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Five things: Wake Forest

FSU looks for their 3rd straight ACC win on Tuesday night at the Tuck

NCAA Basketball: Charleston Classic-Utah at Wake Forest David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Wake has traveled in near hurricane conditions to take on Florida State in a Tuesday at the Tuck matchup.

1. Is the 7th time the charm? Since losing to Syracuse in the 2022 ACC Tournament, FSU has won back-to-back games 7 times, but have failed to generate a 3-game winning streak in conference play. After back-to-back wins over the Techs (Georgia and Virginia), Florida State now gets another shot at 3-straight against Wake Forest. Wake, meanwhile, has won nine in a row, which is the 5th longest active streak in the nation. It’s also three more wins than head coach Steve Forbes had in all of his (Covid shortened) first year at the helm of the Demon Deacons. Now in his 4th season, he’s looking to get Wake to their first NCAA Tournament since 2017. Losing to a team like FSU is not the way to do that.

2. Wake can straight fill it up from deep. They’re 23rd nationally, shooting 38% as a team, and three of their starters shoot better than 40%. Last year Wake dropped 90 on FSU, hitting 14-26 wide open 3s. After smothering some early teams and being in the top-25 nationally in defensive 3-pt%, FSU has fallen back to 214th and don’t seem all that concerned that three is worth more than two. But hey, you gotta play the game.

Speaking of which, yes, the game is on, despite the stormy weather that Floridians handle about as well as the ‘Noles handle quick guards who can play downhill.

3. Wake features Efton Reid in the middle, who FSU has been recruiting for about a decade. Out of high school FSU lost out to LSU, who dropped a bag heavy enough to cost their coach his job. After that Efton spent a year at Gonzaga, backing up Drew Timme. Now, that the 3-time transfer rule got tossed, he’s allowed to compete, and he’s now the best defensive rebounder in the conference and the 2nd best offensive rebounder.

4. FSU’s lineup has been sparked by their own transfer rule success story – Primo Spears. He’s played more minutes than Jalen Warley in four straight games, and though he’s as inefficient as we all knew he’d be, he also plays at the tempo Ham has been trying to get this offense to play at for years, and he’s all got all the two button Xbox moves that allow him to penetrate more effectively than any other FSU guard. His rise along with Jaylen Gainey finally looking like the player we expected against Virginia Tech has the glass-half-full ‘Noles thinking this team may be able to crank out 10 wins in ACC play and potentially be able to sneak into the NIT.

5. In ACC play, FSU has forced the 2nd most turnovers, while Wake has committed the 3rd fewest. Two of Wake’s three losses on the season are also their two highest turnover games. For the Seminoles to have a chance, they’re either going to have to go bananas from deep, or force Wake into an ugly, turnover filled game.