A young Wake Forest will hit the road for the first time this season as they head to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to face first-year head coach Todd Lickliter's Iowa Hawkeyes. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and will be tough contest for a Wake Forest team that is facing its first major conference opponent of the season. "Monday [Iowa] will be a tough team to score against," Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said after the Deacs' win over Winston-Salem State. "We're going to have to score the ball out there to win. Todd is a very good defensive coach…that will be a good challenge. Hopefully, we shoot the ball a little better at Hawkeye Arena."
The Wake Forest-Iowa contest will open up the 2007 ACC-Big Ten Challenge. "It's an honor to play in those games," Gaudio said. " I really mean it. I think we're 6-1 in the Big Ten Challenges, though that one [loss] was bad. We went to Illinois and got blasted..."
The Demon Deacons are hoping to notch their 7th ACC-Big Ten Challenge win and know that the Deacs' young squad including freshmen Jeff Teague, Gary Clark, and James Johnson must keep their focus in order to be successful at Iowa. "Keeping your composure, that's the biggest thing," L.D. Williams said in regards to handling the atmosphere of away games. "You're going to have 20,000 people yelling at you. If you keep your composure [and] try to stay calm [you will be successful.]
"They're going to make a run," he continued. "At home, teams are going to make runs. After they make their run, we've got to make a run of our own. That's all about staying composed and staying to our key principles of offense and defense. I feel like once [the freshmen] learn to stay composed on the road and stay with that we're doing, they'll be ok."
Sophomore point guard Ish Smith believes the freshmen will be ready and that the trio are excited about Monday night's showdown. "I think they're excited," he said. "Especially national TV against a pretty good team in Iowa. They're looking forward to it as much as we're all looking forward to it. They'll get on the bandwagon and we'll keep it rolling."
Smith welcomes the opportunity to play in front of thousands of screaming fans on the road this week. "I'm excited," Smith said with enthusiasm. "I love road games. I love road games. There's something about going into someone else's house, beating them, and leaving. Like L.D. said, there are 20,000 fans yelling at you and there's nothing they can do about you beating their team." "I love going into road venues and beating teams' tails," he continued, "but I will tell you this – we have to improve on the 2-9 record we had on the road last year. It starts at Iowa, first with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, and I'm sure all of us are excited."
"Iowa's going to be primetime," he noted. "First [road] game, Monday night, ESPN2, so I believe the world will be watching."