Since there is no March Madness this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought it would be fun to do something Wake Forest-related in the spirit of March Madness.
Below is a 16 team bracket which you the readers can vote on in polls posted on the Blogger So Dear twitter page, similar to what SportsCenter and the ACC basketball pages are doing. You have the chance to choose the greatest Wake Forest basketball single season team ever.
Each of the four regions is named after the coach of the #1 seeded team in that region.
Below are descriptions of the teams in each region:
Dave Odom Region
1) 1994-95 (26-6, 12-4), Sweet Sixteen, #1 Overall Seed
The 1994-95 Wake Forest basketball team won both the ACC regular season and ACC Tournament Championships. Led by ACC Coach of the Year Dave Odom, it featured two of the greatest Demon Deacons of all time in Randolph Childress and Tim Duncan. The team earned the only #1 seed in Wake Forest history in the NCAA Tournament.
2) 1983-84 (23-9, 7-7), Elite Eight, #4 Seed
The 1983-84 Wake Forest basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight as a #4 seed. Coached by Carl Tacy, the team featured future NBA players Kenny Green, Danny Young, Delaney Rudd, and freshman Muggsy Bogues, as well as All-ACC player Anthony Teachey.
3) 1952-53 (22-7, 12-3), Sweet Sixteen, Regional Third Place
The 1952-53 Wake Forest basketball team was the runner-up in the Deacons’ last year in the Southern Conference. The team was coached by Murray Greason, and led by sophomore center Dickie Hemric who averaged 24.9 points and 16.6 rebounds per game
4) 1996-97 (24-7, 11-5), Round of 32, #3 Seed
The 1996-97 Wake Forest basketball team finished second in the regular season ACC standings, and was unable to win a third straight ACC Tournament title. The team started out strong, but faded down the stretch and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Led by Coach Dave Odom, the team ultimately relied on consensus National Player of the Year, consensus First Team All-American, consensus ACC Player of the Year, and future #1 NBA Draft pick senior Tim Duncan too much, and was unable to advance further.
Carl Tacy Region
1) 1976-77 (22-8, 8-4), Elite Eight
The 1976-77 Wake Forest basketball team finished second in the ACC, and made a run to the Elite Eight. The team was coached by Carl Tacy, and led by Skip Brown, Rod Griffin, Jerry Schellenberg, and Frank Johnson. It was the first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1962 team’s run to the Final Four.
2) 1992-93 (21-9, 10-6), Sweet Sixteen, #5 Seed
The 1992-93 Wake Forest basketball team finished third in the ACC, and made a run to the Sweet Sixteen. Coached by Dave Odom, the Deacs were led by “The Durham Bull” Rodney Rogers, Randolph Childress, and Trelonnie Owens. Rogers was the ACC Player of the Year.
3) 2003-04 (21-10, 9-7), Sweet Sixteen, #4 Seed
The 2003-04 Wake Forest basketball team finished third in the ACC, and made a run to the Sweet Sixteen. Coached by Skip Prosser, the Deacs were led by freshman point guard Chris Paul, along with sophomore All-ACC performers Justin Gray and “Big E” Eric Williams, as well as a three-man junior class of Jamaal Levy, Vytas Danelius, and Taron Downey.
4) 2009-10 (20-11, 9-7), Round of 32, #9 Seed
The 2009-10 Wake Forest basketball team finished 5th in the ACC, and made the tournament as a 9 seed. This tournament was remembered for Wake fans by Ish Smith’s buzzer beating game winner over Texas in the first round. Coached by Dino Gaudio, the team was led by future lottery pick All-American Al-Farouq Aminu, and seniors Ish Smith, LD Williams, and Chas McFarland. It was the last time the Deacs have won an NCAA Tournament game.
Bones McKinney Region
1) 1961-62 (22-9, 12-2), Final Four, Third Place National
The 1961-62 Wake Forest basketball team won both the ACC regular season and ACC Tournament championships. Led by Coach Bones McKinney and seniors Len Chappell and Billy Packer, this team is only team in Wake Forest basketball history to go to the Final Four and won the old Third Place game. Chappell averaged 30.1 points and 15.2 rebounds per game, and was Wake Forest’s first ever consensus All-American.
