Overall record: 18-12
Conference record: 9-9
Best wins: vs. Louisville (88-81), @ Virginia Tech (89-84)
Worst losses: vs. Clemson (73-68), @ Clemson (95-83)
Key players: John Collins, Bryant Crawford
Chance of making NCAA Tournament: Likely in, but can’t afford a bad loss
In his third season in charge of Wake Forest, Danny Manning has the Demon Deacons on the verge of returning to the NCAA Tournament. Just in the last week, Wake picked up wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech, taking them from the bubble to, at least right now, likely in the tournament.
Wake’s improvement as a team is mirrored in that of sophomore big man John Collins. In his second season in Winston-Salem, Collins is averaging 19.1 points and 9.8 rebounds, up from 7.3 and 3.9 in his freshman season. Collins got himself a first team All-ACC spot and ACC Most Improved Player award in the process.
Coming into Brooklyn, most Bracketology outlets have Wake in the field. That being said, they cannot afford to lose to Boston College in the first round. The bubble is fairly weak, but taking a loss to the worst team in the conference might be a death blow.
As long as they get by BC, they should get into the tournament. If they could beat Virginia Tech again in round two, or go further, then they should be good.
Winning five games in five days against the toughest conference in the country will be tough, so don’t expect Wake to win the whole tournament. However, the Demon Deacons have had a pretty good season and are again relevant on the ACC scene.