Deacons Begin 16th Straight Season Of Postseason Play Wednesday 

Deacons Begin 16th Straight Season Of Postseason Play Wednesday

Wake Forest, which won three of its last four games, begins its 16th consecutive year of postseason play Wednesday night at Minnesota in the NIT (6 p.m. Central/7 p.m. Eastern/ESPN2).
The Demon Deacons, 17-16 overall, won the NIT in their last appearance in 2000. Wake Forest is making its sixth NIT appearance.
Wake Forest closed out the regular season March 4 with a win over No. 22 NC State, then beat Florida State and NC State again in the ACC Tournament last week. The Deacons' improbable run ended Saturday with a 78-66 loss to now No. 1-ranked Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
Seniors Justin Gray (18.4 ppg) and Eric Williams (16.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg) lead Wake Forest. Gray was a second team All-ACC selection and Williams was named to the third team.
Minnesota, 15-14, won four of its final five home games, including victories over Indiana, Michigan State and Iowa. The Golden Gophers lost in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa, 67-57, last Friday.
The Gophers are led by Charlotte (NC) native Vincent Grier (15.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg). Seniors Maurice Hargrow (11.3 ppg) and North Carolina transfer Adam Boone (10.1 ppg) average scoring in double figures.
Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 3-2. The Deacons won the last meeting, 85-79, on Nov. 27, 2001. That game was part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and was played in Winston-Salem.

Wednesday's Storylines
- Wake Forest has wrapped up a non-losing season, but with a win Wednesday, the Deacs would secure its 16th straight winning season.
- The Deacons are one of six ACC teams in the NIT.
- The teams' leading scorers -- Wake's Justin Gray and Minnesota's Vincent Grier -- are both from Charlotte and played against each other in high school.
-n Wake Forest women's basketball coach Mike Petersen is a former men's assistant coach under Dan Monson at Minnesota.

Wake Forest's NIT History Includes A Championship In 2000
- Wake Forest will appear in the NIT for the sixth time.
- The Deacons are 10-4 all-time in the NIT, including a tournament championship in 2000.
- Wake has advanced to the semifinal round in New York twice -- in 1983 and in 2000.
- The Deacons are 3-2 all-time in NIT road games, 5-1 in home games, and 2-1 in the semifinals and finals.
- Wake Forest has never previously played a Big Ten team in the NIT.
- Of the Deacons' 14 NIT games, three have come against Vanderbilt.
Skip Prosser In The NIT
- Deacon head coach Skip Prosser will coach in the NIT for the third time.
- In 1999, Prosser led Xavier to the NIT semifinals.
- In 2000, Prosser's Xavier team went to the second round of the NIT.
- Prosser's career NIT record is 5-2.

Deacons Playing Their Best Basketball In March
Wake Forest entered March with a bleak picture concerning any postseason play. The Deacons, however, have won three of four games in March, including two wins over nationally-ranked NC State.
The biggest statistical difference has been in rebounding. Wake Forest entered March as a solid rebounding club, but the Deacs own a +15.2 rebound margin over the last four games.
Wake Forest has also played better on defense, especially on the perimeter, where the Deacons are holding opponents to 25.7 percent shooting from three-point range.

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