2) 2008-09 (24-7, 11-5), Round of 64, #4 Seed
The 2008-09 Wake Forest basketball team may be remembered for their fade down the stretch, but is seeded this high because of their school record 16-0 start and #1 overall ranking for only the second time in school history. Led by Coach Dino Gaudio, this squad featured four future NBA players in All-American Jeff Teague, James Johnson, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Ish Smith. They faded down the stretch due a lack of focus, and ultimately lost in the first round.
3) 2002-03 (25-6, 13-3), Round of 32, #2 Seed
The 2002-03 Wake Forest basketball team won the ACC regular season championship, and put Wake Forest at the top of the league for the first (and subsequently only) time since Tim Duncan graduated. Coached by ACC Coach of the Year Skip Prosser and led by ACC Player of the Year, consensus First Team All-American, and future NBA All-Star senior Josh Howard, this team finished with 25 wins, which at the time was the third most in school history behind only the two ACC Tournament championship seasons in the 90s.
4) 1999-2000 (22-14, 7-9), NIT Champions
The 1999-2000 Wake Forest basketball team failed to make the NCAA Tournament, but succeeded in winning five straight in the NIT to take home the National Invitational Tournament trophy. This team makes the field because it is a championship team, and there simply aren't many other NCAA teams that weren't too much of a repeat of other teams already in. They were coached by Dave Odom and led by future NBA players Josh Howard and Darius Songaila, along with Robert O’Kelley.
Skip Prosser Region
1) 2004-05 (27-6, 13-3), Round of 32, #2 Seed
The 2004-05 Wake Forest basketball team earned the school’s first ever #1 overall ranking and won a school-record 27 games. Coached by Skip Prosser and led by All-American sophomore Chris Paul, juniors Justin Gray and “Big E” Eric Williams, and seniors Jamaal Levy, Vytas Danelius, and Taron Downey, this team was one of the highest scoring Wake Forest has ever had, and could run with anybody in the country. The lack of a defensive identity ultimately led to an early exit in the second round to Kevin Pittsnogle and West Virginia in double overtime.
2) 1995-96 (26-6, 12-4), Elite Eight, #2 Seed
The 1995-96 Wake Forest basketball team is only a #2 seed because I didn't want to have back-to-back teams as #1 seeds, and I certainly wouldn't be shocked to see the 2 seed come out of this region. Led by Coach Dave Odom and consensus All-American and ACC Player of the Year junior Tim Duncan, the Deacs went back-to-back as ACC Tournament champions for the second time in school history, joining the 1960-61 and 1961-62 teams in accomplishing this feat. The hopes of a second Final Four appearance were derailed against #1 Kentucky when sophomore guard Tony Rutland was still unable to play due to a knee injury suffered in the ACC Championship game.
3) 1990-91 (19-11, 8-6), Round of 32, #5 Seed
The 1990-91 Wake Forest basketball team featured a freshman class that Dave Odom said laid the foundation for Wake Forest’s success in the 90s. Led by Coach Dave Odom, the team featured the freshman class of Rodney Rogers (the “Durham Bull”), Randolph Childress, Trelonnie Owens, and Marc Blucas, and featured four future NBA players in Rogers, Childress, Anthony Tucker, and Chris King.
4) 1960-61 (19-11, 11-3), Elite Eight
The 1960-61 Wake Forest basketball team was the first to make it to the Elite Eight since the 1939 team was one of the eight teams to participate in the inaugural NCAA Tournament. Perhaps it foreshadowed the success of the following year. Led by Coach Bones McKinney and juniors Len Chappell and Billy Packer, the Deacs finished second in the ACC and made the tournament as an at-large bid.
Honorable Mentions (just missed the field)
1938-39 (18-6, 15-3): made the first ever NCAA Tournament, which featured eight teams and won the Southern Conference regular season title.
1959-60 (21-7, 12-2): won the ACC regular season title, but failed to make the NCAA Tournament due to not winning the ACC Tournament and limited bids at this time
1982-83 (20-12, 7-7): made the NIT semifinals
1993-94 (21-12, 9-7): lost in the Round of 32, second of five consecutive 20+ win seasons
2000-01 (19-11, 8-8): lost in the Round of 64, Dave Odom’s final season
2001-02 (21-13, 9-7): lost in the Round of 32, began a streak of four consecutive 20+ win seasons
2016-17 (19-14, 9-9): lost in the First Four NCAA Tournament play-in game as an 11-seed, the only double-digit seed Wake Forest has had in NCAA Tournament history.
The first round of voting begins today and will run through Friday evening at 8pm, be sure to check in and vote on the BSD twitter page! Go Deacs and stay safe and well!