ACC Basketball Power Rankings, Week of 1/26

While the matchups on paper weren’t the best we’ve seen this year, there were still some excellent games in the ACC over the past week.  That being said, this week there are some very strong matchups among the top-tiered teams in the league, meaning a big shakeup could be in order in next  week’s rankings.

1. Virginia (19-0 overall, 7-0 ACC, Last Week: 1st, AP Poll: 2nd)
Last Week:  Georgia Tech (W, 57-28), at Virginia Tech (W, 50-47)
This Week:  Duke (Saturday)
The Cavaliers had an overwhelmingly dominant win vs Georgia Tech, but had to struggle to hold on against rival Virginia Tech, remaining one of two undefeated teams (along with Kentucky).  Now they get a week to prepare for a huge game at home against Duke on Saturday.

2. Duke (17-2, 4-2, 2nd, AP: 4th)
Last Week:  Pittsburgh (W, 79-65), at St. John’s (W, 77-68)
Next Week:  at Notre Dame (Wednesday), at Virginia (Saturday)
Mike Krzyzewski picked up his 1,000th win on Sunday in a non-conference game, but the Blue Devils can’t celebrate for long, with a pair of road games at top ten teams coming this week.

3. Notre Dame (19-2, 7-1, 3rd, AP: 8th)
Last Week:  at Virginia Tech (W, 85-60), at NC State (W, 81-78, ot)
Next Week:  Duke (Wednesday), at Pittsburgh (Saturday)
The Irish survived an upset bid in Raleigh, and can now really make a statement with a win over Duke.

4. North Carolina (16-4, 6-1, 4th, AP: 13th)
Last Week:  at Wake Forest (W, 87-71), Florida State (W, 78-74)
Next Week:  Syracuse (Monday), at Louisville (Saturday)
The Heels have a five-game winning streak–and are only a point away from an undefeated ACC record–with a big week of games this week, including a rematch against Louisville after beating them in Chapel Hill by one.

5. Louisville (16-3, 4-2, 5th, AP: 10th)
Last Week:  at Pittsburgh (W, 80-68)
Next Week:  at Boston College (Wednesday), North Carolina (Saturday)
After a week off after losing to Duke, the Cardinals comfortably beat Pittsburgh.  A rematch with North Carolina looms, after their 72-71 loss in Chapel Hill earlier in the season, for one of the four ACC teams in the AP Top 10.

6. Miami (14-5, 4-2, 6th, AP: 23rd)
Last Week:  NC State (W, 65-60), at Syracuse (W, 66-62)
Next Week:  Georgia Tech (Wednesday), at Florida State (Sunday)
Winning tight games against NC State and Syracuse has the Hurricanes back in the top 25, and they should be able to stay there with their easiest week of the season ahead.

7. NC State (13-8, 4-4, 7th)
Last Week:  at Miami (L, 60-65), Notre Dame (L, 81-78, ot)
Next Week:  Clemson (Wednesday), at Georgia Tech (Saturday)
NC State’s NCAA bubble is getting bigger after losses to Miami and Notre Dame, particularly considering the 15-point lead they blew against the Irish.  The Wolfpack can get back on track if they play well in this week’s games.

8. Syracuse (14-6, 5-2, 8th)
Last Week:  Boston College (W, 69-61), Miami (L, 66-62)
Next Week:  at North Carolina (Monday)
Miami, who is the toughest team the Orange have played so far, beat them in the Carrier Dome, which is not a good sign for Syracuse, since their upcoming schedule gets very, very tough, including a stretch starting on Valentine’s Day of five games out of six against top ten opponents.

9. Clemson (11-8, 3-4, 10th)
Last Week:  Florida State (L, 59-55), Wake Forest (W, 59-57)
Next Week:  at NC State (Wednesday), Boston College (Saturday)
It was the best and worst of times at Littlejohn Coliseum for the Tigers this week, as they lost to a lower-tier ACC team in Florida State, before coming from behind to beat another one, Wake Forest, in the final seconds.  Clemson has a tendency to lack consistency, and that appears to be the case here.

