In Danny Manning’s 3rd season at Wake Forest, he appeared to have chased out the demons left behind by Jeff Bzdelik. The Deacs won four of their final five games to sneak into the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed, which was their first trip in seven years.
With only one senior in the rotation, Wake Forest fans were hopeful that their program was back.
Then John Collins left for the NBA where he was a 1st round pick. And Dinos Mitaglou departed for a professional career in Greece.
So it was back to the drawing boards, but few thought it would be this bad.
Picked 11th in the preseason conference poll, the Demon Deacons have struggled to a 1-8 record in ACC games, and are 14th in the league.
This doesn’t mean they’re without talent. They have three consensus 4*s on the roster. The problem is that they don’t defend. Manning’s best defense was his first, and that team was 125th nationally. In Coach Hamilton’s 16-years at FSU, he’s had one defense rated worse than 84th.
Bryant Crawford is putting up eye catching numbers, averaging 15.8 points per game. The 6-3 junior has never developed into a knockdown shooter in the ACC. As a freshman he made 35% of his 3s. As a junior he’s making 34% of his 3s.
Keyshawn Woods, another 6-3 junior, made 43% of his 3s, on his way to 12.9 ppg, but hasn’t been in double figures since January 13th.
Doral Moore mans the middle. He’s huge (7-1, 280), and was the starting center on Christ Koumadje’s high school team. He’s a bit limited offensively, but will dunk everything, and scores 10.5 ppg.
As a team, they shoot well (38% from deep), but don’t take a ton of 3s. Their offense has been hamstrung by turnovers and an inability to get to the line.
Defensively, they do a decent job defending the two, but that’s about it. FSU has the 2nd most efficient offense in ACC play, and they should be able to put up points vs Wake Forest. But road games are never as easy as they seem.
The game tips at 8 PM from Winston-Salem and will be broadcast on the ACC Network. FSU opened as 3-point favorites.
Senior Mitchell Wilbekin missed their last game with an ankle injury, and his status has not been updated. He did not practice on Wednesday.