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Deacs Look to Contain C-well, End Streak

By Daniel Ogle
DeaconSports.com

We're pleased to continue exchanging previews with other ACC sites. Today we
swap with Daniel Ogle of DeaconSports.com
 

In pre-season voting at Operation Basketball in Greensboro for ACC Player of the Year, Maryland's Terence Morris was the runaway winner. Morris garnered 42 votes, with Wake Forest's Robert O'Kelley and Duke's Shane Battier as the closest competitors with 14 votes apiece. If a reader were to continue reading down the list, Ed Cota and Brendan Haywood of North Carolina would appear just before the man who has been the key to Duke's early season success and a leading candidate for ACC Player of the Year: Senior guard Chris
Carrawell.

Carrawell is taking pride in something that countless players have done before and countless more will do again-make us in the media look stupid. It is simply hard to believe that the media came up with five players in the ACC who were predicted to be better than Duke's lone senior.



Wake Forest - Duke Game Preview
Duke at Wake Forest Joel Coliseum
January 22, 2000 12:00 PM EST
All-Time Series Duke Leads 139-72
Last 10 Series Games Tied 5-5
WFU Current ACC Record 2-3
WFU Current Overall Record 11-6
Duke Current ACC Record 5-0
Duke Current Overall Record 14-2

Coming into the season, the senior from St. Louis had the reputation of being a good player on a great team. The pundits said Carrawell would not be able to step up and score in the ACC after the losses of Trajan Langdon, Elton Brand, and William Avery.

Carrawell not only proved he could score, but solidified his reputation as one of the best all-around players in not only the ACC, but in the country as well. Carrawell is ranked in the top 10 in the ACC in six major categories. He is 3rd in scoring at 17.1 points per game. He also collects 6.5 rebounds and dishes out 3.8 assists per game as well. The 6'6" senior also blocks 1.3 shots per game and is 4th in the ACC with an assist to turnover ration of 2.1.

Carrawell and crew come into Saturday's game in Winston-Salem riding the wave of a 27 game ACC winning streak. The Blue Devils are coming off the heels of a 92-88 overtime win against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack squad from 1972-75 is the team that currently shares the record for most consecutive ACC wins at 27 with the current Duke squad. The Demon Deacons are coming off their annual thrashing from Maryland at Cole Field House as the Terrapins jumped all over the Deacons early en route to a 73-51 victory Wednesday night.

The Deacons fell to 2-3 in the ACC with the loss and desperately need a win at Joel Coliseum Saturday afternoon in order to regain the confidence they lost in Raleigh and College Park. The Deacons were able to succeed early in the year as a result of a balanced offense with Craig Dawson and Robert O'Kelley shooting from the outside and Darius Songaila doing his damage in the paint.

However, Songaila has been the only consistent scorer of the three over first quarter of the ACC season. The 6'9" forward is averaging over 12 points per game, despite the fact that he averages only 20.8 minutes per game.

O'Kelley, Dawson and the rest of the Deacons are coming off their worst shooting performance of the year after shooting 29 percent against Maryland, and shot 37 percent against N.C. State.

In facing Duke, the Demon Deacons will encounter the best team in the ACC at this moment. The Devils play an excellent man-to-man defense, with arguably the two best defenders in the nation with Carrawell and forward Shane Battier. The Devils not only are excellent defenders, but score close to 90 points per game. Battier and Carrawell not only provide great leadership, but give defenses incredible match-up problems. Throw in freshman sensations Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy and you have a difficult team to stop.

The task for the Deacons on Saturday is difficult but not impossible. In order to win, they must do three things: rebound, get increased production from the perimeter, and be lucky.

Duke is an excellent offensive basketball team and in order to have any chance whatsoever to win Wake Forest must keep them off of the offensive glass. Duke leads the ACC with 39.1 rebounds per conference, while the Deacons are eighth with 34.1 rebounds per contest. If the Deacons are to stay even on the glass, Rafael Vidaurreta will do a lot of the work. Vidaurreta has not done many things well this season, but he has rebounded well. The 6'9" Spaniard leads the Deacons with 7.1 rebounds per game.

The Deacons must also get much more consistent offense from their perimeter players, particularly Robert O'Kelley and Craig Dawson. O'Kelley shot an abysmal 1-of-9 from the floor and scored only four points against Maryland. Dawson was only slightly better as he missed 6-of-9 shots in the loss to the Terrapins. The Devils will likely use Carrawell to defend O'Kelley and Battier on
Songaila, so Dawson will need to be hitting his shots if the Deacs are to have a chance.

The Demon Deacons will also need to have lady luck on their side if they are to stop Duke from surpassing the Wolpack's streak. The Blue Devils are well coached, have superior talent to Dave Odom's squad, and are an excellent defensive club as well. Williams, Boozer, and Dunleavy have only increased the vast amount of talent that the Cameron Crazies have come to expect in Durham. If the Deacon fans are going to charge the court after a Wake Forest victory, the Deacons will need to hit some lucky shots and have the ball bounce their way.

The Demon Deacons always play better at home than they do on the road, and they usually get up to play the Devils. However, it may very well take the ghosts of David Thompson, Tommy Burleson, and Monty Towe to keep the Pack's streak alive. The Deacs may keep it close for a while, but in the end Carrawell and company are too much. Devils 78 Deacons 60