Wake Forest (7-5) at (1) Duke (13-0)
Saturday, January 5, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) -- Durham, North Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Wake Forest 5-2, Duke 7-0. Away Record: Wake Forest 1-1, Duke 0-0. Neutral Record: Wake Forest 1-2, Duke 6-0. Conference Record: Wake Forest 0-0, Duke 0-0. Series Record: Duke leads, 160-77.
GAME NOTES: The top-ranked Duke Blue Devils put their unblemished record on the line on Saturday, as they open up ACC play against local rival Wake Forest.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils closed out non-conference play with a 67-50 win over Davidson in Charlotte on Wednesday. The win moved Duke to 13-0 on the year, one of just three teams left unbeaten in Division I play (Michigan, Arizona).
Jeff Bzdelik's Demon Deacons have had their ups and downs in non-conference play, sporting a 7-5 overall record. The team does enter league play with a little bit of momentum though, having won three straight games, including a 66-59 win over Xavier on Wednesday in the Skip Prosser Classic.
This is the most played series in Duke history, with this game marking the 238th all-time meeting. Duke holds a sizeable 160-77 advantage in the all-time series with Wake Forest, including wins in each of the last five meetings.
The Demon Deacons trailed in the second half against Xavier, but went on a 12-0 run late to earn the win. Travis McKie led the way with 19 points and eight rebounds. Codi Miller-McIntyre poured in 16 points, while C.J. Harris finished with 15. Devin Thomas proved vital on the boards, grabbing a season- high 14 rebounds.
The Demon Deacons are averaging a steady 70.4 ppg and doing so on .459 shooting. Wake has a solid one-two punch in McKie and Harris. McKie leads the team in both scoring (14.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg), but is shooting a mediocre .431 overall. Harris is a much more efficient .520 shooter, putting up 14.3 ppg. Miller-McIntyre is a distant third in the scoring column at 8.5 ppg, while serving as the team's top distributor (3.0 apg).
Sitting atop the national polls, Duke has flourished at both ends of the floor, averaging 80.1 ppg, while limiting opponents to just 61.8. The team can score from anywhere on the floor, shooting .482 overall, including an impressive .417 from behind the arc. Mason Plumlee has established himself as one of the premier low post players in the country. The 6-foot-10 senior is shooting 63.4 percent from the field and leads Duke in both scoring (18.8 ppg) and rebounding (11.2 rpg). Seth Curry gives the team perimeter balance at 16.2 ppg, shooting 40.6 percent from behind the arc. Ryan Kelly (12.8 ppg), Rasheed Sulaimon (11.8 ppg) and Quinn Cook (11.1 ppg) give the team unmatched depth.
Gaudy offensive numbers weren't needed against Davidson this week, as Duke showed its defensive prowess instead. The Blue Devils held the Wildcats to a mere 30.4 percent shooting, including just 21.1 percent from 3-point range (4- of-19). Four Blue Devils finished in double figures in the win, led by Kelly's 18 points. Cook added 15, while Plumlee and Tyler Thornton chipped in 10 points apiece.
The Blue Devils are simply too much for the Demon Deacons at both ends. McKie and Harris will need others to help offensively to keep within striking distance. It is more likely that Plumlee and company will distance themselves in the second half and start ACC play in fine fashion.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 74, Wake Forest 61
01/05 10:30:48 ET