Wake Forest heads east on I-40 to take a trip to Chapel Hell (err...Hill) to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. North Carolina is the No. 2 team in the country, and effectively the No. 1 team in the country with the Oklahoma loss to Iowa State earlier this week.
The Demon Deacons are coming off of a thrashing at the hands of Syracuse, while North Carolina a 12-point home win over N.C. State. At 16-2 (5-0), the Tar Heels may not be the cream of the crop in the ACC, but the entire country. The emergence of Brice Johnson as a huge inside threat complements Marcus Paige at the point guard position.
I'm not going to mince words in this preview, this game is probably going to get ugly. North Carolina is the second most efficient team in the country offensively, while Wake Forest sits at 199th defensively (and quite frankly is one of the worst ACC teams I have ever seen play defense).
I have spoken a bit in the comments section about how bad the Wake Forest defense is, but it is probably even worse than I have given credit for. The game on Saturday was absolutely embarrassing from a defensive standpoint. Not a single player on the team other than Devin Thomas could stay in front of their man, play pick and roll defense, help-the-helper, or do anything except get blown by consistently.
Unless if something drastic has occurred since Saturday, I thoroughly expect North Carolina to systematically abuse our defense the way their school has systematically abused the term "student-athlete" for the past 25 years.
UNC is very good at offensive rebounding, protecting the ball, and shooting the ball. They aren't so good at getting to the free throw line, but when you rank in the top 40 nationally in three out of the four factors of basketball, you are going to have a good offensive team.
On the flip side, Wake is still good at getting to the free throw line, but not good at making them once they get there. The UNC defense ranks 28th in the nation at not sending the opponent to the free throw line (not shocking given the frequency of "Carolina Refs" brought up in the ACC).
To keep this preview (and my crying) short, I will just say that KenPom projects UNC to win 97-75, and I would be more shocked if we allowed less than 100 points than if we allowed more. That doesn't bode well for the Deacs.
Here's to hoping I am completely wrong and Wake continues the national theme of upsetting top 10 teams this week.