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February 10, 2012

Wake Forest vs. Clemson: Preview

Wake Forest vs. Clemson
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Venue: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Tip-off: Saturday at 4:00 PM ET.
TV/Internet: Raycom Sports Network and ESPN3.com
Current records:
Wake Forest: 11-13, 2-8 ACC (Lost to No. 19 Virginia 68-44).
Clemson: 11-12, 3-6 ACC (Lost to Maryland 64-62).

Series history: The Demon Deacons have an all-time series lead of 98-54, but Clemson has won two in a row, including last month's 71-60 decision.

Deacons Illustrated breaks down the matchups by position:

Forward - Nikita Mescheriakov, WF -vs.- Bryan Narcisse, Clemson. No one saw it coming as Narcisse scored 11 points in the first meeting between the Deacs and Tigers. It was the only time he reached double digits in points this season. If Mescheriakov can stay out of foul trouble the 6-foot-8 senior from Belarus should be more of a factor. Edge: WF

Forward - Travis McKie, WF -vs.- Devin Booker, Clemson. McKie's 13-point and 12-rebound performance at Littlejohn Coliseum brought him back to his normal self after a dry spell against Florida State. Booker's strength and physicality was a challenge in the last meeting as he went for 16 points, but McKie's ability to go inside and out is difficult to match. Edge: Tie

Center - Ty Walker, WF -vs.- Catalin Baciu, Clemson. The Tigers senior big man is much improved since his arrival. However, Walker's ability as a rebounder and shot-blocker adds another dimension to Wake's arsenal. He had eight points, four rebounds and three blocks to Baciu's two points, one rebound and one block. Edge: WF

Guard - C.J. Harris, WF -vs.- Tanner Smith, Clemson. The Winston-Salem native continues to be one of the few bright spots for the Demon Deacons as they struggle to get out of the ACC's cellar. Harris is averaging an impressive 17.3 points per game. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds Smith has the size advantage, but that did not keep Harris from scoring 19 points at Clemson last month. Edge: WF

Guard - Tony Chennault, WF -vs.- Andre Young, Clemson. The smallest guy caused the most problems for Wake Forest at Littlejohn, as Young lit the Deacs up with 19 points. Chennault was in over his head, and not much has appeared to change. Edge: Clemson

Bench - Chase Fischer has scored in double figures eight times this season as a substitute. Aside from him Wake lacks the scoring power to provide competitive support for its starters. It is becoming increasingly apparent Carson Desrosiers and Daniel Green's roles will likely be significantly reduced when the "Super Six" arrive.

Once a McDonald's All-American Milton Jennings has yet to live up to the expectations of that label. Now a glorified role player for the Tigers Jennings provides a 6-foot-9 inside-out threat. He is averaging 9.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Edge: Clemson

Coach - Jeff Bzdelik, WF -vs.- Brad Brownell, Clemson. Both are in the second year as head coach at their respective helms, and Brownell is up two games early in the series.

Like Bzdelik, Brownell is known as a program builder after taking three different, including Clemson to the NCAA Tournament. He has developed a reputation for developing tough and well-disciplined teams. Edge: Tie


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