Bragging Rights Final Four: Wake Forest vs. Duke

by Micah Hart

For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. In our second Final Four matchup, it’s ACC-vs-ACC, where the top seed from the East meets the top seed from the South.

VS

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 3/31):

Chris Paul, Hornets: 21.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 13.0 assists, 0.1 blocks, 3.2 steals
Josh Howard, Wizards: 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.5 steals
Tim Duncan, Spurs: 22.6 points, 15.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.3 blocks, 1.2 steals
Al-Farouq Aminu, Clippers: 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 blocks, 2.0 steals
James Johnson, Raptors: 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.8 blocks, 2.3 steals

Missed the cut: Darius Songaila, Sixers; Jeff Teague, Hawks; Ish Smith, Grizzlies

How they got here: Defeated Memphis in the Sweet 16, 68%-32%, whipped North Carolina in the Elite Eight, 66%-34%

Team synopsis: Wake Forest may not seem like much, but they do have the best point guard in the NBA and the greatest power forward of all time, which makes them pretty dangerous no matter who else is on the court. Howard may not be the All-Star he was in Dallas, but he can still be pretty dangerous. Aminu and Johnson are youngsters with talent who don’t get a ton of minutes, but their per-48 stats suggest that could change down the road.

Duke Blue Devils

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 3/31):

Carlos Boozer, Bulls: 26.9 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 steals
Corey Maggette, Bucks: 27.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.7 steals
Elton Brand, Sixers: 20.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.6 steals
Grant Hill, Suns: 20.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 steals
Luol Deng, Bulls: 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.2 steals

Missed the cut: Shane Battier, Grizzlies; Chris Duhon, Magic; Mike Dunleavy, Pacers; Gerald Henderson, Bobcats; Dahntay Jones, Pacers; Josh McRoberts, Pacers; JJ Redick, Magic; Shelden Williams, Knicks

How they got here: Took out the LSU Tigers in the Sweet 16 by a 61%-39% tally, and strolled past the Florida Gators in the Elite Eight, 74%-26%.

Team synopsis: People have a tendency to think that Duke players don’t do so well in the pros, but man, look at this lineup. Big and burly, and good luck keeping Brand, Boozer, and Maggette off the offensive glass. The only thing that could pose a problem for the Dookies is a lack of a top-notch outside shooter or true distributor, but Hill and Deng are good enough. Each guy on this team can put the ball in the basket.

All Ball’s take: Wake Forest has been able to ride the coattails of CP3 and TD21 to this point, but there’s no way that can continue here. While Duke doesn’t play a PG in this scenario, Deng is long enough to at least bother Paul, and would have a sizeable advantage on the other end as well. Duncan wins the battle against Brand, but Elton has proven his career isn’t quite yet finished in Philly this year and won’t be a pushover. Meanwhile the Blue Devils have favorable matchups at all three other positions (though Maggette-Howard could be a wash). Two has been enough for Wake to this point, but Duke just has too much depth and talent not to advance here.

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27 Comments

  1. Robert Cavazos says:

    Are you kidding me? You have the greatest power forward of ALL-TIME in Tim DUNCAN (yes, i’m a Spurs fan) and the greatest point guard of his generation in Crhis PAUL, on the same team, and your going to go with a couple of all-stars and mid-level players over Hall of Fame-bound players.

    • Quentin Simms says:

      Very ignorant statement. Saying chris paul is the greatest point guard of his time. There is no way.

      • Just an Opinion says:

        also this is 5 v 5 not a 2 v 5. Duncan and Paul are no doubt all stars and hall of famers but this isnt enough. u have to look at the big picture. if wade, lebron and bosh would have all went to the same university ppl would vote for them because theyre all stars and future hall of famers as well but look at miamis nba record, they’re not #1… By the way i still haven’t decided who should win this one… time to vote though

  2. cray777 says:

    deron williams is the greatest PG of this time no doubt not CP3

    • Syke O Smoke says:

      IDK This could be a long debate. Between Chris Pual, or Deren Williams, or even Derrick Rose, but if not the best CP3 is defenitely one of the best.

