ACC Basketball: Friday Preview

It’s a quiet Friday evening across the basketball landscape in the ACC, with only two games on the docket as we head into the weekend. The annual “City Game” in Pittsburgh highlights the night, as Pittsburgh takes on Duquesne. However, Wake Forest will also do battle against Arkansas from the SEC.
 

Pittsburgh (4-1) Vs. Duquesne (6-1), 7:00 PM ET on CBS Sports Network
 

Game Notes

  • The Panthers got off to a slow start in their last outing against Purdue, and fell just short despite a furious second half rally. James Robinson and company will look to recover from an uncharacteristic 4 for 19 effort from beyond the arc.
  • Pittsburgh’s defense will have quite the task in defending Duquesne’s stellar backcourt. Guards Micah Mason and Derrick Coulter combine for over a third of the team’s points at about 37 points per game. Mason also led the NCAA in three-point shooting two years ago, and is a career 49% shooter from deep.

Prediction

All it takes is another cold shooting night by Pittsburgh’s guards to keep Duquesne in the game this evening. The fact of the matter is that the Dukes have some of the nation’s best three-point shooters in their arsenal who are more than capable of keeping them in the ballgame. The equalizer will be the size factor that the Panthers have over Duquesne tonight. the best player on the Panthers, forward Michael Young, should camp out in the paint and have another big night to add to his 17.6 points per game that he is averaging through five games this season. This will not be an easy win for the Panthers, and if they fall asleep on defense, they could easily lose this game. However, Young is too much of a factor down low to ignore, and should help the Panthers survive a scare from the Dukes of Duquesne.
 
Pittsburgh 84   Duquesne 76

 

Arkansas (3-3) Vs. Wake Forest (5-2), 7:00 PM ET on ESPN3.com
 

Game Notes

  • Can Wake Forest handle the Arkansas full-court defensive pressure? If they don’t they could be well on their way to another 20+ turnover game like last season’s match-up which ended up being a runaway win for the Razorbacks. It will be a task for the Demon Deacons, as they average 15 turnovers per game entering play.
  • Likewise, can Arkansas handle Wake’s Devin Thomas? Thomas has looked every bit like an All-ACC player thus far this season, averaging a robust 18.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Prediction

I don’t trust Wake Forest. I just don’t.

Sure, they upset Indiana last week which counts for something. However, Indiana looks more and more like a team that is in for a free fall, which throws some shade on the significance of that particular win for the Demon Deacons. Ultimately, without Codi Miller-McIntyre in the lineup, there is not a ball-handler that can really be trusted to protect the basketball, especially against a team that thrives on pressure defense to produce offense. Arkansas should win this one comfortably.
 

Arkansas  77   Wake Forest  64
 
 

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