MORNING BRIEFING: High-scoring Wake begins defense

The Wake Forest begins the defense of its NCAA Division I men's title when it faces Virginia Commonwealth in the Carolina Nike Classic in Chapel Hill.

Only two teams in the last 20 years have successfully defended their D1 title: Virginia (1991-94) and Indiana (1998-99 and 2003-04).

Wake was the highest-scoring team in the country last year and returns Marcus Tracy, the offensive star at the Men's College Cup, and All-ACC forward Cody Arnoux.

Arnoux had three goals in preseason victories over Wofford (5-1) and Furman (1-0) and Tracy had the other three goals -- all in the second half against Wofford.

The Deacons return their top seven scorers: Arnoux (38), Tracy (31), Zack Schilawski (22), Austin da Luz (19), Corben Bone (18), Sam Cronin (14) and Michael Lahoud (12).

Da Luz, who led the Deacons with 13 assists, missed both preseason games with an injury.

"We improved between the Wofford and Furman games and after the Furman game we've improved," Coach Jay Vidovich said. "Our guys are playing well in practice and are very capable. We're growing as a team. Our young players are learning the game. Our older guys are playing with pace and intelligence."

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BRAZILIAN CONNECTION. The Tim McClements era at SMU begins Friday when the Mustangs face Old Dominion at the UVa Classic. He replaces longtime coach Schellas Hyndman, who took over as FC Dallas head coach.

Hyndman took with him Brazilian star Bruno Guarda, who gave up his last year of eligibility to turn pro.

Guarda wasn't the only Brazilian at SMU. Paulo da Silva had a sensational 2005 season when SMU reached the Men's College Cup, but his star faded the last two seasons, in part because of a groin injury.

Two other Brazilians -- Diogo de Almeida and Arthur Ivo -- join da Silva at SMU. Like da Silva and Guarda, they moved to Dallas and attended Oakridge School.

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