A big week for the Hoos brings a bump in our weekly ACC power rankings.
However, it remains to be seen who rises to the top of the erratic middle of the conference. The teams between Miami and Georgia Tech are basically impossible to rank. Give it a shot, and drop your opinions down in the comments.
||RPI Rank (ESPN)
Games of the Week:
Mid-week: Monday, Virginia @ Duke
Weekend: Saturday, Pittsburgh @ Syracuse
Syracuse continues to be the team to beat in the ACC this season, as they pulled away from the Hokies on the road before absolutely smothering UNC. Familiarity with Syracuse's zone is a huge benefit in attempting to beat the Orange. So not only is Syracuse a VERY good team, but they have a built-in advantage over the ACC already - maybe Cuse should join a new conference every season?
This week: Monday @ Boston College. Saturday vs. Pittsburgh.
Will another perfect week, with lopsided home wins against Maryland and Wake, be enough for this 15-1 team to move into the top 25 rankings? Probably not, which is silly. But the Panthers will have plenty of opportunities to impress soon, and that starts Saturday in Syracuse. Pitt is ranked 6th in KenPom, and it's about time that shakes out against quality competition.
This week: Tuesday @ Georgia Tech. Saturday @ Syracuse.
After that fateful day in Knoxville, the Hoos have played their best basketball of the season. Is UVA's 3-0 ACC start a flash in the pan? Or have they finally put it together to match fans' high preseason expectations? Regardless, their two quick road wins will have plenty of staying power, and the Hoos have a chance to pick up a huge one tonight in Durham. #BeatDuke
This week: Monday @ Duke. Saturday vs. Florida State
The Blue Devils are a different team away from the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor, and they have looked awful in their first two true road matchups. After losing to a Notre Dame team that's without Jerian Grant, they managed to allow a completely inept offense to score 72 points in Clemson. That's awful. Jabari Parker's mini-slump will surely be short-lived, but there's no evidence that Duke will defend any better this year.
This week: Monday vs. Virginia. Saturday vs. NC State
5. Florida State
FSU followed up their home loss against UVA by taming Clemson on the road and then demolishing Maryland at home. That win will look great for the Hoos, as this is a classic Leonard Hamilton team that has a solid offense and an elite defense (the D has improved from 190th last year in adjusted efficiency to 5th this season).
This week:. Wednesday @ Miami. Saturday @ Virginia.
Clemson may be miserable on the offensive end, but their defense will keep them in games. And KJ McDaniels is good enough to overcome his teammates and will his team to victory. His 24 points led a breakthrough offensive performance and a big home win over the Blue Devils.
This week: Wednesday @ Virginia Tech. Saturday vs. Wake Forest
This is where things get tricky. Yes, Miami played Syracuse very tough on the road and then picked up a win at North Carolina. But these are the same guys that lost to Virginia Tech at home just a few weeks ago. Miami may be inconsistent, but so are all the teams in this tier of the ACC, and Coach Larranaga has his team playing good ball headed into the heart of conference play.
This week: Wednesday vs. Florida State. Saturday @ Georgia Tech.
The Terps are definitely not a great team, and they are almost definitely not a tournament team. But, at 2-2, they are here by default, since it's tough to fault them for losing in Pittsburgh or Tallahassee. We'll get a better read against peer competition in the next week or so, as they play Notre Dame before heading to NC State Monday..
This week: Wednesday vs. Notre Dame.
9. North Carolina
The Tar Heels have been absolutely brutal. There's no shame in losing at Syracuse, but they were absolutely dominated, scoring just 45 points. Losing at home to Miami, on the other hand, is pretty inexcusable. During conference play, the Tar Heels are dead last in offensive efficiency (84.1). Yes, these are the same guys that have wins over Michigan State, Louisville, and Kentucky in their pockets. They have a long week to think about it before taking on BC at home. I don't think for a second that UNC will finish as the 9th best team in the ACC, but they've played like it of late, and the power rankings emphasize recent play.
This week: Saturday vs. BC.
10. NC State
The Wolfpack were dominated at home by Virginia, as TJ Warren finished with just 4 points on 1-9 shooting. Warren and the Wolfpack offense put up some strong numbers against lesser competition in non-conference play, but have folded in the face of adversity thus far. Two tough road games offer no respite.
This week: Wednesday @ Wake Forest. Saturday @ Duke.
11. Notre Dame
The Irish are predictably struggling to score without Jerian Grant. Notre Dame's defense is weak (141st in adjusted efficiency, 14th during conference play), and without Grant's 132 ORtg, it's going to be difficult for the team to keep up in shoot-outs.
This week: Wednesday @ Maryland. Sunday @ Virginia Tech.
12. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets picked up a solid win over Notre Dame this weekend, and they look good on paper, as they've yet to pick up a bad loss this season. But this is a team that really struggles to score, and this should shake out during ACC play. The Yellow Jackets have a few winnable games left before the schedule becomes really unforgiving.
This week: Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh. Saturday vs. Miami
13. Wake Forest
Wake Forest's players and coaches continue to say all the right things, about how important it is to bring focus and intensity on the road. But they've picked up right where they left off last year. Wake may pick off a couple nice home games, but there's no evidence that they'll decide to be anything more than punching bags away from Winston-Salem.
This week: Wednesday vs. NC State. Saturday @ Clemson.
14. Boston College
BC moves out of the basement this week after notching a narrow victory over Virginia Tech on the road. They're 5-11 record is exacerbated by an unforgiving out of conference schedule. But make no mistake, they aren't much better than their record. Their 299th ranked defense may be one of the worst in ACC history.
This week: vs. Syracuse. @ North Carolina.
15. Virginia Tech
The Hokies are right back where they belong.
This week: vs. Clemson. @ Notre Dame.