January 3rd may seem like a short time ago, but for two ACC teams it seems like a distant memory.
On that Wednesday one month ago, Wake Forest (9-15, 2-10) defeated Syracuse (16-8, 5-6) by the score of 73-67 in Winston-Salem. Since then, the Demon Deacons have only won one game. Meanwhile, the Orange have gone 4-5 in that same stretch. Now, the two teams meet again today at the Carrier Dome.
After the most recent SU contest, a 78-73 win over Louisville, Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim spoke with the media.
“I told my guys after the [Virginia] game, we got eight games left and our season will be determined by what we do in those eight games,” said Boeheim.
With seven games to go, the Orange are on the bubble in Cardiac ‘Cuse fashion. Prior to today’s contest, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Syracuse among his first four teams out.
For Syracuse to pull off the victory, the guards need to lead the way. In the win over Louisville, #25 Tyus Battle put up 25 points and Frank Howard added 22 of his own.
On the glass, Oshae Brissett has led the Orange with nine rebounds per game. Brissett, along with center Pascal Chukwu, need to step up after being outrebounded 38-29 in the last meeting between these two teams.
Wake Forest, coached by former Kansas star Danny Manning, will be relying on two junior guards, Bryant Crawford and Keyshawn Woods. After current Atlanta Hawk John Collins was drafted, Crawford has exceeded and failed to meet expectations in his new leadership role. He leads the Demon Deacons in points (16.3 ppg) and assists (4.9 apg). But, Crawford has regressed in turnovers and shooting percentage, reverting to totals similar to that of his freshman year.
Woods has become the number two scorer on the Wake Forest squad, despite being the sixth man on the team. He is part of a bench that is averaging 24.7 points per game off the bench this season, Wake Forest’s highest bench production since 2000.
Our coverage of today’s game begins at 12:30 with Countdown to Tip-off, followed by the game at 1, right here on WAER.