The selection committee has released the brackets and the top sixteen teams in Wake Forest history have been slotted accordingly. Today voting will take place for two first round matchups from the Odom Region, which is headlined by the top overall seed 1994-95 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Let's take a look at the two on day one:
1. 1994-95 Demon Deacons v. 4. 2000-01 Demon Deacons
The overall number one seed in the tournament, and slight favorite to capture the title of best Wake Forest team in history, takes the floor for the first time against a somewhat controversial final bid offered to the 2000-01 Demon Deacons. The 1995 team is led by charismatic senior guard Randolph Childress who can stroke it from deep and a man who needs no introduction: sophomore year Tim Duncan. Scooter Banks chipped in 9.7 points per game and 7.0 rebounds to compliment Duncan's inside presence while Rusty LaRue and Tony Rutland contributed considerable minutes around the perimeter with Childress. This team won the 1995 regular season title, the ACC Tournament title over UNC (on the back of Childress' game-winner), but lost in the Sweet Sixteen against Oklahoma State ending their eleven-game winning streak.
The 2000-01 team is led by Robert O'Kelley, Craig Dawson, and Josh Howard, and put a successful season together en route to an overall 19-11 record, but their season remains marred by a crippling beatdown at the hands of Butler in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The team is highly regarded by the metrics, ranked as the eighth best team in the nation that season despite only boasting an 8-8 conference record. Junior Darius Songaila, future NBA player, averaged 13.2 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game and the Deacs started the year 12-0 which included an 84-53 "eruption" over third-ranked Kansas. The Deac ultimately faltered down the stretch though, losing four of their last six games, and ending their season in a rather spectacular fashion.
This could be a challenging matchup for the 1995 Demon Deacons against an athletic opponent, but will Childress' "refuse to lose" demeanor and Tim Duncan's finesse overcome an intriguing Howard, Songaila, O'Kelley, and Dawson offense?
1994-95 Demon Deacons
Starters (starters are listed by the top five number of starts on the team where statistics are available and otherwise are based on minutes played while adjusted for the traditional two guard, three big lineups):
Travis "Scooter" Banks
2000-01 Demon Deacons
2. 1976-77 Demon Deacons v. 3. 1983-84 Demon Deacons
The second matchup of the first day features the 1976-77 Demon Deacons who made a run to the Elite Eight after an impressive 22-8 regular season with head coach Carl Tacy. Despite entering the tournament with four consecutive losses, including an ACC Tournament first round exit against Virginia the Deacs were able to string together two wins over Arkansas and Southern Illinois before falling to Marquette. Earlier in the season the team stood at an impressive 18-2 after an eight point win on the road against Virginia. Rod Griffin put up 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest while Jerry Schellenberg averaged 14.7 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. This is not a very deep team, as only six players averaged three points a game. Many believe this team is underseeded and can make a run in the contest, but they'll have to fend off another Elite Eight squad in the 1983-84 Demon Deacons.
The 1983-84 Deacs, also led by head coach Carl Tacy, spent most of the season ranked and when the first poll of the 1984 season came out Wake sat in the top ten at number eight. Despite some stumbles down the road, Wake made it into the tournament with a 20-8 overall record and knocked off Kansas and DePaul (in Ray Meyer's last ever game) before falling to Houston in the Sweet Sixteen. Led on the court by Kenny Green who averaged 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, alongside Delaney Rudd who chipped in 13.7 points a contest and Anthony Teachey who averaged a double-double at 13 points and 10.1 boards a contest the 1984 Deacs could pose an interesting match up problem with the 77 squad.
Overall Rod Griffin will be difficult to contain from the 1977 team but his matchup overall with the forwards from the 1984 team could be one of the most competitive overall matchups of not only the first round but the entire tournament. Whichever team emerges from the first round will have a legitimate shot at dethroning the 1995 team in the next round.
1976-77 Demon Deacons
1983-84 Demon Deacons
These first round matchups will be determined solely by your votes. The winner of each day's votes will advance to the next round. Voting will be open for 24 hours and the winners will generally be announced the afternoon after voting concludes. Stay tuned for the next two matchups which will be up tomorrow from the Tacy Region. If you have any questions/comments/concerns please let us know below and as always, go Deacs!
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