Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Duke Blue Devils Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 24th 2024

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No. 8 Duke and host Wake Forest are coming off lopsided wins heading into Saturday’s meeting in Winston-Salem, N.C.

It’s a key matchup in the Atlantic Coast Conference pecking order as the teams face off for the second time this month.

Duke (21-5, 12-3 ACC) enters the weekend tied for first place with North Carolina, while Wake Forest (17-9, 9-6) is in fourth place.

“We want to be at our best in February and March, and I think we’re on an upswing,” said Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer. “I think we’ve continued to get better.”

The Demon Deacons are under pressure to build stronger credentials for the NCAA Tournament and knocking off Duke would certainly qualify.

“It’s hard for kids this age to block out the noise,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. “We talked about that a lot. Because they’re on social media a lot, so it’s just their life. You can’t listen to all the praise when you win and all the criticism when you lose. You just have to block that stuff out. They’re doing a pretty good job of that.”

The Demon Deacons pounded visiting Pitt 91-58 on Tuesday to avenge an earlier loss. They’d like a similar trend when the Blue Devils arrive.

Duke drubbed host Miami 84-55 on Wednesday night for its fifth consecutive victory.

Now it’s a matter of whether the Blue Devils can continue stringing together strong performances.

“I think just not giving up on each other,” forward Kyle Filipowski said. “Staying the course with our big goal at the end of the season. We know we’ve been in a position like this before, but we know there’s still a lot more to accomplish. We’ve still got to set ourselves up for March.”

Wake Forest will try to maintain this season’s perfect home record (14-0). The Demon Deacons are the only ACC team without a home loss.

The Blue Devils defeated visiting Wake Forest 77-69 on Feb. 12 in Durham, N.C.

“They didn’t have any transition points in the first half, they had seven in the second, then we fouled,” Forbes said of the first meeting. “They shot eight free throws in the first (half) and 17 in the second. That’s just a terrible recipe to try to win.”

Forbes said the Blue Devils did too much damage with Mark Mitchell and Filipowski in the clash earlier this month. Mitchell in particular caused tough matchups that resulted in foul trouble for Wake Forest.

“Mitchell and Filipowski were unbelievable,” he said. “They both played great.”

The Blue Devils had guard Tyrese Proctor back in action Wednesday after he missed the Florida State game last weekend with a concussion. He logged more than 23 minutes, scoring 12 points and dishing out a team-high five assists.

“I was really happy with Tyrese,” Scheyer said. “We didn’t know how many minutes he could play. He’s done about 10 minutes of contact since the last game he played against Wake Forest. I thought he had great minutes, played with a great pace.”

–Field Level Media

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