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A look at Wake Forest, again

February 26, 2009

Rank and Records NCST WAKE
RPI #90 #17
Strength of Schedule #87 #55
Overall 15-10 20-5
Conference 5-7 7-5
Home 13-3 12-1
Away 2-7 5-4
Top 25 1-5 4-1
RPI Top 50 2-7 5-2

They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Tonight, Wake will be looking to serve up a big ol’ plate of it for the Wolfpack in Winston-Salem.

(Continues)

It’s been rough sledding of late for the Deacs. After starting the season perfect en route to a #1 ranking, the Deacs have since lost five of their last nine, including their most recent loss, a 101-91 loss to the Blue Devils in Cameron.

The Deacs have faltered from their defensive prowess a bit lately. At the beginning of the year they were shutting everyone down like it was nothing. Good offensive teams looked horrid against them. Lately, though, their dominant defense has struggled for consistency, and it’s showed in the W/L column.

Speaking of defense, the Pack used a variety of them in the win earlier in the season. It’s tough to think of a defensive set they didn’t use. Sidney cracked upon the Jimmy V playbook a bit and threw some unusual schemes that did exactly what they were supposed to: force a young team to slow down on offense and think. Thinking — instead of attacking instinctively — is poison to an explosive offense like Wake’s.

It worked then, but they’ll be ready for it now. So the challenge becomes figuring out a way to pull the same trick on the same team twice. Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, uh, you can fool me but we won’t get fooled again, or something like that.

Regardless of what Wake does on offense this time around, the Pack’s keys to success will likely fall where they did in the last meeting: offensive rebounding and getting to the free throw line as much as possible. If State can snag some boards on the offensive end and get some second-chance points, as well as some free points at the line, the Pack will go a long way in helping the chances of pulling off the road upset.

The Deacs may be ripe for one after the emotional loss on the road, but with revenge on their minds, I doubt the Deacs will be either looking back or looking past the Pack.

Tip is at 8:00 on the Raycom network.

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