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Next Up - Wake Forest

Time: 7:00 | Venue: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum | ESPN2

A win over Wake would be a slam dunk for Marshall Plumlee and Duke
A win over Wake would be a slam dunk for Marshall Plumlee and Duke
Grant Halverson

Next up for Duke is Wake Forest, and the situation, overall, is not necessarily favorable.

First, Duke comes in after an extended break following the unusual stretch of eight games in four days following the rescheduled game in Chapel Hill.

You never know how a team comes out after a 10-day break. Not to say that it wasn't well-timed, but you just never know how it works out.

On the other side of the coin, Wake Forest comes into this game 15-14 with just one win since January 29th, and that over BC.

With the mediocre record and an unpopular coach, there will be immense pressure to fire Jeff Bzdelik. For the rest of the world, it's a fait accompli, but if he hasn't lost his players, they still have something to say about it.

And on top of that, it's Senior Day.

All of which is to say that almost every emotional advantage goes to Wake Forest.

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Duke has more talent and better coaching, but emotion can overcome those things, so Duke has a lot to deal with.

But at least there shouldn't be a problem with tired legs.

During the break, Duke worked on rebounding and defense, Quinn Cook told the Durham Herald-Sun: "Those two things win championships. I think the offense will take care of itself. Just keep playing defense the way we have and with all five guys getting in there rebounding, I think we can be special."

Duke will have to defend Wake's best players, and they are big man Devin Thomas, last seen quite unhappy after fouling out in Cameron and guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, who has only topped 12 points once since January 25th, and in the last 10 games (not counting Duke, where he sat out with an ankle injury), has averaged 8.6 ppg, significantly under his average of 13.3 ppg.

Travis McKie, who has a very different role as a senior is also dangerous, as are Tyler Cavanaugh and Coron Williams, playing his last game for Wake as a one-year senior.

And Arnaud William Adala Moto has become much more than a spelling challenge and could eventually become a very successful power player.

The backstory for this game though is Jeff Bzdelik: is this his last game in Joel? Are his players feeling it? Only people who are on the inside can really know what a team is thinking.

We remember when Seth Greenberg was fired that a former player tweeted that it was about time, and that he deserved it.

On the other hand, a recent Tweet from Julius Hodge suggested that he was still loyal to former coach Herb Sendek. It's hard to know how relationships work unless you're in it or in close proximity.

And in case anyone is uncertain about whether a lower team can rise up in the ACC and take out an elite team, well, Syracuse would like to introduce you to Boston College and Georgia Tech.

Of course it could happen.

Duke needs to come in understanding how very much is on the line for Wake Forest and how many emotions this game is going to spark for the Demon Deacons.

And don't think the Deacs have forgotten the earlier loss in Durham - they haven't. Not by a long shot. Payback is at the very heart of the ACC culture, in a way it's not in most conferences, and Wake would love to dish some out on Wednesday night.