"I am very excited about the schedule," Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser said today, "with a very good home non-conference schedule, the renewal of several local series, and of course the demanding ACC schedule, I think the schedule is something our fans will be excited about as well.
"If we navigate the schedule successfully, it will enable us to remain one of the elite teams in the nation."
Wake Forest, Florida, Texas Tech and Syracuse will each host four-team regionals in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, with the winner of each regional advancing to Madison Square Garden in New York Nov. 17-18 for the semifinals and finals. The Wake Forest regional includes Mississippi Valley State - Wake's season-opening opponent - UC-Irvine and George Mason. The Deacons have never previously played any of the three teams in their regional.
The 2005-06 schedule has a strong in-state flavor as the Deacons renew rivalries with several North Carolina opponents. Wake Forest hosts UNC Asheville (Nov. 21) for the first time since 1983, Appalachian State (Nov. 25) for the first time since 1996, East Carolina (Jan. 3) for the first time since 1986 and Charlotte (Feb. 11) for the first time since 1987. The Deacons will also play a road game against Elon (Dec. 3) in the Greensboro Coliseum - Wake's first regular season game in Greensboro since Dec. 3, 1994 (vs. Florida).
Including ACC foes Duke, North Carolina and NC State, Wake Forest will play 11 games against in-state teams.
Wake Forest closes out November against perennial Big Ten Conference power Wisconsin (Nov. 29) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Deacons, 5-1 all-time in the Challenge, will play the Badgers in that event for the third time.
Wake will face a string of tough non-conference foes in mid-December, including a home game against DePaul on Dec. 13. This will mark the first meeting between the Deacons and Blue Demons since Wake Forest upset DePaul in the Sweet 16 round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament, concluding the coaching career of the legendary Ray Meyer.
Contrasting styles of play will clash Dec. 17 when Princeton comes to Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Wake Forest, which ranked third nationally in scoring last season, will play the slower-paced Tigers for the first time since the 1998 season. On Dec. 22, Wake Forest will travel to Richmond for its 44th all-time meeting with the Spiders.
Following Christmas break, Wake Forest resumes play with home games against Charleston Southern (Dec. 30) and East Carolina (Jan. 3).
"Many of the non-conference teams that we play at home may be favored to win their respective conference," Prosser said. "Wisconsin (Big Ten), DePaul (Big East), Charlotte (Atlantic 10) and Princeton (Ivy) are all outstanding teams. We play Elon in the Greensboro Coliseum, which should be good for fans of both schools."
Wake Forest kicks off its 53rd season of ACC play Jan. 8 with a nationally-televised (Fox Sports Net) game against Duke at Joel Coliseum. This will mark just the third time that the Deacons have started ACC play against the Blue Devils.
The 2005-06 season also marks the first year of a 12-team ACC as Boston College joins the ranks. Wake Forest will play the Eagles twice in February.
The 16-game conference schedule includes just one game against rival North Carolina, Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech. This will be the second straight year the Deacons have played just one game against UNC, Maryland and Virginia Tech. Wake will meet Virginia just once after playing the Cavaliers at least twice every season since 1954.
"The ACC will be as strong as always," Prosser said. "Duke may be ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason. Our fans will also have the opportunity to see Boston College when they come to Joel Coliseum."
Wake Forest will close regular season play, as usual, against NC State on March 4. That game, played in Joel Coliseum, will be televised by CBS.
Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State will play an exhibition game (Nov. 3) for the second straight year. Two days later (Nov. 5), the Deacons host Mars Hill in an exhibition.
"We are happy to again open with Winston-Salem State," Prosser said. "This is becoming a tradition that we would like to continue."
SCHEDULE NOTES: Twelve teams on the Deacon schedule played in the postseason last year including NCAA Tournament teams Boston College, Charlotte, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and Wisconsin... Clemson, DePaul, Maryland, Miami and Virginia Tech all participated in the NIT.