ACC Basketball Power Rankings, Week of 2/2

A five-way tie for first, a six-way tie for sixth, and a four-way tie for 12th.  That’s about what these rankings have come to after an eventful week of games in the ACC, including four overtime games.  While there is no one arguing for Boston College to be ahead of Virginia, within the three groups in the conference, the teams could legitimately be ranked in any order, particularly in the middle group, where Clemson jumping three spots and Miami dropping five were extreme movements based on somewhat subtle happenings on the court.  Anyhow, here are the updated rankings, as the ACC now has five of the top 12 (even better than five of the top 13 last week), four of the top 10, three of the top 9, and two of the top four.  And there are three games between that group of teams in the next week.

(Disclaimer: Clemson is not necessarily the sixth best team in the league, and Miami is not necessarily the fifth worst; these rankings are designed to be volatile based on both overall record and who is playing the best right now.)

1. Virginia (19-1 overall, 7-1 ACC, Last Week: 1st, AP Poll: 3rd)
Last Week:  Duke (L, 69-63)
This Week:  at North Carolina (Monday), Louisville (Saturday)
The Cavaliers keep the top ranking despite the loss to Duke, as they still lead the ACC standings by a game in the loss column.  The schedule doesn’t get any easier, though, starting tonight with a trip to Chapel Hill, before hosting Louisville.

2. Duke (18-3, 5-3,2nd, AP: 4)
Last Week:  at Notre Dame (L, 77-73), at Virginia (W, 69-63)
This Week:  Georgia Tech (Wednesday), Notre Dame (Saturday)
Had Duke swept the week, they would have passed Virginia in these rankings after beating the Cavaliers, but the loss to Notre Dame keeps them in the second spot.  The spot may be on the line when the two teams play on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but not before Duke hosts Georgia Tech first.

3. Notre Dame (20-3, 8-2, 3rd, AP: 10th)
Last Week:  Duke (W, 77-73), at Pittsburgh (L, 76-72)
This Week:  Boston College (Wednesday), at Duke (Saturday)
The Irish would have moved passed Duke here after their win over the Blue Devils, but couldn’t escape a trip to Pittsburgh without a loss, so they remain third.  After hosting bottom-tier team Boston College, they will travel to Duke for a rematch.

4. Louisville (18-3, 6-2, 5th, AP: 9th)
Last Week:  at Boston College (W, 81-72), North Carolina (W, 78-68, ot)
This Week:  at Miami (Tuesday), at Virginia (Saturday)
After beating Boston College, Louisville trailed North Carolina by 15 at home, but came back to win, reversing roles from an earlier game in which the Tar Heels came back late for the close win.  This week, a trip to Miami isn’t a guaranteed win, ahead of the first of two meeting with Virginia, with this one in Charlottesville.

5. North Carolina (17-5, 7-2, 4th, AP: 12th)
Last Week:  Syracuse (W, 93-83), at Louisville (L, 78-68, ot)
This Week:  Virginia (Monday), at Boston College (Saturday)
The Tar Heels won a high-scoring affair with Syracuse and were dominant for the first two-thirds of the game against Louisville, only to lose that lead and the game, and fall a spot in these rankings.  They will host Virginia tonight, surely motivated after giving one away just 48 hours ago.

6. Clemson (13-8, 5-4, 9th)
Last Week:  at NC State (W, 68-57), Boston College (W, 64-49)
This Week:  at Florida State (Wednesday), at Miami (Sunday)
After a struggling start, Clemson has become one of the hottest teams in the league, after a road win at NC State, and a convincing win over Boston College.  With the struggles of others around them in these rankings, they jump to sixth ahead of a rematch with Florida State (the Tigers lost to the ‘Noles two weeks ago), before a trip to Miami.

7. NC State (14-9, 5-5, 7th)
Last Week:  Clemson (L, 68-57), at Georgia Tech (W, 81-80, ot)
This Week:  at Wake Forest (Tuesday)
After the loss to Clemson, if NC State had lost to Georgia Tech, their NCAA Tournament hopes would have needed some major renovations.  Instead, after Trevor Lacey’s 3 at the buzzer lifted the Pack in Atlanta, they remain one of the “Last Four In” on the projected bracket, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

8. Syracuse (14-7, 5-3, 8th)
Last Week:  at North Carolina (L, 93-83)
This Week:  Virginia Tech (Tuesday), at Pittsburgh (Saturday)
Syracuse, a team known for their defense, gave up 93 points Monday in Chapel Hill, failing to keep up with the Tar Heels’ pace in the loss.  This week they play a couple of games against teams below them, giving them a chance to negate a two-game losing streak.

9. Pittsburgh (14-8, 4-5, 10th)
Last Week:  at Virginia Tech (L, 70-67, ot), Notre Dame (W, 76-72)
This Week:  Bryant (Monday), Syracuse (Saturday)
After a loss to Virginia Tech, who had previously been winless in ACC play, the Panthers looked sure to move down in these rankings, but an upset of Notre Dame erased the negative memory and actually moves them up a spot.  A break from conference play tonight should give them a chance to work on some things against Bryant before hosting Syracuse over the weekend.

