Wake Forest has work to do


USA TODAY Sports

As the NCAA tournament approaches, there are several teams looking to pad their resumes over the final days of the regular season. Covers Expert Steve Merril takes a look at a few “bubble teams” that can provide betting value this week.



Clemson

The Tigers went into their Tuesday night game at Virginia Tech with a 13-13 SU record on the season. Clemson desperately needed to win that game, but they couldn’t hold a late lead, and lost 71-70 on a made Virginia Tech three-point shot with just 0:07 left to play.  That was the Tigers’ fifth loss in their past six games, and their eleventh loss in their last fourteen games.

Clemson will finish the regular season with three consecutive home games against Florida State, NC State, and Boston College. The Tigers lost by 48 points at Florida State earlier this season, so they are unlikely to beat the Seminoles. NC State and Boston College are both in disarray, so Clemson should win those games to keep their slim NCAA tournament hopes alive.



Illinois State

Illinois State is 23-5 SU on the season as they head into their home game against Southern Illinois on Wednesday night.  Illinois State is on the NCAA tournament bubble simply due to their extremely weak non-conference strength of schedule. Their toughest game was at TCU, and calling that a tough game is stretching it.

The Redbirds do not have a difficult schedule remaining with the aforementioned home game against Southern Illinois, and a road game at Northern Iowa.  Illinois State is 14-0 SU at home, so it’s unlikely they’ll lose to the Salukis. The Redbirds regular season finale at Northern Iowa will be a tough game considering they only beat the Panthers by 6 points at home earlier this season.

Wake Forest

Wake Forest will host Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. The Demon Deacons are 15-12 SU on the season, including 9-3 SU at home. Wake Forest is not in good current form as they’ve lost three of their last four games, and five of their last eight games overall. Granted, four of their five losses did come on the road.

The Demon Deacons have a difficult schedule remaining despite playing two of their final three games at home. After Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Wake Forest will have a week off before they host a very good Louisville team the following Wednesday. The Demon Deacons will then close their season with a road game against a scrappy Virginia Tech squad.


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