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NCAA Basketball North Carolina Tar HeelsWake Forest Demon Deacons

North Carolina vs. Wake Forest Preview: Tar Heel’s Road to 26th ACC Title Set to Begin

North Carolina Tar Heels

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow, the North Carolina Tar Heels begin their ACC schedule on the road against the 10-3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The two teams enter the game with the same record, but in the past, the Demon Deacons have failed to keep up with the boys from Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have won four-straight games against Wake Forest, and hope to make it five tomorrow.

Wake Forest is yet to lose a game on their home floor this season, granted they haven’t had much competition at home thus far. They lost two neutral site games against Kansas and Tennessee and one game on the road against a tough Xavier team. They will certainly be tested with the Tar Heels coming to town, a team that is coming off three-straight wins with all of the momentum in the world. James Michael McAdoo is finally playing at the top of his game, and Marcus Paige is emerging as one of the best guards in the country. Wake Forest’s leading scorer is guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, but with only 17 points per game, a strong lockdown from Paige should secure the Tar Heels a victory. As for the frontcourt, McAdoo will most likely be matched up with Wake Forest’s leading rebounder Devin Thomas. Both big men stand at 6-foot-9, so it should be an even matchup. Even if the two cancel each other out completely, the Tar Heels still have Brice Johnson, whether he starts or not, to help dominate the frontcourt.

Paige should have a stellar game considering he always seems to step up in big games in terms of scoring and passing, but the Tar Heels need a balanced attack along with J.P. Tokoto. He is another player that is emerging as a star, and with Leslie McDonald coming off the bench to shoot the long ball, the Tar Heels may be able to control the game in the backcourt. With starting center Joel James most likely out for tomorrow’s game, the backcourt really needs to step up and perform at the top of their games.

Although it is still early in the season, every game for the Tar Heels moving forward is a must win. With three losses already to mediocre teams, the Tar Heels cannot afford to lose games to any more unranked opponents. We already know they have the ability to keep up with top teams in the country, but all of the concern is placed on their games against teams they are supposed to beat. If they can secure a victory over Wake Forest, then take that momentum back home against Miami, then the game against No. 2 Syracuse will be a fun one to watch. The road to their 26th ACC title begins tomorrow, and although it won’t be an easy one, it is a road that the young Tar Heel squad is more than ready to travel on.