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ACC Basketball Power Rankings: Is Duke or UNC (or UVa?) at the top?

The Heels, Hoos, and Blue Devils have all had strong starts - who does the STL staff have at #1?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-North Carolina vs Indiana Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the college basketball season is a few games in, we here at Streaking the Lawn think we have enough evidence to decide who is the best and least best in the conference. We’re right in the thick of the B1G/ACC challenge among other out of conference games, so plenty could change before ACC play starts, but for now here’s how we think the teams stack up:

1) North Carolina (7-0)

UNC is undefeated and boasts dominate wins over Oklahoma State and Wisconsin. While Duke started the season ranked higher by most, the Tar Heels have looked like the best team in the conference so far.

2) Duke (7-1)

The Blue Devils notched a win over a clearly-rebuilding Michigan State team and have dominated every other opponent this season outside of their buzzer-beater loss to KU. More impressively, Coach K’s team has done most of this without the contributions of three injured blue chip freshmen - all of whom are expected to be fit to play soon.

3) Virginia (6-0)

The Hoos have looked amazing to start the year. There’s really no other way to describe it. While they’ve got a tough test tonight hosting Ohio State, they’ve held every team they’ve played to under 53 points - including three in a row under 40. They’re playing ridiculously well on defense - and not every game has been against shabby competition - with only a few minutes from now-dismissed projected starter Austin Nichols.

4) Louisville (5-1)

Swaggy P’s team blew a huge lead against Baylor for their only loss on the year - and barely escaped a scrappy Old Dominion team. They played better in a win over Wichita State and host a really tough Purdue squad tonight.

5) Syracuse (4-2)

The Orange have soundly lost a couple in a row to Wisconsin and South Carolina - but our initial power rankings for them reflect their probable long term standing in the conference. Syracuse has a couple games against former Big East rivals in UConn and Georgetown coming up, so there could be a blemish or two more before they start ACC play.

6) Notre Dame (7-0)

Last night’s win over Iowa was the most impressive game for the Irish, who also have had close wins over Northwestern and Colorado. Forward Bonzie Colson leads them in scoring, but the most pleasant surprise for the team has been the play of Guard Matt Farrell.

7) Miami (4-2)

The Canes have dropped a couple against Florida and Iowa State but have beaten Penn and Stanford as well. They should easily handle Rutgers tonight, so it might be unclear as to where Miami stacks up in the conference until they get a few ACC games under their belt.

8) Virginia Tech (5-1)

Buzz’s team blew a lead against Texas A&M for their only loss in this young season, but they’ve beaten Nebraska and New Mexico. Zach Delay is averaging over 16 ppg for the Hokies, while sophomore Justin Robinson has thrown in more than 5 assists per game.

9) Florida State (6-1)

FSU’s beaten up on a couple Big Ten teams already this year (Illinois and Minnesota) and hosted a close loss to Temple. The Good: Dwayne Bacon’s 18 ppg. The Bad: The hideous light blue alternate unis.

10) Clemson (3-2)

Jaron Blossomgame is still really good - and is averaging over 18 points per game, but the Tigers have lost both of their tougher tests so far this season (Xavier and Oklahoma). They play Nebraska tonight, which they’ll certainly need to win in order to feel strongly about their bubble chances in the spring.

11 - tie) Pittsburgh (6-1)

Any team that beats the crap out of Maryland deserves to be higher in our rankings. I’m sorry, Panther Fans. That, of course, was really their only impressive display on the year - as their OOC schedule is pretty weak elsewise.

11 - tie) NC State (5-2)

Mark Gottfried’s sqaud has been without ineligible future-star Omer Yurtseven, so there’s a good chance they climb up the rankings soon. However, it’s pretty much cupcakes for the next six games, so it may be a while before we know how good the Pack will be this year.

13) Wake Forest (5-2)

The Deacs got blown out by Villanova and lost a close one on the road to Northwestern. They’ve also beat a ton of lower-level teams. Who knows what’s in store for Danny Manning and company...?

14) Georgia Tech (4-2)

I’m really excited to see watch Josh Pastner can do with a less-athletic roster at his new gig! Losing to Ohio and Penn State is a weak start.

15) Boston College (3-3)

Apparently there are 15 teams in this conference. Getting blown out at home by Kansas St? Losses to Richmond and Nicholls State? Rough.

Here’s how all of our writers voted:

Caroline Will Schwartz Leung Tim Tiki Neckel Trogs Wiley Ellis Ryan Hobeck Haluska Alex Pierce
North Carolina North Carolina Duke North Carolina Duke Virginia North Carolina North Carolina Duke North Carolina North Carolina Virginia North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina
Duke Duke Virginia Virginia North Carolina North Carolina Virginia Duke Virginia Duke Duke Duke Virginia Duke Duke
Virginia Virginia North Carolina Duke Virginia Duke Duke Virginia North Carolina Virginia Virginia North Carolina Duke Virginia Virginia
Louisville Louisville Syracuse Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Syracuse Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville
Notre Dame Notre Dame Louisville Syracuse Syracuse Syracuse Syracuse Louisville Syracuse Syracuse Notre Dame Syracuse Notre Dame Syracuse Miami
Pittsburgh Syracuse Virginia Tech Florida State Miami Notre Dame Miami Florida State Notre Dame Notre Dame Syracuse Notre Dame Syracuse Notre Dame Notre Dame
Florida State Florida State Notre Dame Notre Dame Notre Dame Virginia Tech Notre Dame Notre Dame Miami Virginia Tech Miami Miami Miami Miami Syracuse
Syracuse Clemson Florida State NC State Clemson Miami Clemson Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Florida State Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Florida State Pittsburgh
Virginia Tech Miami Miami Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Clemson Florida State Miami Clemson NC State Clemson Clemson Florida State NC State Florida State
Miami Virginia Tech Clemson Miami Florida State Florida State Virginia Tech Clemson Florida State Wake Forest Pittsburgh Florida State NC State Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
NC State Pittsburgh NC State Wake Forest NC State Pittsburgh NC State NC State Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Florida State NC State Clemson Pittsburgh Clemson
Wake Forest NC State Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Wake Forest Pittsburgh Pittsburgh NC State Miami NC State Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Wake Forest NC State
Clemson Wake Forest Wake Forest Clemson Wake Forest NC State Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest Georgia Tech Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest Clemson Wake Forest
Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Clemson Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Boston College
Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Georgia Tech