How to Watch
When/Where: 1:30 PM; TD Arena, Charleston
Wake Forest has had a much smoother start to the Charleston Classic than Villanova.
The first round of the Charleston Classic was arguably a much more enjoyable affair for the Demon Deacons. Facing Texas-El Paso, Wake Forest dominated with shooting, winning the game a 103-81. Not only is this the first time since 2008 that Wake Forest surpassed the 100 point mark, but 6’10 junior forward John Collins also nailed a career high 24 points.
Nova, while still getting the W in their first round game against Western Michigan, experienced a far more strenuous victory yesterday. Western Michigan made an emphasized point to drill into Villanova’s defensive gaps, leading the Wildcats scraping to maintain the pace of the game. Transfer Eric Paschall ultimately lead Nova’s charge to win with 17 points.
Villanova may be inclined to focus on sharpening its defense.
As noted above, Nova’s defensive situation is quickly becoming its Achilles heel. It may seem like less of an issue when the team’s expected 3s are raining the court, but when the Wildcats’ offensive shooting can’t nail the basket, those defensive gaps feel like canyons—hence the unexpectedly close game with Western Michigan. Darryl Reynolds has been the natural option to take on the “main man in the paint” role, but the Wildcats still face bouts of inconsistency underneath the basket.
Wake Forest boasts some impressive physical perimeter, most notably with 7’1 sophomore center Doral Moore. Should this disjointed defense “strategy” continue, Wake Forest may attempt to use their physicality to full advantage in the paint and Nova’s path to win the Charleston Classic could fare rockier than anticipated.
Jalen Brunson’s stock is only rising.
If the past three games are any indication, Jalen Brunson is certainly coming into his own on coach Jay Wright’s squad. Many have readily dubbed him the man to fulfill Arcidiacono’s role with the Wildcats, and the sophomore has taken those expectations to heart and hustle. In yesterday’s game against the Broncos, Brunson downed 14 points on par with senior leader Josh Hart. Taking it back one game further, Brunson’s collective coolness under pressure with high-stakes free throws enabled Nova to scrap the win against a high-powered Purdue team. Viewers can expect Brunson to continue with his consistent shooting and conducting well-oiled plays.