The Deacons (12-1, 1-0), led by one of the top backcourts in the country in Chris Paul (14.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG) and Justin Gray (16.2 PPG, 3 RPG), have won five of their last six games against Clemson (9-4, 0-1).
"This is probably the best transition team we've played," said head coach Oliver Purnell of Saturday's match up.
"Skip does a good job of running a lot of different stuff, but preparing for Paul and what he does individually is more important than any of the other stuff that they run. He's either going to score himself, or make a play to get somebody else a basket. That's probably 70% of their offense."
The Deacons are off to a 12-1 start, with their only loss coming in a road game against top ranked Illinois.
"Time will certainly tell as we go through the course of the season, but I don't think there is a better team in the country," said Purnell.
While the excellent backcourt play of Wake Forest has been well-documented, the Deacs'inside presence also can't be ignored, as junior center Eric Williams is averaging just under 15 points and six boards a game.
The Tigers lost at Duke in their ACC opener this past Sunday, and Saturday's game against Wake Forest will mark the second consecutive year that Clemson will open its ACC schedule against two teams ranked in the top five in the country.
Obviously, a win over Wake would be a nice shot in the arm for the Tigers as they enter the heart of conference play.
"It's a confidence building thing. 'Hey- now we can win in the ACC,'" added Purnell. "Certainly, you'd rather be 1-1 in the conference instead of 0-2 going forward."
Sharrod Ford continues to pace the Tigers with 15.1 points a game. Shawan Robinson is second on the team at 11.2 points per game.
If Clemson is going to have a chance to pull the upset, somebody will have to step up as a reliable second and third scoring option. The Tigers seem to be able to count on Sharrod Ford in the post, but Robinson has been inconsistent with his outside shot, and Cliff Hammonds has also been streaky at times.
The last time the Tigers defeated the Deacons was a 118-115 double overtime home win in February 2002, but Clemson does own a 19-17 record against Wake Forest at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Saturday's game will be televised regionally by Jefferson-Pilot and is scheduled to tip-off at 4:07 PM.
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