8. Wake Forest (4-3, 0-0)
Seemingly a common theme in this conference, Wake Forest’s era of greatest success is certainly long past. It seems like eons ago that this program was winning tons of games with Tim Duncan or Chris Paul leading the charge and the last decade or plus in the ACC hasn’t exactly been prosperous. It’s been seven years since the Demon Deacons sniffed the NCAA Tournament, though they’re coming off two somewhat solid seasons, with them just outside the field back in 2022.
This year has been an up and down affair that has seen Wake Forest significantly tested out of the gate. The Demon Deacons post a triad of wins over mid-majors but have already lost three times to power conference programs. They were downed by Utah and LSU in close affairs at the Charleston Classic just after a 3-point road loss at Georgia. They’ve been just shy in those efforts and finally came away with a great win last week, upending Florida by double-digits in the ACC/SEC Challenge.
Transfers Hunter Sallis and Kevin Miller have really played well while Andrew Carr and Cameron Hildreth have stepped into even bigger roles this season. Unlike some of the other teams in this league, the Demon Deacons haven’t really played terrible this season, they’ve just been outworked a bit and lost some winnable games against decent opponents. That Florida win may have them looking better than their ranking, but we’re going to need to see that kind of performance more consistently.