Previewing Wake Forest

NC State makes the drive down I-40, when the Wolfpack battles Wake Forest in Winston-Salem tonight at 8:00 pm. Pack Pride takes a closer look at the Demon Deacons.


    G 00 Jeff Teague (20.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
    G 42 L.D. Williams (8.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
    F 01 Al-Farouq Aminu (13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
    F 23 James Johnson (14.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
    C 13 Chas McFarland (8.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg)

    Jeff Teague - Teague is in the mix to be named the ACC's Player of the Year. An explosive talent, his quickness and athleticism presents major problems for opposing defenses.

    Wake Forest Game Notes

    No. 13/14-ranked Wake Forest will look to even the season series with in-state rival NC State when the Demon Deacons host the Wolfpack on Thursday evening in Winston-Salem. The game, which will tip-off at 8 p.m. at the Joel Coliseum, will be televised by Raycom.

    The contest will also be available on the Wake Forest ISP Radio Network.

    The Demon Deacons (20-5, 7-5 ACC) are coming off a 101-91 loss at Duke on Sunday in Durham. The Blue Devils were able to gain a season series split with the Deacs after holding off Wake Forest's second-half rally that saw Duke's lead slip to two late in the game. Jeff Teague and James Johnson combined to score 54 points to lead the Deacons. Teague finished with 28 points, while Johnson posted a double-double of a career-high-tying 26 points and 11 rebounds. Ishmael Smith had 12 points and five assists off the bench for Wake.

    NC State comes in at 15-10 overall and 5-7 in the ACC. Following a 72-67 defeat of Virginia last Saturday in Raleigh, the Wolfpack have won three of their last four games and four of six in the month of February. The Deacons and Wolfpack are meeting for the 229th time since the 1910-11 season. The series is the third-most frequently played in the ACC.

    NC State won the first meeting this season, upsetting Wake Forest 82-76 on Feb. 11 in Raleigh.


  • Wake Forest is shooting 49.9 percent from the field this season. The Deacons have not shot 50 percent or better since the advent of the three-point line.

  • Wake Forest is one of just six schools in the country to have multiple players named to the mid-season candidate list for the 2009 Naismith Trophy.

    No. 9 Duke gained a season series split with No. 8 Wake Forest as the Blue Devils held on for a 101-91 defeat of the Demon Deacons on Sunday evening in Durham. Duke jumped out to a 22-point lead (41-19) in the first half, but Wake came roaring back with a 21-10 run to pull within 11 (51-40) at halftime.

    The Deacons then cut the deficit to just two, 80-78, with 7:40 to play in the game, but the Blue Devils used an 8-2 run over the next two minutes to take control of the contest.

    Jeff Teague and James Johnson combined to score 54 points to lead the Deacons. Teague finished with 28 points, while Johnson posted a double-double of a career-high-tying 26 points and 11 rebounds.

    Ishmael Smith had 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting and five assists off the bench, L.D. Williams scored 10 points and hit a pair of three-pointers for Wake.

    The Deacons shot a blistering 61.0 percent from the floor, including a 5-for-9 mark (55.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Wake Forest also went 14-for-16 at the free throw line.

    However, Duke was just as hot from the field. The Blue Devils shot 54.1 percent, which was the highest mark by a Deacon opponent this season. Duke also went 27-for-36 at the charity stripe for 75.0 percent.

    The Deacs out-rebounded the Devils, 34-23, but Duke won the turnover battle by committing just six miscues to 20 for Wake Forest. Duke scored 26 points off Wake turnovers.

    Ranked among the nation's best in a number of categories, Wake Forest has posted some remarkable statistics this season. Thus far, the Demon Deacons have turned in season performances that rank as some of the best in the 103-year history of the basketball program. Wake Forest's scoring margin of +12.6 currently stands as a school record, topping the previous mark of +10.9 set in 2004-05 when the Deacs were led by All-American sophomore Chris Paul.

