#GoACC Basketball Power Rankings: Week 13

Continuing the tradition of my fallen comrade Fritz Metzinger, the #GoACC Power Rankings will rank our beloved conference’s teams last to first, with a dash of snark.

15. Virginia Tech (8-11, 1-6 ACC)
Last Week: 70-63 L at Notre Dame, 83-77 L vs. Wake Forest, 65-45 L at Virginia
This Week: Jan. 29 at Boston College, Feb. 1 vs. Maryland

Virginia Tech has a basketball team? I thought they just played football year-round…

I know you’re not supposed to laugh at others’ misfortune, but after 10 years of defeat on the gridiron I feel slightly justified. The Hokies played the Irish and the Demon Deacons tough despite missing freshman guard and captain Ben Emelogu, but were ice-cold from the floor and were dominated on both ends of the court by the Cavaliers to close out the week.

Though Virginia coach Tony Bennett couldn’t pronounce Emelogu’s last name, he did acknowledge after the game that coach James Johnson and the Hokies had caught a few rough breaks recently, and should improve as Emelogu and redshirt-sophomore guard Adam Smith return to full strength.

14. Boston College (5-14, 1-5 ACC)
Last Week: 68-60 L vs. Georgia Tech
This Week: Jan. 29 vs. Virginia Tech, Feb. 1 at Notre Dame

In what could likely pass for a high school game, the Eagles will get a crack at the only other ACC team with one conference win Wednesday when they host the Hokies. Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan — last year’s ACC Freshman of the Year — ranks second in the conference, scoring 18.9 points per game, while junior forward Ryan Anderson contributes 14.5. But scoring means little when your defense forfeits a pedestrian 74.8 per game — a number good for last in the conference.

13. Georgia Tech (11-9, 2-5 ACC)
Last Week: 68-60 W at Boston College
This Week: 80-78 L (OT) at NC State, Jan. 29 vs. North Carolina, Feb. 1 at Wake Forest

The Yellow Jackets have not been disappointed in senior guard Trae Golden, who transferred from Tennessee in the offseason. Golden leads Georgia Tech with 14.3 points per game, including three 20-point games already during conference play.

But, ultimately the Ramblin’ Wreck is just that — a mediocre ACC team that can burn you if you don’t put out its fire early. The Jackets will rarely shoot themselves back into a game if they fall too far behind, converting just 30.5 percent of their 3-point attempts — the second worst in the conference.

12. Notre Dame (11-10, 2-6 ACC)
Last Week: 70-63 W vs. Virginia Tech, 76-74 L at Florida State, 65-58 L at Wake Forest
This Week: 68-53 L vs. Virginia, Feb. 1 vs. Boston College

It was an inspiring story: senior guard and leading scorer Jerian Grant leaves school due to an undisclosed academic infraction, but the team rallies and wins its next two games, including a 79-77 upset of then-No. 7 Duke.

Alas, it was too good to be true. The Irish stumbled to a 1-6 record after the Duke win, defeating only lowly Virginia Tech.

Maybe Grant should’ve gone to North Carolina instead. I hear the academic standards are a little less stringent there.

11. Maryland (11-9, 3-4 ACC)
Last Week: 65-56 L at NC State, 83-79 L vs. No. 20 Pitt
This Week: Jan. 29 vs. Miami, Feb. 1 at Virginia Tech

The Dirty Terps struggled early without a true point guard, ranking second-to-last in the league with a 0.91 assist-to-turnover ratio. However, the return of sophomore guard Seth Allen from injury has improved the team’s offensive efficiency and freed up junior swingman Dez Wells to focus on scoring.

Though Maryland’s big men are a step down from last year’s — and seven-foot-one Alex Len — the team is competing again, beating the Seminoles and taking a good Pitt team down to the final minute.

10. Wake Forest (14-6,4-3 ACC)
Last Week: 83-77 W at Virginia Tech, 65-58 W vs. Notre Dame
This Week: Jan. 29 vs. No. 2 Syracuse, Feb. 1 vs. Georgia Tech

Sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre leads Wake Forest with 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game, but with a name like that it’s truly a wonder he didn’t end up in Charlottesville.

Picked to finish 13th in the #ACCMediaDay Preseason Poll, Wake Forest is actually outperforming expectations this season. Though the Demon Deacons don’t have many signature wins — they upset then-No. 19 North Carolina, but we know better by now — they’re out there competing every game, and what more can you really ask for?

Tim Duncan? Chris Paul? Bueller?

9. Miami (10-9, 2-5 ACC)
Last Week: 67-46 L vs. No. 18 Duke, 64-52 L vs. No. 2 Syracuse
This Week: Jan. 29 at Maryland, Feb. 1 vs. Norfolk State

It is amazing what a difference losing six of your best seven players from one year to the next does to a team. The darlings of the conference last year, the Hurricanes are near the bottom of the league in points, field goal percentage, free-throws, assists and turnovers, but they can still play a little defense and manage to stay in games.

To be fair, the ‘Canes have had to play Syracuse twice, along with Duke and Florida State, so it can’t get much worse, right? Plus, I heard LeBron, D-Wade and Kobe came to their game against Duke — maybe they got a picture.

8. Clemson (13-6, 4-3 ACC)
Last Week: 76-43 L at No. 20 Pitt
This Week: 80-61 L at North Carolina, Feb. 1 at Florida State

The little brothers still couldn’t get it done, falling yet again in Chapel Hill to an erratic North Carolina squad. The Tigers have looked decent against mediocre teams and even upset then-No. 16 Duke at Littlejohn Coliseum, but were creamed by No. 18 Pitt and beaten soundly by the Tar Heels.

Junior forward K.J. McDaniels leads Clemson with 16.2 points and 7.1 boards per game, but the senior-less Tigers are probably another year away from NCAA Tournament consideration.