    • tata says:

      I would rather have Rose, Westbrook, Nash or Rondo than either one of them.

      • lol says:

        No wonder u r not a NBA GM…
        seriously…it all depends on the make up of your team…
        but I’d take Cp3 simply because of 2 reasons…
        1. He plays superior defense…other than Rondo…no other point guard plays defense at their level…
        nash…rose…williams…none of them play D as well as CP3 or Rondo…its not even close…Westbrook probably plays some D but not as good as well…
        2.Cp3 does not turn the ball over…period…this guy is amazing with his ability that he just doesnt turn the ball over…with the amount of time he has with the ball…his TO is extremely low…who in their mind dont want a no mistake point guard??

        these are the 2 reasons i think he is still one of the best point guard around…cuz he plays both ends nicely…
        we can all debate between us whose better between williams and paul…but i like them both…they are both great…
        Whereas Rose…i dont know…im not fully convinced just yet…i think his teammates bail him out quite a bit…he needs to change his style a bit…be smarter rather than working so hard to get his shots….unlike most super stars prior to him…it seems like he works hard for his shot…all the twists and turns…look at kobe for example…he makes it look easy…and Im a Boston fan…dont get me wrong…and I love what Rose has been able to do this year…but I think the credit goes to Thibbs for knowing how to back his point guard up with great prem defense in Bogans, Deng and Brewer…without these guys…Rose will be exposed greatly for his lack of D…my opinion!

  3. germs says:

    @ quentin Simms
    how is that ignorant its his opinion i could call u ignorant for saying there no way he is and his career is far from over he still could be the best u dont know

  4. Silver says:

    Steve Nash is the best point guard of all time.

  5. Bilal says:

    Wow Robert you are very ignorant did you forget he plays with great pgs like not only D.Willliams but also nash rondo rose.

  6. Joaquin says:

    Next up, Texas vs Duke. Ill vote for Duke

  7. Albert says:

    Did everybody just forget about Derrick Rose? Disappointing…

  8. Got game says:

    what kind of voting is this.. theres no way duke wins over wake in this matchup.. i mean chris paul and duncan make a great combo and josh howard aint too bad either… but duke could make it hard for wake, but still, wake still wins this matchup..

  9. patolatotoy says:

    wooahh D.will? sucks cmon dude. d.rose is the best. cp3 still gud but not on his shape..

  10. Your Mom says:

    Who ever votes for Duke is stupid. Wake Forest all the way

  11. Nikola Jovovic says:

    Tim duncan is far past his prime. Brand is having a better season and the per 48 minutes stats are only better for duncan due to limited minutes all season. CP3 is the only one who could score against duke.

  12. jamie says:

    Duke wouldnt be able to stop cp3 from doing whatever he wanted plus timmyD demon deacons got this

  13. Just an Opinion says:

    Magic Johnson is the best point guard of all time… then i would go with Oscar Robertson, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas etc how do ppl forget about these guys… i dont understand. Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Derick Rose, CP3, D. Will. are all on my list of Great p. guards as well.

  14. Leiyo2 says:

    I’m a SPURS fan after MJ left the Bulls…No doubt Tim Duncan is the best PF ever. NOt coz I’m a SPURS fan, but just because he IS THE BEST PF of all time…
    But CP3? nah ah…Rose would by my pick right at this very moment. FOr the past decade, I would have to say NASH…of all time? That I don’t know…

    • PARKDALE13 says:

      @Leiyo2 your right for the pgs, nash for the past decade but right now rose maybe paul.. probably stockton or magic for all time

  15. Michael Scott says:

    Wakeforest b/c of James Johnson

  16. CP3 says:

    Nash biggest flaw is his D…not really convinced he is the BEST.