Previewing the men’s basketball schedule

The Demon Deacons are set to face a tough group of opponents in the ACC this season

Christian Odjakjian, Staff Writer

 The Steve Forbes Era of Wake Forest Men’s Basketball is set to begin next week, and more details about the season have come out in recent days.

Just like last year, the ACC will be playing a 20 game conference schedule in 2020-21. As of right now, Wake Forest is scheduled to play 22 games this season.

Every ACC school’s schedule features six home-and-away series. Wake Forest will play Virginia, Duke, NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh twice each. For the eight other ACC schools, Wake will play four of them at home (Syracuse, Louisville, Miami, Clemson) and four away (North Carolina, Notre Dame, Boston College, Florida State).

Garrison Brooks of North Carolina was voted the Preseason Player of the Year. The first team is composed of Sam Hauser of Virginia, Scottie Barnes of Florida State, Jalen Johnson of Duke, Aamir Sims of Clemson and Chris Lykes of Miami.

“Our institutions, following the guidance of our league’s Medical Advisory Group and public health officials, continue to uphold the necessary measures to compete in a safe and responsible manner,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a press release. “… during these unique times we will remain nimble and be as prepared as possible should adjustments be necessary.”

Ten games currently listed on Wake Forest’s schedule are categorized as Tuesday/Wednesday flex. As we have seen with football, it seems inevitable that games will be postponed and moved around as schools try to navigate and control COVID-19. According to the ACC, conference games that are unable to be played will only be rescheduled if both teams’ schedules permit it.

“In addition to the ACC-standard COVID-19 health and safety protocols, this framework allows our staff and fans to plan for what we expect to be an exciting season,” said Director of Athletics John Currie.

The Deacs will begin their season by hosting the Mako Medical Classic, a non-conference round robin tournament, on Nov. 25. One of the three schools planning to come to Winston-Salem to compete in the event, Alabama State, announced earlier this week that they will only be playing conference games this season, citing safety concerns. It is currently unclear whether their spot in the round robin tournament will be filled by another team.

New Head Coach Steve Forbes will only have two games with his young roster under his belt before conference play begins, and the opening stretch is going to be tough. Wake Forest hosts Virginia, who is the preseason favorite to win the conference and is currently ranked fourth in the AP Poll, on Dec. 16 to start ACC play. In the first five games of conference play, Wake Forest plays Virginia twice, and Duke on the road.

Four ACC teams are ranked in the AP Preseason top 25: Virginia (4), Duke (9), North Carolina (16) and Florida State (21). Last season, five ACC schools were ranked in the top 12.

Wake Forest was voted to come in last in the conference in the preseason poll. Coming off of last season’s 13-18 overall record (6-14 in the ACC), and with many new faces and lots of transition, outside expectations aren’t very lofty for Forbes and his guys. But the coaching change has injected hope and excitement into a Demon Deacon fanbase that desperately needs it after a lackluster 2019 campaign.

If students were permitted to attend games this season, they would be able to see six home games once returning from winter break.

“We will continue to monitor NCDHHS guidance regarding fan capacity information,” Currie said.