction: Over 138.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.