The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are 5-2 and have five games remaining in non-conference play before opening ACC play against the Florida State Seminoles on December 28th. How difficult is the remainder of the non-conference schedule and what does Wake Forest need to do in order to have a chance at postseason play?
at Richmond - Saturday, December 3rd
Wake faces a tough task this weekend when they travel to Virginia to take on the Spiders, who are currently 102nd in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. They just lost at Bucknell by 5 points, and Wake Forest beat Bucknell 94-74 in the second game of the season. Wake should be able to dominate the glass in this contest, but the Deacs only have a 53% win probability. This would actually be Wake’s best resume win to date and it’s one the Deacs need.
Charlotte - Tuesday, December 6th
This is a game that Wake should win relatively easily. Charlotte is 184th in Ken Pom and Wake has an 88% win probability. Davidson and Wake Forest have similar rankings this season, and Charlotte lost at Davidson by 20. Charlotte plays fast but they can’t rebound, so this should be another good outcome for the Deacs. Wake won’t get credit for winning big, but that will be a good indicator of future success.
at UNC Greensboro - Friday, December 9th
Surprisingly, this is projected as somewhat of a toss-up game for Wake. Ken Pom projects that Wake will win by 4 and that they will win 63% of the time. Wake Forest should not lose to UNCG and this is a must-win game for Wake. UNCG is damn good at grabbing offensive rebounds and forcing turnovers, which could prove to be problematic for Wake Forest. Still, I fully expect to win.
at Xavier - Saturday, December 17th
Xavier is an extremely talented team, and it’s even harder to beat them in Cincinnati. They are an incredibly balanced team, and are exceptional at both offensive and defensive rebounding. They really lack outside shooting, so if Wake gets hot that could be an advantage, but Xavier does such a great job of getting extra possessions by grabbing rebounds and limiting opposing teams to just 1 shot per possession. This game, however, is all-upside and would go an extremely long way for a tournament berth, as I expect Xavier to be a top 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Ken Pom gives Wake a 16% chance to win, but I absolutely believe that Wake can be in this one until the end.
LSU - Thursday, December 22nd
The Deacs won’t be taking part in the sequel to the Ben Simmons Documentary this year, but they should hopefully get another victory over LSU. They are 90th in Ken Pom and Wake Forest has a 75% chance to win. They are a tough team to figure out, as they lost to Wichita St. by 35 points, but have been largely competitive outside of that. They play College of Charleston in a few weeks, and that should be a good indicator of how they will perform against the Deacs.
The overall win expectancy of these five contests is 2.95. Given how competitive the ACC is going to be, Wake has to go at least 4-1 during this stretch. What do you all expect to see in Wake’s five remaining non-conference games?