Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech
Tip-off: 12:00 PM ET
TV/Internet: The ACC Network and ESPN3.com
Wake Forest: 9-5 (Lost to Wofford 56-52)
Virginia Tech: 11-3 (Beat Oklahoma State 67-61)
Series history: Last season Va. Tech defeated Wake 94-65 and 76-62 for a combined 43-point margin. The Hokies lead the Demon Deacons 28-26.
Deacons Illustrated breaks down the matchups by position:
Small Forward - Nikita Mescheriakov, WF -vs.- Jarell Eddie, VT. The 6-foot-8 Belarusian will have his hands full with the athletic hot-shooting Eddie (52.5-percent from three-point land). In two games against the Demon Deacons last season Eddie averaged 14.5 points, seven rebounds and 1.5 assists. Edge: VT
Power Forward - Travis McKie, WF -vs.- Dorian Finney-Smith, VT. The Hokies freshman will be able to hang with McKie on the boards, but the Deacs combo 6-foot-7 forward will be a load for Seth Greenberg's bunch to defend (17.9 points per game). Edge: WF
Center - Carson Desrosiers -or- Ty Walker, WF -vs.- Victor Davila, VT. This is an area where the Demon Deacons could excel against the shorter Hokies, but one never knows if Desrosiers and Walker will play up to their potential. Both big men are capable of recording a double-double and impacting the game on the defensive end, but are inconsistent. No one seems to have a significant advantage in this matchup, because both sides are significantly flawed in the paint. Edge: Tie
Shooting guard - C.J. Harris, WF -vs.- Dorenzo Hudson, VT. Harris returns after sitting out Wake's 56-52 loss to Wofford with a strained groin. The Winston-Salem native leads the Deacs in scoring with 18.7 points per game. Hudson's (6-foot-5) size may bother the shorter Harris, but look for Jeff Bzdelik to get his go-to-guy involved early. Edge: WF
Point guard - Tony Chennault, WF. -vs.- Erick Green[/db], VT. The Philly guard may struggle to defend Virginia Tech's leading scorer Green (15.5 points per game). He is not Malcom Delaney, but should not have a problem succeeding against the indecisive Chennault. Edge: VT
Bench: It is becoming more apparent Wake Forest's bench is limited in its ability to support the starters. When hot Chase Fischer is lethal from downtown, but never found his shot (1-7 from the field and 0-5 from three-point land) in Monday's disappointing loss to Wofford. Anthony Fields looked against the Terriers, and was ultimately replaced by walk-on Aaron Ingle. Forward Daniel Green will battle on the boards and dive for loose balls till the cows come home, but is as rough and raw as it gets offensively.
The Hokies have gotten a spark from freshman guard Robert Brown (8.6 points per game), and have also received strong minutes from backup bigs Cadarian Raines and C.J. Barksdale. Greenberg is gradually working highly-touted freshman point guard Marquis Rankin into Va. Tech's rotation. Rankin missed the first seven games of the season as he recovered from knee surgery. Edge: VT
Coaching: Jeff Bzdelik, WF -vs.- Seth Greenberg, VT. It has been difficult to see Bzdelik's real coachability in the last year and a half, because he has had little to work with. At the other bench Greenberg knows how to get his team up for the big games, especially when facing Duke. However, the Hokies often manage to suffer a few disappointing losses each season to keep them from making the NCAA Tournament. Edge: Tie