10. Pittsburgh (13-7, 3-4, 9th)
Last Week:  at Duke (L, 79-65), Louisville (L, 80-68)
Next Week:  at Virginia Tech (Tuesday), Notre Dame (Saturday)
The Panthers had a tough week, although they had a tough couple of opponents that no one expected them to beat.  This week, they will have one likely win and one likely loss, but in the ACC, you never know.

11. Florida State (10-10, 2-5, 12th)
Last Week:  at Clemson (W, 59-55), at North Carolina (L, 78-74)
Next Week:  Wake Forest (Wednesday), Miami (Sunday)
A road win over Clemson is the highlight of Florida State’s season thus far, along with a rivalry win over Florida, and they kept their game in Chapel Hill competitive.  Now they get a home game against Wake Forest, who struggles on the road, and rival Miami, as they slowly but steadily improve.

12. Wake Forest (9-11, 1-6, 11th)
Last Week:  North Carolina (L, 87-71), at Clemson (L, 59-57)
Next Week:  at Florida State (Wednesday), Virginia Tech (Saturday)
After being somewhat embarrassed by the Tar Heels at home, Wake led for over 39 minutes against Clemson, only to lose on a putback in the final second.  This team has been very competitive, even leading in the final six minutes of four of their last five losses, but in this business, the win-loss record (currently 1-6 in ACC play) is the report card.

13. Virginia Tech (8-11, 0-6, 15th)
Last Week:  Notre Dame (L, 85-60), Virginia (L, 47-50)
Next Week:  Pittsburgh (Tuesday), at Wake Forest (Saturday)
After their worst ACC loss (by margin) to Notre Dame, the Hokies nearly pulled the upset of the year in college basketball, losing narrowly to second-ranked rival Virginia in easily their best showing of the year.  This is a young team with very little experience, but they do have talent, and could very well have a bright future once they get through their growing pains.

14. Boston College (9-9, 1-5, 13th)
Last Week:  at Syracuse (L, 69-61), at Georgia Tech (W, 64-62)
Next Week:  Louisville (Wednesday), at Clemson (Saturday)
Jim Christian picked up his first ACC win in Atlanta on Sunday, although they are passed by Virginia Tech in these rankings due to the Hokies strong showing against Virginia.  Despite their record, the Eagles have good-shooting guards, so if they get hot, they could beat anyone, potentially including Louisville on Wednesday.

15. Georgia Tech (9-10, 0-7, 14th)
Last Week:  at Virginia (L, 57-28), Boston College (L, 64-62)
Next Week:  at Miami (Wednesday), NC State (Saturday)
If you throw out the 29-point loss to Virginia, the Yellow Jackets worst ACC loss is by seven.  Unfortunately for Brian Gregory, as I said earlier, the report card in sports isn’t how competitive you are, but wins and losses, and the Jackets have no wins in the ACC, and getting one isn’t that probable until February 7th.

Game(s) of the Week:

#4 Duke at #2 Virginia (Saturday, 7:00 pm ET)
Virginia comes in undefeated, and has a week to prepare for their toughest game yet.  Duke is riding high after Coach K’s 1,000th win, and may also be riding off a big road win against Notre Dame, should they win there on Wednesday.  This is the regular season game of the year in the ACC, if not nationally.  Neither team is without flaws, but Duke’s previous losses have shown that theirs often leave bigger holes when they aren’t executing at their best.
Virginia 60, Duke 58.

#13 North Carolina at #10 Louisville (Saturday, 4:00 pm ET)
A rematch of a January 10th duel in Chapel Hill in which the Tar Heels came from down 13 to win 72-71.  Louisville probably feels like they deserved that one, and will feel they deserve this one as revenge.
Louisville 74, North Carolina 68.

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