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ACC Roundup - Wake Forest Gives Louisville A Game

Deacs show a lot of heart vs. Rick Pitino's powerhouse

In his first major ACC game, freshman Mitchell Wilbekin proved up to the task.
In his first major ACC game, freshman Mitchell Wilbekin proved up to the task.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

If you didn't watch the Wake-Louisville game, you might think, well, that was closer than expected.

Monday's ACC Action
Teams Times TV
Notre Dame @ UNC 7:00 ESPN/ESPN2
Schools Conf W-L Conf PCT W-L PCT
Notre Dame 2-0 1.00 14-1 .933
NC State 2-0 1.00 11-4 .733
Duke 1-0 1.00 13-0 1.00
Virginia 1-0 1.00 13-0 1.00
Louisville 1-0 1.00 13-1 .929
North Carolina 1-0 1.00 11-3 .786
Syracuse 1-0 1.00 10-4 .714
Miami 0-1 .000 10-4 .714
Pitt 0-1 .000 10-4 .714
Clemson 0-1 .000 9-4 .692
Georgia Tech 0-1 .000 9-4 .692
Boston College 0-1 .000 7-5 .583
Florida State 0-1 .000 8-6 .571
Virginia Tech 0-1 .000 8-6 .571
Wake Forest 0-2 .000 8-7 .533
Sunday's Results
Louisville 85 Wake Forest 76

Yes and no. For part of the game, and especially in the second half, Wake played brilliantly. The big difference was that Louisville's been there and the Cards knew what to do in winning time.

Wake got a huge game out of Devin Thomas (31 points, 11 boards) and a wonderful game out of Mitchell Wilbekin, who ran the team with aplomb.

Wake was within three with 2:13 left.

In fact, if Wake hadn't missed 15 free throws and had handled the last two minutes a bit better, the Deacs might have won.

Look how far Wake has come in a big hurry: in November, Arkansas won by 30, Iona beat Wake at Wake and so did Delaware State.

It's hard to understate the improvement. Yes, Wake Forest lost. But for the first time in a long time, the Deacs played with real passion, took on a power team with relish and acquitted themselves quite well.

Hasn't happened a lot lately.

Duke comes calling later this week, which should be interesting. The Demon Deacons still don't have much of a bench but it's pretty clear at this point that the team has a coach. But don't take our word for it. Here's what Rick Pitino had to say, per the Winston-Salem Journal:

"I've watched Wake Forest play about four or five times, but Danny has his guys going like this,'' Pitino said, illustrating by pointing his fingers upward. "And that's the way you judge a coach, is how much are they getting better from game to game. And Wake Forest is improving.

"You already know this, but you hired the right man because he's going to be a terrific coach. He already was. But he's got the guys playing hard -- not giving in, not letting us get the run. And I think he's going to be a special coach here at Wake Forest as he gets better players.''

As we said, Wednesday looks interesting.

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Only one game on Monday as Notre Dame brings its act to the Dean Dome. It's an interesting matchup really. The Irish barely got past Georgia Tech and have had an easy schedule to date.

UNC by contrast has had a tougher schedule but has been pretty erratic although certainly there have been signs of improvement. We're not at all sure what to expect other than an interesting game.