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Tampa subregional

Wake Forest: 5 keys to victory

By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 23, 2003

1. POINTS BY HOWARD: While senior forward Josh Howard was no slouch, with 13 rebounds and 12 points against East Tennessee State on Friday, Wake Forest needs him to come out shooting stronger against Auburn. The Demon Deacons are 12-1 when Howard scores more than 20, and 13-0 when he shoots at least 50 percent.

2. POINTS BY WILLIAMS: On the other hand, if freshman center Eric Williams keeps shooting the way he did Friday (with a career-high 20 points) and Howard gives an average performance, the Tigers are in trouble. The Deacons are 15-1 when the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Williams scores more than six.

3. WATCH THE FOULS: This is a critical issue for Williams, who has reached four fouls 13 times this season and fouled out five times, including Friday. The Deacons are going to need Williams' size and blocking ability against Auburn, and he could make the difference if it comes down to the last few minutes.

4. DOMINATE BOARDS: Controlling the boards should not be a problem for Wake Forest, which leads the nation with a plus-9.9 rebound margin. Still, Auburn likely will attack the glass early hoping to offset the Deacons' obvious strength. Auburn is 4-6 when it is outrebounded, and 0-2 when the rebounds are equal.

5. AVOID BLOCKS: Wake Forest needs to keep up the pace on offense, particularly when Auburn center Kyle Davis is in the way. Davis was fifth in the nation, averaging 3.7 blocks per game during the regular season. ETSU had four blocks against Wake, but it won't be so easy against Auburn.

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