Over the weekend I read Conor O’Neill’s article in the Winston-Salem Journal about Wake Forest basketball’s lack of recent success in the ACC Tournament. As he points out, Wake’s last title came in 1996, Tim Duncan’s junior season, and since then the Deacs are 9-22 in the tournament.
So I decided to expand upon that and take a look at the results by year and coach every year since the founding of the conference in 1953.
Murray Greason: 6-4 in 4 seasons. .600 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 1954 and 1956 Championship Game
Bones McKinney: 12-6 in 8 seasons. .667 win percentage. Best finish: 1961 and 1962 ACC Champs
Jackie Murdock: 0-1 in 1 season. .000 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 1966 First Round
Jack McCloskey: 3-6 in 6 seasons. .333 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 1967, 1969, 1970 Semifinals
Carl Tacy: 6-13 in 13 seasons. .316 win percentage Best finish: Loss in 1978 Championship Game
Bob Staak: 1-4 in 4 seasons. .200 win percentage Best finish: Loss in 1987 Semifinals
Dave Odom: 9-10 in 12 seasons. .474 win percentage. Best finish: 1995 and 1996 ACC Champs
Skip Prosser: 5-6 in 6 seasons. .454 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 2006 Semifinals
Dino Gaudio: 0-3 in 3 seasons. .000 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 2009 Second Round by virtue of a First Round Bye
Jeff Bzdelik: 1-4 in 4 seasons. .200 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 2014 Second Round
Danny Manning: 1-4 in 4 seasons. .200 win percentage. Best finish: Loss in 2017 Second Round
Overall: 45-61 in 65 seasons. .425 win percentage. 4 ACC Tournament Championships.
As you can see from the above image, taking out Skip Prosser and Dave Odom’s wins, Wake Forest has just two ACC Tournament wins in the last 11 years.
Bones McKinney was the most successful Wake coach in the Tournament, with Murray Greason as the only other coach with a winning record in the Tournament.
Dave Odom and Skip Prosser each finished their careers one win shy of a .500 record in the Tournament.
These four coaches are the only ones with better win percentages than Wake’s overall win percentage.
Based on the results, it looks like Wake Forest needs a National Player of the Year and one of the all-time greatest ACC players in order to win the ACC Tournament, as the only times they have come out on top the Deacs had Len Chappell and Tim Duncan respectively.
In fact, maybe they need a complete roster of strong players, as not even Duncan could win with a less talented supporting cast in 1997.
Whatever the case may be, it’s been quite a while since Wake Forest has been relevant or even around after the second day of the ACC Tournament, and barring a massive turnaround it doesn't look like this will happen anytime soon.
Comment below with your thoughts and any stats I may have missed.