It was a quiet week in the ACC, with the majority of teams playing just one game and receiving an early breather. Accordingly, we don't see many dramatic shifts in this week's power rankings. Duke, Miami, and NC State have continued to solidify themselves as the class of the ACC this year, while the middle-of-the-pack teams have largely failed to separate either way.
Below is a table of this week's rankings - further explanations follow. Drop your thoughts and disagreements down in the comments.
|Team||ACC Record||STL Ranking||Last||KenPom Rank|
1. Duke Record: 16-1....KenPom Rank: 3.....Best win: vs. Louisville (neutral).....Worst loss: @ NC State
Duke bounced back from its first loss of the year by taking down Georgia Tech at home. The Yellow Jackets kept it close early, leading for most of the first half, but Duke outscored GT 46-29 in the second half to roll to a win. It looks like the team will go through an adjustment period after the loss of Ryan Kelly; they'll be vulnerable at Miami Wednesday.
This week: Wednesday @ Miami. Saturday vs. Maryland.
2. Miami Record: 13-3.....KenPom Rank: 21.....Best win: vs. MSU.....Worst loss: @ Florida Gulf Coast
After a hot start to ACC play, the Hurricanes are the conference's only undefeated team. They squeaked by at BC, but now will have a week to prepare for their showdown with Duke. The game is a rare opportunity for Miami fans and students to witness a basketball game - a sellout is expected in Coral Gables, and why not? These guys look like they're for real.
This week: Wednesday vs. Duke, Sunday vs. Florida State
3. NC State Record: 15-3.....KenPom Rank: 29.....Best win: vs. Duke.....Worst loss: at Maryland
The Wolfpack split their two games this week, falling at Maryland before recovering against Clemson. The team is full of offensive weapons, from the dominant CJ Leslie to the sharpshooting Scott Wood. Still, NC State's unwillingness to play defense (including on that last possession against Miami) is holding them back from getting even close to an "elite" level.
This week: Tuesday @ Wake Forest. Saturday vs. North Carolina
4. North Carolina Record: 12-5....KenPom Rank: 52.....Best win: vs. UNLV....Worst loss: @ Texas
Two solid wins have brought Tar Heel fans out of their panicked state after a 0-2 ACC start. When Carolina is able to play their preferred up-tempo style, as they were in a blowout win over Maryland, they are tough to beat. When they aren't able to, the team hasn't been able to make adjustments offensively.
This week: Saturday vs. Maryland
5. Maryland Record: 14-4.....KenPom Rank: 58.....Best win: vs. NC State.....Worst loss: vs. Florida State
Maryland finally picked up their first notable win of the season, defeating NC State at home and sending their students bizarrely charging onto the court. This created bad karma, leading to a wakeup call in Chapel Hill. Seven-foot-one Alex Len will be an interesting matchup for the Hoos, who have had past success doubling the post against similar players. Maryland's defense is second in the nation in effective FG% but is one of the worst at forcing turnovers.
This week: Tuesday vs. Boston College. Saturday @ Duke
6. Virginia Record: 12-5.....KenPom Rank: 39.....Best win: @ Wisconsin.....Worst loss: vs. ODU (Neutral)
Beating Florida State was a relief, to say the least. It looks like Virginia will be a pretty good home team this year and will probably struggle on the road, which makes sense, considering the team's inexperienced makeup. That will be tested in Blacksburg this week. Don't overlook BC either; UVA will have just one day off in-between games, while BC plays on Tuesday night this week.
This Week: Thursday @ Virginia Tech. Saturday vs. Boston College
7. Florida State Record: 10-7.....KenPom Rank: 85.....Best win: vs. BYU (neutral).....Worst loss: vs. South Alabama
We won't give the Seminoles too hard of a time about scoring just 36 points this weekend, as it was against the best defense to ever exist on this Earth. However, it does seem like people got too high on Florida State after two close road wins to open ACC play. The Noles look to be a bit schizophrenic this year, and Coach Leonard Hamilton is still trying to figure out how to fix a defense that is by far the weakest in his 11 years in Tallahassee.
This week: Thursday vs. Clemson. Sunday @ Miami
8. Clemson Record: 10-7....KenPom Rank: 64.....Best win: vs. Virginia.....Worst loss: @ Coastal Carolina
Clemson's tough pressure defense has the tendency to give opponents fits, as Virginia and Wake Forest both learned - each scored 44 points in 57 and 61 possessions, respectively. They put up quite a fight in Raleigh as well. It's still tough to tell whether Clemson will ascend to the "UNC-UMD-UVA-FSU" tier or not, especially because of their lack of consistency on offense.
This week: Thursday @ Florida State. Sunday vs.. Virginia Tech.
9. Wake Forest Record: 9-8.....KenPom Rank: 138.....Best win: vs. Virginia .....Worst Loss: vs. Nebraska
Wake fell back to Earth after a 2-1 ACC start. They have won 4 straight at home, the latter 3 against decent competition (Xavier, UVA, Clemson). Their next two games in Winston-Salem are two big opportunities, as NC State and Duke come to town. Don't hold your breath.
This week: Tuesday vs. NC State. Saturday @ Georgia Tech
10. Virginia Tech Record: 11-6.....KenPom Rank: 15o.....Best win: vs. Oklahoma State.....Worst loss: vs. Georgia Southern
The Hokies are really, really, really, really bad at defense. They come in at 249th in the nation in adjusted efficiency; just 1 ACC team in the past 11 years has been worse, 2011 Wake Forest. If UVA could silence Erick Green and manage to score as easily as Tech's past opponents have, the Hoos should escape with a win. However, they'll face an imposing environment in Blacksburg in what could be another ugly, physical game.
This week: Thursday vs. Virginia. Sunday @ Clemson
11. Boston College Record: 9-8.....KenPom Rank: 128.....Best win: vs. Providence.....Worst loss: vs. Bryant
BC is just a handful of points from being an early-season surprise, as they lost home games against NC State and Miami in the final minute. Still, there isn't much evidence that one of the nation's youngest teams has improved defensively. The Golden Eagles have just one win against KenPom's top 150 teams, Providence at home.
This week: Tuesday @ Maryland. Saturday @ Virginia.
12. Georgia Tech Record: 10-6.....KenPom Rank: 86.....Best win: vs. St. Mary's (neutral).....Worst loss: vs. Virginia Tech
An interesting case: On one side of the ball, you'll see one of the conference's better defenses (and 16th in the nation), which held Duke to it's worst offensive output of the season (73 points in 72 possessions). On the other, you'll see the conference's worst offense (and 239th in the nation), which scores less than a point per possession on the year. Despite the preconceived notions of this Virginia fan, you apparently need to score points to win games. GT hasn't done so in conference play.
This week: Wednesday @ North Carolina. Saturday vs. Wake Forest