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ACC Basketball Previews: Wake Forest

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Will new coach Danny Manning need a miracle to get the Demon Deacons dancing once more?

Donald Miralle

Last year: 17-16 (6-12 ACC), KenPom #118, RPI #114

Projected Starters
Codi Miller-McIntyre, G - 6'3, 205, junior
Miles Overton, G - 6'4, 215, sophomore
Aaron Rountree III, F - 6'8, 200, junior
Devin Thomas, F - 6'9, 255, junior
Andre Washington, C - 7'0, 240, junior

Expected Contributors
Madison Jones, G - 6'1, 165, junior
Konstantinos Mitoglou, F - 6'10, 225, freshman

The Deacs, they have a-changed.

Bye bye, Bzdelik: coach Jeff Bzdelik was fired after four seasons without breaking .500 in ACC play. Forwards Tyler Cavanaugh and Arnaud Williams Adala Moto transferred out, to GW and Towson, respectively. Travis McKie, one of 2013-14's most overlooked players, graduated after a steady career in Winston-Salem.

But new coach Danny Manning arrives with a stocked cupboard. The five juniors who are expected to log most of the minutes have three years in the program together. Aaron Rountree and Devin Thomas are the type of players who should flourish in Manning's system, focusing on defense and rebounding. The three guards who are likely to see the most playing time—Overton, Miller-McIntyre, and Jones—can all push tempo, and newcomer Mitoglou has excited fans and coaches alike with his outside shooting touch in preseason work.

The key in Manning's first season will be getting Wake Forest to win on the road. Last year's squad won only two games away from Joel Coliseum: a neutral-site contest against Southern Cal in the Bahamas, and a true road win in Blacksburg (which, as we said yesterday, was not hard to do in 2014). Some of Wake's most winnable conference games are on the road in 2014-15; losing those opportunities likely means another season sitting at home in March.

But hey, worst case scenario: It still means Wake Forest football finally ended.

Virginia plays Wake Forest in Charlottesville on February 14th, and in Winston-Salem on February 25th.