7. North Carolina State (13-7, 3-4 ACC)
Last Week: 65-56 W vs. Maryland
This Week: 80-78 W (OT) vs. Georgia Tech, Jan. 29 vs. Florida State, Feb. 1 at North Carolina

NC State boasts the conference’s leading scorer in sophomore forward T.J. Warren — who averages 22.1 points per game — and little else. So far in 2014, the Wolfpack have been blown out by Virginia and Duke by 31 and 35 points, respectively.

6. North Carolina (12-7, 2-4 ACC)
Last Week: 76-61 L at Virginia, 80-61 W vs. Clemson
This Week: Jan. 29 at Georgia Tech, Feb. 1 vs. N.C. State

The Tar Heels have been one of the most unpredictable teams this season. While P.J. Hairston and the school’s recent academic scandals provide ample fodder for Carolina haters worldwide, there’s something unnatural about seeing this team struggle.

The Heels are the league’s top rebounding team and have the talent and athleticism of which most coaches can only dream, but they can’t seem to put it together where it matters most — on the court. But despite the team’s struggles, it managed to avoid being the team to allow Clemson its first win in Chapel Hill, dominating the Tigers 80-61 at the Dean Dome.

5. Florida State (13-6, 4-3 ACC)
Last Week: 76-74 W vs. Notre Dame, 78-56 L vs. No. 18 Duke
This Week: Jan. 29 at NC State, Feb. 1 vs. Clemson

The Criminoles — as some Virginia fans affectionately refer to them after a small altercation at John Paul Jones Arena — have been tremendously average thus far, losing to Virginia (twice!) and Duke, but soundly beating Clemson, Maryland and Miami.

Senior forward Okaro White can generally be counted on for at least one extraordinary display of athleticism per game and the Seminoles have three players that are at least seven feet tall. But the Seminoles are perhaps the most undisciplined team in the conference, fouling often and boasting an ACC-worst 0.83 assist-turnover ratio.

4. Virginia (16-5, 7-1 ACC)
Last Week: 76-61 W vs. North Carolina, 65-45 W vs. Virginia Tech
This Week: 68-53 W at Notre Dame

I keep wondering how they’re going to let me down this year, but so far I’ve got nothing. Ever since the humiliating 35-point loss inflicted by Tennessee, the Cavaliers have been dismantling their opponents. Had one ridiculous 3-point shot taken a bounce that complied with the laws of physics, Virginia stands undefeated in ACC play.

Almost any ACC team can beat another on a given day, but Virginia has survived thus far without any egregious losses that would bar the team from NCAA Tournament consideration. Though this appears to be Bennett’s most well-rounded team yet, the true test lies next Sunday, when the Cavaliers visit No. 18 Pitt, whose Oakland Zoo is notorious as one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.

3. No. 18 Pittsburgh (18-3, 6-2 ACC)
Last Week: 76-43 W vs. Clemson, 83-79 W vs. Maryland
This Week: 80-65 L vs. No. 17 Duke

The Panthers looked like they, like Syracuse, might turn the ACC upside its head this season. Two Big East teams enter and finish 1-2 during their first year in the league? That’s a definite #GoACC. Pitt lost a close game to ‘Cuse that came down to the final minute, but was put in its place by Duke, upholder of all that is good and righteous within the realm of ACC basketball.

But jokes aside, Pitt is a dangerous team that can play with anyone. Redshirt senior guard Lamar Patterson almost single-handedly kept the Panthers in their game against the Orange, and averages 17.7 points per game. Redshirt senior forward Talib Zanna contributes 13.5 points per game and pulls down a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard James Robinson is ultra-efficient, averaging a league-best 4.9 assist-turnover ratio in conference play.

2. No. 17 Duke (17-4, 6-2 ACC)
Last Week: 67-46 W at Miami, 78-56 W vs. Florida State
This Week: 80-65 W at No. 18 Pitt, Feb. 1 at No. 2 Syracuse

The preseason ACC favorite Blue Devils and their eternally frowning leader lost a pair of early ACC games they shouldn’t have to Notre Dame and Clemson, but their two other losses were relatively close games with current No. 5 Kansas and No. 1 Arizona. Though they blew a 13-point lead in a matter of minutes to Virginia, the Blue Devils haven’t played anyone else close since. Duke won its next four games by more than 23 points on average.

Freshman forward Jabari Parker is scary good, ranking second in the conference in total points and fourth in rebounds per game, while Andre Dawkins and Rodney Hood lead the conference in 3-point percentage. The Blue Devils visit the Carrier Dome Saturday, where the old guard of the ACC will look to hand Syracuse its first conference loss.

1. No. 2 Syracuse (19-0, 6-0 ACC)
Last Week: 64-52 W at Miami
This Week: Jan. 29 at Wake Forest, Feb. 1 vs. No. 17 Duke

The Orange aren’t the highest scoring team in the conference, nor have they allowed the fewest points (they’re second in that category to another team that sports orange and blue). But they are first in the one stat that truly matters: winning percentage.

Led by senior forward and Preseason ACC Player of the Year C.J. Fair, sophomore forward Jerami Grant — the Grant brother who wasn’t been booted from school for an academic issue — and coach Jim Boeheim’s signature 2-3 defense, ‘Cuse has cruised up to this point. The conference newcomers already survived their former-Big East, current-ACC foe Pitt 59-54 and handed then-No. 8 Villanova its first loss. However, the Orange still have to face Duke twice, the Panthers again in Pittsburgh and Virginia on the road.

Though it’s doubtful Syracuse will finish the gauntlet undefeated, the team and its nose-picking coach have held up their end of the deal to make the ACC the premier basketball conference in the nation. The rest of the conference? #GoACC


Published January 29, 2014 in Sports





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