As we turn the calendar to February, let’s take a look at our latest ACC Power Rankings:
Virginia remains the top team in the ACC with losses to Miami and Pittsburgh on the road. While not anything special from an offensive perspective, this prototypical Tony Bennett team is a top seed for the tournament for a reason. Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman keep the ship afloat averaging almost 30 minutes a night. Good teams win, and that’s exactly what Virginia has been doing.
2. North Carolina
UNC has won four straight games, and Armando Bacot is showing why he may be ACC player of the year. Who knows how much NIL money flowed to Bacot to stay, but safe to say it was worth it. R.J. Davis and Caleb Love have also shown that UNC’s long-line of great guards did not end when Roy Williams retired. UNC is not a team you want to face in Chapel Hill, and their game tonight against Pitt will be a major factor for their tournament resume.
Clemson needs to get healthy and stay healthy. Brad Brownell has finally put together a good team, with Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall leading the way. However, with injuries, comes losses like the one to Boston College. Clemson is still a tournament team, and Brownell should be firmly off the hot seat. But health will determine how far this team goes down the line.
Kyle Filipowski is one of the best forwards in the country and is setting himself up for a nice draft day this summer. But the loss to Virginia Tech stings, and the injury to Dariq Whitehead burns. Coach Jon Scheyer has a lot of weapons still at his disposal so it’s hard to feel bad for the Blue Devils, but a slippery slope lies ahead.
Three top-25 wins at home with no John Hugley or Dior Johnson. Bonkers. Jamarius Burton is playing at an all-conference level, and Blake Hinson is playing like one of the best transfers in the country. Jeff Capel was just awarded coach of the week by ESPN and the Pitt Panthers are currently a tournament team. With two four stars and a three-star signed for next season, is Pitt back?
6. NC State
As cold as Virginia Tech was is as hot as NC State is. Winning six of their last seven, including Duke, NC State is making sure nobody forgets about them in the research triangle. DJ Burns had a career performance against Wake Forest, Terquavion Smith continues to build his resume for the NBA, and Jarkel Joiner is draining buckets. If this team can be healthy in March, the Wolfpack will be a dark horse to win the ACC tournament.
The loss to Pitt was devastating. Ending a game giving up an 11-0 run is just not what top 25 teams do. I also have not forgotten about their loss to Georgia Tech earlier this month. Miami is a tournament team, but their lack of consistency is head scratching. However, the win last night against Virginia Tech was a great reminder how fast this team can get hot on offense.
A five-point loss to UVA, two four-point losses to UNC and Miami, and a two-point loss to Pitt. Syracuse could easily be a tournament team, yet here they sit firmly off the bubble. Jesse Edwards and Judah Mintz have looked great, and the commitment from Elijah “Choppa” Moore is exciting for the future of the Orange. Not exciting? Jim Boeheim snapping at reporters at people for asking questions about Benny Williams and the Orange’s lack of depth at wing.
9. Wake Forest
Tyree Appleby is awesome. Fast, smart, and fearless. Appleby has cooled off from his hot start this season, but Appleby can carry this team against anyone in the ACC. Three straight losses (Pitt, NC State, and Duke) have Wake Forest firmly out of the tournament, but the losses were by two points. Unlucky? Perhaps. Wake Forest has potential to haunt some teams down the stretch.
10. Virginia Tech
Grant Basile looked amazing against Duke and Syracuse this week, freeing the Hokies from the shackles of their seven-game losing streak. Hunter Catoor’s six 3-pointers against Syracuse, and then five 3-pointers against Duke shows how dangerous this team can be and why they started 11-1. Yet here they sit at 3-7 in conference play.
11. Florida State
Bab Miller is finally in town and Florida State has shown glimpses of what people thought they could be. Watching Miller cover the perimeter in their upset of Pittsburgh this month explains why NBA pundits think Miller is a potential lottery pick. Last week’s comeback (but ultimate loss) to Clemson was also impressive. This team has not quit on their coach or their school and should continue to be scary to face the rest of the way.
12. Boston College
This team almost lost to Louisville. I repeat, this team almost lost to Louisville. Without Quentin Post playing at an all-conference level, Boston College might be further down the power rankings. With that being said, a competent supporting cast around Post could lead to Boston College causing some migraines for teams the rest of the way. Last night’s win against Clemson was just that.
13. Notre Dame
Mike Brey announcing his retirement is a bittersweet moment. A classic coach, who truly seems like a good guy on and off the court. His back-court has not lived up to expectations at all, and the season has proven that Notre Dame is not even in the same neighborhood as the two Big Ten schools that share the state. Losing two recruits for next season is also atrocious, but not nearly as bad as the defense Notre Dame has played this season.
14. Georgia Tech
Earlier this year I said Josh Pastner needed his dad to send him recruits from Texas. Now, Josh may need his dad to send out his resume. Georgia Tech is atrocious and a loss to Louisville should allow Coach Pastner to start looking for a new job for next season. Losing to Duke by 43 points cancels out the win against Miami earlier this month in my mind. Time to start getting ready for the Peach Jam if you live in the state of Georgia.
Louisville continues to stink up the ACC, doing their best impression of Kevin Stallings’ last Pitt Panthers squad. The complete collapse against Boston College, after an early lead, was the icing on the cake to a terrible season. El Ellis has continued to prove he’s a legitimate ACC player but that’s about it for Louisville.