ACC Power Rankings: UNC makes big jump/ Notre Dame rises/ Hokies showing they are trouble

By: Patrick O'Brien

  1. Virginia (23-2, 12-1 ACC)

Virginia suffered their first loss in conference play over the weekend, falling to the Hokies 61-60 on Saturday.  With the loss, it does show that this team still may have a few flaws, especially when they struggle shooting the ball.  Against the Hokies, the Cavs finished shooting 34 percent from the floor and 11-for-38 from three.  Virginia faces Miami next but has a more than manageable schedule to finish out the regular season.

  1. Clemson (20-4, 9-3 ACC)

The Tigers have won four straight and the guard play has really stood out.  Senior Gabe DeVoe has excelled his game in those four games, averaging 22.8 points per game.  Not only that, the defense has certainly picked up as they quietly have been rising up the rankings.  However, the Tigers have a few tough games coming up next at Florida State and vs. Duke.

  1. North Carolina (19-7, 8-5 ACC)

It was a good week for the Tar Heels, coming off wins against the Blue Devils and Wolfpack.  Against the Blue Devils, North Carolina showed that they can compete on the defensive end, slowing down the Blue Devils in the second half.  It was also the Luke Maye show in Raleigh, posting his second career-high performance against the Wolfpack.

  1. Duke (20-5, 8-4 ACC)

Suffering two straight losses, the questions continue to swarm around this young team and if they can make a run in the NCAA tournament.  They were able to bounce back against the Yellow Jackets on Sunday but still made the game much closer than one might have thought.  In addition, it will be interesting to see what surrounds Marvin Bagley’s injury, which may be a concern to keep an eye on but the performance of Grayson Allen against the Yellow Jackets has to be a good sign.

  1. Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-5 ACC)

One has to give it up to the Hokies, taking down the Cavaliers on the road in a hostile environment.  Even with a loss last week to the Hurricanes at home, Virginia Tech still has won five out of the last six.  But it doesn’t get any easier with two games against Duke, Clemson, Miami, Louisville and Georgia Tech.

  1. Louisville (18-8, 8-5 ACC)

Ending a three-game skid, the Cardinals stepped up big with two routs against Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.  What was more impressive is that they did it without the play of their scoring leader Deng Adel. Freshman forward Jordan Nwora stepped up in his absence, averaging 14.5 points per game in the last two wins.

  1. Miami (18-6, 7-5 ACC)

The road has been a troubling spot this season at times for the Hurricanes but that has been a common theme throughout the ACC.  It has been who the Canes have lost to at times, with losses now against Georgia Tech, Florida State and their most recent against Boston College.

  1. NC State (16-9, 6-6 ACC)

After winning their last four out of five, the Wolfpack suffered a small setback against the Hokies and Tar Heels.  But the road for NC State may look a little brighter with a very manageable schedule, all against unranked teams but it starts with two road games against Syracuse and Wake Forest.

  1. Syracuse (17-8, 6-6 ACC)

The Orange got back on track with an impressive win on the road against Louisville and on Sunday against Wake Forest.  But what one has to start looking from Syracuse is consistency.  That may include the fantastic performance of Tyus Battle (averaging 29.5 points in his last two) as well as the play of freshman forward Oshae Brissett (scoring 31 points and 18 rebounds in two wins).

  1. Notre Dame (15-10, 5-7 ACC)

It was a good week for the Irish and their offense, as it came alive against Boston College and Florida State.  The guard play really stepped up, as the outside shooting from the Irish seemed to find their rhythm knocking in 26 three-pointers in their last two wins.

  1. Boston College (15-10, 5-7 ACC)

It has been tough to earn to earn a victory in Chestnut Hill and the Eagles have shown that with their latest win against then No. 25 Miami.  Junior Jerome Robinson stole the show this past week, recordng a 46-point performance against the Irish and finished up with a 29 points in the win vs. the Canes.

  1. Florida State (17-8, 6-7 ACC)

The offense hasn’t quite been clicking for the Seminoles over the last week.  After their win against Louisville, FSU suffered a tough loss to Virginia, which certainly is understandable.  But they followed that up with a lack-luster performance against the Irish.  The Seminoles have lost three out of their last four and now face off against one of the top teams in the Clemson Tigers to start this week.

  1. Wake Forest (9-16, 2-11 ACC)

The Demon Deacons haven’t found much success this season in conference play but have really stepped up late this season in competing.  Their last three losses have all been by single digits, two of which were against Top-25 teams.

  1. Georgia Tech (11-14, 4-8 ACC)

The firepower surrounding the Yellow Jackets have struggled so when teams have been strong offensively, it has been tough for Georgia Tech to secure any type of win.  That was apparent in their last three games, all of which they have lost.  Giving up an average 79 points per game in those three games isn’t a recipe of success, as in their four wins this season, opponents didn’t score over 54 points.

  1. Pittsburgh (8-18, 0-13 ACC)

Much like Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh struggled defensively this past week and it started against North Carolina, giving up 96 points and yet against Louisville, giving up 94 points in a loss.  The Panthers hadn’t allowed any opponents to score over 90 points this season; they have now allowed it in two of their last three games.