Wake visits NC State on Saturday at noon, with the game streaming on ESPN3. When the Deacs hosted the Wolfpack a month ago, Wake eked out a three point win (77-74) for its first ACC win. I don't think many Wake fans at that point expected it to be the only ACC win before the rematch, but that's how things turned out.
In the first meetup, both offenses were slow to start, with Wake leading 27-25 at the half. However, that changed after the break as Wake scored 50 to NC State's 49 in the second half. Anthony "Cat" Barber led all scorers with 26 points, while Devin Thomas pulled off another double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Now, the two teams are fighting for relevance in the ACC, with NC State third from last at 2-9 and Wake right behind at 1-11 (thank goodness for BC). Wake is an 8.5 point underdog in the contest, which unfortunately makes this one of the three most winnable games left in the season, alongside Boston College and Virginia Tech. With those two games coming at home, this is also the last somewhat realistic chance for Danny Manning to notch an ACC road win in his first two years as Wake Forest's head coach.
For Wake to pull of what would unfortunately be quite an upset, the Deacs will have to be effective down low with Devin Thomas (and John Collins) and repeat or improve on their performance from deep last time around, when they shot 40% with Dinos Mitoglou and Bryant Crawford each making three 3 pointers. Bryant Crawford will have to show more of his brilliance and less of his youth if the Deacs will have a chance in this one.