Wake Forest (10-2) at Xavier (9-3)
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cintas Center (10,250) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: FS1. Home Record: WF 9-0, XU 7-0. Away Record: WF 0-0, XU 1-0. Neutral Record: WF 1-2, XU 1-3. Conference Record: WF 0-0, XU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons enter the Cintas Center to take on the Xavier Musketeers in the annual Skip Prosser Classic.
This marks the first true road game of the year for the Demon Deacons, who are off to a 9-0 start at home. They wrapped up their latest homestand with a 59-51 triumph over UNCG last Saturday.
Xavier has won all seven of its home games this season. The Musketeers went on the road last Saturday and notched a 77-74 win at Alabama, their fourth straight victory.
The all-time series between these two teams is tied, 2-2. This will be the final non-conference tuneup for both teams.
Wake Forest dialed up the defensive pressure in its win over UNCG as it held the Spartans to 31.7-percent shooting from the floor. However, the visitors were able to hang around thanks to the Demon Deacons brutal effort at the foul line that saw them connect on only 13-of-30 attempts (.433). Simply put, the Deacs can ill-afford to squander so many free throws if they hope to win this, or any other game, moving forward. Devin Thomas led the way with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win over UNCG. Tyler Cavanaugh also scored 12 points, while Codi Miller-McIntyre finished with 11. Miller-McIntyre paces the squad with 17.5 ppg this season, followed by Thomas with 11.8 points and a team-best 9.8 rebounds per tilt.
Xavier is headlined by the high-low tandem of sophomore guard Semaj Christon and junior center Matt Stainbrook. Christon, last season's Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, is averaging a team-best 14.9 points and 3.9 assists. Stainbrook, who sat out last year after transferring from Western Michigan, is shooting 53.1 percent from the floor, while putting up 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per tilt. Against Alabama last Saturday, it was Stainbrook and Isaiah Philmore who helped the Musketeers rally back from a 12-point deficit over the final 16 minutes. They shared team-high scoring honors with 17 points apiece, and Philmore pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds in the win.
It will be interesting to see how sharp the Demon Deacons are in this one, considering their early-season home schedule and one-week layoff. Xavier has played very well on its home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 75, Wake Forest 73
12/28 10:43:54 ET