Previewing Wake Forest

No. 15 North Carolina travels to Winston-Salem on Wednesday with hopes of a different outcome against Wake Forest than last year’s six-point loss. Tip off at Lawrence Joel Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

North Carolina (14-4, 4-1 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (9-9, 1-4 ACC)
Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Lawrence Joel Coliseum
Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.
ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, LaPhonso Ellis)

Quotables

“Danny Manning is a great young man; not as young as he used to be by any means. He’s doing a fantastic job with Wake Forest’s team. It was a great hire for Wake Forest and it was a big hire for the ACC to get Danny back involved here in this area. And he has his team playing really, really well.” - UNC head coach Roy Williams

“[Devin Thomas] played exceptionally well against us last year and we know they’ll be ready for us and we’ve got to be ready for them.” - Williams

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: So far this season consistency has been hard to come by for Wake Forest. Under first-year head coach Danny Manning, the Demon Deacons are 9-9 on the season, with four of those nine loses coming by double digits. After a 5-2 start, the Deacs dropped four of their next five, including a surprising home loss to Delaware State (72-65). The ACC schedule hasn’t been much kinder, as Wake Forest has won just one of its first five matchups in conference play. Most recently, the Deacons dropped a tough road loss in overtime at Syracuse (86-83).

Dynamic Duo: Offensively, the Demon Deacons have been carried by the efforts of junior guard Codi Miller-McIntyre and junior forward Devin Thomas. Both players are averaging roughly 13 points a game. The pair have accounted for 374 out of the team’s 1,011 total field goal attempts (nearly 37 percent). Even with the high volume of shot attempts, Miller-McIntyre (42.7 percent) and Thomas (51.5 percent) have still shot a high percentage from the floor collectively (46.5 percent). As a team, Wake Forest is only shooting 43.5 percent on the season.

Defense Can’t Get Stops: Statistically, Wake Forest ranks last in the ACC in scoring defense (69.1) and in field goal percentage defense (43.7). The Demon Deacons are allowing their opponents an effective field goal percentage of 49.4 percent (195th) while forcing turnovers on just 19.1 percent of their possessions, according to kenpom.com.

Strong on the Glass: Up front, this group has been stout on the boards. As a team, Wake ranks third in the conference and 15th nationally with 40.1 rebounds per game. More importantly with regard to Wednesday’s game, the Demon Deacons rank third nationally in defensive rebounding percentage (23.7), according to kenpom.com. A big reason for the Wake Forest’s rebounding success has to do with the play of Thomas, who ranks second in the ACC with 9.1 rebounds per game.

Issues at the Line: Much like UNC’s previous opponent (Virginia Tech), Wake Forest is a poor free throw shooting team. Manning’s club currently holds the second-worst free throw percentage in the ACC, having made just 64.5 percent of its attempts. What should be even more frustrating for Demon Deacon fans is that this team has gotten to the charity stripe more than any team in the conference (465 trips).

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels routed the Demon Deacons, 105-72, on Feb. 22, 2014, at the Smith Center. UNC connected on 11-of-15 3-pointers and shot 53.3 percent for the game. Leslie McDonald led the Tar Heels with 19 points.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Wake Forest, 156-66. The Tar Heels have won four of the last six meetings in Winston-Salem.

Projected Starters:
0 Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-3, 205, Jr.) - 13.3 ppg, 3.9 apg
10 Mitchell Wilbekin (6-2, 165, Fr.) - 8.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
13 Darius Leonard (6-9, 225, Sr.) - 6.3 ppg, 2.7 apg
11 Greg McClinton (6-7, 200, Fr.) - 4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
2 Devin Thomas (6-9, 255, Jr.) - 12.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg

Top Reserves:
44 Dinos Mitoglou (6-10, 225, Fr.) - 8.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
25 Cornelius Hudson (6-6, 180, Fr.) - 6.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
1 Madison Jones (6-1, 165, Jr.) - 5.6 ppg, 2.9 apg Wake Forest Info
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(Photo by USA Today Sports)


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