    The Deacons have been shooting the lights out, leading the ACC with a 49.9 percent mark. That is Wake's highest percentage since the advent of the three-point line and its best mark since shooting 50.1 percent in 1983-84.

    On the defensive end, Wake Forest has held opponents to a 38.6 percent mark from the field. That is the lowest percentage since a 36.4 mark in 1996-97 when National Player of the Year Tim Duncan was a senior. This season's mark is also the lowest in the past 53 seasons (since a 36.9 percent mark in 1955-56).

    Wake Forest has pulled down an average of 40.7 rebounds per game. This currently stands as the Deacons' second-highest rebounding average in the past 35 seasons (since 1973-74). During that span, Wake Forest has averaged 40 rebounds or more just two previous times (40.6 rpg in 1975-76; 41.7 rpg in 2002-03).

    James Johnson and Jeff Teague have been named as mid-season candidates for the 2009 Naismith Trophy, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Tuesday afternoon. Wake Forest's sophomore duo is among 30 players in the country who are up for the most prestigious national basketball award, given annually to the men's college basketball player of the year.

    Wake Forest is one of just six schools with two players on the mid-season Naismith list, along with Connecticut, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. Nine players from the ACC are included on the list.

    On March 22, CBS will announce the four Naismith Trophy finalists during its first round coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

    Junior point guard Ishmael Smith became the seventh member of Wake Forest's 400 Assists Club on Feb. 18 against Georgia Tech. Smith dished out eight assists against the Yellow Jackets to give him 404 for his career.

    Smith is the first Deacon to surpass the 400 career assists mark since Randolph Childress (1991-95). The previous game against Florida State, Smith passed another Deacon legend, Chris Paul (2004-05), for seventh place on the school's all-time assists list.

    In three seasons, Smith has averaged 4.9 assists per game over 84 contests. As a freshman in 2006-07, he led the ACC with 6.0 assists per game. Smith currently ranks eighth in the ACC with 3.6 assists per game and third in the league in assist-to- turnover ratio (1.7).

    Wake Forest has arguably as many quality wins this season as any team in the country. The Deacons have gone 4-1 against ranked opponents this season, including three wins against top 10-ranked competition.

    This season, Wake Forest has beaten No. 3 North Carolina on Jan. 11, No. 9 Clemson on Jan. 17, No. 1 Duke on Jan. 28 and No. 25 Florida State on Feb. 14.

    The Deacons' only loss to a ranked foe came last Sunday as No. 9 Duke tripped up Wake Forest in Durham. Wake Forest has its most wins against ranked competition in a season since going 6-3 in 2004-05. The Deacons still have a game against nationally-ranked Clemson on the schedule. The Deacons are 133-313 all-time against ranked opponents.

    Wake Forest is 64-205 all-time against top-10 ranked foes and 34-132 against top-five opponents. When playing as a ranked team, Wake Forest is 312-148. The Deacons are 14-6 all-time when playing as the No. 13 team in the AP Poll, including a 9-1 record at home.

    Wake Forest has gone 12-1 at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum this season, including two wins over top three-ranked competition. The Deacons have won 31 of their last 34 games at the arena since Feb. 6, 2007.

    Under Dino Gaudio the Deacs are 27-3 at the Joel, winning 90 percent of their home games in the past two seasons. In their 20th season playing at the Joel, the Deacons are 253-56 (.819) all-time in the venue including a 108-48 (.692) mark against ACC opponents.

    In comparing the numbers from last season to this season, it is apparent Wake Forest has shifted its offensive focus to scoring inside and not relying on the three-pointer.

    In 2007-08, the Deacons took 33.0 percent of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc and scored 26.2 percent of their points on three-pointers. In 2008-09, Wake Forest is taking just 20.8 percent of its total field goal attempts from beyond the arc and 15.1 percent of the team's points have been scored on three-pointers. In terms of paint production, Wake Forest is scoring 11 more points per game in the paint this season. Last year, the Deacs scored 33.1 points in the paint per game, compared to 44.1 this season.

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