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ACC Roundup - Clock Winding Down On Danny Manning’s Wake Forest Career

Another dreadful collapse by Wake Forest makes Manning’s position much weaker.

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Wake Forest
That’s a pretty relaxed bench UNC has against Wake Forest.
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

When Wake Forest fans and Winston-Salem media turned on former Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik, it was uglier and meaner than what’s happening now but make no mistake: they’ve both turned on his successor Danny Manning too.

It’s just going to get worse after the UNC massacre. Take a look at ESPN’s Game Flow chart: it opens wide as a two-tone pair of scissors. Wake Forest had 20 turnovers and shot just 32.8%.

By contrast, UNC hit 64% - from three point range - and 62.3% overall.

There might be lots of reasons why the Heels only got to the line 11 times (making a pathetic three of those attempts), but one of them is lousy defense - which also helps explain the extraordinary three point shooting.

Check out what the Winston-Salem paper has to say. Here are a few excerpts:

“No. 8 North Carolina beat Wake Forest 95-57 on Saturday at Joel Coliseum — the worst loss in Wake Forest’s nearly 30-year history of playing in this building.

“These teams have played 227 times in a series that dates back to 1911. The 38-point difference is the largest margin of victory for either team.

“The result runs Manning, in his fifth season coaching the Deacons, to a combined 0-30 against Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Notre Dame and Clemson. Otherwise, Manning’s Wake Forest teams are 22-32 in league games.

“The atmosphere here was blue. That can stand as ample description for the 60-to-70 percent of the crowd here to see North Carolina (20-5, 10-2).

“It’s also something of a descriptor for the sad, accepting and apathetic nature of Wake Forest’s fan base.

“North Carolina’s 18-0 start to the game meant Wake Forest has trailed by a combined 62-0 in the past seven games.

“Perhaps that’s when it was over.”

With a long history of writing about college sports, the North Carolina media is gentler than the national media but by local standards, that’s pretty biting.

Our friends over at BloggerSoDear.com, our favorite Wake Forest site, just cut to the chase and have started vetting coaching prospects, which is probably rational. There’s no way Manning can survive and if he does, his boss A.D. Ron Wellman may not.

After Wake’s latest stink bomb, what else can anyone expect?

We don't like seeing coaches fired and even less seeing fans turn on them. Yes they’re in a high risk/reward profession and they can take care of themselves. But usually we just think it’s just kind of wrong to turn on a coach.

In Manning’s case though it’s very hard to be supportive. He just hasn’t been able to make Wake Forest competitive - in fact, things seem to be steadily getting worse. We’re not really Wake Forest fans but we admire the program’s history and its periodic greatness. That seems very far away right now.

Things must have gotten very dark and fragile for Louisville at the end of the Clemson game.

Up by seven with just 17 seconds left, Clemson’s Marcquise Reed hit a three with :09 left then Elijah Thomas stole the ball and Reed hit another with :03 left to cut the lead to 56-55.

The Louisville fans must have been soiling their dress reds.

Then Reed, in full hero mode, stole the inbounds with :02 left, but Jordan Nwora, tired of back to back collapses, put an end to it with a blocked shot.

Even then, Clemson’s John Newman nearly got a tip-in.

A win is a win and a loss is a loss though so Louisville > Clemson in the win column and probably emotionally too.

It’s not Clemson’s first tough loss this season - State’s Braxton Beverly gutted them in Raleigh remember - and it must be hard to lose games like that, especially when Reed nearly pulled off a personal comeback of eight points in nine seconds. It would have been part of ACC lore for a long time.

Instead we saw Newman and coach Brad Brownell fall to the floor. It must have been devastating.

For Louisville, a win matters, especially after Duke, but how did this happen again?

Clemson’s comeback was lightning quick and the agony didn’t spread over a quarter of teh game. But winning like that is more relief than jubilation.

Clemson hosts FSU next while Louisville goes to Syracuse. The pain may not be over for either team.

Speaking of the ‘Noles, as we suspected, the combination of good FSU defense and poor Georgia Tech offense made an upset impossible and Florida State won easily,

Thing is, they still limited FSU to 39% and Leonard Hamilton said the matchup zone Josh Pastner used was the best he’d ever seen.

Despite that, Florida State still had a 27 point lead.

Old mantra: Tech needs talent.

As Coach K told his team earlier in the season, Notre Dame is not just a team. It’s a program. It has institutional memory and pride. And unlike Wake Forest, even in a dismal season, the Irish gave Virginia a scare, losing 60-54.

John Mooney, so solid earlier for Notre Dame, has been in a funk offensively since the middle of January. Since the last Virginia game, he’s shot just 29-76.

Clearly this is not Notre Dame’s year, but unlike Weak Forest, the Irish punch back.

Jeff Capel’s Pitt team lost again, this time to Virginia Tech, 70-64.

We’ve talked a lot about Pitt’s weak front court and Kerry Blackshear, who is a good but not great big man, lit them up for 29.

Pitt hasn’t won since January 14th and has now lost nine straight.

But again, unlike Wake Forest, Pitt shows up and competes. They’re losing but they still try hard.

Sadly, we don’t think you can say that about Danny Manning’s team.

SUNDAY'S ACC ACTION
TEAMS TIMES VIDEO
Miami @ Boston College 6:00 ESPNU
Saturday's Results
  • Duke 94 NC State 78
  • Virginia 60 Notre Dame 54
  • UNC 95 Wake Forest 57
  • Louisville 56 Clemson 55
  • Florida State 69 Georgia Tech 47
  • Virginia Tech 70 Pitt 64

ACC Standings

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