RTC Live: Wake Forest @ NC StatePosted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2011
Game #96. RTC Live visits the RBC Center for the first time this year as Wake Forest travels east to play its old-time rival.
Wake Forest is traveling to the RBC Center to take on in-state rival NC State in the conference opener for both squads. NC State has had a difficult season so far, largely thanks to the untimely injury to senior star Tracy Smith. The good news for Wolfpack fans is that this is Smith’s third game back, so he should steadily be returning to his pre-injury form. Freshmen studs CJ Leslie, Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown alongside sharpshooter Scott Wood round out the rest of NC State’s starting five. I think Smith’s impact will probably be more indirect, as he will force Wake’s defense to collapse and double team him in the post, leaving State’s shooters open from the perimeter. So far Brown, Leslie and Harrow especially have struggled from beyond the arc, but I suspect Smith’s presence will get them much easier shots. On the other side of the floor, Wake Forest is having a nightmarish season. The Demon Deacons have looked absolutely horrendous coming out of the gate, and coach Jeff Bzdelik will need a phenomenal game out of JT Terrell if Wake wants to have any chance at all. Right now they’re struggling to win at home, much less in a hostile environment. But conference rivalries tend to bring out the best in down teams, so I fully expect this to be a better game than it looks on paper.