WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — It’s make or break time for the Deacs, as they begin a reasonably navigable stretch of conference games.
Near misses and late-game calamities have marred a 9-3 non-conference record, as the Deacs have grabbed just one ACC win in their first five tries.
Wake (10-7, 1-4) hosts Miami (12-4, 2-2) at 8 p.m. tonight at Joel Coliseum in a game the Vegas oddsmakers have listed as pretty much a toss up.
Here’s what Wake coach Danny Manning had to say about the game before practice Tuesday.
On the last week of practice and the importance of getting the win against Miami
Manning: “All home games are important. The last week for us — we’ve worked on some things and watched some tape. We’ve tried to tighten up a few things. The break comes — we’re fortunate to get it during the season. It helps guys to get their batteries recharged and get ready to go on this next stretch. It was a good break for us. We’re excited about getting back on the court.”
On teams seemingly always finding their stride right before taking on the Deacs
Manning: “It’s our league. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. They’re talented teams. They’ve put themselves in a good position in the home games that they’ve won. All in all, our league has been a tough league for opposing road teams.”
On what he expects to see out of Miami
Manning: “They’re a very balanced team. Their guards do a good job for them in terms of scoring the basketball. They are in attack mode, especially in transition. Their bigs are active in the paint defensively. They’re able to play man-to-man because of their athleticism. We have to make sure we contain their guards, then do a good job when the shot goes up of boxing out.”
On if they focused more on themselves or Miami during the break
Manning: “A little bit of both. I think it’s more that you focus on yourself. Throughout the course of practice, you might put your guys in a situation that a Miami might run — things like that from time to time. But for the most part, you focus on yourself and then you get back into your routine two days out in how your prepare.”
On their style of play being similar to Virginia
Manning: “No, I think they get out and run a little bit more than Virginia in transition from what we’ve seen. Their guards do a really good job, (Ja’Quan) Newton pushing tempo. (Davon) Reed does a really good job also filling the lane. They play a little bit faster offensively than Virginia. They’re in attack mode. They want to get and drive the ball downhill toward the basket.”
On disappointment in the ACC start
Manning: “We haven’t won as many games as we wanted to, but that’s life. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some, but we have to continue to put ourselves in situations to have success.”
On Brandon Childress having more confidence after the UNC game
Manning: “He’s always going to be confident. That’s part of the reason we recruited him. He’s talented. He’s a freshman. Against UNC he sparked us. He played very well, but we also know freshmen are going to have their ups and downs.”