Previewing Wake Forest

North Carolina has one more must-win home game -- Wake Forest on Tuesday -- before facing the league's top two teams on the road. The young Demon Deacons, meanwhile, have shown signs of improvement lately, but have yet to win an away game in conference. Tip-off at the Smith Center is at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.

North Carolina (15-6, 5-3) vs. Wake Forest (10-11, 3-6)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
Tuesday, 7:00pm


"I think that obviously the name across their chest will resonate. That's just natural, especially with - we have so many players on our roster from this state. But at the same time, you have to play well, and we know that they're going to play well, and we're going to have to play well to have a chance to put ourselves in a position to be competitive." – Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik

"As the leader, I acknowledge I have yet to find a key to their emotions to have them be right for our next opponent. That's something that is a work in progress, I can tell you that." – Bzdelik on his team's up-and-down performances


Season to Date: Wake Forest enters Tuesday's contest with a 10-11 (3-6 ACC) record. The Demon Deacons have been as temperamental as any team in the ACC this season. They've looked solid at times with wins over Xavier (66-59) and N.C. State (86-84) and close losses to UConn (77-71) and Duke (75-70), but have also been insufferable at other times with blowouts to Iona (94-68), Georgia Tech (82-62) and Maryland (86-60). Head coach Jeff Bzdelik's squad has lost five of its last six outings.

McKie Torching the Nets: Junior forward Travis McKie has been Wake Forest's leading scorer (15.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.9) all season long. Recently, however, the Richmond, Va. native has added a lights-out approach from long range to his resume. The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder has connected on 14 of his 23 3-pointers over his last seven games and is shooting 53.3 percent from behind the arc in ACC play. McKie is averaging 15.7 points in conference play and has scored in double figures in 13 straight games.

Secondary Option: Senior guard C.J. Harris has provided the primary perimeter option in Wake's inside-outside tandem, averaging 14.5 points per game (9th ACC). He's been a consistent starter for the Demon Deacons with 83 straight, second only to McKie's 84. Harris is shooting 46.7 percent on the season, including a 42.0 percent effort from three, but has had issues with taking care of the ball (48 turnovers).

Struggles on Both Ends: In ACC play, Wake Forest ranks 11th in scoring margin (minus-8.7). That statistic is aided equally by poor defense and inconsistent shooting. The Demon Deacons are shooting 39.8 percent (11th ACC), including a 32.3 percent mark from 3-point range (10th), while allowing their opponents to connect on 48.4 percent of their field goal attempts (12th), including a 40 percent effort from beyond the arc (11th).

Road Kill:The Demon Deacons are 1-6 on the road this season with their lone victory coming at UNC-Greensboro. They have been outscored by 69 points in those seven games and have committed 91 turnovers. Wake Forest is shooting 37.6 percent in road games, compared to a 48.4 percent mark by its opposition.

Stat to Watch: Wake Forest has been outscored in the points-in-the-paint category in each of its last six games by an average of 10.5 points.

Last Meeting: UNC defeated Wake Forest, 68-53, in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Jan. 31, 2012. North Carolina shot 31.0 percent, but managed to hold the Demon Deacons to 29.6 percent. Tyler Zeller led the Tar Heels with 18 points and 18 rebounds, while John Henson added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series against Wake Forest, 154-65. UNC has won seven of the last nine meetings, including three straight. The Tar Heels own a 71-19 record against the Demon Deacons in Chapel Hill.

Projected Starters:
0 Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-3, 195, Fr.) - 8.4 ppg, 2.6 apg
11 C.J. Harris (6-3, 190, Sr.) - 14.5 ppg, 2.0 apg
1 Madison Jones (6-1, 190, Fr.) - 3.8 ppg, 2.0 apg
30 Travis McKie (6-7, 220, Jr.) - 15.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg
2 Devin Thomas (6-9, 240, Fr.) - 8.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg

Top Reserves:
34 Tyler Cavanaugh (6-9, 230, Fr.) - 5.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg
45 Arnaud Adala Moto (6-6, 225, Fr.) - 5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
10 Chase Fischer (6-3, 195, So.) - 4.1 ppg
33 Aaron Rountree (6-8, 190, Fr.) - 2.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg

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(Photos by USA Today Sports Images)

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