Men's Basketball: Notre Dame visit to Wake Forest a big one in ACC picture
►WHO: Notre Dame (19-7 overall; 12-3 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (20-7; 10-6).
►WHERE: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (14,665), Winston-Salem, N.C.
►WHEN: Saturday at 1 p.m.
►TV: Regional Sports Network (locally, Marquee Sports Network)
►RADIO: WSBT (960 AM).
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►ONLINE: Follow every Notre Dame game with live updates from Tribune beat writer Tom Noie at twitter.com/tnoieNDI.
►NOTING: Indiana State transfer forward Jake LaRavia scored 19 points with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season and Oklahoma transfer Alondes Williams added 18 points, four rebounds and four assists in Tuesday’s 76-74 loss at No. 9 Duke. The Demon Deacons trailed by 19 points with 14 minutes remaining, but tied it at 74 with 20 seconds to play. The game featured four ties and five lead changes. … Wake Forest has lost two straight for the second time this season after having won three in a row and seven of eight. The Demon Deacons are 13-2 at home with losses to Duke and Miami (Fla.). … Wake Forest closes league play – and the regular season – with three of its last four at home. … The Demon Deacons have won at least 20 games in a season for the first time since 2009-10. … Wake Forest returned three starters and only four players overall off last year’s team that finished 6-16 overall, 3-15 and 14th place in the league. Wake was picked this preseason to finish 13th; Notre Dame was picked eighth. … Notre Dame enters weekend play tied for first place with Duke; Wake Forest is tied with Virginia for fifth. The top four teams receive double byes in next month’s league tournament in New York. … Wake’s roster features six transfers. … Notre Dame leads the all-time series 8-5, 2-2 away and 7-3 as ACC colleagues. The Irish have won two straight and three of four in the series. Notre Dame last played in Winston-Salem on Feb. 29, 2020, an 84-73 loss. It last won in Winston-Salem on Feb. 24, 2018 (76-71). … These teams last met in the first round of the 2021 ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., a game decided (80-77) by a Trey Wertz 3-pointer at the buzzer. … Wake Forest leads the ACC in field goal percentage (.487), ranks second for scoring offense (78.4 ppg.), scoring margin (+9.6) and assists (15.3) and is third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.311). It ranks 12th in the league in average home attendance (5,740). … In league games only, Notre Dame ranks second for 3-point field goal percentage defense (.305), fourth in scoring defense (67.1 ppg.) and fifth in field goal percentage defense (.437). … At 19.7 ppg., and 5.19 apg., Williams looks to become the first player in ACC history to lead the league in scoring and assists. Irish power forward Paul Atkinson, Jr., ranks second in the ACC in field goal percentage for conference games only (.579) while guard Dane Goodwin is sixth (.509). Guard Prentiss Hubb leads the ACC in assist/turnover at 5.70 in league games. … Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes is in his second season after five years at East Tennessee State. He was an assistant coach on the Wichita State team that lost to Notre Dame in the 2015 NCAA tournament Sweet 16. … Notre Dame allowed a season high for points in Wednesday’s 99-95 overtime home victory over Boston College.
►QUOTING: "It (speaks) to the maturity level of our team. We've got a lot of older guys. Throughout this whole year, we've been in countless situations where it came down to the last three minutes of the game. We've been in enough situations where even if the game is still tight and we're down, we still can win." — Irish guard Prentiss Hubb on answering adversity to win close games.
— Tom Noie
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI