UNC Basketball vs. Wake: Game preview, info, prediction and more

The UNC basketball program’s road has been bumpy at times this season and the latest road block was a disaster of a loss at Miami in their biggest Atlantic Coast Conference test yet.

UNC coming off an embarrassing 85-57 loss on the road to the ACC’s top-seeded Miami Hurricanes and they will need to get back on track ASAP if they don’t want their season to derail early.  Nothing went right for the UNC basketball team as they shot 33.8% from the field and a dreadful 20% behind the arch. As always UNC won the rebound battle 45 to 38 but continued their trend of turnovers losing the ball 14 times compared to Miami’s 4.

So, how does Wake compare to Miami?

Well…Wake has been hot cruising past the Virginia Cavaliers 63-55 and blowing out Georgia Tech 80-64. The Demon Deacons also head into this match-up with home-court advantage sporting a 10-1 record in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The player to contain is senior guard Alondes Williams who leads the team in points (20.3), rebounds (6.8), and assists (5.2). Williams has been the driving force to Wakes 15-4 record, and locking him up while pushing UNC’s basketball style of tempo could be the difference-maker in this match-up.

Key To Victory

Limit turnovers and create better-shot opportunities. There’s no way UNC can shoot 6 for 30 behind the arch and expect to win against this Wake Forest defense. Teams in the conference are shooting 33% behind the arch when they lace up against the Demon Deacons. Meanwhile, in the same grouping, UNC is averaging 38% from three. The three-point shot as pivotal as it is in modern-day basketball could be the deciding factor in who walks off the court victorious or not.

The other key is Leaky Black.

No, UNC may not need Black for his scoring, but his defense will be needed in causing havoc for Wake. Stopping Wakes’ Williams from torching the defense will be in Blacks’ control. Williams has scored in double digits in every game for Wake this season including three 30 point games.

It will be interesting to see if UNC can cool off Williams hot scoring.

Something To Watch

Unlike trying to end Williams’s streak it would be a sight to see if Armando Bacot can continue his of double-doubles. Right now, Bacot is second in the nation for double-doubles with 13 on the season and an active eight-game streak going on. The domination he’s shown in the paint has earned him back-to-back ACC player of the week honors and was selected as the national player of the week by the U.S basketball writers association. Bacot draft stock is rising faster than Urban Meyer’s dismissal from the Jacksonville Jaguars, and another solid outing could help stamp his name in UNC history books forever.

A win helps UNC keep pace for a bye in the ACC Tournament but a loss makes things more tricky for them with over a month to go.

Projected Starters

No. 4 R.J. Davis (So., 6-0, 175) – 13.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.5 apg
No. 2 Caleb Love (So., 6-4, 195) – 14.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.4 apg
No. 1 Leaky Black (Sr., 6-8 200) – 3.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
No. 45 Brady Manek (So. 6-9, 230) – 12.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.8 apg
No. 5 Armando Bacot (Jr., 6-10, 240) – 17.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg

What You Need To Know

WHAT?  North Carolina Tar Heels  (12-5, 4-2 ACC) AT Wake Forest  (15-4, 5-3 ACC)
WHEN? Saturday, January 22 – 8:00 p.m. EST
WHERE? Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
RADIO? Tar Heels Sports Network
LAST MEETING? UNC beat Wake 80-73 on Jan. 20, 2021
ALL-TIME SERIES? UNC leads all-time 109-50

Be sure to check back with Keeping It Heel as we continue our coverage on the UNC Basketball program.