What to Expect: Wake Forest

  • 11/23/2015 10:02 am in

Indiana begins play in the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational today against Wake Forest at the Lahaina Civic Center. (Note: Inside the Hall’s Ryan Corazza and Jamie Owens are in Maui and will be providing coverage all week.)

Today’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET with Jon Sciambi and Bill Walton on the call. The full Maui bracket is available here.

Is Indiana ready to win three games in three days? We’re about to find out. The Hoosiers tip off in Maui today with Wake Forest, which is 2-1 and coming off of a home loss to Richmond.

The Maui field is an impressive one as IU, Kansas and Vanderbilt are all ranked. In addition to those three teams, there’s a day one matchup between UNLV and UCLA, which should also be entertaining. Throw in Wake Forest and St. John’s, which are both rebuilding but are recruiting well, and you’ve got one of the stronger fields of any of the early season tournaments this season.

But before Indiana can look ahead to a day two matchup with Vanderbilt or even a potential meeting on Wednesday with Kansas, the Hoosiers must first focus on the Demon Deacons, who will be looking to play spoiler in the opener.


Wake isn’t at full strength as senior guard and leading scorer Codi Miller-McIntyre is recovering from a left foot fracture and isn’t expected to play in Maui. Miller-McIntyre, who averaged 15.6 points per game last season, did travel with the team for the event.

The Demon Deacons have also been without Cornelius Hudson, who averaged 7.5 points per game last season, and Rondale Watson, as both were suspended late last month for a violation of departmental rules. It appears Hudson may be on the verge of a return, but Watson was not expected to travel to Maui.

In the absence of Miller-McIntyre, freshman guard Bryant Crawford (pictured) has played well in the first three games of his career. Crawford is coming off a 21-point performance in Wake’s loss to Richmond in which he hit four of his five 3-point attempts. IU fans likely remember the name as Crawford made multiple visits to Bloomington when Kenny Johnson was on the coaching staff. Crawford has 15 assists in three games, but also has 12 turnovers.

Mitchell Wilbekin, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, is just 9-of-25 from the field through two games, but has done an excellent job of taking care of the ball (turnover percentage of just 4) and also getting to the line (13 attempts in three games). Junior guard Trent VanHorn comes off the bench for Danny Manning and is nearly invisible offensively (per KenPom) as he’s using just 8.3 percent of his team’s possessions while on the floor.

Wake starts three forwards up front and the headliner is 6-foot-9 senior Devin Thomas. At 255 pounds, he’s a strong rebounder on both ends and is finishing 51.4 percent of his 2s, but is hitting just 57.7 percent from the foul line in 26 attempts. He’s also got six blocks through three games and is averaging 17 points per game.

Joining Thomas in the frontcourt rotation are 6-foot-10 sophomore Konstantinos Mitoglou and 6-foot-7 forward Greg McClinton. Mitoglou likes to step out and shoot from the perimeter, but is just 4-of-16 from deep thus far. Like Thomas, he’s been strong on both the offensive (12.9 OR%) and defensive glass (29.0 DR%). McClinton is shooting close to 58 percent from the field so far, but is just 1-of-6 from the foul line.

Three others to watch on the Wake roster are freshman center Doral Moore and freshman forward John Collins. Moore, who had an IU scholarship offer, is a work in progress and is playing just seven minutes per game, but has the talent to develop into a very good player down the line. Collins, who is 6-foot-10, had 13 points and four rebounds in 12 minutes in the loss to Richmond.


In his comments on Sunday, Tom Crean mentioned Wake’s physicality and the numbers bear out that Indiana is going to have a rebounding battle on its hands.

Through three games, the Demon Deacons are rebounding 44.2 percent of their misses and are also cleaning up the defensive glass as opponents are only grabbing 23.3 percent of missed shots. Indiana, however, has been equally impressive on the boards so far as the Hoosiers are allowing opponents to grab just 20.8 percent of their misses and are in the top ten nationally early in offensive rebounding percentage.

Another factor that bears watching is whether Indiana is able to keep Wake off the free throw line as the Deacons have a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) percentage of 55.8 through three games. The Hoosiers have done a great job of avoiding fouls, but keeping Thomas Bryant and Max Bielfeldt on the floor will be a key in this game.

On the flip side, Wake has been dreadful at defending the 3-pointer, which isn’t a recipe for successfully defending Indiana. Richmond just torched Wake for 11-of-23 from deep and Manning’s club is allowing opponents to shoot over 40 percent on 3s so far.

Additionally, Wake has been below average defensively so far this season (1.01 points per possession allowed) and opponents are only turning it over on 10.4 percent of possessions. As we’ve seen through three games, the best way to slow Indiana down is to get the Hoosiers to turn it over. When that doesn’t happen, the percentages say the Hoosiers will get a quality look and score efficiently.


Vegas opened with Indiana as an 11-point favorite, but that number has moved up to 12.5 as of Monday morning. The Pomeroy prediction likes IU by 10 and Sagarin likes the Hoosiers by 15.

Wake’s best chance to be successful against Indiana is to be physical, try to draw fouls and get to the line. The Demon Deacons are playing at a similar pace to Indiana, but attempting to run with an offense this explosive may not be the best strategy, especially with a freshman point guard who has been turnover prone. The crowd could also be a major factor if IU gets on a run as Hoosier fans are expected to be a vocal majority in the Lahaina Civic Center.

Indiana’s defense has been better than last season early on, but will it travel to a neutral court setting? Wake isn’t a good shooting team, so keeping them out of the lane will be a key, as well as cleaning up the defensive glass. If that happens, Indiana should be in line to move on for a Tuesday meeting with the St. John’s-Vanderbilt winner.

