We’re only one month into the college basketball season, and already, there are four teams on pause because of COVID-19 and plenty of movement in our power rankings. Without further ado, here are the first rankings of 2021:
1. Duke (3-2)
Duke lost two tough matchups in the non-conference slate, then took a pause. Losing Jaylen Johnson is a big deal for this team, but the worries over coronavirus have the team concerned as well. Let’s see how the team responds to adversity over the next two weeks.
2. Virginia Tech (8-1)
VT has started out 2-0 in league play and has the best non-conference win of the year. I did not see this coming and it is still early, but the team looks to be a challenger for the remainder of the regular season.
3. Louisville (7-1)
The Cardinals haven’t been the most impressive team but they have beaten Kentucky and are 2-0 in conference play. Look the team to return to form as they get their feel for conference play.
4. Virginia (5-2)
The Cavaliers bounced back after losing to San Francisco with four wins in five contests, the only loss being to No. 1 Gonzaga. Hopefully we see UVA on the court this coming week after the game with Va. Tech was postponed due to a positive test on the UVA staff.
5. Syracuse (6-1)
Syracuse hasn’t really played anyone of merit to warrant the No. 5 spot, but I am not going to hold two games being postponed due to COVID-19 against them. The team has rattled off three straight wins and will return after pausing for three games to host Pitt later this week.
6. NC State (6-1)
The Wolfpack coughed one up against Saint Louis, but aside from that game they have taken care of business including a big win against rival North Carolina. The schedule is favorable and the talent is real. Expect NCST to make some noise over the next few weeks.
7. Clemson (8-1)
The Tigers only lost one game, and that was against the surprising Hokies, while also beating No. 18 FSU. There are no easy games in the ACC and Clemson is going to be a tough out every night.
8. North Carolina (6-4)
The Tar Heels have been a disappointment so far this season. They needed late game heroics to defeat Notre Dame and have lost to every team with comparable talent on their schedule. The talent is there, which keeps them in the top 8 in the ACC, but the questions about Roy William’s ability to maintain success in Chapel Hill are starting to get louder.
9. Florida State (5-2)
The Seminole’s have some head scratching losses, but also some impressive wins. They are going to stay in the top 9 for now, but they need to get their act together before the season gets away from them. Unfortunately, they’re on pause right now because of the COVID-19 protocol.
10. Georgia Tech (6-3)
The Yellow Jackets have two ACC wins and are playing quite well. They will aim to keep this momentum rolling after losing their first two non-conference games in embarrassing fashion.
11. Pittsburgh (5-2)
Pitt has been playing much better this year but are still a long way from contending in this league. They beat a short handed Miami then kept it close against Louisville without two of their top three players. For comparison’s sake, they lost to Louisville by 30+ twice last year and only lost by 10 this year. Progress, ladies and gentlemen.
12. Wake Forest (3-1)
Wake Forest is 3-1 and hard to evaluate. They got the doors blown off them by Ga. Tech after a nearly a month between games. Are they good? Are they bad? It’s hard to tell but I’m not so sure this team is that far along in their rebuild to be considered good yet.
13. Miami (4-4)
It has been a tough start to the year in Coral Gables with injuries and positive tests piling up. The Hurricanes are well coached and competitive but these things are hard to overcome.
14. Notre Dame (3-6)
Notre Dame has played an extremely difficult schedule and it shows. The losses are mounting but the team does not quit in the face of adversity. However, they are lacking talent, which leads me to believe they can’t turn this thing around. The schedule doesn’t get any easier down the stretch, either.
15. Boston College (2-7)
The schedule has been brutal for a Boston College team that is lacking in talent. They will continue to fight but the pattern of losing will most likely continue for this Eagles team.