NCAAB  > General NCAAB  > Wake Forest Overrated??
January 31, 2009, 01:57 PM
On it's face it's difficult to make this argument. Wake Forest has beaten BYU, Clemson and BC on the road and UNC and Duke at home.

Perhaps they aren't overrated when you look at their wins. But I want to see them demonstrate that they really can play defense for a little longer before I get on board. Seeing as Wake Forest under Skip Prosser was known as playing exceptionally poor defense it was hard to believe Wake could suddenly play good defense. Skip Prosser might have been about the WORST defensive coach in the nation (and his mentor Pete Gillan was even worse if that's possible) I was very skeptical how Gaudio, being under Prosser, would have the first clue about playing defense. I suspected the defensive numbers were an early season fluke based on small sample size.

More recently, I heard that Gaudio put a big emphasis on improving their defense and went and studied extensively former Wisconsin & Washington St. coach Dick Bennett's defensive philosophy and looked at what Bennett's son is doing currently at Washington St. In other words, Gaudio had a come to Jesus moment and realized everything he learned defensively (or didn't learn) from Prosser was a joke and opted for an intervention.

This gives me some reason to think that this isn't a fluke. However, I just turned it over to the Wake vs. Georgia Tech game on tv and I saw they gave up 45 at half to Georgia Tech. SO, the jury is still very much out.

Basically, any team as poorly coached as Wake was under Skip Prosser, currently coached by a Prosser disciple, is going to have to prove something to me defensively for a length of time before I'm ready to believe they belong in the top 5. I know they can score, I know they have athletes, but to be an elite team they have to play defense night in and night out, and I'm still waiting to see if they will do that.

The only teams that can be truly great and get away without playing great defense are those who have so much talent they can simply be average defensively and get by. UCONN and North Carolina might fall into this category. I realize that no one in the ACC besides Duke and Virginia Tech play any defense whatsoever, so by that standard Wake might have a leg up, but that won't help much come NCAA tourney time and you end up playing a Pitt, West Virginia, UCLA, Michigan St., Louisville, etc.

Bottom line is if Gaudio actually knows enough from an X and O standpoint, and can get his 'highly skilled athletes' to buy in on the defensive end, Wake could be a VERY SCARY team come tourney time. The type of team that could win it all. If not, they are just another ACC team with a ton of talent that you see every year who doesn't defend who tries to outscore you. The type of team that if it gets lucky with draws could go deep, but probably loses to somebody like Louisville or a well coached Big 10 team in the Sweet 16.

I am curious to see what happens.


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