10. Florida State (12-10, 4-5, 11th)
Last Week:  Wake Forest (W, 82-76, 2ot), Miami (W, 55-54)
This Week:  Clemson (Wednesday), at Virginia Tech (Saturday)
After a slow start, the Seminoles have won three out of four, including coming from 15 down to beat Wake Forest in double overtime, and beating a ranked rival in Miami.  The other win in that stretch was two weeks ago at Clemson, which the ‘Noles can validate by beating them again on Wednesday, before playing another rematch with a team they’ve beaten, Virginia Tech.

11. Miami (14-7, 4-4, 6th)
Last Week:  Georgia Tech (L, 70-50), at Florida State (L, 55-54)
This Week:  Louisville (Tuesday), Clemson (Sunday)
Miami has an equal or better overall record than the five teams right above them in these rankings, but the Hurricanes drop five spots (although the gap between sixth and 11th is razor-thin) after hitting a slump, losing to Georgia Tech and Florida State.  The Canes can reverse the trend very quickly if they can upset Louisville, before hosting Clemson on Sunday.

12. Wake Forest (10-12, 2-7, 12th)
Last Week:  at Florida State (L, 82-76, 2ot), Virginia Tech (W, 73-70)
This Week:  NC State (Tuesday), at Georgia Tech (Saturday)
After failing to close again against Florida State, falling in double overtime, the Demon Deacons finished against Virginia Tech for their second league win.  Danny Manning is still looking for an ACC road win (which will be big for Wake after the Bzdelik era), and can pick it up in a rematch with Georgia Tech, who Wake has already beaten, but first they will try to alleviate their previous loss to NC State.

13. Georgia Tech (10-11, 1-8, 15th)
Last Week:  at Miami (W, 70-50), NC State (L, 81-80, ot)
This Week:  at Duke (Wednesday), Wake Forest (Saturday)
The Yellow Jackets were the last remaining winless team in the ACC for about 24 hours after Virginia Tech’s first win, and the Yellow Jackets picked up their win by making a statement, beating a then-ranked Miami team by 20, before nearly following it with a win over NC State, if not for Trevor Lacey’s heroics.  Now the Jackets travel to Duke before hosting a Wake Forest team they’ve already lost to, a tough couple of games.

14. Virginia Tech (9-12, 1-7, 13th)
Last Week:  Pittsburgh (W, 70-67, ot), at Wake Forest (L, 73-70)
This Week:  at Syracuse (Tuesday), Florida State (Saturday)
Virginia Tech picked up their first league win over Pittsburgh, two days after nearly beating Virginia, before falling just short in a comeback attempt in Winston-Salem.  This week, the Hokies, who really aren’t playing all that poorly but are stuck in a very tough league, play two teams they have already lost to in Syracuse and Florida State.

15. Boston College (9-11, 1-7, 14th)
Last Week:  Louisville (L, 81-72), at Clemson (L, 64-49)
This Week:  at Notre Dame (Wednesday), North Carolina (Saturday)
The two teams Boston College lost to over the last week are, according to these rankings, two of the top six teams in the league.  However, the Eagles are 2-7 since New Year’s, with one of those wins coming outside the ACC, and although they have some good players, the results aren’t always there.  It gets tougher this week, with two games against teams in the top 12 nationally in Notre Dame and North Carolina.

Game(s) of the Week:

#3 Virginia at #12 North Carolina (Monday, 7:00 pm ET)
Both teams are coming off tough losses in big games, but the Heels are at home, after a very quick turnaround for both teams.
North Carolina 64, Virginia 59.

#10 Notre Dame at #4 Duke (Saturday, 1:00 pm ET)
Notre Dame beat Duke just last week in South Bend, and Duke will want revenge.  On top of that, they’re at home, and have some momentum after their late rally to beat Virginia.
Duke 82, Notre Dame 74.

#9 Louisville at #3 Virginia (Saturday, 6:00 pm ET)
In the first of two meetings between these two teams, Louisville very well could come in with a winning streak, while Virginia may not be (see above).  With the Cavaliers looking to right the ship, playing at home, and having the better team, they win.
Virginia 60, Louisville 55.


ACC Midseason Report

Player of the Year:  Notre Dame G Jerian Grant (tough call between Grant and Okafor)

Freshman of the Year:  Duke C Jahlil Okafor

First Team All-ACC (in alphabetical order):  Virginia G Justin Anderson, Syracuse F Rakeem Christmas, Notre Dame G Jerian Grant, Duke C Jahlil Okafor, Louisville G Terry Rozier
(Honorable Mentions: Boston College G Olivier Hanlan, Louisville F Montrezl Harrell, NC State G Trevor Lacey, North Carolina G Marcus Paige)

Coach of the Year:  Mike Brey, Notre Dame (very, very tough call, as there are four coaches who are fully deserving here; the second half of the season could help clarify this)


Projected ACC Tournament seeds:
Double Bye:  1. Virginia (16-2), 2. Duke (14-4), 3. Louisville (14-4), 4. Notre Dame (14-4)
Single Bye: 5. North Carolina (14-4), 6. Miami (10-8), 7. Clemson (9-9), 8. NC State (9-9), 9. Syracuse (8-10)
Playing on Tuesday: 10. Florida State (7-11), 11. Wake Forest (6-12), 12. Pittsburgh (6-12), 13. Virginia Tech (4-14), 14. Boston College (2-16), 15. Georgia Tech (2-16)


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