by Paul Casey Gotham
Setting: Joel Coliseum on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is the scene as the #4 Demon Deacons (13-0) host the #3 University of North Carolina Tar Heels (14-1). Game time is 8:00 Sunday.
Plots: The game marks the first ACC Conference game for the Deacs while the Heels are 0-1 after their loss to Boston College last Sunday, 85-78. Wake is currently second in the nation for field goal percentage shooting 51.2% from the floor while holding opponents to 36.4% – seventh in the nation. Wake has held all their opponents under 50% shooting from the field.
Meanwhile the Heels rank second in the nation in scoring offense with 94.6 ppg. UNC dishes out 20.5 assists per game – good for number one in the nation.
Sub-plots: UNC will still be without the services of Marcus Ginyard who continues to struggle with a foot injury.
Flashback: The last time these two teams faced each other ranked third and fourth in the country was January 15, 2005. Chris Paul dropped 26 and had 8 assists as Wake overcame a 10 point half time deficit to win 95-82. The Heels wen t on to win the national title that year and have beaten the Deacs the five times they have met since then. UNC holds the advantage in the all-time series 151-63. This rivalry dates back to 1910 and is the fifth oldest in ACC history.
Characters to watch: Sophomore Jeff Teague drops 51% from behind the arc and leads WFU with 19+ per game. The Indianapolis native also leads the team with 4 assists and 2 steals per game. Al-Farouq Aminu leads the way with 8.9 boards per game.
Tyler Hansbrough leads the Heels with 22 ppg. Freshman Ed Davis is grabbing 7.9 boards per game. Ty Lawson leads the way with 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals.
Resolution: Wake Forest has the athletes and the talent to run with UNC, but they need to be careful and take a page out of the BC play book. UNC is fifth in the nation with over 10 steals per game – they probably convert every one of those swipes into points. The Deacs should not be afraid to run with the Heels, but they also need to show patience and pull it out and run offense when the situation warrants.
WFU matches up with UNC inside better than any other team in the ACC. 7-footer Chas McFarland will start, but Deacon coach, Dino Gaudio has a pair of 6’11’ kids on the bench – Tony Woods and David Weaver to go with another 7-footer, Ty Walker. Last year McFarland picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the second half. If that happens again, Hansbrough won’t have as easy of a time scoring.
Denouement: Come Monday – Wake Forest will be ranked higher than UNC.