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Playbook: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as Wake Forest falls to Virginia Tech

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Wake falls at home to Virginia Tech

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a while since the last Playbook article, so I figured I may as well pop in and take a brief look at a couple of things from Tuesday night’s game. The Deacs lost their third straight on Tuesday, falling to the Virginia Tech Hokies to move to 8-8 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. The Deacs trailed by 20 points with just over 6 minutes to go in this game but managed to trim the margin of defeat to just 10 points thanks to some poor free throw shooting from the Hokies down the stretch (Wake started fouling with 3 and half minutes left in the game). With the Hokies losing 5 starters and a really good head coach from last year’s team, it was pretty painful to watch their rebuild already surpassing Wake Forest on our home court. That being said, let’s queue up “The Ecstasy of [old] Gold” and take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from this one.

The Good: Olivier Sarr

Sarr was about the only good thing Wake had going for them on Tuesday. The 7 foot Frenchman finished the game with 19 points on 6-12 shooting, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. When the Deacs were able to get him the ball in the post (also known as a “paint touch”), the Hokies really struggled to keep him from scoring.

He had a huge mismatch on anyone trying to defend him, because VT’s tallest starter is Landers Nolley II, who stands at just 6-7. When the Hokies brought an extra defender or 2 to stop him from scoring, Sarr did a great job kicking the ball out to the perimeter for open shots, leading to his team high 2 assists.

This was the best game Sarr has played this season since the Wooden Legacy Tournament. Hopefully he can continue to play at this level for the rest of the season, because Wake is going to need him to turn things around in ACC play.

The Bad: Turnovers

For the third straight game, Wake Forest failed to take care of the basketball, resulting in a slew of turnovers. Wake’s 18 turnovers against the Hokies was the most since they had 19 against Penn State in early December.

Wake gave the ball away many times with careless lob passes in between 2 or 3 defenders and the Hokies took advantage. Virginia Tech outscored the Deacs in points off turnovers 19-2, which is basically the difference in the game. Manning often says the offense “just has to make shots.” That is an incredibly difficult thing to do when the offense doesn’t even get a shot off.

The Deacs are currently 290th in the nation in turnovers per game with 15.1 and 280th in assist/turnover ratio with a whopping 0.84. That is #NotGoodDino.

The Ugly: Attendance

I don’t really know any other way to say this—the Wake Forest basketball fan base is completely gone. In the last 3 home games, the Deacs have had attendances of 4,873 against VT at 9pm, 5,277 against #10 FSU at 7:30pm, and 5,156 against NC A&T at 12pm. Combined, the last 3 home games would barely fill the 14,665 capacity of the Joel 1 time. The only game this season that has even managed to have an attendance of over 6,000 was the 6,118 against NC State, solely due to the number of Wolfpack fans in the coliseum.

The last time Wake Forest finished the season with a winning record in the ACC was the 2009-10 season, exactly 10 years ago. Since then, Wake is 123-177 overall (.412) and 42-122 in the ACC (.256). After a decade of mediocrity, it seems most of the fans have finally moved from dissatisfaction to straight up apathy (look no farther than this website, where lifelong, die hard fans admit that they don’t even remember when games are anymore). As far as sports go, there isn’t much worse than a fanbase that no longer cares.