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Wake Forest’s Season Comes to an End as Deacs Miss the NIT

There will be no post season for the Wake Forest men

Wake Forest v Miami Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The 2022-23 basketball season has officially come to an end as Wake Forest was left out of NIT field. The Deacs finished the season 19-14 overall and 10-10 in conference play, but that was not enough to get a bid to the National Invitational Tournament.

Despite winning double digit games in the ACC for the second consecutive season, the Deacs apparently did not do enough during the season to get a bid to the NIT. A pretty bad Q4 loss at home to Boston College and a couple of Q3 losses to Loyola Marymount and LSU early in the season really did a number on the Deacs’ NET ranking, which finished at 90 for the season. Those losses alongside just a single Q1 win over Duke did not make for a compelling resume to get the Deacs into a postseason tournament this year.

It’s definitely not great to miss out on the NCAA Tournament and the NIT, but there were some positives to take away from this season. Cam Hildreth and Matthew Marsh both made great jumps in production between their freshman and sophomore seasons. Hildreth increased his scoring from 4 points to 12.4 points per game while nearly doubling both his assists and rebounds from his freshman season. Marsh likewise increased his scoring from 2.8 to 6.1 points per game and shot a ridiculous 88% from the floor this season. Bobi Klintman really came into his own towards the end of the season and looks like he could be an All-ACC caliber player next year. If Klintman makes a similar sophomore jump to that of Hildreth and Marsh, next year could very well be his final season at Wake Forest. He has a ton of potential and that perfect combination of size and athleticism that NBA teams really love—if he improves his ball handling and perimeter scoring next season, I could see him becoming a first-round draft pick.

It’s hard to say right now who will be back for the Deacs next season given the current nature of the transfer portal, but Wake will hopefully return 5 players that started at some point during the season in Hildreth, Marsh, Klintman, Damari Monsanto, and Andrew Carr—that’s 5 of Wake’s top 7 scorers from this season. Add to that 3 4-star prospects coming in during the offseason, and the Deacs should have a pretty solid team going into 2023-24. Forbes will probably have to go to the portal to find a primary ball handler, but I think Wake Forest can be a top 5 ACC team next season.

I’ve said it before, but this is basically year 2 for Forbes, as he got the job kind of late in 2020 and then the whole world shut down. The Deacs so far are right on schedule with where they need to be, but next season might be NCAA Tournament or bust for the Steve Forbes. With Forbes’s first recruiting class becoming juniors and a team with plenty of upperclassman transfers, the fanbase will probably become pretty impatient if Wake fails to make the big dance for the third straight season. While I think everyone would agree Forbes is a much better coach than the previous two Wake Forest coaches, at some point, Wake has to start getting back to the NCAA Tournament on a consistent basis. I still believe Forbes is the guy that can make that happen.

Go Deacs!