Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/31/12
Wake Forest can get a new lease on life with home win over Xavier on Wednesday night. The Demon Deacons have been saddled in a funk since being drubbed by Cleveland State in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 with no signs of climbing out. Third-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, who replaced Dino Gaudio after that NCAA debacle, desperately needs a win that can boost his program, and knocking off the Musketeers would achieve that. Wake has gone 27-47 under Bzdelik, including 5-27 in ACC play. The Deacons are 6-5 this season, and other than a competitive loss to Connecticut, which was followed by a 26-point loss to an Iona team that is currently 6-6, they have not been at all impressive. This isnt a typical Musketeers team, however, at least based on results so far. Xavier (7-5) enters the 7 p.m. tip having lost three straight games and four of its last five, including to a struggling Vanderbilt squad and to Wofford. It lost in its last outing 51-47 at Tennessee. The Musketeers arent scoring much and could be up for a surprise from the Demon Deacons (6-5), who have notched consecutive wins and likely feel decent about themselves. This is a big game for both teams, but it could dramatically change the atmosphere in Winston-Salem with a Deacons victory. Pick: Wake, 65-62. Dec. 31 Dartmouth (2-8) at Boston College (7-5) When: 2 p.m. Full Court Press: The Big Green is really struggling this season and shouldnt pose much of a threat to the Eagles, who have won four consecutive games. Dartmouth has beaten Maine and Longwood and roll into the game having dropped five straight games. Pick: BC, 73-57. UNC-Greensboro (2-8) at N.C. State (10-2) When: 5 p.m. Full Court Press: Wes Millers second season at the helm of the Spartans hasnt been too kind. Theyve lost a lot of competitive games and have faced a solid schedule that includes Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Wake Forest, and East Carolina. The Wolfpack should win without much trouble. Pick: N.C. State, 87-64. Jan. 1 IUPUI (6-11) at Maryland (11-1) When: 3 p.m. Full Court Press: The Jaguars are already more than halfway through their schedule, and given their performances versus other high-level opponents dont stand much of a chance against the Terrapins. They have been clobbered by Michigan by 37, Butler by 32, and Western Kentucky got them by 20. Pick: Maryland, 76-55. Citadel (3-7) at Clemson (7-4) When: 4 p.m. Full Court Press: Clemson could use another blowout win to further distance itself from the ugly 27-point loss at Coastal Carolina two weeks ago, and the Bulldogs are potential fodder. They come in riding a six-game losing streak in which four of the losses were by 28 or more points. Pick: Clemson, 74-52. Jan. 2 Duke (12-0) at Davidson (7-5) When: 7 p.m. Full Court Press: If a home game with Santa Clara can be a scare for the Blue Devils, why not versus the crafty Wildcats on a neutral floor in Charlotte? Davidson is better than its record indicates, though a loss to Wisc-Milwaukee doesnt help the resume. Duke must be ready to play and to defend the Wildcats cuts and use of space. Pick: Duke, 75-62. Chattanooga (5-8) at Georgia Tech (9-2) When: 7 p.m. Full Court Press: The Mocs have been known to spring an occasional upset over the years, but its not likely to happen at McCamish Pavilion. Chattanooga has won three straight and has competitive losses to Kansas and LSU on its resume. The Yellow Jackets, however, have too many athletes and will pull away. Pick: GT, 68-55. Florida State (8-4) at Auburn (5-7) When: 8 p.m. Full Court Press: This is not a gimmie for the Seminoles, especially after how the Tigers nearly beat Illinois in Chicago over the weekend. Quite frankly, theres little else on Auburns resume to suggest it has a chance, but considering FSUs inconsistencies and it stands to reason this should be a close contest. Keys are simple: Can FSUs Michael Snaer make the big plays? Pick: FSU, 64-59. LaSalle (9-2) at Miami (8-3) When: 9 p.m. Full Court Press: With or without Reggie Johnson the Hurricanes should win. But the Explorers are a confident bunch having won eight of nine games, including over Villanova, Penn State and Iona. Miami must play hard and focused regardless of who is in uniform. If the Canes do that, they will win. Pick: Miami, 72-62. Season record: 111-18
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