The Wake Forest Demon Deacons still have 12 ACC regular season games to play, but ESPN is projecting that Wake Forest will make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s bracketologist updated his latest projections following Wake Forest’s 96-79 victory over the Miami Hurricanes.
This would be a long time coming for a program that hasn’t made a postseason tournament of any kind since the 2009-2010 season, let alone the NCAA Tournament. Keep in mind that Wake Forest made either the NCAA Tournament or NIT every season from 1990-1991 to 2005-2006, and then again during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. All but four of those appearances were NCAA Tournaments. This is a fan base used to success, but unfortunately has not had much success recently. Will this year be the year?
Wake Forest is currently 36th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, which is up considerably from their preseason ranking of 76. Wake Forest is currently just 2-4 in ACC play, but has already played very tough opponents in FSU, Virginia, and North Carolina. Wake is expected to go 8-10 in ACC play, which would give them an overall record of 17-13. Given the strength of the conference and the fact that Wake currently has no bad losses, this would put them in excellent shape to make the big dance.
The Miami win was Wake Forest’s best to date, but there are several other games that would make the most difference. To me, home games against Duke and Louisville are Wake’s best chances to get signature “resume” wins. Wake has approximately a 40% chance to win each game, so there is roughly a 64% chance that Wake wins at least one of those two games. We will have another post soon that simulates Wake Forest’s win distribution.
The Deacs will take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack in Raleigh on Saturday, and that presents another excellent opportunity to move up the ACC standings and build the NCAA Tournament resume, as they are currently have a 56% chance to win according to Ken Pom. We will continue to provide updates throughout the season as we get closer to NCAA Tournament. Hopefully these posts continue to be very relevant for this team.