ACC Tournament Team Preview: Wake Forest


The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are the number nine seed in the ACC Tournament and will face eighth seeded Maryland in round one.  While I like Wake to win the opener, I don’t like them that much.  They are at best, a very incomplete team, in search of an identity.  Coming into the tournament with a 13-17 overall, 4-12 ACC record they need to win the whole darn tourney to get into the big dance.  And that just isn’t going to happen, if I’m right, Wake will “upset” the Terps on Thursday and follow that up by getting blown out of the water by UNC on Friday.  As part of our ACC Tournament Team Preview series, let’s get to know Wake.

Wake is stumbling into the tournament losing 11 of their last 14 games.  Some of Wakes 17 total losses this season have been to bad teams like Wofford, Dayton, Richmond, Seton Hall, teams ACC schools shouldn’t lose against.  The bottom end of the conference absolutely lived up to the criticism the conference received coming into the season.  Wake’s season is hard to break down, they looked good offensively early in the season breaking the 90 point barrier a few times.  Then in others they struggled to and even sometimes failed to score 50.

I’ve watched Wake four maybe five times this season.  Each time I’ve come away with a different impression.  I remember thinking, man they can block some shots and might be able to develop defensively and grind out some wins similar to Virginia.  Then I remember thinking if just one player besides for CJ Harris and Travis McKie would just step up they have the ability to really develop offensively also.  Then others I come away and simply said wow, that team sucks, they can’t do anything at all offensively and I can’t tell what kind of game they are trying to play.  Defensively, at times I’ve felt like I could lace up my Air Jordans and take it to this bunch.

Roster Breakdown: Wake is led by junior guard CJ Harris and sophomore forward Travis McKie.  After those two, they don’t have much of anything offensively.  Harris and McKie do make for a decent inside-out duo.  Harris is averaging 16.8 points per leading the team.  McKie is the their most complete player averaging 15.9 pts and 6.9 rebounds.  Sophomore Tony Chennault, senior Nikita Mescheriakov and freshman Chase Fischer round out the starting lineup.  For the most part Wake runs with a nine man rotation.  Outside of McKie nobody on this roster averages more than four rebounds.  As a whole this team struggles to rebound and score the basketball.  Think Virginia without Mike Scott, Wake has a couple of nice players, but they lack a superstar that can carry them.

What the numbers say: At 61.4 points per game, Wake is just a bucket ahead of the worst in the conference and only a couple ahead of the absolute gutter in Boston College.  They are the third worst in terms of offensive efficiency and three point shooting.  An average rebounding and assist turnover ratio for a bland team without much offensive punch to speak of.  Wake is a good shot blocking team, ranking second in the conference to Carolina.  They aren’t a good defensive team ranking ninth or worse in the other defensive categories.  They can push teams outside and a team with Terrell Stoglin running around is almost assured to stay on the perimeter and take bad shots against them.  Good teams often find the soft spots in Wakes defense and can exploit them.  Wake is the top free throw shooting team in the conference in terms of FT%, not that they’ve made that many or anything.

Floor/Ceiling: Either way for this team, their season will end no later than Friday when they face UNC.  Their ceiling would be blowing out Maryland in the opener and making a run in the NIT.  Floor is getting blown out by MD and not making the NIT at all.

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