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ACC Basketball POWER Rankings: Virginia an easy choice to stay #1

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Hoos are 17-1 (6-0 ACC) and have won nine straight games.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

With about one-third of ACC play behind us, we are at the point where we have enough data to make some conclusions. For example: Virginia is the class of the ACC, and Pitt is awful. The middle gets murkier, but we did our best in this week’s edition of the ACC POWER rankings.

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 (17-1, 6-0 ACC, KenPom #3)

Virginia’s defense is, like last year, the best in the nation. But it’s happened in a very different way. The Hoos have turned from elite to mediocre on the defensive boards, but have more than made up for it by forcing turnovers on over a quarter of possessions in ACC play (compared to an ACC-leading 20% last year).

2. Duke Blue Devils (16-2, 4-2 ACC, KenPom #4)

I’m not sure how it happened, but Duke is somehow “flying under the radar” at this point in the season. Yes, they have 2 ACC losses, but their offense, led by Marvin Bagley, is a machine even with Grayson Allen continuing to struggle. Three of their next four games are at home, but that includes a showdown with the Hoos next weekend that could be a major factor in determining the regular season champ.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (15-4, 4-2 ACC, KenPom #9)

UNC had a nice week, picking up a road win at Notre Dame and hanging on to a win against Clemson. After a 2-for-10 shooting night at Virginia, Luke Maye has made 25 of his last 42 (including 6-10 from behind the arc).

4. Clemson Tigers (15-3, 4-2 ACC, KenPom #13)

Clemson is for real, but the rigors of the ACC schedule have caught up with them a bit, as they dropped road games at NC State last week and North Carolina this week. Things don’t get easier either, as they’ll play Notre Dame, North Carolina, and at Virginia before the month is up.

5. Louisville Cardinals (14-4, 4-1 ACC, KenPom #36)

Louisville moved up three spots this week after picking up a third consecutive victory. They are the only ACC team other than Virginia with fewer than two conference losses and probably have the two best road victories (FSU and Notre Dame) in the league. Their out-of-conference failed to impress (their best win was at home against Indiana), but they are doing work to make up for it now.

6. Miami Hurricanes (13-4, 2-3 ACC, KenPom #30)

The Hurricanes have sputtered during ACC play after a fast start to the season. Their 0-2 week featured a forgivable loss at Clemson and a tough home loss to Duke, during which they allowed 18 consecutive points and squandered a 13 point second-half lead. The good news for the Canes is that the schedule eases up ahead (it can’t get any tougher than last week), and they do feature the #7 defense in the nation.

7. Florida State Seminoles (13-5, 2-4 ACC, KenPom #27)

FSU’s season has followed a similar trajectory to their in-state brethren. A hot (and schedule-aided) start (11-1 out of conference), followed by an ugly ACC record. Also like Miami, they’ve faced a brutal slate of games so far and have some better opportunities to rack up wins ahead.

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-6, 3-3 ACC, KenPom #25)

It was a tough week in South Bend, where the Irish lost by one to NC State, then fell in double overtime against Louisville. Looking ahead, the team could be an interesting question for the NCAA Selection Committee. Their out-of-conference was weak, but if they end up on the bubble, the return of Bonzie Colson in March could be an interesting factor.

9. NC State Wolfpack (13-6, 3-3 ACC, KenPom #67)

NC State’s home-road splits are startling. At PNC Arena, they pulled off wins over Duke, Clemson, and Wake Forest. On the road, they have looked completely hapless, losing their three games by an average of 21 points. But hey, with a 9-9 record, they would probably be one of the season’s biggest surprises on the bubble.

10. Boston College Eagles (13-6, 3-3 ACC, KenPom #74)

Speaking of surprises, BC improved to 3-3 in-conference with a win over FSU. And their losses included nailbiters against UVA and Clemson. Their three ACC wins to date this season surpasses the team’s total in the last two years combined.

T-11. Syracuse Orange (13-6, 2-4 ACC, KenPom #47)

Besides #ruiningcollegebasketball, Syracuse is losing a lot of games; their win over Pitt snapped a four game ACC slide. Boeheim plays three starters for 90% of minutes (and Syracuse as a whole ranks second in the nation in % of minutes played by starters). Tyus Battle has been forced to do a LOT for the Orange, but he hasn’t been able to do so very efficiently on offense.

T-11. Virginia Tech Hokies (13-5, 2-3 ACC, KenPom #49)

Virginia Tech spent the out-of-conference leading the nation in eFG%, but is fifth in the ACC during conference play, with a 52% eFG%. The drop-off is exacerbated by their inability to offensive rebound; they have grabbed just 19.5% of their own misses in ACC games, on pace for lowest in the “KenPom era” going back to 2002.

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-8, 3-2 ACC, KenPom #108)

A stellar defense and the return of Josh Okogie has boosted GT to a surprising 3-2 start to ACC play. Their upcoming schedule likely will plunge the team under .500 for good, as they follow their matchup against UVA by taking on UNC and FSU on the road.

14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-10, 1-5 ACC, KenPom #90)

Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons continue to be a huge disappointment after last season’s NCAA appearance. They have made 40% of their threes during ACC play compared to 39% of their twos, so that’s a fun tidbit - the average NCAA team shoots 15% better on twos than threes.

15. Pittsburgh Panthers (8-11, 0-6 ACC, KenPom #210)

Pitt’s odds of pulling off a winless season are up to 15% on KenPom. Circle February 21st on your calendar, when Wake Forest visits the Petersen Events Center!

Summary Stats

Rank Team Avg Ranking St Deviation
Rank Team Avg Ranking St Deviation
1 Virginia 1.1 0.3
2 Duke 1.9 0.3
3 North Carolina 3.0 0.0
4 Clemson 4.2 0.4
5 Louisville 5.3 1.1
6 Miami 6.0 0.7
7 Florida State 7.6 1.4
8 Notre Dame 7.8 1.1
9 NC State 9.4 1.6
10 Boston College 10.8 1.6
11 Virginia Tech 11.2 1.9
11 Syracuse 11.2 1.6
13 Georgia Tech 11.7 1.5
14 Wake Forest 13.8 0.4
15 Pittsburgh 15.0 0.0

Ranking by Voter

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