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March 7, 2012

Wake Forest at Maryland: ACC Tournament Preview

No. 9 Wake Forest at No. 8 Maryland in the First Round of the ACC Tournament
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Venue: Philips Arena
Tip-off: Thursday at 12:00 PM ET
TV: ACC Network and ESPNU
Current records:
Wake Forest: 13-17, 4-12 ACC (Lost to Georgia Tech 69-62)
Maryland: 16-14, 6-10 ACC (Lost to Virginia 75-72 in OT).

Series history: The Terrapins have an all-time advantage in the series of 65-56. UMD has won three in a row, including a 70-64 decision in College Park earlier this season. Wake is 3-5 against the Terps in ACC Tournament action.

What's next? The winner of this game advances to play top-seeded, fourth-ranked North Carolina (27-4, 14-2 ACC) in the second round. If Wake Forest loses its season is most likely over, while Maryland could still receive a bid to the NIT or the CBI.

Deacons Illustrated previews the game:

Wake trailed by 18 points twice (3:55 first half and 17:19 second half) before getting as close to a three-point deficit in the first meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11 as its comeback was cut short when Maryland iced the game from the charity stripe, making 9-12 free throws under 4:00.

From start to finish, for the full 40 minutes the Deacs must bring it on both ends of the court to give themselves a chance to win.

Maybe the most important factor and an obvious one at that is defense particularly keeping Terrell Stoglin and Sean Mosley from getting into a flow offensively. Stoglin, who won the ACC scoring title, averages 21.2 points per game. His 20 points along with Mosley's 15 points carried the Terrapins past the Demon Deacons.

"Mosley, he averages 15 points per game and shoots 58-percent from the arc in their wins, and he averages eight points per game in their losses," Jeff Bzdelik said. "Stoglin is pretty consistent. What happens in the wins and the losses with him is that he takes a lot of shots, and shoots a low percentage. He'll score about the same amount of points, but he'll shoot a lower percentage."

"Mosley is a key, and then of course finishing the possession on defense, but not allowing the second chance points that's hurt us."

All-ACC players C.J. Harris (16.8 points per game) and Travis McKie (15.9 points per game) have been steady all season, but Wake has lacked a consistent third scorer. Nikita Mescheriakov has 30 points over the last two games. If the Deacs hope to advance he must produce.

Ty Walker was not good for much, but the 7-footer was a defensive presence (2.6 blocks per game). His suspension dwindles Wake Forest's rotation down to seven players, which puts more pressure on Carson Desrosiers stay out of foul trouble.


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