Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2016-17 record: 19-14, 9-9 in the ACC
Head coach: Danny Manning
Career coaching record: 81-81
Tenure at Wake Forest: 4th season
Home court: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Starters: G Bryant Crawford, G Keyshawn Woods, G Chaundee Brown, F Terrence Thompson, C Doral Moore
Bench: G Mitchell Wilbekin, G Brandon Childress, G/F Melo Eggleston, C Sam Japhet-Mathias
Overview: After losing first-team All-ACC forward John Collins to the NBA and 6-foot-10 Dinos Mitoglou to the professional ranks in Greece, the Demon Deacons are extremely thin in the frontcourt this season. Just one player taller than 6-foot-3 on the active roster has played more than 68 career minutes in a Wake Forest uniform—only 7-foot-1 Doral Moore has seen meaningful time—which will present a foreboding challenge for a team that made a surprising run to the NCAA tournament last season.
The Demon Deacons picked up Terrence Thompson from Marshall as a graduate transfer to plug a hole at the power forward position, and seldom-used sophomore center Sam Japhet-Mathias could also see the floor more.
Putting aside the glaring question marks inside, though, Wake Forest has one of the deepest backcourts in the ACC. Bryant Crawford started every game and averaged 16.2 points per contest a season ago, and Keyshawn Woods and Mitchell Wilbekin each shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range. Chaundee Brown—the No. 33 recruit in the Class of 2017—could outshine all of them as the most highly-touted player Danny Manning has landed in four years in Winston-Salem.
With such an unbalanced roster, it's possible the Demon Deacons could utilize a four-guard lineup frequently to try to outscore teams from the 3-point line, but they will have a hard time guarding some of the bigger teams in the ACC like Duke and Louisville.
One thing that needs to go right: Brown is better than advertised, potentially winning ACC Freshman of the Year and leading Wake Forest back to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.
One thing that could go wrong: Wake Forest struggles to rebound against legitimate opponents, Moore struggles under the hoop without any help and the Demon Deacons get pounded in the paint into the bottom tier of the conference.
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