(Photo credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • O.G.Ehman

    This is a game we should win somewhat comfortably, as long as we’re not looking ahead to day 2…

    Hoosiers – 84
    Bad Guys – 66

  • sarge

    Bad Guys! Makes me laugh every time. I agree, IU by 15-20 points as long as we can match the rebounding and continue to improve on defense

  • TomJameson

    I would think Wake (as anybody should with IU) will try to concentrate on the perimeter. But with how IU can space the floor, that could be a recipe for disaster as well. I just hope the refs can call the game with some consistency and not just “give it away” with a bunch of homer-type calls in Wakes favor. I would also like to see Yogi start getting a little respect, and possibly a little protection from the hammering he always seems to get under the basket.

  • Corey Dunigan

    I would like to see TB put on Good luck sometime in this tournament

  • Tdavis

    While not wanting Biefedlt and Bryant to get into foul trouble, I look for Hartman Morgan and Og to play often. Why let them get free passes in the lane when they can’t hit FTs. Just my thoughts. IU could blow this wide open and should.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    The only way Wake forrest wins is if Tim Duncan and Chris Paul check into the game.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I haven’t watched Wake Fotrest play this season so I can’t speak to what I’m expecting in terms of point margin. That being said, I’m looking forward to seeing whether or not IU can play a second-straight game of solid defense. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Thomas Bryant deals with his first college game outside of Assembly Hall (I’m guessing he’ll do just fine). Additionally:
    -Can James Blackmon continue to shoot/finish well?
    -Can the Hoosiers get to the foul line at an acceptable rate?
    -This is a good test, can IU rebound at the elite level we’ve seen in a couple of games?

    Wake Forest will probably end up being a Top 100 (possibly Top 75 or Top 50) opponent come March so this is a good opportunity at a great event. Here’s to hoping the Hoosiers can seize the opportunity!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    dang, kinda sounds like a scary matchup for us. they’re physical, they rebound well, they slow down the game. absolutely going to be a clash of styles! today we’re gonna see what this team’s made of, and our shooters better be a shootin!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Wake doesn’t “slow down the game”. They typically try to play at a pace similar to IU’s. They may try to slow things down today but that will be out of character for them.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i want to see…
    – if iu can control the tempo of the game against a team that apparently likes to slow things down.
    – if tb can hold his own against a ‘physical’ team, while staying out of foul trouble
    – if iu has any frontcourt depth. can CH, OG, and JM step in and provide productive minutes
    – if iu can keep its composure if they happen to get challenged for the first time this season. can a sr. YF keep this team from derailing

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    but i read where CTC mentioned they play a halfcourt offense or something like that. led me to believe they don’t play at our pace

  • CreamandCrimson

    I haven’t watched them so I can’t say for sure but according to the ITH preview…”The Demon Deacons are playing at a similar pace to Indiana”. It’s inconsequential really, I imagine they may want to try and slow it down because of IU’s transition game but if the Hoosiers are playing well and with purpose, Wake’s intentions will be irrelevant.

  • Fifty-fifty ball

    Dang! Bill Walton on the call. He’s in my top 10 all time worst announcers for any sport.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    At least there is no Dickie V

  • MrNobody

    Gladly take Dickie V over recollections of Bill’s dead head days that bore you to sleep.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    he is, however, calling the duke game. oh boy

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    can’t stand that guy either. he’s right up there (or down there, i should say) with collinsworthless and diredork

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    yessir, i suspect our frontcourt depth could be tested this afternoon

  • showjo

    Aww he’s one of my favorites! Haha. He’s such a goofball, and his tangents are super entertaining because of his record breaking intake of medicinal marijuana. I’d rather listen to him than other guys trying to sound intelligent.

  • calbert40

    Extremely excited to see how good we really are this week. I think we should make the championship game, but this early in the season, it is difficult to know what each team really is made of. Excited for the challenge.

  • Hardwood83

    Looking for that super rare football-basketball sweep during the same season.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’m assuming you’re talking about Okonoboh… In that case they would have to beat UCLA and Kansas to face us which I don’t think they’re capable of. Also, from what I’ve seen he has been relegated to a reserve role in favor of Zimmerman.

  • Riley Johnston

    Great writeup, just a couple of notes from a Wake fan:

    1. Hudson and Watson have both been suspended for unknown reasons, but both travelled to Maui.

    2. Trent VanHorn has been “nearly invincible” because he is a walk-on (just got awarded a scholarship for the year). Since we only have two scholarship guards until CMM. Hudson, and Watson get back, he is having to play a ton of minutes. His only role is to protect the ball to the best of his ability, play good defense, and remain invincible haha.

    I’m guessing IU takes care of Wake by 10+, but should hang around a bit in the first half. Devin Thomas should have a good chance to go hard at Bryant and possibly get a couple of early fouls on the freshman.

    Best of luck today and there rest of the tournament/season

  • IUBizmark

    Thanks for stopping by and adding that detail! Nice to know these things! Good luck out there!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    thanks riley, nicely done. not good to play this iu team with a short bench, those guys are gonna be gassed!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    The Maui Tournament will be a great experience for the players and staff. I am really glad that IU is there and playing. Makes for a great week of IU bball. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone on the Inside The Hall board. Safe travels.

  • straight no chaser

    At the half: IU 45, Wake 50.

    I told you we hadn’t played a real team yet.

  • mharv2631

    Play some freeking D

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Along with Troy Williams bad ball handling.

  • Yeah, well, I submit that WF wasn’t that much better than we’ve played. I’d say we played that much worse.

  • NC Hoosier

    Great job, Hoosiers. Great job.

  • Padraic

    Deal with it.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Or we are coached by Tom Crean.