ACC Semifinal Preview: Wake Forest

The Blue Devils survived against upset minded Miami on Friday and will now face a hot Wake Forest team playing for its post season life in Saturday's first semifinal. TDD previews the match up.


Duke (28-3, 15-2) vs. Wake Forest (17-15, 5-13)
Greensboro, N.C. – Greensboro Coliseum
1:30 p.m., Raycom/JP

Program Vitals
Nickname: Demon Deacons
Colors: Black and Gold
Head Coach: Skip Prosser – 5th season
Career Record at Wake Forest: 111-50 (276-128 overall)
This Season: Duke-82/93, Wake Forest-64/71

Projected Starters: 
   Michael Drum (6-6, 204, Jr.) – 5.5 ppg, 1.8 apg
   Justin Gray (6-2, 194, Sr.) – 18.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.0 apg
   Eric Williams (6-9, 280, Sr.) – 16.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg 62% FG
   Trent Strickland (6-5, 216, Sr.) – 12.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 48% 3FG
   Chris Ellis (6-9, 267, Sr.) – 4.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Key Reserves: 
   Kyle Visser (6-11, 244, Jr.) – 5.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg
   Harvey Hale (6-2, 186, Fr.) – 6.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.1 apg
   Kevin Swinton (6-7, 224, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
   Cameron Stanley (6-6, 214, Fr.) – 2.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg
   Shamaine Dukes (6-1, 175, Fr.) – 1.2 ppg

Quotable:
You don't have time to worry. You can't sit there and think, "Third game in a row, do you have it in you?" You have to have it in you. So, playing against a great player like Shelden Williams, I'm going to have to wake up and just have a great amount of energy. – Senior F Eric Williams

They beat us handily both times we played this season. They have a Hall of Fame coach and two of the premier players in our conference. They have a stupendous record in this tournament. We hope we honor them by playing to our potential. Duke makes you do that in order to even have a chance of winning. – Head coach Skip Prosser



Storylines:

Last Stand?: The loss of Chris Paul was expected to hurt Wake Forest in the sense that the Demon Deacons were picked to contend among the second tier of ACC teams in 2006. However, that didn't happen as a lack of defensive prowess and questionable effort throughout the season landed Wake in dead last in the conference, making them the first ever 12 seed in ACC history.

However, Coach Prosser has his team finally playing to their potential over the past two weeks as Wake has stormed to three straight victories including a pair of dominating wins over North Carolina State and a convincing victory over Florida State.

The only chance seniors Justin Gray and Eric Williams have of making another NCAA Tournament is to win two more games in Greensboro and take the ACC's automatic bid.

Duke Notes:

- J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams recorded their 58th career victory against ACC competition with an 80-76 win over Miami in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. Redick and Williams are now tied with Casey Sanders for seventh most wins against ACC schools in both Duke and ACC history. Next up are Daniel Ewing and Nick Horvath tied in fifth place with 59 victories.

- J.J. Redick became Duke's single-season scoring leader with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 5-of-11 from behind the arc. Redick also hit both his free throws and grabbed three rebounds in a complete 40 minute performance. He now has 858 points this season, passing Jason Williams' total of 841 in 2001.

- Shelden Williams recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds and added five blocks in 38 minutes of action.

- The Duke offensive attack continues to welcome the contributions of two players that will prove crucial if the Blue Devils are to make a run deep into March and April. DeMarcus Nelson scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from behind the arc, marking his seventh-straight game and ninth of the season in double figures. Nelson's four three-pointers is a new career high. Josh McRoberts scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards against Miami, marking his 12th double-figure scoring game of the season and fifth in the last seven games for the Blue Devils. McRoberts has pulled down seven or more rebounds in eight games this season.

- The Blue Devils have dominated the ACC Tournament in recent history, posting a remarkable 21-1 record in the event since 1999, a run that includes six of the past seven championships. Duke is now 40-15 under Coach Mike Krzyzewski at the ACC Tournament. Coach K became the second coach in ACC tournament history to record 40 wins.


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