The Wake Forest Demon Deacons went 20-11 overall and 9-7 in the ACC last year, earning a berth to the Big Dance where they managed a close 81-80 win over Texas in the opening round, before being routed by Kentucky in the second round. The Demon Deacons however struggled the second half of the season and after just one postseason win in the last three seasons, Wake Forest decided it was time fire head coach Dino Gaudio, despite his 61-31 record. In comes former Colorado head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who will have the tall order in guiding a Wake Forest squad that returns just one starter and need a lot out of their incoming freshman class. To get an overview of what the Demon Deacons will look like this season, here is a quick breakdown of what they will have on the floor, plus my pick on where they end up this year in the conference.

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Taking a look at the NCAA basketball spreads for the upcoming season, the oddsmakers currently have the Demon Deacons offered at +5000 to win the ACC, and complete long shots to win the National Title at +12500

Backcourt: The only starter back for Wake Forest this year is sophomore guard C.J. Harris, who averaged 10 ppg last season. Where exactly Harris will fit in this season, will depend on the play of freshmen J.T. Terrell and Tony Chennault. Terrell has the makings of being a big time scorer in the ACC, and could soon become Wake’s No.1 offensive option. Chennault doesn’t look to have the makeup of a pure point guard, but can handle the ball and play sound defense. The probable scenario will be Harris at the point, while Terrell steps in at shooting guard, leaving Chennault to come in and give the team a spark off the bench.

Frontcourt: Wake Forest will have to find a way to replace NBA lottery pick Al-Farouq Aminu, who contributed nearly 16 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Also gone is center Chas McFarland, who kicked in seven points and seven boards a night, and junior Tony Woods, who left the team after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a female. That leaves Sophomore Ari Stewart as the only returning player in the frontcourt. Stewart averaged just over seven points in 17 minutes a night last season, but has a problem with not getting the rest of the team involved and being a black hole with the ball. That means a couple of freshmen are likely going to have to contribute immediately.  The three highly touted freshmen are Travis McKie, Melvin Tabb, and Carson Desrosiers. Tabb and Desrosiers figure to get first opportunity at starting inside, as McKie is more of a spot up jump shooter. Wake Forest also brought in Gerogetown transfer Nikita Meshcharakou, but it’s unclear what he will be able to provide.

Pick -11th in the ACC: The freshmen class is extremely gifted, but with a new head coach and little experience, it is hard to see Wake Forest putting together a successful season this year. The Deacons may actually be a better shooting team than it was last season, but whether or not they can play as a team offensively is unclear. Defense and rebounding are two problem areas for this squad, and while a surprise season is definitely in the mix, the Demon Deacons are likely to struggle more than succeed this year.

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