Before this year, I haven't had the pleasure of watching a very competitive basketball team during my time at Wake Forest. However, the Deacs have managed to pull out some statement wins over the past few seasons.
Last year it was a 10-point victory over the then No. 4 Duke Blue Devils in Winston-Salem. Any win over a top-ranked Duke team will always be significant, but this one felt particularly good given the continual disappointment of the Bzdelik era. It was also quite simply a great game. The Blue Devils built up a seven point lead before surrendering 17 straight points to the Deacs in the second half.
A little less than a year earlier, Wake toppled another top-five team at home - this time it was No. 2 Miami. The Deacs dominated much of that game, jumping out to a 19 point lead in the first half. The Hurricanes managed to pull within five points in the second half, but C.J. Harris sparked a 12-0 run that propelled the Deacs to the huge upset.
These were two huge wins for a program that desperately needed them, but I think a win over No. 2 UVA would easily eclipse them. The Cavaliers still just have one loss (almost two thanks to the Deacs) and are on a historic run defensively. On the other side, the Deacs' future looks brighter than it has in several years. A win over a top opponent would be invaluable to boosting the morale of the freshmen and attracting top recruits *cough* Harry Giles *cough*.
Given this context, I think it would be the biggest win since the Deacs narrowly beat Texas in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Thanks to a late jumper from Ish Smith, No. 9 seed Wake moved onto a second round matchup against Kentucky. Despite being pummeled by the Wildcats in that game, it was an undeniably big win, especially considering the terrible loss to Cleveland State the year prior.
I don't, however, think it would be bigger than the win against No. 1 Duke in 2009. The Deacs were No. 6 at the time and were just knocked out of the No. 1 spot themselves after a 16-0 start to the season. Beating the Blue Devils pushed them back near the top of the rankings.
So while it wouldn't outrank that game, a win against Virginia would be Wake's best in five years and has the power to strongly push this program in the right direction. Continue to check back in with Blogger So Dear as we cover all things Wake-UVA leading up to the game.