#GoACC Basketball Power Rankings: Week 16

Pivotal Virginia-Syracuse matchup on horizon


It was quite a week for the ACC. The outgoing conference pariahs known as the Dirty Terps came about as close as you can to upsetting the Blue Devils, Maryland’s hated rivals and the darlings of the ACC, at Cameron Indoor. It took a few blatantly pro-Blue Devil calls, no-calls and officiating blunders down the stretch, but in the end John Swofford got the outcome he desired and Duke escaped with a win, because of course.

Sidenote: If you have 20 minutes and consider yourself a college basketball fan, I would encourage you to watch this video, an excellent history of the Maryland-Duke rivalry during the early 2000s that is nevermore.

Interestingly enough, Dickie V — a noted Duke homer and recent #GoACC Power Rankings mainstay — was dissatisfied with the referees’ error, but for a different reason.

I agree with the broadcasting legend; I’ve always thought it would be nifty to see college players actually jump for a jump ball like the pros do. Call me crazy.

But enough about my continual heartbreak at the pitchforks of the Blue Devils. On to the rankings:

15. Boston College (down 1)
Record: 6-19, 2-10 ACC
Last Week: 74-71 L at Georgia Tech, 73-69 L vs. Notre Dame
This Week: Feb. 19 at No. 1 Syracuse, Feb. 22 at Miami

They finally did it! The Eagles wrested the absolute cellar of the #GoACC Power Rankings from the Hokies after losses to two bottom-tier conference opponents last week. Impossible is nothing.

14. Virginia Tech (up 1)
Record: 9-16, 2-11 ACC
Last Week: 52-45 W vs. Miami
This Week: 57-53 L vs. No. 14 Virginia, Feb. 22 vs. NC State

I may hate on the Hokies far more than they deserve, so I’d like to congratulate them this week on their first — and quite possibly only — win of the 2014 calendar year. A 19-15 game at the half, Virginia Tech’s win against Miami was quite the barnburner in Blacksburg. The Hokies also almost ruined my Tuesday night in an impressive showing against a Virginia team I haven’t seen since Dec. 2013 in Knoxville.

12.5. Georgia Tech (up 0.5)
Record: 13-13, 4-9 ACC
Last Week: 74-71 W vs. Boston College
This Week: 68-51 L vs. No. 5 Duke, Feb. 22 vs. Clemson

12.5. Wake Forest (down 0.5)
Record: 14-12, 4-9 ACC
Last Week: 82-67 L at NC State, ­­67-60 L vs. Florida State
This Week: 71-60 L at Maryland, Feb. 22 at North Carolina

In what I admit is a major cop-out, I’ve merged Georgia Tech and Wake Forest into a tie between 12th and 13th place. What can I say, it’s incredibly hard to distinguish these two fantastically mediocre ACC teams.

Both the Yellow Jackets and the Demon Deacons have excellent opportunities to differentiate themselves against tough competition this week, though I suspect they won’t.

11. Miami (down 2)
Record: 12-13, 3-9 ACC
Last Week: 77-73 W at Florida State, 52-45 L at Virginia Tech
This Week: Feb. 19 vs. Notre Dame, Feb. 22 vs. Boston College

Damn it, Jim, I believed in you last week and this is how you repay me — by losing to Virginia Tech? That would have never happened if you had stayed at George Mason.

10. Notre Dame (up 1)
Record: 14-12, 5-8 ACC
Last Week: 68-64 W (2OT) vs. Clemson, 73-69 W at Boston College
This Week: Feb. 19 at Miami, Feb. 22 at No. 14 Virginia

Who needs Jerian Grant when you have Steve Vasturia? The freshman guard, who averages 4.3 points per game, scored 11 points and went toe-to-toe with K.J. McDaniels in double overtime, draining a pair of three-pointers to give Notre Dame the lead for good against Clemson.

The Irish also limited McDaniels to a mere 30 points in 46 minutes — slight sarcasm, until you consider that he dropped 24 in 36 minutes against Virginia.

9. Florida State (up 1)
Record: 15-11, 6-8 ACC
Last Week: 77-73 L vs. Miami, 67-60 W at Wake Forest
This Week: 81-75 L vs. North Carolina, Feb. 23 at Pitt

The Seminoles looked tough during the first half — they almost had me fooled. It was difficult to tell if Florida State was playing well or North Carolina was just stinking it up in the Sunshine State. I suspect it was a little of both.

Nevertheless, how a team with three seven-footers gets outrebounded 42-32 and allows Kennedy Meeks to score 23 points on 11-of-12 shooting is beyond me.

8. Clemson (no change)
Record: 16-9, 7-6 ACC
Last Week: 68-64 L (OT) at Notre Dame, 63-58 L vs. No. 17 Virginia
This Week: 73-56 W vs. NC State, Feb. 22 at Georgia Tech

Like Maryland and North Carolina, Clemson is a team that desperately needed a tournament-quality win to remain in the hunt for a Tournament bid. The Tigers started fast against Virginia, but K.J. McDaniels can only do so much. The junior leads Clemson in points, rebounds, steals, blocks and sweet slam dunks per game, but also appears to be leading the Tigers to a high seed in the NIT.

