By Mychal Hunter
There is no question, since Danny Manning took over for Jeff Bzdelik the impression is that Wake Forest is much better off as a program. Manning has put teams on the floor that look and play a much more desirable style, he has killed it in recruiting, bringing in guys like Bryant Crawford, John Collins, Doral Moore, Chaundee Brown and a top 10 class for 2018 is on the way. The one thing that the Deacs have not done under Manning: Win.
They made the first four last year, but they lost to a team they should have beaten, eliminated by Kansas State, 95-88. In Manning’s first three seasons he has a record of 43-53. In Bzdeliks final three seasons, his record was 43-52.
Wake started this season 0-3 before finally getting one in the left hand column yesterday, defeating Quinnipiac by 17 on a neutral floor. Before last night Wake had dropped games at home to both Liberty and Georgia Southern, and a neutral court game to Drake.
The story remains the same for Wake, they don’t play defense at a power 5 level. According to the KenPom metric, they are currently 164th in adjusted defensive efficiency, which is points given up per 100 possessions. This is also not a new trend for Manning’s Deacons, last season they ranked 176th, and in 2016 they ranked 128th. Now, KenPom is just one metric, some of Wake’s struggles this year are offensively as well. They currently rank 226th in the nation in 2 point field goal percentage and 225th in total turnovers. Of course, not all teams have played four games like the Demon Deacons have, so the turnover numbers are inflated a bit. Going back to last year, that Kansas State team they lost in the first four to? The ranked 202nd in points per game last season at 72.1.
Right now the Demon Deacons have an extremely talented roster, if Doral Moore can replicate his form from the Drake game (17 and 17 in 25 minutes) that will go a long way to making this season a successful one. Few teams in the country have a back court as talented as the trio of Crawford, Brown and Woods, but someone has to play some defense for this team to fulfill its potential.