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#3 UNC at #4 Wake Forest

Where: Lawrence Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC
When: Sunday, January 11th, 8:00 PM
Records: UNC 14-1, 0-1 ACC; WF 13-0, 0-0 ACC
Liveblogging: Yes

Before the season started this was seen as the major stumbling block in the road for an undefeated season. Funny how things turned out.

Here is a stat for you.  UNC is 30-1 away from the Dean Dome since the beginning of last season.  A fairly staggering record to be sure but a testament to this particular group being wholly unfazed by what goes on in opposing team's arenas.  Heading into this game in front of crowd who might not be in control of themsevles for large portions of the game, I worry less about the environment affecting the Heels than I do another Boston College moment.

I will state now, for the record that I have had a gut feeling ever since the Heels lost to BC that they would handle Wake in this game.  I have no actual facts to support this and by 10:15 tonight I could be extremely mistaken but right now I think this is a game where the Heels go in and make a statement.  It won't be a Michigan State sort of statement but could look somewhat like what the Heels did versus Notre Dame.  Think of it as a correction in the stock market where the Heels' stock fell last week in losing to BC, rallied a bit with the win over College of Charleston and versus Wake will make up the rest of the losses.

Concerning the numbers, Wake Forest is a little turnover prone averaging more turnovers(16.4) than assists(15.2.)  The Demon Deacons shoot the ball over 50% on average which is a testament to their interior play and the fact their guards are effecient at getting good looks inside the arc.  Outside the arc Wake is average shooting 33% and taking almost half the number of threes UNC has taken this season.  Ken Pomeroy has Wake 6th in offensive effeciency and 5th on defense making them a well rounded team.

So what does this game turn on?  UNC has the edge on experience and if they are focused plays as well as anyone in a huge game on the road.  For all their athleticism, Wake is still a young team facing their first major test of the season.  While Wake did upset Duke last season I think that had more to do with Duke than it did Wake given the downward trend we saw from the Deacons to conclude the season.  At any rate it promises to be a hyped up environment and some quality basketball, especially on offense.

UNC 93 Wake 80