If the Final Four were played in January, Wake Forest could be national champions. Who knew the Deacons were capable of winning a game in March?
They won Thursday night, however. They won for a variety of reasons -- a dysfunctional opponent in Texas, clutch performances in overtime and a game-winning shot by point guard Ishmael Smith.
Smith is my favorite ACC basketball player. He's an old-school pass-first point guard. He's quick and he's smart and, even when his teammates laid down in a first-round ACC tournament loss to Miami, he kept hustling.
Smith hustled down the court Thursday on Wake Forest's final possession. Down 80-79, he drove the right side, spun after crossing half court, changed direction, put on a move and put up a jumper. The 17-footer with 1.3 seconds remaining gave the Deacons an 81-80 victory.
Smith finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. I knew he had it in him.
I didn't think his teammates or his head coach did.