Penn State Vs. Wake Forest Preview: Lions Look For Another Big Non-Conference Win

By Matthew Filipovits on December 4, 2019 at 5:01 pm
Penn State guard Myles Dread
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Wake Forest
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
5-3 (0-1 ACC)
9:15 p.m. ET – Wednesday, Dec. 4
Bryce Jordan Center
University Park, PA
Watch Info: ESPNU
KenPom Rank: 87

Pat Chambers and his team will look to continue their hot start, and contribute to the Big Ten's cause in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Penn State (6-1, 0-0) entertains Wake Forest (5-3, 0-1) at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday night, with the Nittany Lions looking to take down their third Power Six opponent of the young season. 

The Nittany Lions are nearly a week removed from an uneven, but ultimately successful run at the Preseason NIT Tip-Off. One week ago tonight, they thoroughly dominated Ole Miss for 30 minutes fefore collapsing down the stretch en route to blowing a 21-point lead and losing. Friday's follow up was much better. Though Penn State surrendered another big lead, this time 16 points, and this time to Syracuse, the Lions reasserted themselves in the final 10 minutes to blow out the Orange by 21. Through eight games, the 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge is tied 4-4. There are six games Wednesday, with Ohio State at North Carolina serving as the night's headliner.

Projected Starters
Penn State   Wake Forest
Jamari Wheeler - 6'1" - Jr. 1 Brandon Childress - 6'0" - Sr.
Myles Dread - 6'4" - So. 2 Torry Johnson - 6'3" - Gr.
Myreon Jones - 6'3" - So. 3 Adrien White - 6'3" - Sr.
Lamar Stevens - 6'8" - Sr. 4 Isaiah Mucius - 6'8" - So.
Mike Watkins - 6'9" - Sr. 5 Ody Oguama - 6'9" - Fr.

Scouting report

Wake Forest has a clear strength with its senior-laden backcourt. Brandon Childress has played over 100 games for the Demon Deacons, and leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Torry Johnson and Adrien White came to Winston-Salem via transfer from smaller programs, but have both played a ton of basketball. Additionally, the backcourt is bolstered by junior Chaundee Brown who has 62 starts in his career and is actually third on the team in scoring, even though his minutes have tapered a bit as a reserve.

In the front court, Danny Manning leans on youth with sophomore Isaiah Mucius and freshman Ody Oguama as starters, but often turns to 7-foot junior Olivier Sarr for starter's minutes off the bench. Sarr is second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points/game and also has 11 blocks. 

keys to the game

  • Force Wake to play on Penn State's terms. The Demon Deacons aren't especially gifted on offense or defense. They're a solid team, but Lamar Stevens and company have an opportunity to dictate the tempo of this game.
  • Embrace the black and pink. The Nittany Lions throwback uniforms have treated them very well since they debuted a few years ago. During last year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Penn State donned the alternates to take down heavily favored Virginia Tech.
  • Contain Childress. The senior guard is the only player for Wake who plays over 29 minutes a game. He rarely leaves the floor. If Penn State can force him into foul trouble or dog him with Jamari Wheeler, it could be a long night for the Deacons in State College.


This is a game Penn State absolutely should win. Outside of 10 minutes in the Mississippi game, the Lions have been playing great basketball. However, they must avoid the shooting funks that plagued them against Yale and Ole Miss. Mike Watkins will have to stay out of foul trouble, which is a big ask going up against a 7-footer. I think Penn State's defense will be the difference in this one and Wheeler will keep a lid on Childress. Penn State 73 - Wake Forest 67.