Now that we’ve gotten our first UNC-Duke matchup of the season out of the way, it’s getting easier to figure out where the top two teams in the conference stand. And once you’ve figured that part out, the rest is gravy, right? No? OK then.
This has been a really fun season of ACC Basketball with as many as six teams bound for the NCAA Tournament, and here are your latest Power Rankings.
1. Duke Blue Devils (Up 2)
Duke rallied hard after losing at home to Miami, beating North Carolina on a buzzer-beater and then returning home to dominate Maryland. A week like that, paired with a mediocre showing from FSU, is going to vault the Devils in my Power Rankings.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels (Down 1)
Should have held on to that lead, Carolina. Instead, UNC melted down in the final minutes of their home game against Duke, and they’ll have to beat the Devils at Cameron Indoor in the final game of the regular season to avoid a sweep. They do get credit for beating Virginia by 18 over the weekend, keeping them above the Seminoles in my rankings.
3. Florida State Seminoles (Down 1)
FSU had a golden opportunity to make a major step in the right direction when Duke beat UNC. All they had to do was beat last-place Boston College, and they’d hold a one-game lead in the standings (plus the tiebreaker over both teams, which would make it a two-game lead, essentially). But BC shot the lights out and pulled off the upset over Florida State, of course. Props to FSU for quickly putting out the fire, beating Miami at home over the weekend. Virginia Tech and a crucial trip to NC State are on the schedule this week.
4. Virginia Cavaliers (No change)
I’m not going to punish the Cavs for their past week — they throttled Wake Forest (which everyone seems to be doing these days) and lost a very losable game at North Carolina. No excuses for any losses this week, though, with Clemson and Maryland on the docket.
5. NC State Wolfpack (No change)
I keep waiting on the Wolfpack to do something that will help their chances of making the NCAA Tournament, and this is finally their week to make that happen. They have a road trip to Duke Feb. 16, then they host FSU two days later. They’ve done a great job beating the teams they’re supposed to beat, and now they have two chances to get a quality win this week.
6. Miami Hurricanes (No change)
Miami’s five-game winning streak was snapped by Florida State over the weekend, but there’s nothing shameful about losing to the first-place team in a rivalry game. The ‘Canes host UNC Wednesday night — a great chance to make a statement.
7. Maryland Terrapins (No change)
Maryland keeps doing their thing, beating the teams below them in the standings and losing to the teams above them. At 4-6 in the ACC, I just don’t see them making a move to get into the NCAA Tournament field.
8. Clemson Tigers (Up 1)
Clemson had their shot to move up in my rankings this week, until they lost 64-62 to Maryland. This is going to be a long week for the Tigers, because they host Virginia Tuesday night and then have a road game this weekend against North Carolina, where they haven’t won in like half a century.
9. Virginia Tech Hokies (Down 1)
The Hokies have won two of their last three — wins over Clemson and Boston College, both at home. They have a trip to Tallahassee Thursday night for the second game of the year against the Seminoles. Winning that game would do more to help them move up in my rankings than a win later in the week against Georgia Tech.
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (No change)
GT only had one game last week, which was a 61-52 loss to NC State at Philips Arena. I could have moved them down, but I think they’re right where they need to be.
11. Boston College Eagles (Up 1)
The Eagles played their best game of the year Wednesday night, beating FSU 64-60 at Conte Forum. You’re a very dangerous team when you make 46 percent of your three-pointers, and if the Eagles could do that every game, they wouldn’t have lost seven of their last eight. I hope you can sense my bitterness through your computer screen.
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Down 1)
Two more losses this week, both by 20 or more, with one of them being Clemson’s first win in Joel Coliseum since Tim Duncan was a little kid. Things have gotten about as bad as they can be for the Deacs.