Boston College (19-11, 9-7 ACC) enters the 2011 ACC Tournament as a No. 5 seed and will face No. 12 seed Wake Forest (8-23, 1-15 ACC) in the first round of the 59th annual tournament on Thursday at 2 p.m. EST at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C (TV: Ch. 38 in Boston)
The Eagles lead the all-time series 8-3 against the Demon Deacons. Boston College defeated Wake Forest, 84-68, on Sunday in its regular season finale at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill. Prior to that, the Demon Deacons had won three games in a row against BC, but the Eagles won the first seven meetings with Wake Forest dating back to 1981.
Entering Thursday's first round tilt, there will be no secrets between the two ACC rivals, seeing how this marks the second meeting between Boston College and Wake Forest in less than one week. Naturally, that is a concern for Eagles head coach Steve Donahue.
"I think your biggest concern as a coach is human nature," said Donahue. "Human nature, when you beat somebody, to make sure you understand how difficult this game is going to be. Just because you beat them is wonderful, but what I will stress to the guys is, my experience is the games are going to be totally different in every aspect."
Corey Raji scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Eagles win over Wake Forest last Sunday. Biko Paris had 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting beyond the arc, Joe Trapani totaled 17 points and Reggie Jackson added 14 points off the bench for Boston College.
"Even though the same teams are playing four days later, the games are totally different," Donahue added. "You have to expect it. As a coach I expect it. I know it's going to be a difficult game. I know there's going to be different challenges. There's going to be things that did not even occur in this game. I think if you go in with that mindset,
understand that, I think you're ready to coach that type of game. I don't expect anything less."
Travis McKie racked up 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting for Wake Forest, which shot 50.9% from the field. Gary Clark had 14 points and three rebounds and C.J. Harris added 11 points for the Demon Deacons.
"I was impressed with Wake," said Donahue. "I think they have terrific young players. I have a lot of respect for [head coach] Jeff Bzdelik , what he's doing. I thought they played really well here. I thought they did a good job and I'm sure they'll be ready for Thursday."
McKie is the Demon Deacons' leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points on 49% shooting, and also leads the team in rebounding with 7.6 boards per game. J.T. Terrell is second in scoring, averaging 11 points per contest.
The Demon Deacons are coming off of a horrendous regular season in which they only won one game in conference play. Wake Forest has lost 10 games in a row and 20 of its last 23 games.
"The record doesn't indicate it, but we are seeing signs of improvement," said Bzdelik, a first-year coach. "We shot 50 percent from the floor the other day [against Boston College], which is better than we shot in a long time; with the exception of turnovers from a couple of young players, we were pretty efficient offensively. We have been able to do a better job rebounding the basketball the last couple of games here."
Wake Forest has already played once this season at Greensboro Coliseum, but Donahue doesn't think that provides the Demon Deacons with any sort of advantage.
"I really don't believe in any of those kinds of things," he said. "I never thought so. I've never been a coach that needs to go shoot at the arena. My background is, we take seven-hour bus rides, we go into a gym we never played in, we go in and play. I don't sense that being the case at all. I really don't."
Jackson is the Eagles' leader on the court, leading the team in scoring (18.3 PPG), assists (4.5 APG) and steals (1.1 SPG). Trapani is second in scoring (14.4 PPG) and leads the Eagles in rebounding (7.2 RPG). Corey Raji is third on the team in scoring (12.7 PPG) and is second in rebounding (6.6 RPG).
Boston College enters the game ranked 86th in the country in scoring (72.1 PPG). In addition, the Eagles are 65th in team field goal percentage (46%), 36th in assists (15.2 APG) and 298th in rebounding (32.2 RPG).
Wake Forest is ranked 223rd in the nation in scoring (67.2 PPG), 255th in field goal percentage (42.3%), 283rd in rebounding (32.6 RPG) and 298th in team assists (11.3 APG).
The winner of Thursday's first round tilt advances to face No. 5 seed Clemson in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 ACC Tournament.