Let's get straight to it. And Make sure you <a href="http://www.bloggersodear.com/2015/1/28/7927507/wake-forest-demon-deacons-florida-state-seminoles-preview-tomahawk-nation" target="new">head over there</a> for my answers to their questions.
TN: It's the first year of the Danny Manning era and while no miracles have been worked yet, it appears to an outsider that despite a string of close losses Wake is steadily improving and could soon be a contender on Tobacco Road again. How do those closer to the program feel?
BSD: I think Wake fans would agree with that outside sentiment. Our team has greatly improved from the start of the season, and this is despite losing four rotation players from last year's team. We also compete much harder, especially on the road, and aren't satisfied with moral victories. Manning is utilizing the skill sets of our players much better, and he is doing a better job on the recruiting trail. We'll be back competing for regular NCAA Tournament berths and beyond beginning next season.
TN: Similar to FSU, the current recruiting class looks pretty solid for Wake, highlighted by a pair of top 100 kids in PG Bryant Crawford and 7-footer Doral Moore. How much do you think these guys can contribute as freshman and do you believe Coach Manning will continue to find success on the recruiting trail?
BSD: I think those guys will absolutely have an impact next season. I love Crawford and think he can play 20+ minutes for us next season. He'll give this team very good ball handling, attacking and court vision. He'll also be another reliable 3-point shooter. Moore will take some time to develop offensively, though he's shown some very good flashes recently, but I think he'll be a good shot blocker/alterer pretty early on. We also have John Collins, who is a 4-star according to 247. I think he may be more college ready than Moore. He will bring more athleticism and height to our front line, and will allow us to play an up-tempo game.
Moving forward I am confident in Manning's ability to recruit well. We already have 4-star Brandon Childress committed for 2016, and I think we have a legitimate chance to name 2016 recruit Harry Giles, who is arguably the best player in the class. We're also listed with a number of 4-star prospects such as Kwe Parker, who FSU recently offered. Manning's NBA pedigree and reputation as a great big man coach should be excellent for recruiting moving forward.
TN: On to this year's game (despite both fan bases probably preferring to think about next year), what has Wake done well in its recent near-upsets?
BSD: Against Louisville and Duke, Wake Forest power forward Devin Thomas was a monster. He averaged 27.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. We did a good job of limiting opponents' offensive rebounds and we capitalized by getting transition points off defensive rebounds. I also thought we played very good defense, and forced them to beat us with the deep ball and long twos. Unfortunately those teams were so talented and were able to make enough shots to beat us.
TN: Where can Wake be exploited?
BSD: We lack great size on the interior, and that's a big reason why Wake allows opponents to shoot 51.4% from inside the arc, which is 291st in the country. Our bigs do a pretty good job of getting in position, but opponents, especially ACC opponents, seem to be able to shoot over top of us. FSU's size could be a major problem for us.
TN: Who wins and why?
BSD: As much as I want to take my Deacs, I do think FSU's size will allow them to get too many easy buckets. I'll take FSU 70-66.
We are much obliged to Robert Reinhard of Blogger So Dear for taking the time to answer our questions. Reminder, game tips at 7pm tonight at the Tucker Center and can also be seen on ESPN3.