Danger lurks in an unfamiliar basketball lair late Wednesday night. Syracuse will meet Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, where the Demon Deacons have won 13 straight home games dating to last season's finale. North Carolina has been a 2014 victim. So has Notre Dame. Last year, Wake knocked off Miami and Florida State — two of the ACC's best teams — on its home court. The Demon Deacons finished last season with a 13-18 record. They were 6-12 in the ACC. All of those wins came at the Joel Coliseum. Wake coach Jeff Bdzelik keeps fielding questions about his team's remarkable ability to win at home. Bdzelik traces the home winning streak and Wake's road difficulties to the same source: The youth of his players. "They're comfortable at home," Bdzelik said. "We have a young basketball team. They feed off the energy. We've got great fans here at Wake Forest. Last year, we had the fourth-best attendance in the ACC. We had almost 12,000 people for Notre Dame. "We have quite a home court advantage this year. Our guys feel confident. We've broken the ice on the road with primarily a young team. We have seven sophomores that play the majority of the minutes. Hopefully, that's coming together as well." Wake's sophomore class includes former Jamesville-DeWitt forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who has started all 20 games for the Demon Deacons and averages 8.8 points per outing. (More on him tomorrow.) Wake's two leading scorers — Codi Miller-McIntyre (15.2 ppg) and Devin Thomas (11.5 ppg) — are sophomores. Thomas, at 8.5 rebounds per game, is his team's best boardsman; Bdzelik talked Monday about the explosive, aggressive way Thomas attacks the rim. The maturation of those young players, Bdzelik believes, has allowed his team to construct its 14-6 record this year. Wake is 4-3 in the ACC.
Syracuse will beware: Wake Forest is a difficult basketball team to beat at home
Syracuse.com | Jan 28