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Passing Fancies

Unlike several more successful ACC teams, Wake Forest isn’t very good at sharing the ball and it costs them.

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Operation Basketball
 Oct 24, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons head coach Danny Manning speaks to the media during the 2018 ACC Operation Basketball held at Spectrum Center. 
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When Duke visited and overwhelmed Wake Forest in its first ACC road game of the season, the Demon Deacons sputtered to 33.8 percent field goal accuracy fueled by six assists on 22 field goals (27 percent). By contrast, Duke had 24 assists on 36 made shots (66.7 percent), signs of unselfish and smoothly efficient offense on the one hand and unresistant defense on the other.

“I do feel like I could have done more,” said Wake playmaker Brandon Childress. He wasn’t responsible for teammates standing around or forcing shots, but took the blame for the 22-point defeat in his failure to be a better floor general. “It’s very unacceptable, especially for the point guard, for a team like this to have only six assists for the night.”

On the year the Demon Deacons, who figures soon to dip below .500, are last in the ACC in ratio of assists leading to made field goals with a .453 conversion rate. Last year’s 11-20 squad had a .539 rate of assists per made basket.

Remaining at the current low level to season’s end is apt to produce another losing overall record, the Deacs’ fourth in five years under coach Danny Manning.

Presumably coaches prefer to run offenses that rely on seamless pass-to-basket teamwork rather than one-on-one maneuvers. Eleven of 15 ACC squads record assists on at least half their field goals.

At Georgia Tech, where postgame notes routinely include “Pastner’s Key Metrics”, assists to made field goals is a highlighted indicator of team performance. The goal for each Yellow Jacket outing is to achieve 60 percent efficiency in this regard.

Only North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech among ACC men have mustered that level of assists to field goals. The Jackets are third at .603 following a close home loss to the Hokies.

Assists to Made Field Goals, Through Games of Jan. 9
School %Asts: FGM Assists FGM
North Carolina .612 296 484
Virginia Tech .605 259 428
Georgia Tech .603 225 373
Virginia .579 210 363
Notre Dame .564 217 385
Duke .551 259 470
NC State .545 270 495
Syracuse .521 186 357
Louisville .519 200 385
Pittsburgh .514 202 393
Miami .501 201 401
Clemson .478 188 393
Boston College .470 166 353
Florida State .456 188 412
Wake Forest .453 154 340
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