It wasn't the most exciting week of ACC play, as none of the teams in our top 4 matched up. But that'll change this week, as 3 such match-ups will take place. Here's one look at how the conference's teams stack up. Feel free to leave your opinions, praise, and disagreements down in the comments.
||RPI Rank (ESPN)
Games of the Week:
Mid-week: Monday, Duke @ Pittsburgh.
Weekend: Saturday, Duke @ Syracuse. Sunday, Virginia @ Pittsburgh
The Orange saw that the ACC might not be the cakewalk they thought it was, as they once against barely survived against the Hurricanes, this time on the road. Obviously Syracuse is the team to beat, but the remainder of the conference schedule won't be quite so forgiving. (They've played the second easiest slate to date).
This week: Wednesday @ Wake Forest. Saturday vs. Duke.
Pitt demolished Clemson at home before edging the Terps in College Park. The under-respected Panthers have two huge opportunities to prove themselves, as they head to Durham on Big Monday, then take on the red-hot Cavaliers at home.
This week: Monday vs. Duke. Sunday @ Maryland.
UVA isn't just 6-1 in ACC play, but the Hoos have been dominant in those wins, owning a lead by 20 or more points at some point in each. The Hoos have outscored their opponents by .24 points per trip down the floor, the best mark in the conference, buoyed by the league's best defense along with a resurgent offense. We'll see if the team can keep it going on the road this week.
This week: Tuesday @ Notre Dame. Sunday @ Pitt.
After a slow start, the Blue Devils have been somehow lost in the shuffle a bit; however, they are second in the conference in efficiency margin. Duke recovered from their 1-2 start by reeling off 4 straight wins, though they'll face the toughest possible week an ACC team can.
This week: Monday @ Pitt. Saturday @ Syracuse.
5. Florida State
The Seminoles have been a little shaky. They followed up their blowout loss at JPJ with a close home win over the Irish and a blowout loss at Duke. Their vaunted defense has been just mediocre in ACC play, allowing 1.03 PPP (8th in the conference). FSU does have a stretch of winnable games ahead, where they'll try to make UVA's head-to-head sweep look even better.
This week: Wednesday @ NC State. Saturday vs. Clemson.
The Tigers had a top-10 ranked defense in KenPom headed into its game in Chapel Hill, but got pummeled on the road. They actually failed both of their road tests this week, losing big at Pittsburgh as well. Clemson is an inconsistent squad with an awful offense, but they're still a step above the middle tier of the ACC at this point. It's all well and good that Clemson is a solid offensive rebounding team, but that's worthless if they can't convert those boards into points.
This week: Saturday @ Florida State.
7. North Carolina
UNC recovered nicely from it's loss at JPJ. It entered the game against Clemson's 7th ranked defense with an offense that had performed the worst in the ACC in per-possession terms, but scored 80 points in 61 possessions. The Tar Heels are clearly a flawed team, but so are plenty of teams in the conference, and UNC will probably end up rising above the scrum a bit. Despite their 2-4 ACC start, the team's RPI means that they're still in striking range of the NCAA tournament.
This week: Wednesday @ Georgia Tech. Saturday vs NC State.
Maryland hasn't done anything to embarrass themselves; their losses (@ Pitt, @ FSU, @ NCSU, vs. Pitt) all qualify as "reasonable." That said, they haven't done anything particularly impressive either. The Terps have the #8 offense and the #9 defense in the conference. Basically, they are "meh" by any measure.
This week: Wednesday vs. Miami. Saturday @ VT.
9. Wake Forest
Congratulations to the Demon Deacons on picking up their second road win during Jeff Bzdelik's 4 year tenure. Wake's also undefeated at home thus far. There's not much upside to this team, as they still haven't picked up a "real" road win, but they'll continue to be a tough out at the Joel. The Orange better not sleep on Wake Forest this week.
This week: Wednesday vs. Syracuse. Saturday vs. Georgia Tech.
Miami played Syracuse tough for the second time this season, but ended with nothing to show for it. Miami is the slowest team in college basketball and they play decent defense. That's the recipe for upsets.
This week: Wednesday @ Maryland. Saturday vs. Norfolk State.
11. Notre Dame
Even without Jerian Grant, offense hasn't been a problem for the Irish, as they're 5th in ACC in efficiency. It's just not enough to overcome the conference's 2nd to worst defense.
This week: Tuesday vs. Virginia. Saturday vs. Boston College.
12. NC State
It took overtime for NC State to beat Georgia Tech yesterday, but the Pack did pull off a 2-0 week at home. Five of State's next seven games are away from Raleigh, and the team is in the bottom four in the conference in both offense and defense. Not a good combination.
This week: Wednesday vs. Florida State. Saturday @ North Carolina.
13. Georgia Tech
Brian Gregory's offense is ranked worse than 200th on KenPom for the third straight season. It seems tough to justify bringing him back for another year at this point, and the schedule ahead looks unforgiving.
This week: Tuesday @ Boston College. Sunday @ NC State
14. Boston College
BC's home game against the Hokies this week may be their final chance at an ACC win. Despite ranking 43rd in the NCAA in 2PT% and 175th in 3PT%, Boston College shoots more 3-pointers than all but 7 teams in college basketball. (And offense is the least of their worries).
This week: Wednesday vs. Virginia Tech. Saturday @ Notre Dame
15. Virginia Tech
The Hokies looked completely hapless at JPJ this weekend. Their "chuck threes" offense has kept them in a few games this year (5 of 7 ACC games decided by less than 10 points), but it's not really a strategy that will win games. They won't be favored in another game this season.
This week: Wednesday @ Boston College. Saturday vs. Maryland.