Previewing Wake Forest

The Tar Heels return home to the Smith Center to face conference cellar dweller Wake Forest. Tuesday's tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be televised by Raycom.

North Carolina (18-6, 8-2) vs. Wake Forest (8-17, 1-9)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
8:00 -- Raycom (Tim Brant, Mike Gminski)


"My team is a very immature team in a lot of ways. I think that they will have some respect for Wake. I don't think that it will be that they'll take them lightly. I think they'll come to practice today and work really hard to try to get prepared to play." – UNC head coach Roy Williams

"You can't focus [on one player] – what it boils down to is everybody individually has to do a great job of guarding their man without having to have too much help." – Williams on the fact that all five Demon Deacon starters are averaging in double digits


Season to Date: Wake Forest enters Tuesday night's contest with an 8-17 (1-9 ACC) record. First-year head coach Jeff Bzdelik earned six of those victories before Dec. 15, but had already lost games to Stetson (89-79), VCU (90-69), Winthrop (83-73) and UNC Wilmington (81-69). The Demon Deacons also lost to Presbyterian and Richmond, but managed to steal a conference victory from Virginia (76-71) on Jan. 29.

Just Plain Brutal: In ACC play, the Demon Deacons rank 12th in nine statistical categories, including scoring margin (minus-19.4), field goal percentage (40.2) and field goal percentage defense (47.0). Wake Forest also ranks 11th in six other categories, including steals (4.2), 3-point field goal percentage defense (39.8) and scoring offense (62.2 ppg).

Reliance on Rookies: Dino Gaudio's last act as Wake Forest's head coach arrived in the form of a top-10 nationally-ranked freshmen class this fall, and Demon Deacon fans are clinging to that group's development as reason for hope in the future. Forward Travis McKie leads the team in scoring (12.5) and rebounding (7.4) and ranks in the top-20 of the ACC in both categories. His six double-doubles leads league freshmen. Guard J.T. Terrell is second on the team in scoring (11.5) and is knocking down 35.8 percent of his 3-point attempts (39-of-109). Center Carson Desrosiers is adding 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per outing (2nd in ACC play) off the bench, while point guard Tony Chennault (5.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg) is back up to speed after missing 17 games due to a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot in the season opener on Nov. 12.

Peaking at the Right Time: Sophomore guard C.J. Harris (11.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg) has elevated his play during the conference slate, averaging a team-best 12.9 points and 3.5 assists during his past eight games. The Winston-Salem, N.C. product is also connecting on 45.0 percent of his 3-pointers (9-of-20) during that stretch.

Strength in Size: While the field goal percentage defense statistic may not show it, the Demon Deacons have developed into one of the nation's top shot-blocking squads in the country. Wake Forest stands second in the ACC and eighth nationally with 5.9 blocks per game, a mark that leaves this team 35 short of tying the program record (182). Seven-footer Ty Walker leads the way with 2.8 blocks per outing, good for second in the ACC and 17th nationally. Desrosiers – another seven-footer – is not far behind with 1.6 blocks per game, good for sixth in the ACC and 80th nationally.

Deadly From Deep: Some players get hot from long range, but Gary Clark has done from beyond the arc this season is ridiculous. The senior guard is the long player in the country drilling 60 percent or better of his 3-point field goal attempts (45-of-75). Clark (10.8 ppg) is on pace to shatter the school record of 51 percent set by Ricky Peral in 1996.

Some Cause for Joy in Deacon Land: Wake Forest leads the ACC in just one statistical category – free throw shooting. The Demon Deacons have connected on 75.2 percent of their attempts (412-of-548) from the charity stripe, which also ranks 19th nationally.

Last Meeting: North Carolina capitalized on its best defensive performance of the season to hold off Wake Forest, 77-68, on Feb. 28, 2010, at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem. The Tar Heels held the Deacons to 29.7 percent shooting and received a career-day from Leslie McDonald, who scored a then-career-high 16 points. Marcus Ginyard posted eight points and 13 rebounds and John Henson added nine points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with Wake Forest, 152-65. UNC has won five of the last seven meetings between these two programs. North Carolina has won more games against the Demon Deacons than any other opponent.

Projected Starters:
11 C.J. Harris (6-3, 185, So.) - 11.2 ppg, 3.8 apg
0 J.T. Terrell (6-3, 175, Fr.) - 11.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
2 Gary Clark (6-4, 200, Sr.) - 10.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg
30 Travis McKie (6-7, 205, Fr.) - 12.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg
33 Carson Desrosiers (7-0, 235, Fr.) - 4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Top Reserves:
20 Ari Stewart (6-7, 205, So.) - 10.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg
40 Ty Walker (7-0, 230, Jr.) - 4.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg
25 Nikita Mescheriakov (6-8, 215, Jr.) - 3.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
1 Tony Chennault (6-2, 195, Fr.) - 5.0 ppg, 1.6 apg

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