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ACC Power Rankings: Week of 1/12/15

With the Hoos on top, where they belong.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With a big 2-0 week and a Duke loss, Virginia solidified itself atop an ACC, which suddenly looks much deeper than a few short weeks ago.  The bottom of the conference is still working itself out, as there was substantial movement after the last week of action.

Here are our power rankings after 2 weeks of ACC play. Let us know how you'd rank the conference.

Team Record (ACC) STL Ranking Last week KenPom Rank RPI Rank (ESPN)
Virginia 15-0 (3-0) 1 1 2 3
Duke 14-1 (2-1) 2 2 4 4
Louisville 14-2 (2-1) 3 3 8 23
North Carolina 12-4 (2-1) 4 4 9 14
Notre Dame 15-2 (3-1) 5 5 14 50
NC State 12-5 (3-1) 6 7 47 47
Syracuse 12-4 (3-0) 7 6 41 46
Miami 11-4 (1-1) 8 8 77 76
Clemson 9-6 (1-2) 9 13 121 98
Pittsburgh 11-5 (1-2) 10 9 96 79
Wake Forest 9-8 (1-3) 11 14 111 135
Georgia Tech 9-6 (0-3) 12 10 90 55
Boston College 7-7 (0-3) 13 12 127 144
Florida State 9-6 (1-1) 14 11 136 139
Virginia Tech 8-7 (0-2) 15 15 183 239

Games of the Week:

Mid-week: Monday: North Carolina @ NC State

Weekend: Saturday: Duke @ Louisville

Tier 1:

1. Virginia

Ho-hum, just another 2-0 week for the Wahoos, as UVA held on to defeat the pesky Wolfpack and notched a big road win at Notre Dame.  Some fun facts: The top 25 has a combined 9 home losses, and 3 of those were at the hands of UVA. Virginia's last 5 wins have featured a different leading scorer in each game (actually 6 different scorers, since Brogdon and Tobey tied for the team-high against Harvard).  The team can win in a variety of ways.  In a given night, any player could have a big night; heck, either unit, the offense or defense, could have a big night.

I'm not going to argue that the Hoos should be ranked ahead of Kentucky. But they should be in the conversation.  Next up: four games against the bottom half of the ACC, then Duke.

This week: Tuesday vs. Clemson. Saturday @ Boston College.

2. Duke

The Blue Devils dropped from the ranks of the undefeated, falling to NC State in front of a rabid crowd in Raleigh.  Let's not overreact; nobody is going undefeated in the ACC this season.  But Duke's defensive effort, allowing 1.28 PPP, was more reminiscent of last season's Blue Devils than this year's.

Duke gets a shot for redemption at home before heading off next weekend for another road showdown.

This week: Tuesday vs. Miami. Saturday @ Louisville.

Tier 2:

3. Louisville

Louisville's welcome to the ACC has been a thrilling one. The Cardinals pulled out two close wins against Wake Forest and Clemson, but couldn't do it again in a thriller in Chapel Hill.  Wake Forest and UNC were the first two teams to score over a point per possession against the UofL defense.

Louisville is just 4-2 against KenPom's top 100 with none of those on the road. (UVA, in comparison, is 9-0 with 3 road wins).

This week: Tuesday vs. Virginia Tech. Saturday vs. Duke.

4. North Carolina

UNC's lack of balance after Marcus Paige was the main early season knock on them, but they found a different formula in their comeback win over Louisville. The Tar Heels' starters each scored between 8 and 13 points, and it culminated in the statement victory. UNC fans would have probably taken a split in games against Notre Dame and UofL.

This week: Wednesday @ NC State. Sunday vs. Virginia Tech.

5. Notre Dame

After their road win over UNC, Notre Dame's coronation ceremony was postponed when they fell to UVA.  Their dynamic offense, which actually moved to #1 in the nation in adjusted efficiency over the weekend, will keep them as a force to be reckoned with.  It's very difficult for opponents to match up with the Irish, but their unconventional lineup has some trade-offs on the defensive end.

This week: Wednesday @ Georgia Tech. Saturday vs. Miami.

Tier 3:

6. NC State

NC State opened some eyes this week. First, they provided a scare at JPJ, as they held a lead with under 10 to play before the Hoos pulled away.  Then they pulled off the upset at home, taking down Duke with an impressive offensive performance.  The Wolfpack always seem to scratch and claw their way into the tournament, and this win puts them in good shape to do so again.  Compared to last season, their offense has been just as strong, even without TJ Warren, and their defense is improved.

