Wake Forest is having a strange season: the Deacs are not winning in the conference - Wake's just 1-4 - yet keep earning respect.
|Wednesday's ACC Action|
|Notre Dame @ Georgia Tech||7:00||RSN|
|UNC @ NC State||7:00||ACCN|
|Harvard @ Boston College||7:00||ACCN|
|Florida State @ Pitt||9:00||ESPNU|
Coaches and players hate moral victories,ia or claim to anyway, but we bet if you took almost anyone who played for Wake Forest last season and this year and asked them if he was happier, every single one would say yes, and losing record be damned.
Look, of course Wake wants to win, and did last year, too. The difference is that last year, there was no clear path to winning consistently. This year?
Danny Manning has made a huge difference.
Wake Forest is playing with confidence, vigor and great energy. That winning time is still a mystery is not a big surprise. No one on the roster has really been part of a winning team, other than last year's unsatisfactory 17-16. Certainly no one has the slightest idea of what it takes to climb to the top.
Well, no one except for Manning, who of course has been there as player and coach (as a Bill Self assistant at Kansas).
Wake had another chance against Syracuse, and took the Orange to overtime before falling 86-83. Konstantinos Mitoglou had a phenomenal game against Boeheim's bunch, hitting his first nine shots, scoring 26 and prompting the Syracuse paper to ask "Who Is Konstantinos Mitoglou?"
They know now.
Wake fans no doubt are disappointed and that's understandable. Make no mistake though: Danny Manning is remaking that program and he's doing it in a big way.
In fact, we'd argue that Wake's progress is pretty remarkable. It may take a year or two for everything to click, but the guy is showing signs of being a tremendous coach and his team is clearly responding. Good news for Wake and the ACC as a whole.
Really, when you look at the eras of Wake basketball, you get the Bones McKinney era, a semi-anonymous era between Bones and Carl Tacy, the Tacy era, which had some truly great moments, the Bob Staack error, which was highlighted by Muggsy Bogues, the Dave Odom years,when Wake could play with anyone, until Odom started to seem somewhat stale, and the Skip Prosser era, which featured wonderful, loopy, literate quotes and vastly updated talent and expectations.
Between Gaudio and Manning Wake was kind of sketchy, and that's being kind.
Things appear to be back on track now.
That's not so much the case for Clemson, where the much-respected Brad Brownell is struggling with an offensively challenged group.
Clemson didn't stand a chance at Virginia, as the 'Hoos had a 30 point lead before winning by 23.
Same thing really, the Cavs just eased up a bit. It could've been 40, but why piss people off?
No Tiger got to double digits, although Jaron Blossomgame was close with nine.
For the Hoos, Malcolm Brogdon had 19 on 6-9 shooting. Justin Anderson had 15.
Speaking of Clemson, former Tiger
KJ McDaniels took a considerable risk when he signed a one-year deal with Philly, figuring that he could prove his worth and get a better deal next year.
So far, so good: McDaniels is starting, he's turned into a powerhouse shotblocker - not many guards can say that - and he's averaging about 9 points, close to four boards and a hair under two blocks per game.
Philly's going to have to pony up. If not, somebody will.
Louisville bounced back nicely from the defeat at UNC with a solid win over Virginia Tech. Check out Rick Pitino's quote about his point guard, Chris Jones: "[He's]the type of guy who always has his hands in the cookie jar, and if you allow his hands to go in the cookie jar, he'll take all the cookies."
Got that, Chris? No cookies for you!
He had 11 assists instead and Louisville rolled.
On Wednesday night we get one of the premier games of most ACC seasons as State hosts UNC.
An intense game every year no matter, this year will have extra factors: the UNC scandal and the fact that both teams have suddenly started playing at a much higher level.
FSU visits Pitt while Notre Dame and Georgia Tech get an early rematch. However, the Irish may be without Zach Auguste, who according to Fox 28, has been suspended for the rest of the season.
Update: Auguste did not make the trip but coach Mike Brey says he is not suspended but rather home getting some grades straight.
In an interesting noncon game, BC gets ready for Harvard.
Harvard has dominated BC from Al Skinner through Steve Donahue but we have a feeling that it will be more difficult with Jim Christian, who looks to be a great choice for the Eagles.