Clemson’s ruining of college football is over (in our world) so it’s on to the basketball season! Luckily we have experience with a dumpster fire of a conference from this past football season! The ACC has rewarded us with a dumpster fire of a basketball season too!
Three good (probably) teams and nobody has any idea what’s going on behind them.
1. Duke Blue Devils (14-1, 4-0)
If it wasn’t for a hiccup against Stephen F. Austin, the Blue Devils would be far and away considered the top team in the country. Instead, they’re top 5, but KenPom has them as the most efficient. Coach K does it again.
2. Florida State Seminoles (14-2, 4-1)
The ageless wonder that is Leonard Hamilton might finally have his team to get over the hump. Head-scratching losses to Pitt and Indiana are the only blemishes on the Noles’ resume thus far which also includes wins over Purdue, Tennessee, and a recent road win at Louisville.
3. Louisville Cardinals (12-3, 3-1)
The Cardinals have obviously started hot and are well on their way to a good seed in the NCAA Tournament but they are only 1-3 against KenPom Top 25 teams. That lone win coming against Michigan at the beginning of December, which is losing some of its shine with ever Michigan loss. ND and Pitt are their next two before taking on Duke next Saturday in Durham.
4. Virginia Cavaliers (11-3, 3-1)
This season hasn’t exactly gone to plan thus far. 340th in three point shooting won’t get it done but having the best defense in America could cover some warts. The ACC is down but losing to what most considered one of the worst in the conference doesn’t inspire confidence.
5. N.C. State Wolfpack (11-4, 2-2)
The Wolfpack would likely be considered in the top 3 with Duke, FSU, and Louisville had they not dropped a road game last weekend to lowly Clemson. They got back on track on Wednesday against Notre Dame.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-5, 1-3)
10-5 is a great start to the season but the Irish have zero quality wins to their resume thus far. They’ll get their chances thanks to FSU being on the schedule twice but they’ll have to upset someone to cement an NCAA Tournament berth.
7. Boston College Eagles (9-6, 3-1)
The same team that lost to Northwestern and St. Louis at home also has beaten Notre Dame and now Virginia. They’ll likely have to stay near the top of the standings to have a chance at the NCAA Tournament but just starting 3-1 is something probably nobody expected.
8. Virginia Tech Hokies (11-4, 2-2)
That Michigan State win from Maui is going to do some serious work on the Hokies’ resume this season. They’ve looked fairly pedestrian against Duke and UVa but stole an ACC road game this past week at Syracuse.
9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-8, 2-3)
At some point the folks in Atlanta are going to tire of Josh Pastner. I have no idea what it is going to take if it hasn’t happened yet, but this season has to be trying their patience. A win over an awful UNC team can only buy you so much goodwill.
10. Pittsburgh Panthers (11-4, 2-2)
Jeff Capel is clearly dropping the bag because the Panthers are getting better. A few more years and they will likely be near the top of the conference and they’ll probably knock off a few teams this year they probably shouldn’t.
11. Syracuse Orange (8-7, 1-3)
Boeheim has to be on his last nerve. Either the players aren’t buying into the 2-3 anymore or teams have just figured out how to shoot over it. The road can’t be much longer.
12. North Carolina Tar Heels (8-7, 1-3)
Speaking of not much longer for the coaching world. Roy Williams is about ready to call it quits during the middle of the season. We’ve been able to count on UNC beating Clemson in Chapel Hill for more than half a century. Is this the year it ends? It will almost surely be a sign of the apocalypse if it comes to fruition.
13. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (9-5, 1-3)
And yet another on the “can’t be much longer til he retires” list we have Jim Larranaga. The Hurricanes don’t have any terrible losses yet but don’t have any resume defining wins either. Pitt and NC State over the next two games will give us a better feel for where Miami is in relation to the rest of the conference.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-6, 1-3)
Joining Josh Pastner on the “have to get fired soon” list is Danny Manning. One NCAA Tournament appearance (lost in a First Four game) over five years and likely won’t get another this season can’t be great for his job security.
15. Clemson Tigers (7-7, 1-3)
And joining Pastner and Manning is Brad Brownell. Brownell is in his tenth season at Clemson and is riding their Sweet Sixteen appearance from two years ago. Fortunately for Brownell there are other sports doing well at Clemson, which probably takes some of the heat.