Richmond,Va - Poor play on the road has been a big problem for Wake Forest in recent seasons. Now the Demon Deacons will begin finding out if that trend is ending.
Off to its best start in five years, 10th-ranked Wake Forest hopes its first true road game of the season - the first of three in its next four games - does not prove to be much trouble as it faces Richmond on Friday.
Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Wake Forest –8 point spread favorites for Wednesday’s game against the Richmond. Current College Basketball Public Betting Information shows that 73% of more than 187 bets for this game have been placed on the Wake Forest –8.
The Demon Deacons (9-0) haven't gone this deep into a season without losing since opening 11-0 in 2003-04, but they also have yet to play on an opponent's home floor. They were 2-10 in such games in 2007-08 after going 2-9 in the previous two seasons.
They also visit East Carolina on Monday, and after a week-long break and a home game against Radford, they play at Brigham Young on Jan. 3 to face a Cougars team which owns a Division I-best, 53-game winning streak at home.
The only games Wake Forest has played this season that weren't in Winston-Salem came at the 76 Classic in Anaheim in late November.
The Demon Deacons beat three unranked foes to win that tournament, but those were the toughest games they've played. The first two - against Cal State Fullerton and UTEP - remain their only games that weren't decided by double digits, and they had only a four-point lead with under four minutes left against Baylor before winning 87-74.
Their margin of victory was the same in their most recent game, but they were in control the entire way in a 66-53 victory over Wright State on Sunday.
However, after seemingly resolving their turnover issues in their previous game - with 11 in an 81-52 win over Bucknell on Dec. 6 - the Demon Deacons committed 22 on Sunday.
"The thing that was a little disappointing was our turnovers. ... That is what's hurting our offense because we are shooting the ball well," coach Dino Gaudio said. "We just have to cut down on our turnovers."
Wake Forest has averaged 18.0 turnovers this season and has committed 21 or more in three of the past four games. Star sophomore Jeff Teague turned the ball over six times for the third time in four games.
Teague, shifted to point guard this season after playing shooting guard as a freshman, is averaging 4.0 turnovers to 4.6 assists per game. He also scored a season-low 10 points against Wright State, but still leads the ACC at 19.4 per game.
Wake Forest is among the nation's leaders in field goal percentage at 51.7, and Richmond isn't far behind at 50.8 percent. However, the Demon Deacons also are one of the country's top scoring teams (83.3 ppg) and top rebounding squads (44.3 rpg), while the Spiders' averages are 9.5 points and 14.3 boards fewer.
Richmond (5-4) has alternated wins and losses over its last five games, including a 77-76 defeat to crosstown Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. However, that was the Spiders' first loss in four home games.
Junior guard David Gonzalvez leads the team with 17.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He has shot 57.5 percent from the field and hit 21 of his 41 attempts from 3-point range (51.2 percent). Sophomore Kevin Anderson adds 16.7 points per game.
Wake Forest has won 34 straight games over non-conference opponents from Virginia, with the last loss coming at Richmond on Jan. 15, 1990. The Demon Deacons, though, have won all 15 meetings with the Spiders since that game, including six straight in Richmond, and lead the overall series 36-9.
Posted: 12/19/08 1:30 AM ET