With the ACC schedule in high gear, there has been plenty of movement in the ACC basketball power rankings. Virginia has continued its hot play, while Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Duke continue to confound people. Here’s where we stand as we finish out the month of January.
1. Virginia (11-2)
All it took was a return to conference play for Virginia to return back to the championship contender form. The Hoos haven’t lost an ACC game all year and are carrying an 18-game conference winning streak. The ACC is down this year and that might be a streak that doesn’t end this season.
2. Florida State (9-2)
The Seminole’s are looking good. Really good. After losing to Clemson in December they have been blowing out the competition, including extracting revenge on Clemson. They have four winnable games on the schedule until their big tilt with UVA on Feb. 15. That is shaping up to be the game that decides the ACC regular season champion.
3. Virginia Tech (11-3)
Virginia Tech started out on fire but has come back down to earth as of late. The Hokies are 3-2 in their last five and just suspended their second leading scorer and starting guard, Tyrece Radford, indefinitely. They go on the road to Notre Dame, play UVA at home then travel to Pittsburgh over the next 8 days. We will find out if the the Hokes can stay in the top 3 after that stretch.
4. Louisville (10-3)
The Cardinals coughed one up against Miami 11 days ago and then lost to Florida State after that. But were able to bounce back against Duke. Louisville has been able to play great basketball on most nights and deserves to be in the top four. But they do look beatable on most nights and that might drop them over the next few weeks.
5. North Carolina (11-5)
The Tar Heels are 6-1 in their last seven games, and playing good, although not flashy, basketball. They are getting the ball in to the post and shooting at a high percentage. UNC is hitting its stride at the right time and are primed to make a run over the last few weeks of the season.
6. Duke (6-5)
Duke has been underwhelming this season but they just got Jalen Johnson back last week and he is leading Duke in the right direction. He almost singlehandedly carried the Blue Devils to a win against Pitt and the Blue Devils narrowly lost to Lousiville. The turnaround came to fruition against a strong Georgia Tech team last night as Duke switch up styles, pounded it inside and won the game. Every game remaining on the schedule is Duke’s to lose except for a matchup with Virginia on Feb. 20. Circle Feb. 6 for when UNC comes to town.
7. Georgia Tech (7-5)
The Yellow Jackets have won five of their last seven, with the two losses coming back-to-back against UVA and Duke, respectively. The team is playing inspired ball an has two huge opportunities for statement wins as FSU and Louisville are coming to Atlanta in the span of two days. A split of those two will keep Georgia Tech’s post season chances alive.
8. Pittsburgh (8-4)
Pitt started to look like a team that could be a challenger in the ACC, but then they ran in to a hot shooting night from Wake Forest that they couldn’t overcome. Then they let UNC beat them on the boards while shooting a high field goal percentage. The excitement from the Duke game is all but gone and now Pitt needs to show that they have it in them to stop the slide. Otherwise, Pitt will sink to the bottom of these power rankings.
9. Syracuse (9-5)
Syracuse is really hard to peg in these standings. They are 3-4 in their last seven games with two disappointing losses to Pitt that were followed by an upset win over No. 16 Virginia Tech. Then they ran in to the buzzsaw that is Virginia, so it’s hard to gauge how good or bad they are. Jim Boeheim will always have the team ready to play, but outside of BC, NCST, and Notre Dame, there aren’t a ton of winnable games left on the calendar. The Orange were never getting the best odds to win the ACC, but now more than ever it seems unlikely to happen.
10. Clemson (9-4)
After starting out strong, the Tigers have lost three in a row. They have a tough schedule coming up, where we will learn a lot about this Tigers team. Their 3-point defense needs to get better in a hurry or it could get late early for Clemson.
11. NC State (6-5)
It’s tough to have an idea of how good this NC State team is, but they are certainly trending down. They have an opportunity to stave of the bleeding against Wake Forest at home. If they don’t win, this season may get away from them.
12. Notre Dame (5-8)
After a brutal schedule to open the season, the Irish have won their last two. The team is showing signs of life and has the talent to play spoiler for many teams the rest of the way. The ACC is down, so if they get hot they may claw their way back in to this thing.
13. Miami (6-8)
Miami is 2-6 in their last eight games but somehow managed to upset Louisville during this stretch. They are often shorthanded but have a lot of talent with skill when they have a full team. They won’t be an easy out with a full roster, but it’s hard to justify them being any higher than 13th with this record.
14. Wake Forest (4-6)
Wake got their first ACC win against Pitt this past Saturday when they shot lights out from 3. The Deacons have been having a lot of great individual performances and were finally able to put together a solid team performance. They will be handicapped the rest of the way due to their lack of talent and depth but they can pull a W randomly.
15. Boston College (3-10)
Not much has gone right for BC this season. They get to face FSU after a long break due to COVID-19. The Eagles live and die by the 3. With only one ranked team left on the calendar, that they happened to play twice, BC might be able to steal a few wins and elevate themselves out of the basement.