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Louisville-Wake Forest preview: Cards face desperate Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

NO. 7 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (23-6, 11-5) At WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS (16-12, 7-9)

Game Time: 9:05 p.m.

Location: LJVM Coliseum: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Television: Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South in Louisville)

Announcers: Wes Durham (play-by-play) and Dan Bonner (analyst)

Officials: Brian Dorsey, Ron Groover, Jeff Clark

Favorite: Louisville by 3

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 4-1

Last Meeting: Louisville won 65-57 on Jan. 3, 2016 at the KFC Yum Center

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineup:

Statistics:

About Wake Forest:

The Demon Deacons enter Wednesday night’s game against Louisville squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble and in desperate need of a signature victory to boost their resume. They own the nation’s 11th most efficient offense according to Ken Pomeroy, who ranks the Deacs 33rd in the nation overall.

Wake Forest is 14th nationally in free throw percentage (.770), 24th in scoring offense (81.6 ppg), 31st in assists turnovers ratio (1.33) and 54th in three-point field goal percentage (.380).

Sophomore big man John Collins leads the ACC in field goal percentage (.621, 14th in the nation) and is second in rebounding (9.8 rpg), third in blocked shots (1.6 bpg) and fifth in scoring (19.1 ppg). Collins has the ACC’s most improved scoring average, up 11.8 points from his 7.3 average last year. Over his last 11 games, he has averaged 24.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg and has shot 67 percent from the field. He has scored 21 points or more in Wake Forest’s last 12 games.

Notable:

—Louisville is 11th in the nation in field goal defense (.391), ninth in blocked shots (5.6 bpg), 14th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.304), 13th in scoring margin (+13.0) and 13th in offensive rebounds per game (13.4).

—Louisville has faced the nation’s toughest schedule according to the RPI. The Cardinals are fourth in the RPI rankings at the moment.

—Louisville is 23-6 through 29 games for the fourth time in five seasons.

—Louisville’s only loss came in the 1996 Sweet 16, when Tim Duncan fouled out but wasn’t called for it, walked and wasn’t called for it, and Louisville was called for a foul that both didn’t occur and came well before the basket that the officials ultimately counted. The Cardinals would have defeated Kentucky in the regional final had at least one of those occurrences not taken place.

—Louisville is the only team in Division-I that has yet to lose a game this season to an unranked opponent.

—Louisville has a 32-8 record (.800) in March over the last five years (since 2012). The Cards are 17-8 record in regular season games in March over the last 12 years (since 2005).

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 80, Wake Forest 76