MIAMI — Fourth-seeded 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.
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.
Wake Forest looked as lost in this one as 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.
— Scott Fowler