Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wake Forest gets creamed by Cleveland State

No.4 seed Wake Forest just got blasted out of the NCAA tournament, losing 84-69 to No.13 seed Cleveland State in a game that finished around midnight Friday. It was the biggest upset of the NCAA tournament so far in terms of seeding.

So the Deacons ended up going 0-2 in the ACC tournament and the NCAA tourney this season and going only 8-7 over their final 15 games. A season that began with so much promise – 16 straight wins! – ended with an absolute whipping by Cleveland State, a team that hadn’t made it to the NCAA tournament since 1986. That year a Cleveland State, seeded 14th, also pulled off a shocker -- defeating a No.3 seed Indiana team coached by Bob Knight.

Wake Forest looked more lost in this game than it has all season. Cleveland State point guard Cedric Jackson and Vikings forward J’Nathan Bullock were both superb as Cleveland State repeatedly hid its lack of size with its wonderful quickness.

Jackson outplayed Wake guard Jeff Teague – by a large margin – and that was one of the main reasons this happened. Another: Wake’s Dino Gaudio was thoroughly outcoached by Cleveland State’s Gary Waters.

So Wake Forest, like Clemson, makes a very early exit. That leaves only the royalty of college basketball in the Carolinas – North Carolina and Duke – left after the NCAA’s first round.

One positive note for the Deacons: Gaudio said early Saturday that he believed Wake would not lose any underclassmen to the NBA this season. He said that he had been talking to the players' parents and that the players "all know they need to come back," although he also said "nothing would shock me."

Underclassmen like James Johnson, Jeff Teague and Al-Farouq Aminu have all been rumored as early NBA entries, although everyone's star but Johnson's has fallen some lately.


Michael said...

Frankly this doesn't surprise me all that much. Wake is talented, but young. That wins you games OOC and in the early conference schedule. When the calendar turns to a new year and the meat of the schedule comes up, though, you need steady hands who have been there and done that.

Cliff said...

ACC is looking awful so far. As usual, it will be Carolina and Duke who carry the conference flag with a little assist from Gary Williams and Maryland. Pitiful performance from Wake. And FSU let it get away from them. And Clemson, why the heck did I pick them to win a game in my bracket.
Should've known better.