The Wake Forest basketball team has a legitimate chance to do something that the program has not done since the 2009-2010 season. The Demon Deacons have a legitimate chance to make the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament. Finishing the non-conference schedule with a 9-3 record that included wins over Indiana, UCLA, Arkansas, and LSU has notable "bracketologists" talking. .
ESPN's resident bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, tweeted earlier today that Wake Forest is currently his 6th team out of the tournament.
...66-SFA, 67-WAGNER, 68-NCA&T. FIRST OUT: USC, Richmond, Cal, Cuse. NEXT OUT: UNLV, Wake, StMary, OreSt. FOUR MORE: StJoe, NW, BYU, OhioSt.— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) December 31, 2015
CBS Sports' Jerry Palm, currently has Wake Forest as a 10 seed. RealTimeRPI currently has Wake Forest ranked 49th in RPI. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has Wake Forest ranked 47th nationally. It's worth noting, however, that Ken Pomeroy only has Wake Forest ranked 88th.Though they were ranked 60th in the preseason, and have just recently had a full rotation of players. All of those rankings mean Wake Forest is right in the thick of things to make the Big Dance.
As Wake Forest enters ACC play, they have a real chance to make the NCAA Tournament. The team has some quality wins, and has no bad losses. The ACC is fairly loaded, but Wake can play with any team in the league when the Deacs are playing well. It's going to be a battle, and Wake will immediately have two very difficult tasks in league play when they travel to Louisville, and host Duke, but this team has yet to shy away from a challenge this season.
Ken Pom currently projects Wake to finish 6-12 in league play, but that's as of today's ranking. The Deacs still have work to do, but they have plenty of opportunities to add wins to the resume. It's very exciting to be part of the conversation again, and is going to be watch this team continue to mold as the season continues. Hopefully we see Wake's name continue to appear in bracketology projections as the season progresses. Ned should have a preview of Wake's ACC games in the coming days, which I'm sure will be an excellent look into how Wake matches up against each team in the league. If Manning can get the Deacs to the NCAA Tournament in year two, it would be a great accomplishment considering the situation he inherited.