This week gave us a clearer picture of the ACC’s best teams. Florida State stumbled, Duke surged and Miami is now in a lot of trouble (off-the-court, at least).
What we have this week is a new top team in the conference’s Power Rankings, and I’m not one for cliffhangers, so here’s my updated list.
1. Duke Blue Devils (Up 1)
Duke has proven they can beat the top teams in the conference, plain and simple. They beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and they beat Florida State in Tallahassee this week. In my opinion, that’s what you have to do to prove you’re the strongest team in the conference. The Devils have a walkover Tuesday night against Wake Forest, then the big rematch against UNC in Durham on March 3.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels (Down 1)
Nothing wrong with UNC’s body of work this week — wins over NC State and Virginia, two teams that were desperate to get a strong win against the Tar Heels. But as of right now, UNC is a combined 0-2 against Duke and Florida State, so with Duke beating FSU last week, I had to drop the Tar Heels down a notch.
3. Florida State Seminoles (Down 1)
People are going to make a big stink about FSU losing to Duke and Miami this week, but neither loss was really all that shocking. The mold for beating FSU is very simple — put four guards on the floor, abandon any sort of offense in the paint, stand on the outside and jack up three-pointers and hope like heck that you don’t have an off-night from the perimeter. The Devils and Hurricanes both followed that mold, and they were both successful. Tip your hat and move on, because they played tight defense for the most part, and the shots still went in. Also, FSU was an underdog in both games.
Not sure how national media will portray this – but it wasn’t an upset. Miami was favored. And they match up better w/o Johnson.
— Corey Clark (@Corey_Clark) February 27, 2012
4. Virginia Cavaliers (No change)
I’m running out of reasons to keep the Cavs ranked above the Hurricanes, but UVA did take care of business when they were favored this week, beating Virginia Tech 61-59 in Blacksburg on Tuesday night. They have a shot to get another good win this Thursday night when they host Florida State. If they want to stay in my top 4, I’d suggest they win that game.
5. Miami Hurricanes (No change)
The tweet from Corey Clark referenced how Miami was without center Reggie Johnson in their Sunday night win over FSU, and that was because Johnson’s family allegedly received funding for travel by the athletic department. You’d have to assume that a case like this with a team that is bound for the NCAA Tournament will be resolved quickly by the NCAA. They wouldn’t want an ineligible team running roughshod on the Big Dance, making a deep run that would eventually be vacated. Right?
6. NC State Wolfpack (No change)
With four losses in a row, the Wolfpack have played themselves onto the bubble, and are currently on the outside looking in. They’ll probably have to find a marquis victory in the ACC Tournament, or they will be NIT-bound.
7. Clemson Tigers (No change)
Clemson got two more wins this week, beating Georgia Tech on the road and winning an overtime battle with NC State at home over the weekend. At 7-7, they’re not playing their way into the NCAA Tournament unless they win the ACC Tournament.
8. Maryland Terrapins (No change)
The Terps got a good win over Miami at home on Tuesday night, but lost to Georgia Tech on the road over the weekend. It’s been that kind of year for Maryland.
9. Virginia Tech Hokies (No change)
The Hokies lost two games they weren’t expected to win last week, dropping a home game against Virginia and losing on the road to Duke, in overtime. The thing that shocked me was how close they were to winning both games. Despite the close losses, the best win the Hokies have in February is a home victory over Clemson, so it hasn’t been a great month for them.
10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (No change)
The Deacons got beaten up by Miami early in the week, then they turned around and throttled Boston College, 85-56. As bad as BC might be, that was a shocking outcome to me. They will finish the season by hosting Duke and then hitting the road to play Georgia Tech on their Senior Day.
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Up 1)
The Jackets got a very nice win on Saturday when they beat Maryland 63-61. They have a couple of winnable games to finish out their season, going to Boston College and then finishing at home against Wake. This is a hypothetical, but if GT finishes the season on a three-game winning streak, I’d have to think that would be a positive note for fans of the Yellow Jackets that haven’t had a lot to cheer for this season.
12. Boston College Eagles (Down 1)
BC only played once last week and got beaten up badly by Wake Forest. They’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games, and their last chance to win a game in the regular season will be when they host GT on Wednesday. They finish the year in Miami, and I’m giving them no chance to win that game.