Can the Pack pull off the Carolina sweep on Wednesday?

This week: Wednesday vs. North Carolina. Saturday @ Florida State.

7. Syracuse

The 3-0 teams in the ACC? Virginia and....Syracuse. The catch: Cuse hasn't faced any of the ACC big boys and won't see anyone above them in these power rankings until January 26th, their 8th conference game.  Their first 2 road ACC wins, against VT and GT, were nailbiters, a style reminiscent of last season's. (That wasn't sustainable either, and that was a team with people who could score.)

This week: Wednesday @ Georgia Tech. Sunday @ Florida State.

8. Miami

Miami 2015 should be a similar (maybe slightly improved) version of Miami 2014. They're not a great team, and they're not loaded with talent. But they are well-coached, play hard, and will have the sneaky ability to pull off some big wins this season, especially behind Angel Rodriguez, who leads the ACC in usage.  They have two shots to do so this week, both on the road.

This week: Tuesday @ Duke. Saturday @ Notre Dame.

Tier 4:

The bottom of these rankings basically randomly shuffled since last week - sorry about that! But it'll be hard to peg these teams down for a while.

9. Clemson

Clemson's 71 points in 57 possessions against Pittsburgh was easily their best offensive performance of the season, exempting their opener against KenPom #350 Florida A&M.  They've been relying increasingly on 6-7 sophomore Jaron Blossomgame, who has made 54% of his 2s this year and gotten to the line at a high rate.

Clemson makes just 29% of their 3s, a bad sign for their matchup at JPJ where they'll need to be hot to win.

This week: Tuesday @ Virginia. Saturday vs. Syracuse.

10. Pittsburgh

Pitt's off to a sputtering ACC start, as they fell to NC State and Clemson and required overtime to beat BC on the road. Guess their 6-game winning streak to end out-of-conference play, where their best win was at home against St. Bonaventure, wasn't too impressive after all?  Pitt's defense, ranked 159th in adj. efficiency, is Jamie Dixon's worst since KenPom started keeping track in 2004, as the unit struggles on the interior.

This week: Wednesday vs. Florida State. Saturday vs. Georgia Tech.

11. Wake Forest

Yes, Wake Forest is 1-3 in the ACC, but they're actually off to a pretty impressive start.  During their 3-game homestand, they put serious scares into Louisville and Duke, then took down Georgia Tech.  More impressive: Wake scored over a point per possession against Louisville's defense and allowed just 1.01 PPP to Duke's offense. Weird things happen in the Joel. But they can't play at home forever.

This week: Tuesday @ Syracuse.

12. Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets threatened to pull out of the bottom of the conference, if you believe their KenPom ranking, but their ACC start begs to differ. GT lost in double OT at Notre Dame, fell by 1 to Syracuse, then lost a close one at Wake Forest. Bad luck or not, the result is an 0-3 ACC record with an unforgiving upcoming schedule to follow.

Georgia Tech's rematch with the Irish this week is the conference's first, just 11 games after their game in South Bend.

This week: Wednesday vs. Notre Dame.  Saturday @ Syracuse.

13. Boston College

After an 0-3 start to their season, this Wednesday is BC's Super Bowl.  Can they snap a six-game losing streak against Harvard? The game's in Chestnut Hill, and KenPom gives the Eagles a 42% of victory. This could be huge.

(Based on the rest of the season, I'll predict a close loss. BC is 301st "luckiest" (per KenPom) in the nation, worst in the ACC.)

This week: Wednesday vs Harvard. Saturday vs Virginia.

14. Florida State

FSU is 14th in the nation in two-point shooting and 336th in three-point shooting, the NCAA's widest gap.  Their interior giants may terrorize the ACC in a couple years, but don't do much quite yet.  I want to give a Leonard Hamilton-coached team the benefit of the doubt, but it doesn't look like that's going to be possible this season. (The Noles home win over the Hokies won't change that.)

This week: Wednesday @ Pittsburgh. Saturday vs. NC State.

Tier 5:

15. Virginia Tech

The Hokies' next 4 games: @ Louisville, @ UNC, vs. Notre Dame, vs. Virginia.  I'm going to go out on a limb and predict they will have to wait a while before getting their first ACC victory.  Their most impressive win of the season remains a season-opening triumph over UM-Eastern Shore.

This week: Tuesday @ Louisville. Sunday @ North Carolina.