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Next Up - Wake Forest

Time: 8:00 || Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium || TV:

Feb 28, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) brings the ball up court against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at the Petersen Events Center.
Feb 28, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) brings the ball up court against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at the Petersen Events Center.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Duke is ancient rival Wake Forest in the second half of a home-and-home series.

Wake is coming off of a Senior Day loss to Virginia Tech, while Duke lost at Pitt Saturday with what certainly appeared to be tired legs.

Since January, Wake Forest has won twice: one win over NC State, by three, and the utter annihilation of BC Sunday last.

Otherwise, as Devin Thomas said after the Virginia Tech loss, it's just (and you can apply this multiple times) one more disappointment and his team has gotten used to disappointments.

So Tuesday is a slam dunk for Duke, right?

Well we'd like to think so, but there are extenuating circumstances that make this game a bit of a trap game.

First of all, UNC looms Saturday. The win in Chapel Hill was the highlight of the season. It's hard not to think about that.

Second, Duke, as we saw at Pitt, is tired. Coach K does a masterful job of pushing teams through being tired, but this is a very thin team. There are various ways to handle fatigue, but eventually your lungs have to push oxygen in and your  heart has to push it to your muscles. No one can run forever.

So that's a real concern.

And Wake Forest? Well, we know BC is no great shakes, but Wake Forest had a stunning game against the Eagles.

Somewhere within that mountain of frustration is the beating heart of a team that can play with anyone. It just hasn't figure out how to do it.

It's not like there's a lack of talent. For all of his problems, the only four guys at Wake Forest who have outrebounded Devin Thomas are Dickie Hemric, Tim Duncan and Len Chappell. Good company.

Codi Miller-McIntyre has had real ups and downs but he's always been a reasonably solid point guard.  He's never shot well, but he's a good assist man and a very good rebounder for a guard.

His stats are almost all down from last year, no doubt because of his foot injury and his play has been erratic after returning from the injury.

He had 24 against NC State on the 13th though, 18 on the 16th against Pitt and 14 in the blowout against BC. On Sunday he had 19 against Virginia Tech.

His game against Notre Dame on the 24th was awful (1-7, two points).

Other than that, though, he's shot 28-45 in those games and that's 62%, which is great for a guard.

For anyone, really.

Then there's freshman Bryant Crawford. At times you can literally see his cockiness struggle with his uncertainty, but make no mistake: that guy is going to become an outstanding player at Wake Forest. He's very talented. d

Konstatinos Mitoglou, aka the Greek Deac, really should be more productive than he is. He's a 6-9 guy with range. He has potential though and the sophomore should continue to improve.

Freshmen big men Doral Moore and John Collins are perhaps unrefined, but both are big and rough and have to be guarded.

Then there's Mitchell Wilbekin, Greg McClinton and Rondale Watson. None of them have been spectacular yet, but they all contribute.

In other words, you might go into this one thinking that it's a slam dunk for Duke. We're just not as convinced that it's going to be easy.

Of course if Duke comes out and starts raining threes, well, that can change things. And Duke is by far the more accomplished team.

Things don't always go according to plan though. Mike Tyson is one of the more recent people to repeat this basic idea, whether it applies to war or boxing or anything else: everyone has a plan until they get hit.

Scenarios and plans are one thing. Wake's season is essentially ruined. It will come down to two more games, probably three at a maximum if they win one in Greensboro.

Duke is the final regular season game. What's left to lose? What the hell?

If it was us, we'd come out like ravenous badgers. We'd play out of our minds. We'd come at Duke like Attila the Hun would come at an unwalled city.

Don't be surprised if you see a manic, wild Wake Forest Tuesday night. It's the last stand for the Demon Deacons. Either they'll be dispirited or crazed. We can't see an in between here.