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ACC Basketball POWER Rankings: Virginia takes top spot

Hoos rise to number one thanks to big wins over Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Syracuse.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia has risen to #3 in the polls after a 15-1 (4-0 ACC) start to the year and now sits atop our updated POWER rankings, by unanimous vote of our unbiased staff.

The rankings were compiled by averaging across the ballots of 11 Streaking the Lawn staff members. Scroll to the bottom for full rankings from each writer, as well as overall means and standard deviations for each team.

1. Virginia Cavaliers (15-1, 4-0 ACC, KenPom #2)

There’s no doubt about it, the Hoos are really, really good. Wahoo fans should still be mindful of the oddities of the team’s schedule when setting expectations. UVA’s game against NC State on Sunday is its fourth ACC home game out of its first five, and that’s followed by two manageable road games. Things take a sharp turn afterwards.

2. Duke Blue Devils (14-2, 2-2 ACC, KenPom #5)

The Blue Devils avenged two ACC road losses with a 35 point win at Pitt. Grayson Allen has had an uncharacteristically quiet year to date; after using over 25% of the team’s possessions the past two seasons, he is at 20% this year, fourth among starters. The lighter burden has benefited his efficiency, as he has made 52% of his twos and 41% of his threes, both nice improvements over last season.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (13-4, 2-2 ACC, KenPom #11)

After Virginia held Luke Maye to six points on 1-for-8 shooting in Charlottesville, he found greener pastures against BC, as he put up a career-high 32 points. The Tar Heels aren’t great shooters, and they are last by far in FT rate in ACC play, but rebounding 44% of their own misses has kept the offense afloat.

4. Clemson Tigers (14-2, 3-1 ACC, KenPom #16)

Clemson dropped their first ACC game last night in a thriller against NC State, as 7’0” Omer Yurtseven went off for 29 points (including 5-for-6 three-point shooting) against the usually stellar Tiger defense. (At least Tony Bennett got a chance to watch, especially since Yurtseven hasn’t hit a three since November.) Still, Clemson looks like they are for real; we’ll learn more during a four game stretch against Miami, UNC, Notre Dame, and UVA.

5. Miami Hurricanes (13-2, 2-1 ACC, KenPom #30)

It’s been a weird stretch for Miami. After their 10-0 start, they have suffered questionable losses to New Mexico State and Georgia Tech, but rebounded at home with a nice win over Florida State. Their defense, ranked 5th in the nation, will keep them in games...but their two losses game in brutally bad offensive performances (.80 and .77 PPP, respectively).

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-4, 3-1 ACC, KenPom #19)

Aided by a friendly schedule (weakest in the ACC through four games), Notre Dame is off to a solid start to conference play. Despite injuries to Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, the Irish have succeeded with defense (!) - they are second in the conference in defensive efficiency (behind.....you guessed it, Georgia Tech), allowing .88 PPP, albeit against some extremely offensively challenged opponents.

7. Florida State Seminoles (12-4, 1-3 ACC, KenPom #31)

FSU’s 1-3 start shouldn’t be cause for panic among Seminole fans yet, as it includes reasonable and close road losses to Duke and Miami, and a nice home win over North Carolina. A home game against Syracuse followed by trips to BC and Virginia Tech are opportunities to stop the bleeding...or to let the slide spiral out of control.

8. Louisville Cardinals (12-4, 2-1 ACC, KenPom #36)

Louisville could be a dark horse contender to move up toward the top tier of the conference. Their four losses are all reasonable, they just took down FSU on the road, and they don’t have Rick Pitino anymore, so Virginia’s power to easily beat Louisville is up in the air again.

9. Virginia Tech Hokies (13-4, 2-2 ACC, KenPom #47)

The good news: VaTech picked up easily their best win of the season this week. The bad news: It was at Wake Forest, #14 in these rankings. The Hokies need to reel off some wins soon if they want to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament, as their 341st ranked non-conference SOS will be a drag come Selection Sunday.

10. Boston College Eagles (11-6, 2-3 ACC, KenPom #78)

A 30-point loss at UNC dragged BC down to Earth a bit, after the Eagles started ACC play by beating Duke and giving UVA and Clemson significant scares. Still, it’s clear that the young squad has improved significantly since the season started, and have a pretty bright future ahead.

