Previewing Wake Forest

Fresh off a win against struggling Georgia Tech, the Tar Heels travel to face Wake Forest, a team that has lost five of its last six games. Tip-off Tuesday at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum is set for 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

North Carolina (18-3, 5-1) vs. Wake Forest (11-10, 2-5)
Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Lawrence Joel Coliseum
9:00pm -- ESPNU (Carter Blackburn, Jay Bilas)


"Length covers up for a lot of mistakes. Ty [Walker] obviously erases a lot of our mistakes and he is a factor in there because he is gifted with his ability to block shots and protect the rim. Obviously we need to be as strong as possible going in against one of the nation's elite teams, no question." – Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik


Season to Date: Wake Forest enters Tuesday night's contest with an 11-10 (2-5 ACC) record. The Demon Deacons posted nonconference wins against two power conference teams (Texas Tech, Nebraska) in late November before dropping games to Richmond and Wofford before ACC play began. Second-year head coach Jeff Bzdelik's squad opened their league slate with a victory over Virginia Tech (58-55), but have since lost five of six. That lone victory was at Boston College (71-56).

Demon Duo: If you wondering how Wake Forest currently has a winning record and has already doubled its ACC win total from last season, look no further than the improved play of junior guard C.J. Harris and sophomore wing Travis McKie. Harris ranks third in the league in scoring (17.3 ppg) and McKie is only two spots back in fifth (16.3 ppg). Harris has found success beyond the arc in knocking down 48.5 percent of his 3-pointers (32-of-66), while McKie leads the league in conference-only play in offensive rebounds (26) and ranks second in rebounds (9.6).

Big Man Inside: Ty Walker leads the ACC in conference-only stats with 4.1 blocks per game. The senior 7-footer's career has traveled a long and winding path, but he's averaging 5.0 points on 54.0 percent shooting and is pulling down 5.5 rebounds per game. After suffering a concussion against Florida State on Jan. 25, Walker returned against Clemson on Saturday to contribute eight points, four rebounds and three blocks.

Shooting Struggles: Outside of Harris and McKie, the Demon Deacons have found it difficult to put the ball in the basket. Wake Forest ranks 10th in the ACC in field goal percentage (43.3) and 11th in 3-point field goal percentage (33.1). Making matters worse is that the Demon Deacons are 11th in rebounding margin (plus-3.6), thereby limiting their second-chance opportunities.

Spark Off the Bench: Freshman guard Chase Fischer has provided some needed scoring outside of the starting five for the Deacons, averaging 6.9 points and knocking down 33.7 percent of his 3-pointers (30-of-89). The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder made a splash in mid-November by earning ACC Rookie of the Week after averaging 11.5 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals in two victories. Wake Forest is 6-1 on the season when Fischer has scored in double figures.

Random Fact of the Day: After playing seven games in 2010-11 on Tuesday nights, the UNC contests marks the first time this season that Wake Forest will play on Tuesday. The Demon Deacons are a combined 7-2 on Wednesday and Sunday, while posting a 4-8 record the other four days of the week.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Wake Forest, 78-64, on Feb. 15, 2011, at the Smith Center. Tyler Zeller led UNC with 18 points and Harrison Barnes added 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting. John Henson added a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. J.T. Terrell scored 18 points to pace the Demon Deacons.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with Wake Forest, 153-65. UNC has won six of the last eight meetings between these two programs. North Carolina has won more games against the Demon Deacons than any other opponent.

Projected Starters:
1 Tony Chennault (6-2, 195, So.) - 10.3 ppg, 2.9 apg
11 C.J. Harris (6-3, 190, Jr.) - 17.3 ppg, 2.8 apg
30 Travis McKie (6-7, 210, So.) - 16.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg
25 Nikita Mescheriakov (6-8, 220, Sr.) - 7.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg
40 Ty Walker (7-0, 230, Sr.) - 5.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg

Top Reserves:
10 Chase Fischer (6-3, 180, Fr.) - 6.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg
33 Carson Desrosiers (7-0, 240, So.) - 4.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg

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