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Hokies prep for Wake Forest pack-line defense

Virginia Tech has twice played -- and defeated -- Virginia and its pack-line defense. But now the Hokies are preparing to face Wake Forest's variation of the scheme. And there is, quiet literally, a big difference.

"Theirs is about three feet longer," Hokie Coach Seth Greenberg said of Wake Forest, which he said was bigger than Virginia. "They’ve got 30 feet of post player."

The No. 23 Demon Deacons (18-5, 8-3) have front-court players such as starters Chas McFarland (7 feet) and Al-Farouq Aminu (6-9), in addition to Tony Woods (6-11) and David Weaver (6-11) coming off the bench. All that size amounts roughly to the 30 feet Greenberg referenced, and it means the Hokies (20-4, 7-3) will have to account for and adjust to it to have success.

“It’s hard to get in-rhythm shots, probably," Greenberg said. "I think we’ve got to make those big people guard more court, as well as we can. That’s easier said than done. They’re very disciplined in their principles."

The pack-line defense is a modified version of a man-to-man defense with the use of an imaginary line inside the three-point line. The players stay within that boundary to focus the defense on clogging the post. The players only have a relatively small area to cover, which makes them readily available to help on double-teams, to negate possessions in the paint and to guard against penetration.

Wake Forest Coach Dino Gaudio installed the pack-line defense after taking over for the late Skip Prosser in 2007.

This season, Gaudio and the Demon Deacons are having success with the defensive approach. They rank second in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (39.2 percent) and tied for second in blocked shots (5.7 per game) in their 11 conference contests. Also, as a result, Wake Forest ranks first in the ACC in defensive rebounds (26.1 per game) in conference games.

While the Hokies have twice faced Virginia's pack-line, they should be tested against the Demon Deacon's longer, more athletic variation of the same defensive look.

By Mark Viera  |  February 16, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
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