North Carolina (19-7, 9-4) vs. Wake Forest (14-12, 4-9)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Smith Center
Saturday, 12 p.m.
ACC Network (Tim Brando & Cory Alexander)
“It’s been very similar to our last outing against Florida State. The preparation, the motivation and the desire to do well were awesome in the last two games. You can’t ask for better starts than what we had, but then we hit a stretch where we just sputtered.” - Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik after his team blew a first-half lead for the second game in a row against Maryland on Tuesday
“I told our team that they’re trying to do the right thing, but we just all have to get a little bit better. This includes everyone on the team. I have to get a little better, and they do as well. Every single person from me down to our walk-ons has to get a little better.” - Bzdelik
Since the Last Meeting: Wake Forest enters Saturday’s contest with a 14-12 (4-9 ACC) record. Since opening their ACC schedule with a win over North Carolina, the Demon Deacons have lost nine of their last 12 games, including six straight. Wake Forest has lost by double digits in six of those nine losses. Jeff Bzdelik’s squad’s wins during that stretch have come at Virginia Tech and against N.C. State and Notre Dame.
ACC Play Proving a Challenge: Sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre has continued his solid play from earlier in the season, although his numbers have decreased under the weight of ACC competition. The Concord, N.C. native leads his team with 14.1 points and 4.0 assists per game and is shooting 45 percent from the floor. In conference play, he’s averaging 11.0 points on 41.9 percent shooting. He’s scored 20 or more points in nine games this season and went coast-to-coast for the game-winner against N.C. State on Jan. 11.
Efficient Option: While most of his teammates’ productivity has dropped during conference play, Devin Thomas has tightened up his game. The sophomore forward leads the team in rebounding (6.8) and ranks second in scoring (10.5 ppg) in league play. He’s shooting 56.0 percent from the floor in 29.2 minutes. He is a liability at the free throw line, however, where he’s converting 44.6 percent of his attempts.
Working the Glass, Take II:Wake Forest ranked 28th nationally and was tied for fourth in the ACC in rebounding margin (plus-7.3) entering league play. Thirteen games later, the Demon Deacons possess the worst rebounding margin in the ACC play at minus-7.1. Wake has been outrebounded by double digits in four games during that stretch and by nine rebounds in six.
Road Game Woes: The Demon Deacons are 1-7 in road games this season. Wake Forest is averaging just 61.9 points in those contests, shooting 43.2 percent (33.6 percent from 3) from the floor and 60.1 percent from the free throw line. Opponents, on the other hand, are shooting 45.1 percent, scoring 74.5 points and securing a plus-4.5 rebounding margin.
No Fire From Deep: While North Carolina has made the fewest 3-point field goals of any team in league play this season (53), Wake Forest holds down the cellar spot in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.6). The Demon Deacons’ season 3-point field goal percentage (31.4) ranks 302nd nationally.
Last Meeting: The Demon Deacons defeated the Tar Heels, 73-67, on Jan. 5 at LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. UNC managed just 17 points off 24 offensive rebounds and Wake Forest took control with a 15-2 second-half run. James Michael McAdoo led UNC with 13 points while J.P Tokoto and Brice Johnson both added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Wake Forest, 155-66. The Tar Heels are 19-5 against the Demon Deacons at the Smith Center and have won eight of the last 11 meetings overall.
0 Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-3, 195, So.) - 14.1 ppg, 4.0 apg
1 Madison Jones (6-1, 160, So.) - 3.8 ppg, 3.3 apg
30 Travis McKie (6-7, 220, Sr.) - 11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg
45 Arnaud Adala Moto (6-6, 225, So.) - 6.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
2 Devin Thomas (6-9, 245, So.) - 11.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg
13 Coron Williams (6-1, 175, Sr.) - 8.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
34 Tyler Cavanaugh (6-9, 230, So.) - 8.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg
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(Photos by USA Today Sports)