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Next Up - Wake Forest

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We can all agree that Wake Forest is having a disastrous season so far, and we can probably also all agree that playing Duke may not be something they are looking forward to at this point. So is there any basis for optimism for Wake Forest?

We can think of a couple of things.

While Georgia Tech humiliated them last time out, that may well have been the nadir.  It will be hard to get much worse than that, and the coaching staff may find it a useful way to get through to this team.

Whatever else you can say, the Deacs do have some real talent. They've obviously had some issues, starting with Tony Woods, who left after assaulting his girlfriend. Toss in the fact that their point guard Tony Chennault has missed most of the season and has just returned and that only two other key players are upperclassmen and you can see why they might have some trouble.

And of course they are still adjusting to a new coach.

That doesn't account for everything though.  Defense has been truly poor, and there've been accusations of selfishness.

Still, as we say, there is talent, albeit young talent.

J.T. Terrell can shoot you out of a game but he can also shoot you into one. Travis McKie is a dynamic young talent, C.J. Harris proved last season that he could play, Ari Stewart is highly athletic and Gary Clark has been a solid player for four seasons. Ty Walker is limited but an excellent shot blocker, and Carson Desrosiers is going to be very good before he's through.

You know, it's hardly a pathetic group. They may struggle  with youth and possibly chemistry, but the talent is undeniable.

Still, for many teams Duke is a slap in the face, a cold dose of reality for those who don't play team basketball.

Yet there's a chance that Duke will not do to Wake Forest what Georgia Tech did, at least not as severely.

The Yellowjackets arguably match up better with Wake Forest than does Duke, and Wake has had several days to contemplate just what Tech did to them.  If they have any pride whatsoever, it should come out against Duke.

Then there's the simple fact that Duke is going to get everybody's best shot. Wake Forest certainly has issues, but if they can't put everything aside for this game, they might as well pull up stakes now and pack it in.  We think they'll put up a better fight than people expect.  After all, they did give solid games to Iowa, Xavier and Gonzaga.  As we say the talent is there.

The question is whether or not they can figure out how to work together.  If they can, and can defend and play overall with emotion and passion, then yes, they have a shot.

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