When: Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Joel Coliseum (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
TV: ACC Network Extra/Watch ESPN
Series: Wake Forest leads 5-0
Last Meeting: Wake won 79-67 in the 2012-13 season opener
The Line: None
The Deacs enter the season having lost 15 of their final 16 contests last year, but you couldn't tell that from the vibe around the program. The team is loose and energetic, with an infusion of talented shooters and a pair of veteran transfers.
A three-game exhibition swing through the Bahamas in August helped the Deacs get ahead of the learning curve, and created some positive momentum heading into the season.
"I feel we’re ahead because of the Bahamas trip," Wake coach Danny Manning said. "Going over there and getting those three games in was very beneficial for us. It’s cut down on our teaching time once practice has started. In the past, we’d have to allot, when we’re introducing something new, maybe 10 minutes to get it in.
"Now, we’re at the six-minute mark. It doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re talking about four minutes, but let’s say you want to incorporate four things in a practice, that’s almost 20 minutes of practice time you’ve saved that you can be doing something else. It’s a very beneficial to us having those Bahamas practices."
Wake topped Piedmont International 118-48 in an exhibition a week ago, but struggled through the first few minutes, going into the second TV timeout with a slim 28-20 lead.
"We have to do better defensively," Manning said. "Probably the first eight minutes were more glaring for us, because if we come out in our league and let teams shoot 50 percent at that mark, we’re in trouble. We did a much better job after that, but we can’t be a team that comes out and trades buckets with our opponents."
The Highlanders finished 16-15 last season, with non conference wins over Georgetown and Penn State, but have turned over nearly their entire lineup. The graduated seven seniors, including four who rank in the program's top 10 in career games played. They also graduated their top two scorers from last season.
But uncertainty isn't a comfortable feeling for a detail-oriented planner like Manning.
"Radford is a very well-coached team and they’ve had some success in the past, especially in conference play. One of the biggest challenges is that you don’t have any footage on them for this coming year," Manning said. "They have a lot of new players that they will have to incorporate. We’ve gone over and look at things they’ve done in the past. Coming out, we have to do a really good job of guarding to the principles we stress each and every day.
"We have to look over something scouting wise. We look over things they done in the past. We certainly look at the personnel. That’s part of the first couple games of the year. It’s just part of it and you have to figure out a way."
Sophomore forward Ed Polite, Jr. will be a reliable contributor for Radford, coming of a season where he finished fourth in the Big South Conference in rebounds at 7.4 a game and third on the team in scoring at 8.7 points a contest. He was named All Big South Preseason Second Team.
"He's very athletic and plays extremely hard. He creates a lot of effort and energy plays with his activity. He was one of their leading scorers last year, so obviously he’s going to be one of their leaders this year," Manning said. "We will have to do a good job on him across the board, but specifically in the rebounding category. We have to put a body on him each time a shot goes up and try to limit his opportunities."
F Ed Polite, Jr.
F Sterling Christy
C Randy Phillips
G Justin Cousin
G Christian Bradford