Feb 15, 2011; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leslie McDonald (2) and Wake Forest Demon Deacons center Ty Walker (40) fight for the ball as guard Tony Chennault (1) looks on. The Tar Heels defeated the Demon Deacons 78-64 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Previewing Wake Forest

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons Tuesday, February 5  7:00 PM on ESPNU.  This marks the last home game before a very challenging road trip against Miami and Duke.

Wake Forest enters Tuesday’s contest with a 10-11 (3-6 ACC) record.  Wake has lost five of their last six games and have just two meaningful wins on their resume over Virginia and NC State.  UNC has won five of their last six including two in a row.

The flu bug strikes: P.J. Hairston is doubtful for today’s game after missing practice due to the flu, Hairston was in the hospital receiving fluids after well losing a lot of fluids among others things.  Head coach Roy Williams hasn’t ruled him out completely but it’s looking very unlikely after Hairston suffered a concussion against Boston College last Tuesday.  Hairston was one of three players suffering flu like symptoms, with Desmond Hubert and another unnamed player.  James Michael McAdoo is expected to play after missing practice time this week due to a back injury he suffered late in the game against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Leslie McDonald shot just 1-7 from the field including 0-5 from beyond the arc in 25 mins in his return to the lineup after a six game absence if Hairston is out again McDonald could be counted on for big minutes and he needs to produce more on the offensive end.

Keys to Victory: Containing C.J. Harris and Travis McKie is the key to stopping Wake’s offense.  The Demon Deacons have just two players who score in double figures, the Tar Heels did a tremendous job defending the nations leading scorer Erik Green and Roy Williams stated that Dexter Strickland looked 100% for the first time this season.  If Strickland can become the lock down defender he was before his mid season injury last year the dynamic of this team could change dramatically.

Controlling the tempo, Wake will try and slow things down dramatically against Carolina if UNC can dictate the flow of the game this could be a blowout.  The Demon Deacons do not have the athletes to keep up with the tempo the Heels want to run and like almost every team Carolina plays they will try and turn this into a half court game and roll the dice from there.

Prediction: This is a game the Tar Heels should win in double figures and I think they will, hopefully getting pushed into overtime by Virginia Tech on Saturday is fresh in their minds.  As NC State found out earlier this season, you can’t take anyone lightly in this wacky and wild ACC season.  UNC wins 79-67.






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