As we head into ACC play, how do conference teams measure up? Weekly power rankings below:
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Streaking the Lawn's weekly Power Rankings. At this point in the season, some things are clear: Syracuse is the team to beat...and BC is the team that will get beaten. Besides that, the middle tier of the ACC is in flux, as we head into what should be an exciting and unpredictable conference season. Drop your disagreements and opinions down in the comments.
||RPI Rank (ESPN)
Games of the Week:
Mid-week: Thursday, Florida State @ Clemson
Weekend: Saturday, Syracuse @ North Carolina
The Orange started their ACC membership off in style, with a 49-44 home win over Miami. Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly the style they were hoping for, but they're still the team to beat and the last undefeated ACC team remaining. Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant have both been far more efficient offensive players than preseason ACC POY pick C.J. Fair.
This week: Tuesday @ Virginia Tech. Saturday vs. UNC
Okay, their OOC schedule was unspectacular, but it's unclear how Pitt remains unranked at 14-1. Sitting at number 5 in KenPom's rankings, they are a sleeping giant heading into ACC play and have already jumped to 2-0 with two strong wins at NC State and vs. Maryland.
This week: Monday vs. Maryland (Win 79-59). Saturday vs. Wake Forest
The Blue Devils have played 4 tough games away from Cameron Indoor and lost 3 of them, the sole win against UCLA at MSG. Behind Jabari Parker, Duke's offense is an absolute machine; however, their 74th ranked defense will leave them vulnerable, especially on the road in ACC play.
This week: Tuesday vs. Georgia Tech. Saturday @ Clemson.
After Duke, there's a bit of a mush in the upper-middle of the conference, and I am taking the liberty to move Virginia on top of it. Okay, I am banking on the team that won at Florida State Saturday being closer to the one we see this year, not the Tennessee version. We'll have a better idea in a week or so whether we can continue to give the Hoos the benefit of the doubt.
This week: Wednesday vs. Wake Forest. Saturday @ NC State
5. North Carolina
UNC's bizarro roller coaster ride of a season continued with a loss at Wake Forest to start ACC play. UNC is now 3-0 against teams in KenPom's top 15 and 6-0 against teams ranked worse than 150....but are 1-4 against those squads in the middle, ranked between 15 and 150. This is excellent news for the Hoos (and most of the ACC). James Michael McAdoo, the gift that keeps on giving, shot 19 for 45 from the field and 19 for 41 from the FT line in those 4 losses.
This week: Wednesday vs. Miami. Saturday @ Syracuse.
6. Florida State
FSU was having quite the year before the Hoos lulled them to sleep in Tallahassee. Leonard Hamilton has used his giant roster, ranked 5th in the nation in effective height, to put together another spectacular defense that has largely overcame a lack of talent on the offensive side of the court - (the Noles have the conference's 3rd best defense but its 4th worst offense).
This week: Thursday @ Clemson. Sunday vs. Maryland.
Clemson's failure to beat (or even schedule) respectable competition has kept them below the radar thus far. However, the Tigers lead the nation in eFG% allowed, and have the ACC's best defense after Virginia. Yes, their best win is against Temple on a neutral court....but look out for the Tigers to surprise in ACC play. We haven't heard K.J. McDaniels's name called much this year, but he is a force on both sides of the ball.
This week: Thursday vs. Florida State. Saturday vs. Duke.
8. Wake Forest
Moving Wake Forest higher than they probably should be because it appears they will once again be a tough out at home, as they knocked off UNC Sunday. Last year, the Deacs finished 6-12 in the ACC, but were 6-3 at home, including wins over Virginia, NCSU, and Miami. And this is a better team than the 2013 version, especially on defense. Luckily, the Hoos stay away from Winston-Salem this year.
This week: Wednesday @ Virginia. Saturday @ Pitt.
9. NC State
The Wolfpack is also having a better-than-expected start to the year. Besides a bad early-season home loss to NC Central, NC State has taken care of business so far. TJ Warren has received a dramatically expanded role after the graduations of most of last year's roster. He takes a TON of shots, but has done so efficiently, scoring at least 20 points in 12 of NC State's 14 games this year (including 3 games over 30).
This week: Tuesday @ Notre Dame. Saturday vs. Virginia.
10. Notre Dame
After Jerian Grant was ruled ineligible for the season, Notre Dame silenced critics with a home win over Duke. Still, losing Grant and his 132.4 ORtg is going to hurt. The team does have a soft early-season ACC schedule to put some wins together and adjust their offense. Fun fact: Notre Dame is last in the nation in FT% defense. So much for the luck of the Irish.
This week: Tuesday vs. NC State. Saturday @ Georgia Tech
After high preseason expectations from Terp fans, Maryland stumbled often in out-of-conference play (capped by a home loss to BU), then started ACC season by getting trounced at Pitt. Getting Seth Allen back from injury last week should alleviate the team's issues, but the jury is still out on whether they'll climb back toward the middle of the conference or fall toward the basement.
This week: Monday @ Pitt (L 79-59). Sunday @ Florida State.
Coach Jim Larranaga has molded the young Hurricanes into something somewhat respectable over the past two months, culminating in a near-upset of Syracuse on the road, as Miami led with 5 minutes to play. After losing 4 of last year's 5 starters, the Hurricanes once again start 3 seniors. It's won't be a quick rebuilding project in Coral Gables, but Larranaga's defensive-minded coaching means that nobody should sleep on the Canes.
This week: Wednesday @ North Carolina
13. Georgia Tech
Brian Gregory is on his way to a 3rd straight season in the ACC basement, and it just may be his last effort. While the team once again puts out a respectable defense, the Yellow Jackets are devoid of offensive weapons. It's possible that GT puts something together later in the year (last season they started 0-5 in ACC play before finishing 6-12), but they are squarely in the bottom rung of the conference.
This week: Tuesday @ Duke. Saturday vs. Notre Dame.
14. Virginia Tech
Despite projections to the contrary, the Hokies have been bad, but not historically so. Without Erick Green, the Hokies have discovered that there's something called "defense," and they've started trying to do that. But Jarrell Eddie can't score all of the points this team needs on his own. Luckily, the Hokies have 5 players shooting better than 40% from behind the arc (>25 attempts), but if the shots aren't falling, they'll lose to teams like UNC Greensboro and USC Upstate at home.
This week: Tuesday vs. Syracuse. Saturday vs. Boston College
15. Boston College
For the sixth consecutive season, Boston College lost to Harvard. But that's no shame, as the Eagles have taken advantage of a very difficult schedule to lose to practically everyone they've played, during a debacle of a season in Chestnut Hill (last fall, I predicted a "breakout season." Oops). At 4-11. BC somehow doesn't have any truly embarassing losses (@ Auburn?), but this is not a good team at all. This is somewhat baffling, as the squad features two very talented offensive players, Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson. But an ACC team with the nation's 301st ranked defense is an embarrassment. Without dramatic improvement, Steve Donahue will be out the door soon.
This week: Saturday @ Virginia Tech.