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November 11, 2011

Wake-Loyola: Preview

Wake Forest vs. Loyola (Md)
Tip-off: 7:00 PM ET
TV/Internet: ESPN3
Last season's records:
Wake Forest: 8-24, 1-15 ACC
Loyola: 15-15, 9-8 MAAC

Deacons Illustrated breaks down the matchups by position:

Small Forward - Nikita Mescheriakov, WF -vs.- Anthony Winbush, Loyola. No one appears to have a clear advantage at the three-spot, but missing all of last season with an injury Winbush (6-foot-7 and 194 pounds) may struggle with the bigger Mescheriakov (6-foot-8 and 220 pounds). Edge: Wake

Power Forward - Travis McKie, WF -vs.- Erik Etherly, Loyola. The Deacs have an All-ACC caliber player in McKie, who averaged a team-best 13 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season. Etherly is a good player in his own right, averaging 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds last season, but McKie's versatility and supporting cast may be overwhelm his efforts. Edge: Wake

Center - Carson Desrosiers, WF -vs.- Shane Walker, Loyola. Desrosiers may have the advantage in strength and size, but Walker has him in quickness and athleticism. The senior from England returns after leading the Greyhounds in scoring last season at 11.1 points per game. Edge: Loyola

Shooting Guard - C.J. Harris, WF -vs.- Robert Olson, Loyola. This will be a good early challenge for Harris, but the Winston-Salem native is back to his natural position. Look for Harris to get his shots early and often. Edge: Wake

Point Guard - Tony Chennault, WF -vs.- Dylon Cormier, Loyola. After missing most of last season with a broken foot Chennault takes the reigns as the lead guard for the Demon Deacons, but six turnovers against lowly Ferrum in an exhibition game does not bode well for stiff competition. Cormier returns after gaining significant experience at both guard positions as a freshman. Edge: Loyola

Bench: Wake Forest -vs.- Loyola. The Demon Deacons know they can rely on Anthony Fields to spell Chennault at the point when he needs a breather. Wake's players and coaches have faith in Chase Fischer as a shooter, and Daniel Green as a rebounder.

Justin Drummond proved in Loyola's 83-71 win over Indiana (Pa.) in an exhibition game that he can provide an offensive spark off the bench, as he scored 11 points. Jordan Latham, a transfer from Xavier brings size and strength from the bench at 6-foot-8 and 249 pounds. R.J. Williams adds a burst of energy when he replaces Cormier at point guard. Edge: Tie

Coaching: Jeff Bzdelik, WF -vs.- Jimmy Patsos, Loyola. Aside from last season's flop Bzdelik has the track record and name recognition associated with turning programs around. This game should not be an issue of x's and o's for the second year Wake Forest head coach, but making sure the ball gets in the hands of his playmakers McKie and Harris. Edge: Wake

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