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December 7, 2011Wake Forest at High Point
Tip-off: Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET
TV: Not televised.
Wake Forest: 5-3 (Lost to Richmond 70-62).
High Point: 2-5 (Lost to Campbell 72-62).
Series history: The Demon Deacons have an all-time series lead of 12-1, and have won six straight against over the Panthers.
Deacons Illustrated breaks down the matchups by position:
Small Forward - Nikita Mescheriakov, WF -vs.- Shay Shine, HP. Aside from his flash in the pan 15-point performance against NC-Central Mescheriakov has been absent. Shine is a utility with a spark of offense, scoring nearly 12 points a game will be difficult for Mescheriakov to defend, especially on the perimeter. This will force Wake to employ three-guard lineups to matchup properly with the Panthers. Edge: HP
Power Forward - Travis McKie, WF -vs.- Corey Law, HP. McKie is stronger offensively (six more points per game), but Law has the advantage on the boards (4.1 more rebounds per game). However, McKie has proven on a consistent basis he is going to get his points (18.9 per game), and should continue the trend against lowly High Point. Edge: WF
Center - Carson Desrosiers, WF -vs.- Branimir Mikulic, HP. This is just a matter of which Carson Desrosiers is going to showup for the Deacs? The one who can be a defensive game-changer and get a double-double, or the one disappears with five points and three rebounds when a 6-foot-7 player is guarding him. At the very least he should outrebound and defend his undersized challenger (Four-inch and 15-pound difference). Edge: WF
Shooting Guard - C.J. Harris, WF -vs.- Nick Barbour, HP. This is literally a toss-up between two scorers. Harris (18.4 points per game) has already proven an ability to take over when called upon, as he did at Nebraska last week when he made his game-winning layup. Barbour (16.1 points per game) will be a challenge in his own right Harris and the Demon Deacons, but the Wake Forest captain's superior cast should help get him over the hump in this great challenge. Edge: WF
Point Guard - Tony Chennault, WF -vs.- Jairus Simms, HP. Like Desrosiers, Chennault seems to disappear at times, but that should not be an issue at High Point. Simms, who is 20 pounds lighter than Chennault may struggle against the Philadelphia product's muscle when defending him, and competing for loose ball and rebounds. Look for Chennault to call his number more often than usual. Edge: WF
Bench: Wake Forest -vs.- High Point. Chase Fischer (7.3 points per game) continues to be a spark from the bench for the Deacs, while Anthony Fields provides solid minutes at the point, and Daniel Green is another body to crash the boards and get an occasional garbage basket.
The Panthers can substitute four, giving them good depth, especially in the backcourt. Between those key reserves High Point's bench consistently averages 20.6 points and 11 rebounds, which may put pressure on Jeff Bzdelik to manage minutes more strategically. Edge: HP
Coaching: Jeff Bzdelik, WF -vs.- Scott Cherry, HP. Bzdelik certainly has the advantage when it comes to head-coaching experience and turning programs around, but Cherry is no stranger to big-time basketball. He was a reserve guard for North Carolina when it went to the Final Four in 1991 and won the national championship in 1993. Cherry also was assistant coach at George Mason when the Colonials advanced to the Final Four in 2006, and was an assistant coach at Western Kentucky for a Sweet 16 run in 2008. He is in his third year at High Point, trying to build a Panther program from scratch. Edge: WF
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