Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Nickname: Demon Deacons
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Last Year’s Record: 24-7
Why they’ll make it: Al-Farouq Aminu is back to lead a talented Demon Deacon bunch. They lost some pieces to the NBA, but Aminu and his co-horts have plenty of firepower to be successful. Aminu, along with L.D. Williams and Chas McFarland return as starters and they’ve proven they can get the job done. This is a team that beat Duke and North Carolina last season and there’s no reason why they can’t play the role of giant-killer this season as well. With those pieces returning along with the arrivals of top freshmen, C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart, this season could prove that the Demon Deacons are here to stay as a stallwart in the ACC.
Why they won’t make it: Jeff Teague and James Johnson are huge pieces to lose. The Demon Deacons will need to replace the 34 points those two scored per game. In addition to the points, they were the catalyst for the way the Deacons like to play. They were two great athletes who really got Wake Forest into its transition game. If the Deacons are to have any success this season, they’re not only going to have replaced that scoring, they’re also going to have to find guys who can run the floor as effectively as Teague and Johnson. If they can’t, the productivity of this offense will decrease sharply and it will be a long winter in the Triad.