The third-ranked Duke Blue Devils will close out their home schedule on Wednesday evening, as they play host to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in an ACC matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Despite plenty of off-the-court drama swirling around Durham these days, Duke still has the finishing touches to put on another solid season. The Blue Devils have locked up a double-bye in the upcoming ACC Tournament and currently reside in second-place in the conference standings behind now two- time league champion Virginia. Mike Krzyzewski's team is 26-3 overall, 13-3 in league play and enters this game with a nine-game win streak in tow. The team routed Syracuse on Saturday, 73-54.
Danny Manning's first season in Winston-Salem has had more negatives than positives. The Demon Deacons were able to end a three-game slide with Saturday's come-from-behind home win over Pittsburgh (69-66). By beating the Panthers, Wake Forest moved to 13-16 overall and 5-11 in the ACC.
Duke is looking for the regular-season sweep after edging out Wake Forest, 73-65 back on Jan. 7. The oldest rivalry in the ACC now stands with Duke holding a 164-78 series advantage. The Blue Devils have won nine of the last 10 meetings with the Demon Deacons and 15 straight at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Wake Forest used an 11-1 run over the weekend to erase a late seven-point deficit and earn a much-needed win over Pittsburgh. Codi Miller-McIntyre was instrumental in the win, scoring 12 of his 13 points in the second half, including eight during the crucial run. Mitchell Wilbekin led the team in the scoring department with 14 points, while Cornelius Hudson finished with 11. Wake was outrebounded by Pitt, 43-28, but shot a strong .468 from the floor, including a 9-of-20 effort from behind the arc.
The Demon Deacons have struggled at the defensive end more than anything else this season. The team is allowing foes to net 70.8 ppg, while shooting .441 from the field. Wake does own a +3.9 rebounding margin, but a -1.2 turnover margin. Miller-McIntyre leads the way at the point. The junior guard is both the team's top scorer (13.7 ppg) and distributor (4.1 apg). Junior forward Devin Thomas provides frontcourt balance, adding 12.2 ppg, along with 9.1 rpg (fourth in the ACC). Dinos Mitoglou chips in with 9.8 ppg.
A suspect defense will cost Wake dearly against an offensive juggernaut the likes of Duke. The Blue Devils are getting the job done as well as any team in the country, averaging 80.7 ppg, on an impressive .501 shooting. It certainly helps to be anchored by one of the nation's premier big men in freshman center Jahlil Okafor. The 6-11 youngster has certainly lived up to his hype. He is shooting an ACC-best .663 from the field and ranks second in the league in both scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (9.6 rpg). Senior guard Quinn Cook is the team's perimeter threat at 15.9 ppg, thanks in large part to his team-high 81 3-pointers. However, a sprained ankle has Cook listed as questionable for this contest. Freshman forward Justise Winslow (12.3 ppg) and freshman point guard Tyus Jones (11.4 ppg, 5.7 apg) continue Duke's youth movement.
Duke made light work of Syracuse with another efficient performance. The Blue Devils shot .483 from the floor, while limiting the Orange to a mere .306 effort. Winslow led all scorers with 23 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Okafor did complete the feat with 13 points and 14 boards. Cook poured in 17 points as well for Duke, which shot an impressive .542 from the field in the second half to put the game out of reach.