The Wake Forest Demon Deacons basketball team has put together some of the most memorable basketball teams to ever play in the NCAA Tournament. The Demon Deacons history in the Tournament dates back to the original NCAA Tournament in 1939. Wake Forest’s first win in the NCAA Tournament would come in the team’s next appearance in the big dance in 1953. The Demon Deacons were defeated by Holy Cross, but beat Lebanon Valley to take home the East-1 Regional third place game. The most successful run that Wake Forest made in the NCAA Tournament came a decade later when the Demon Deacons rallied to their first Final Four appearance. Wake Forest won’t their first two games of the 1962 NCAA Tournament in overtime, making them one of the few teams in the history of the tournament to win multiple overtime games in the same season. Wake Forest would end up defeating UCLA to claim the nation’s 3rd place game.
Following the success of the early 1960’s, Wake Forest would not make the tournament again until 1977, a season in which Wake Forest again won multiple NCAA Tournament games and advanced to the Elite Eight. One of the most consistent periods of success for Wake Forest came in the early 1980’s, when Wake made NCAA Tournament appearances in 1981, 1982, and 1984. The 1984 season saw Wake Forest knock off the #1 seeded DePaul Demons in a 73-71 overtime thriller to advance to the Elite Eight. Throughout the 1980’s, Wake Forest’s basketball brand continued to grow and the team build one of the most rabid followings in all of college basketball.
Wake Forest would use this reputation as one of the premier basketball programs in the nation to lure in a college basketball icon in the early 1990’s. In 1993, a player by the name of Tim Duncan joined the Wake Forest basketball team. The next four years would be the most consistent success in the NCAA Tournament for the team. Behind Duncan’s stellar play, Wake Forest reached the NCAA Tournament four years in a row. Including trips to the Sweet Sixteen in 1993 and 1994, and a trip to the Elite Eight in 1996. Another period of success for the Demon Deacons in the NCAA Tournament would come in the early 2000’s, when Chris Paul helped return the team to the Sweet Sixteen in 2004.