Wake Forest Road Woes Continue

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last night Wake Forest followed up their home win over #19 North Carolina with a 23 point drubbing at the hands of Virginia. This is not a blip on the radar; this is a trend.

If you watched the first 3 minutes and 5 seconds of last night's game against Virginia, then you watched all you needed to see and that was an 11-0 run by Virginia to start the game. Wake Forest did not score until the 15:39 mark when Codi Miller-McIntyre made a layup. Fast forward two hours and the Deacs lost by a final score of 74-51 in a game where they were down by as many as 32.

Wake Forest managed just 51 points on 66 possessions, good for a meager .77 points per possession and turned it over on 5 of their first 6 possessions of the game. I admit that Virginia is an outstanding defensive team (3rd in adjusted efficiency), but no team with Codi Miller-McIntyre, Travis McKie, Coron Williams, and Devin Thomas should rank 187th in adjusted offensive efficiency yet that's exactly where they stand. And so many times I watch our sets and see that our pin down screens and curls off of them have no purpose. They also got out-rebounded by 13, which is quickly becoming a weakness for the Deacons now that they are playing bigger and more physical teams than their very weak non-conference schedule.

As Deacon fans know this was not the first time Wake Forest has been a severe disappointment  in ACC road games under Jeff Bzdelik. Bzdelik is now just 1-25 in ACC road contests and is 2-48 in conference road games dating back to his tenure at Colorado. Bzdelik's lone ACC road win came on January 21, 2012 against Boston College. Yes, it's been nearly two calendar years.

Those who somehow have enough tolerance to watch these road contests know it's even worse than that dreadful record indicates. Over the past 10 conference road games we have been outscored by a total of 161 points, or 16.1 points per contest and went 0-10. To be fair, we were expected to lose those games by a combined 115 points, but that's still 46 points worse than the expected outcome. Our expected value was 2.1 wins and we won exactly zero.

Wake Forest is the George Costanza (complete opposite) when it comes to conference home games. During the past 10 conference home games Wake Forest has outscored opponents by a total of 49 points or 4.9 points per contest and went 7-3. Wake was actually expected to be outscored by 40 points over that stretch (according to KenPom), which means Wake overachieved by 89 points or 8.9 points per game. Our expected value was 3.75 wins and we won 7.

Everything that Wake Forest is doing is defying logic and statistics, but it's still happening. It makes no sense than any of this is happening, but it is what so many Wake Forest fans have come to expect and that is jubilation at home and misery on the road. It's completely unacceptable that a team can perform that well at home yet so miserably on the road.

Now Wake Forest must travel to Pittsburgh to face a team that is beyond tough both physically and mentally. This isn't a team full of 5-stars; they actually are ninth in the ACC in terms of average star ranking of their players (Wake Forest is 11th).  Yet they are currently 7th nationally in KenPom's rankings and the difference is they are exceptionally well-coached. This Pittsburgh team fell behind to North Carolina State 17-2 on the road and managed to win by 12. It took Jamie Dixon all of one ACC road game to match Jeff Bzdelik's total through 26 games. Pittsburgh went 164-22 (88%) at home in Jamie Dixon's first 10 seasons as head coach. Jeff Bzdelik being 1-26 in ACC road games seems like a formality and if the Deacs don't win at Virginia Tech on January 22nd, I wouldn't be surprised to see this horrific streak continue into next season. The season isn't over, but the goodwill from the North Carolina game evaporated quickly.

Death. Taxes. Wake Forest road losses.

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