Wake Forest has struggled on the road, while North Carolina, despite all its faults, remains unbeaten at home.
The Demon Deacons will aim to reverse that trend with their in-state trip to face North Carolina on Wednesday night at Chapel Hill, N.C.
Wake Forest (10-4, 2-1 ACC) recovered from a tough stretch to knock off nationally-ranked Duke and formerly-ranked Virginia Tech in back-to-back home games. Now, the Demon Deacons will see if that kind of play can travel behind Tyree Appleby (18.4 points per game).
“It will be a tough environment for us,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. “But we’ll go down there and compete and play hard. We’ve been on the road. We’ve been to Wisconsin. We’ve been to Clemson. We’ve been to Rutgers.”
In that trio of games, Wake Forest only defeated Wisconsin.
The Tar Heels (9-5, 1-2) made it back into the national rankings at No. 25 a week ago after a three-week absence only to fall out again after a 76-74 setback at Pittsburgh on Friday.
“Their record is their record right now; I’m not looking at that,” Forbes said. “I also know that coming off a loss, they’ll be even more on edge. But they would be like that anyway.”
North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said some of the progress that had been made wasn’t evident in the Pittsburgh game.
“I felt like we took a step back,” Davis said. I felt like we took a step back in our discipline in details. I felt like we took a step back defensively. I feel like we took a step back in the consistency of doing that.”
On the offensive end, the Tar Heels count on guard Caleb Love (17.5 points per game, 3.6 assists), who has been inconsistent. Armando Bacot scores 18.5 points per game.
“We definitely need Caleb very aggressive on the offensive end and taking the right shots,” Davis said. “He’s just an important piece for our success.”
The game will mark the Demon Deacons’ first appearance at Chapel Hill with full arena capacity permitted since 2020.
Wake Forest has put together a specific strategy when it comes to rebounding and hope to reduce second-chance points.
“Something we’ve been emphasizing a lot,” Forbes said. “We work on your path to (offensive) rebounding.”
–Field Level Media