Three games into the young ACC season, a look at how the conference's teams stand
A quiet week in the ACC is upcoming, with two-thirds of the conference seeing an early "bye" with just one game through Sunday. At this point, all teams have played exactly three conference games each - here's where the conference stands.
Drop your thoughts on how you would rank the ACC down in the comments - as has been the case often this season, I found the 4 through 7 spots especially difficult to rank (and not just because it's tough to move UVA down from the #1 ranking where we belong).
1. Duke Record: 15-1....KenPom Rank: 4.....Best win: vs. Louisville (neutral).....Worst loss: @ NC State
Duke fell from the (now-empty) ranks of college basketball's unbeaten against NC State Saturday. With Ryan Kelly out indefinitely and Seth Curry's status uncertain, the Dookies are starting to get a bit uneasy.
This week: Thursday vs. Georgia Tech
2. NC State Record: 14-2.....KenPom Rank: 29.....Best win: vs. Duke.....Worst loss: vs. Oklahoma State (neutral)
The Pack picked up their signature win of the year, using a big second half to roll over Duke. With the victory, NC State established itself as a legitimate contender for the ACC title. CJ Leslie had a monster game, scoring 26 points on 16 shots, and don't forget about pesky Scott Wood, who shot 3 for 3, finishing with 14 points.
This week: Wednesday @Maryland. Sunday vs. Clemson
3. Miami Record: 12-3.....KenPom Rank: 19 (before W vs Maryland).....Best win: vs. MSU.....Worst loss: @ Florida Gulf Coast
In a very short 8-day period, Miami answered a lot of questions. Though it appeared the Hurricanes would sputter after Reggie Johnson's injury, the team put together wins at Georgia Tech, at North Carolina, and home against Maryland. All of the sudden, Miami looks like it is for real.
This week: Wednesday at Boston College
4. North Carolina Record: 11-5....KenPom Rank: 48.....Best win: vs. UNLV....Worst loss: vs. Butler (neutral)
North Carolina hasn't been particularly impressive, but who would you put in front of them at this point? Their win in Tallahassee was a good one, with the Tar Heels showing that they have the firepower to compete at an upper-tier ACC level on offense. However, their middling defense and the inability of "star" James Michael McAdoo to resemble a star make this a precarious pick.
This week: Saturday vs. Maryland
5. Maryland Record: 13-3.....KenPom Rank: 57 (before L at Miami).....Best win: vs. BYU (neutral).....Worst loss: vs. Florida State
During their non-conference schedule, the Terps didn't lose after their season opener against Kentucky, but they didn't exactly impress either. Maryland avoided a bad loss, but they have yet to win on the road and are now 2-3 against teams in Ken Pomeroy's top 140. They play the 30th youngest roster in college basketball (amazingly, that's just 4th-youngest in the ACC behind Virginia, Wake Forest, and BC).
This week: Wednesday @ NC State. Saturday vs. North Carolina
6. Virginia Record: 11-5.....KenPom Rank: 46.....Best win: @ Wisconsin.....Worst loss: vs. ODU (Neutral)
A tough week for the Hoos, as Tony Bennett's squad played two road games against beatable opponents and lost them both. Virginia has issues that must be resolved, especially a concerning amount of inefficiency and lack of production at the point guard spot and a recent drop-off in defensive consistency. Still, UVA has the potential to compete at a top-of-the-conference level, especially at home. The upcoming week off is well-timed, to say the least.
This Week: Saturday, vs. FSU
7. Florida State Record: 10-6.....KenPom Rank: 67.....Best win: vs. BYU (neutral).....Worst loss: vs. South Alabama
Immediately after I wrote Florida State off as a team that would not coalesce in time to compete in the ACC, the Seminoles pulled off two impressive road wins at Clemson and Maryland. FSU fell in a thriller at home to UNC, but proved that they could be a force to be reckoned with, especially as the season progresses. This isn't the Seminole defense that we are used to seeing, but the team is 18th in the nation in 3PT shooting % and sunk 11 of 22 against Carolina.
This week: Saturday @ Virginia
8. Clemson Record: 9-6....KenPom Rank: 77.....Best win: vs. Virginia.....Worst loss: @ Coastal Carolina
The Tigers started off losing at home to FSU and getting pummeled by Duke before getting into the win column against UVA. Clemson could be a real nuisance this season, with a decent offensive combo of Milton Jennings and Devin Booker to go along with a strong and aggressive defense. They are 44th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and in the top 40 in block % and steal %.
This week: Tuesday vs. Wake Forest. Sunday @ NC State
9. Georgia Tech Record: 10-5.....KenPom Rank: 91.....Best win: vs. St. Mary's (neutral).....Worst loss: vs. Virginia Tech
The Yellow Jackets had a rough week, dropping games to Miami and NC State before a baffling overtime defeat at home against Virginia Tech. Three games into ACC play, there are two undefeated teams (NCSU and Miami)...and one winless team, Georgia Tech. GT has the 23rd ranked defense in the nation in terms of adjusted efficiency, and should climb out of the basement. However, their upcoming schedule is unforgiving.
This week: Thursday @ Duke
10. Wake Forest Record: 9-6.....KenPom Rank: 138.....Best win: vs. Virginia .....Worst Loss: vs. Nebraska
Home wins against a sleep-walking UVA team and a poor BC one aren't anything to write home about, but Wake Forest is now 2-1 in the conference. The fact remains that Wake is a very young team that isn't very good on either side of the ball. We'll see if they could continue their run in an upcoming road stretch.
This week: Tuesday @ Clemson. Saturday @ Virginia Tech
11. Virginia Tech Record: 10-6.....KenPom Rank: 149.....Best win: vs. Oklahoma State.....Worst loss: vs. Georgia Southern
VT won at Georgia Tech in overtime, showing how hard it is to figure out what to make of the Hokies. The team that lost at home to Georgia Southern and Boston College and was demolished by Colorado State, BYU, and Maryland is the same one (minus some injury trouble) that beat Oklahoma State earlier this year. The Hokies sport the worst defense in the ACC, and Erick Green can't do it all on offense.
This week: Saturday vs. Wake Forest
12. Boston College Record: 9-7.....KenPom Rank: 132.....Best win: vs. Providence.....Worst loss: vs. Bryant
At this early point in the season, BC has taken over frontrunner status in the race for ACC's worst team. Scoring doesn't seem to be the team's biggest issue, as sophomore Ryan Anderson has had a quietly strong season, but defense is. How could a team that was 344th least experienced last year (in terms of minutes played) still be 341st this season?! Doesn't anyone up there age?
This week: Wednesday vs. Miami