11. Syracuse Orange (12-5, 1-3 ACC, KenPom #46)

The Orange are another squad likely set up to be on the March Madness bubble. That makes dropping close games to Wake Forest and Notre Dame and a close-ish game at UVA even tougher. Two games against Pitt in an 11-day period is a good way to make a team feel better though.

12. NC State Wolfpack (12-5, 2-2 ACC, KenPom #68)

Most of us voted in these power rankings before NC State followed their win over Duke by taking down a third ranked team this year, as they outlasted Clemson last night. The wins were especially shocking considering the beatings they took just days earlier, losing road games to Notre Dame and Clemson by a combined 46 points. Sophomore guard Markell Johnson is eligible to return from his suspension against UVA on Sunday, though it hasn’t been confirmed whether he will play; coach Kevin Keatts commented, ““Now, can he play? Yes. But I haven’t decided yet. He hasn’t had a chance to practice with the team. So I want to get him into some type of flow. I’ll take a look at him the next couple of days and if I feel like he’ll be ready to go on Sunday then I’ll play him.”

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-7, 2-1 ACC, KenPom #108)

Miami and Notre Dame visited Atlanta hoping to do what Grambling and Wright St had done earlier this season: Beat Georgia Tech. They failed. And the Yellow Jackets have a real chance to win a third straight ACC game when they head to Pittsburgh this weekend. Let’s not get too excited though...KenPom has them in underdogs in their 12 subsequent games.

14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-8, 1-3 ACC, KenPom #77)

Wake Forest allows teams to shoot a high volume of three-pointers (42.5%, 311th worst in the nation). And a high percent of those threes go in (39.2%, 327th worst in the nation). This is a poor recipe for wins.

15. Pittsburgh Panthers (8-9, 0-4 ACC, KenPom #189)

KenPom gives Pitt a 5.6% chance of finishing winless this year...but that will move up to about 10% if they drop their most winnable game of the season when they host Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Summary

Rank Team Avg Ranking St Deviation
Rank Team Avg Ranking St Deviation
1 Virginia 1.0 0.0
2 Duke 2.3 0.7
3 North Carolina 4.0 1.5
4 Clemson 4.1 1.4
5 Miami 4.8 1.3
6 Notre Dame 5.7 2.0
7 Florida State 6.9 0.9
8 Louisville 8.0 1.9
9 Virginia Tech 9.8 1.3
10 Boston College 10.2 1.9
11 Syracuse 10.6 1.2
12 NC State 10.8 1.1
13 Georgia Tech 13.3 0.9
14 Wake Forest 13.5 0.7
15 Pittsburgh 15.0 0.0

Full Voting

Caroline Will Brian S Brian L Tim Tiki Neckel Wiley Ryan Alex Luke Pierce
Caroline Will Brian S Brian L Tim Tiki Neckel Wiley Ryan Alex Luke Pierce
Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia
Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Notre Dame Duke Duke Clemson Miami
North Carolina North Carolina Clemson Clemson Clemson North Carolina North Carolina Duke North Carolina North Carolina Miami Duke
Clemson Miami North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina Clemson Clemson North Carolina Notre Dame Clemson Duke Clemson
Miami Clemson Notre Dame Miami Notre Dame Miami Notre Dame Miami Miami Notre Dame Notre Dame Notre Dame
Florida State Louisville Miami Florida State Miami Louisville Miami Clemson Florida State Miami Florida State Florida State
Notre Dame Florida State Louisville Louisville Louisville Florida State Louisville Louisville Clemson Florida State North Carolina North Carolina
Louisville Notre Dame Florida State Notre Dame Florida State Virginia Tech Florida State Florida State Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College
Virginia Tech Boston College NC State Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Notre Dame Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Louisville Syracuse Syracuse
Syracuse Syracuse Syracuse NC State NC State NC State Syracuse Boston College Louisville NC State Virginia Tech Louisville
Boston College NC State Virginia Tech Syracuse Syracuse Georgia Tech NC State NC State Syracuse Syracuse NC State Virginia Tech
Wake Forest Virginia Tech Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Syracuse NC State Virginia Tech Louisville NC State
NC State Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Syracuse Wake Forest Wake Forest Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Wake Forest Wake Forest
Georgia Tech Wake Forest Wake Forst Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Wake Forest Wake Forest Georgia Tech Georgia Tech
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh