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Q&A Session With Wake Forest Blog, Blogger So Dear

Georgia Tech has a matchup with Wake Forest after two tough ACC matchups. Let's find out some more about our neighborly conference rivals.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech just can't catch a break: first was a double overtime loss to Notre Dame, then came a 1 point loss to Syracuse. These events make today's game with Wake Forest a virtual must win as the Jackets look to get back on track.

I was able to speak with Robert Reinhard from Blogger So Dear and get some answers to burning questions I had about the upstart Demon Deacons basketball team.

This is the first season for coach Danny Manning, who replaced Jeff Bzdelik. What are your early impressions of him?

I wasn't sure what to expect of Manning coming in because he had only been a head coach for two seasons prior to coming to Wake, but I've been extremely impressed. He came in and salvaged what was going to be a so-so 2014 recruiting class, and has turned that into a number of key contributors for us this season. He has also signed an outstanding 2015 recruiting class, and has us in position to have an exceptional 2016 class. He's also getting much more out of the players on this year's roster, and has excellent aspirations for the program.

Wake's program is always in the shadow of a couple of nearby dominant blue blood programs. Is there a possible path toward relevance in the future and how do the Demon Deacons get there?

I definitely think so. Historically, Wake Forest has been a Top 20 to 30 program in the country and has produced a lot of NBA talent, much like Georgia Tech. I think our path to becoming a consistent NCAA Tournament team is by becoming a big man factory with Danny Manning, playing excellent defense, and consistently recruiting four-star players with the occasional five-star. Duke and Carolina perennially recruit mostly four and five-star prospects. I believe every scholarship player on Duke's roster was a McDonald's All-American. I don't think we can recruit at that level, but I do believe we can consistently recruit four-star prospects and land the occasional five-star. If Wake does that, then we'll be relevant again and producing pros.

Wake, like Tech, has a very young roster with virtually everyone returning next year. Do you see a big improvement next year and can they compete for the postseason tournaments?

Yes, I expect us to make the NCAA Tournament next season. Manning has proven to be a very good X's and O's coach, and you can see that we run much better offensive sets this year compared to previous years under Bzdelik. In addition to that, he has us playing outstanding defense, and that will only improve as we get older. Next year we will also add at least three four-stars in guard Bryant Crawford and big men Doral Moore and John Collins. That should give Manning even more depth at his disposal and will allow our players to play harder when they are on the court.

While this season has been rough thus far, you guys just got done playing the undefeated Duke Blue Devils tough this week. Are there some positives you took from that game?

Absolutely. I thought that our defense was outstanding in that game. We have been the only team in the country to contain Jahlil Okafor, and we had the lead against the #2 team in the country with just a few minutes to go. We also did a very solid job limiting our turnovers. Our biggest weakness in that game was that we did not shoot the ball well, as we went just 2-13 from beyond the arc. This team is turning a corner, and I think a lot of Wake fans are optimistic after back-to-back well-played games against Louisville and Duke.

Devin Thomas is one of the best defensive rebounders in the country. He'll matchup with Charles Mitchell, one of the best offensive rebounders in the country. How do you see this matchup going?

This matchup won't get much press nationally, but it's going to be an outstanding physical matchup. Devin is coming off very impressive performances against Montrezl Harrell and Jahlil Okafor, so I expect him to keep up his high level of play against Mitchell. It won't be easy, and I expect both to get plenty of rebounds, but I think the key is team rebounding. Mitchell and Thomas will probably break-even, but it's going to be about rebounders two through four who determine who wins the rebounding battle and probably the game.

Give me one player other than Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre to keep an eye out for.

Freshman Mitchell Wilbekin has to be another one for Georgia Tech fans and players to pay attention to. He's averaging 25 minutes on the season and has made 44% of his three-point attempts.

What is your prediction for the game?

I'll take the Deacs to win 67-60.