College basketball previews: Wake, UNC, NC State have key games coming up this weekend

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 7, 2022

Associated Press

Syracuse (7-7, 1-2) vs. Wake Forest (12-3, 2-2)

Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem; Saturday, 2 p.m.

BOTTOM LINE: Two senior guards will be on display as Buddy Boeheim and Syracuse will battle Alondes Williams and Wake Forest. Boeheim has scored 24 percent of the team’s points this season and is averaging 20.6 over his last five games. Williams is averaging 24 points and 5.6 assists over the last five games.

SENIOR STUDS: Syracuse’s B. Boeheim, Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider have combined to account for 58 percent of the team’s scoring this season, including 67 percent of all Orange points over the last five games.

ACC ADVANCEMENT: The Orange have given up just 74 points per game to conference opponents thus far. That’s an improvement from the 77.2 per game they gave up against non-conference competition.

FUELING THE OFFENSE: Williams has had his hand in 51 percent of all Wake Forest field goals over the last five games. Williams has 43 field goals and 28 assists in those games.

STREAK SCORING: Wake Forest has won its last nine home games, scoring an average of 83 points while giving up 63.

DID YOU KNOW: The Wake Forest offense has scored 80.2 points per game this season, ranking the Demon Deacons 29th among Division 1 teams. The Syracuse defense has allowed 76.5 points per game to opponents (ranked 274th).

Virginia looks to extend streak against UNC

Virginia (9-5, 3-1) vs. North Carolina (10-4, 2-1)

Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill; Saturday, 1 p.m.

BOTTOM LINE: Virginia looks for its eighth straight win in the head-to-head series over North Carolina. Virginia has won by an average of 9 points in its last seven wins over the Tar Heels. North Carolina’s last win in the series came on Feb. 18, 2017, a 65-41 win.

TEAM LEADERS: North Carolina’s Armando Bacot has averaged 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds while Caleb Love has put up 15.6 points. For the Cavaliers, Jayden Gardner has averaged 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds while Armaan Franklin has put up 12 points.

ACC ADVANCEMENT: The Tar Heels have given up just 68.3 points per game to Atlantic Coast opponents thus far. That’s an improvement from the 72.3 per game they gave up to non-conference competition.

ACCURATE ARMANDO: Across 14 games this season, North Carolina’s Bacot has shot 63.8 percent.

STREAK SCORING: North Carolina has won its last seven home games, scoring an average of 77.9 points while giving up 61.7.

DID YOU KNOW: The sturdy Virginia defense has held opponents to just 57.7 points per game, the ninth-lowest in Division I. North Carolina has allowed an average of 71.4 points through 14 games (ranked 207th, nationally).

NC State looks for home win against Clemson

Clemson (9-5, 1-2) vs. North Carolina State (8-7, 1-3)

PNC Arena, Raleigh; Saturday, noon

BOTTOM LINE: North Carolina State looks for its fifth straight win over Clemson at PNC Arena. The last victory for the Tigers at North Carolina State was a 68-57 win on Jan. 28, 2015.

BIG MEN ON CAMPUS: The prolific Dereon Seabron has averaged a double-double with 19.7 points and 10.1 rebounds to lead the way for the Wolfpack. Jericole Hellems has paired with Seabron and is accounting for 14.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The Tigers have been led by PJ Hall, who is averaging 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.

OFFENSIVE THREAT: Seabron has either made or assisted on 50 percent of all North Carolina State field goals over the last three games. Seabron has accounted for 26 field goals and 16 assists in those games.

UNDEFEATED WHEN: The Wolfpack are 5-0 when they hold opposing teams to 70 points or fewer and 3-7 when opponents exceed 70 points. The Tigers are 5-0 when they make 10 or more 3-pointers and 4-5 when the team hits fewer than 10 from long range.

PASSING FOR POINTS: The Pack have recently gotten baskets via assists more often than the Tigers. North Carolina State has 46 assists on 84 field goals (54.8 percent) over its previous three outings while Clemson has assists on 39 of 72 field goals (54.2 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW: The North Carolina State offense has recorded a turnover on only 14.4 percent of its possessions, which is the 13th-best rate in the country. The Clemson defense has forced opposing teams to turn the ball over on just 17.5 percent of all possessions (ranked 288th among Division I teams).

UNC-Asheville looks for win vs. Charleston Southern

Charleston Southern (3-10, 0-1) vs. UNC-Asheville (9-5, 1-0)

Kimmel Arena, Asheville; Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

BOTTOM LINE: UNC-Asheville looks for its fourth straight win over Charleston Southern at Kimmel Arena. The last victory for the Buccaneers at UNC-Asheville was an 85-75 win on Feb. 9, 2019.

FEARLESS FRESHMEN: Charleston Southern’s Kalib Clinton, Claudell Harris Jr. and Taje’ Kelly have collectively scored 37 percent of all Buccaneers points this season, though that number has dropped to 27 percent over the last five games.

TERRIFIC TAHLIK: Tahlik Chavez has connected on 33.7 percent of the 98 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 13 of 40 over his last five games. He’s also converted 90.9 percent of his free throws this season.

SLIPPING AT 75: Charleston Southern is 0-9 when it allows at least 75 points and 3-1 when it holds opponents to less than 75.

PACE OF PLAY: The upbeat Charleston Southern offense has averaged 76.7 possessions per game, the second-most in Division I. UNC-Asheville has not been as uptempo as the Buccaneers and is averaging only 67.2 possessions per game (ranked 270th, nationally).

UNCG, VMI meet in conference matchup

UNC Greensboro (8-5, 0-1) vs. VMI (9-6, 2-1)

Cameron Hall, Lexington, Virginia; Saturday, 1 p.m.

BOTTOM LINE: UNC Greensboro pays visit to VMI in a SoCon matchup. Each squad is coming off of a loss on Wednesday. VMI lost 80-79 on the road to East Tennessee State, while UNC Greensboro fell 58-54 at home to Furman.

SENIOR STUDS: UNC Greensboro’s De’Monte Buckingham, Mohammed Abdulsalam and Dante Treacy have combined to account for 41 percent of the team’s scoring this season, including 62 percent of all Spartans points over the last five games.

FUELING THE OFFENSE: Jake Stephens has either made or assisted on 49 percent of all VMI field goals over the last three games. The senior big man has 32 field goals and 12 assists in those games.

STREAK SCORING: VMI has won its last five home games, scoring an average of 87.2 points while giving up 51.6.

DID YOU KNOW: VMI as a team has made 12.7 3-pointers per game this season, which is third-best among Division I teams.