ACC Scouting Report: Wake Forest

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Sylven Landesberg may be able to find some driving lanes against Wake.

On Saturday the Cavaliers take on their toughest test of the season in Winston-Salem. After winning their last three contests against ranked teams, it is an unranked opponent that provides the stiffest challenge of the season so far. Led by lightning quick point guard Ishmael Smith and future NBA lottery pick Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest plays at a pace and a philosophy that this Virginia team hasn’t faced this year. Lets take a look at how the Deacons and Hoos match up.

Wake Forest Offense

It would be a waste of time to talk in great detail about the sets Wake is looking to set up in the half-court – this is mostly due to the fact that they hope they never have to slow down enough to call out a set. The Deacons goal is simple – play as fast as possible – and they do an excellent job of meeting that goal.

Many teams who run a transition attack have a script to it, such as “when the shot is missed the rebounder needs to find the point guard, the point guard needs to come ball side and receive the pass and then look down that wing to where a streaking guard should be, if it isn’t there run a Z cut and look to the opposite wing …” – the attack described there is the intro to one of the most basic transition attacks in college basketball. Dean Smith’s “Carolina Transition” used the set-up (continuing on with several more rules and reads) and then had in place the type of spacing and personnel needed to get into his secondary break. The secondary break that Roy Williams is constantly applauded for is just a modernization of this set that his mentor ran for years, but even with its simplicity this set is like rocket-science compared with what Wake will try to do on Saturday.

Wake prefers to run what I call “go” transition, meaning when a player rebounds the ball the coach simply yells “go” and he takes off leading the break. This is an advantage that very few teams have, being able to have