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Wake Forest Basketball Announces Non-Conference Schedule

The Deacs have a pretty favorable early slate

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Miami vs Wake Forest Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Wake Forest Men’s Basketball has announced the non-conference portion of the upcoming 2023-24 season, and it is what I would call a very favorable early slate of games.

As those logos may not be particularly clear who the teams are, I’ll quickly run through the schedule with dates and last season’s record/KenPom rating.

  • Nov. 6 Elon (8-24, 337 KP)
  • Nov. 10 at Georgia (16-16, 154 KP)
  • Nov. 16 at Charleston Classic
  • Nov. 17at Charleston Classic
  • Nov. 19 at Charleston Classic
  • Nov. 24 Charleston Southern (10-21, 302 KP)
  • Nov. 29 Florida (16-17, 74 KP)
  • Dec. 6 Rutgers (19-15, 39 KP)
  • Dec. 9 NJIT (7-23, 330 KP)
  • Dec. 18 Delaware State (6-24, 356 KP)
  • Dec. 21 Presbyterian (5-27 344 KP)

So... a lot of those teams were really bad last season, combining for a record of 87-167 and an average KenPom rating of 242. Along with playing just a single true road game against Georgia, the Deacs are playing 4 teams that didn’t crack double digit wins last season. FOUR! I like watching Wake Forest win games as much as anyone, but homes games against the likes of Delaware State and NJIT—games where Wake is going to have to win by like 40 points just so their stupid NET ranking doesn’t drop—are a tough sell for getting people out to the Joel.

The only hope for the strength of schedule here is the Charleston Classic tournament, which has:

  • Houston: 33-4 overall, #2 in Kenpom
  • LSU: 14-19 overall, #151 in Kenpom.
  • St. John’s: 18-15 overall, #82 in Kenpom
  • Utah: 17-15 overall, #75 in Kenpom
  • Dayton: 22-12, #79 in Kenpom
  • Towson: 21-12, #127 in KenPom
  • North Texas: 31-7, #31

That should give Wake a chance to play at least 3 tough neutral site games before conference play starts.

I am, of course, basing most of this off of how teams performed last year, and with the transfer portal, that has never mattered less. I don’t think that much will change for the teams below 300 in KenPom last season that didn’t win more than 10 games, but for Florida, Georgia, and Rutgers, there is a chance that they could be very good this season. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true for teams like North Texas, Dayton, and Towson as major conference teams are likely to poach their best players.

If things turn out similarly to last season, the Deacs simply cannot afford to lose any games outside of the Charleston Classic if they want to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Steve Forbes. Let’s hope they just win them all.

Go Deacs!