7. Maryland (no change)
Record: 15-12, 7-7 ACC
Last Week: 61-53 L at No. 17 Virginia, 69-67 L at No. 8 Duke
This Week: 71-60 W vs. Wake Forest

Dez Wells was scoreless in the first half due to early foul trouble, but the Terps’ leading scorer went on a rampage after the break, scoring 17 and getting to the basket at will. Maryland really needed a marquee win to have any hope of making a run at a Tournament berth, and Mark Turgeon was visibly upset when it didn’t materialize, fostering an incredible Vine. We’ve all been there before, Turg. Just let it all out.

6. North Carolina State (no change)
Record: 16-10, 6-7 ACC
Last Week: 82-67 W vs. Wake Forest, 56-55 L at No. 1 Syracuse
This Week: 73-56 L at Clemson, Feb. 22 at Virginia Tech

Yes, it appeared as though T.J. Warren may have been fouled while shooting the potential game-winner against Syracuse. But that’s no excuse. All the Wolfpack had to do was hold on to the ball and make a few free throws, but they couldn’t even get to the line — Desmond Lee dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds, and Anthony Barber was stripped after receiving the inbound pass one possession later.

I’ve said it before, but this is not a very deep team beyond Warren. Three players combined for 50 of the Wolfpack’s 55 points against Syracuse — two starters were held scoreless in 55 combined minutes. The message here is clear: T.J. Warren needs to shoot about 50 times per game for this team to be successful.

5. Pittsburgh (no change)
Record: 20-6, 8-5 ACC
Last Week: 58-56 L vs. No. 1 Syracuse, 75-71 L at North Carolina
This Week: Feb. 23 vs. Florida State

Pitt’s last three games: a double overtime win against Virginia Tech and a pair of close losses to quality ACC competition. Talib Zanna must have been thinking he had just handed Syracuse its first loss after a pair of free throws to put the Panthers ahead 56-55 with four seconds to play. Poor guy.

The #GoACC gods would smite him for his audacity in the form of a 35-foot, game-winning buzzer-beater by Syracuse freshman point guard Tyler Ennis.

4. North Carolina (no change)
Record: 18-7, 8-4 ACC
Last Week: 75-71 W vs. No. 25 Pitt
This Week: 81-75 W at Florida State, Feb. 20 vs. No. 5 Duke, Feb. 22 vs. Wake Forest

Moving ahead of Pitt in the #GoACC Power Rankings inspired the Tar Heels to victory against the Panthers last Saturday — all they needed was someone to believe in them!

(Or, as they inch closer and closer to the bubble, a tournament quality win).

North Carolina followed up the Pitt win with a horrendous start at Florida State, falling behind 21-6 and looking as hapless as they did when they lost four out of five to begin conference play. But the Heels recovered and pulled one out in a raucous environment in Tallahassee, even without James Michael McAdoo — who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half — so I’m ruling the shaky performance an anomaly for now.

3. No. 14 Virginia (no change)
Record: 22-5, 13-1 ACC
Last Week: 61-53 W vs. Maryland, 63-58 W at Clemson
This Week: 57-53 W at Virginia Tech, Feb. 22 vs. Notre Dame

The Cavaliers avoided Clemsoning their season away by notching their first road win at Clemson since Jan. 2007, while their 12 ACC wins are the most ever under Tony Bennett, and this from a guy who had Mike Scott on his team.

But that is not as impressive as Teven Jones’ NaeNae. I could practice for weeks and still not be as smooth as Jones — he even put John Wall’s post-Dunk Contest dance to shame.

2. No. 5 Duke (no change)
Record: 21-5, 10-3 ACC
Last Week: 69-67 W vs. Maryland
This Week: 68-51 W at Georgia Tech, Feb. 20 at North Carolina, Feb. 22 vs. No. 1 Syracuse

Sometimes I think Coach K isn’t so much a great coach as he is a great manipulator of referees — an argument entrenched in semantics, I know. Nothing new this week — Duke still gets virtually every pivotal call and favorable bounce, and, most unfortunately, is still playing well.

1. No. 1 Syracuse (no change)
Record: 25-0, 12-0 ACC
Last Week: 58-56 W at No. 25 Pitt, 56-55 W vs. NC State
This Week: Feb. 19 vs. Boston College, Feb. 22 at No. 5 Duke

Yes, the Orange have looked beatable in their last two games, but as the cliché goes: Syracuse finds a way to win. The Orange are staying put in the top spot until they lose. We’ll re-examine their No. 1 ranking candidacy after March 1. For now, get your Tyler Ennis jerseys while they are still available.

How #GoACC, squeezing your student-athletes for all they’re worth.

Published February 18, 2014 in Sports

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