As we packed up our schoolbooks each afternoon, a fourth-grade classmate of mine used to say, “Another day, another dollar.” My teacher came to expect the phrase, sometimes joining in. And so right around 3:30 p.m., Riley — and maybe Mrs. Rachel — would say, “Another day, another dollar.”
That’s the phrase I keep coming back to when another week of ACC basketball comes and goes. Then, it’s time to sort out the wins and losses, digest any startling twists of fate and put 15 teams in order.
Here’s what I’ve come up with this week. Thanks, Riley, and sorry, Boston College.
15. Boston College (no change)
Record: 7-18 (0-12 ACC)
Last week: 65-68 L vs. No. 5 North Carolina, 61-75 L vs. Syracuse
This week: Feb. 17 at Clemson, Feb. 21 at Wake Forest
When you’re the Eagles and you manage to hang with Carolina, I suppose you’ve had a fine day at the gym. But when you’re the Eagles and you’ve lost 12 games in a row, it’s just not your year. I’d have a tough time ending my career like this if I were Eli Carter, Dennis Clifford or Steve Perpiglia — which is to say a Boston College senior.
14. Wake Forest (no change)
Record: 10-15 (1-12 ACC)
Last week: 66-71 L at Georgia Tech, 88-99 L at NC State
This week: Feb. 16 at Pittsburgh, Feb. 21 vs. Boston College
When Boston College and Wake play Sunday, someone’s season should brighten, if marginally. The Demon Deacons don’t have much on the Eagles — two wins, one of them in conference — and with 10 consecutive defeats, I’d say victory would taste pretty good.
Like, maybe not Littlejohns’s Chipotle Chicken-with-bacon good, but at least Chipotle Chicken without.
13. Georgia Tech (down 1)
Record: 13-12 (3-9 ACC)
Last week: 71-66 W vs. Wake Forest, 52-66 L at Clemson
This week: Feb. 17 at Florida State, Feb. 20 vs. No. 19 Notre Dame
The Wake Forest win came on the strength of prime-time efforts by leading scorer Marcus Georges-Hunt and top rebounder Charles Mitchell. Georges-Hunt dropped 30 while snagging three steals, and Mitchell hauled in 15 boards in 23 minutes.
Mitchell, a Maryland transfer, came up big against Clemson as well, posting an 11-point, 19-rebound double-double, but Georges-Hunt finished with just 10 points on seven shots.
12. NC State (up 1)
Record: 13-13 (3-10 ACC)
Last week: 99-88 W vs. Wake Forest
This week: 53-57 L at No. 7 Virginia, Feb. 20 vs. Clemson
Back in my PlayStation 2 heyday, I never tired of NBA Street Vol. 2, and if I did, I always came back. In NBA Street, a single player could seriously take over a game — particularly rim protectors like Stretch Monroe. He’s not a shot-blocker and he’s not made up, but Cat Barber’s stats this year — 24.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game — seem NBA Street-worthy to me. The only question is, when’s he going to pull off a gamebreaker?
11. Virginia Tech (no change)
Record: 13-12 (5-7 ACC)
Last week: 49-67 L at No. 7 Virginia
This week: Feb. 17 at No. 11 Miami, Feb. 20 vs. Florida State
Long gone are the days when the Hokies sported a 4-1 ACC record. Well, maybe not “long gone” — if you must have a date, it’s Jan. 19. But it feels like a while ago now. Between Jan. 20 and Feb. 9, the Hokies played seven games — all against tough teams — and only picked up a win against Clemson at home.
10. Florida State (down 1)
Record: 16-9 (6-7 ACC)
Last week: 72-85 L at Syracuse, 65-67 L vs. No. 11 Miami
This week: Feb. 17 vs. Georgia Tech, Feb. 20 at Virginia Tech
Freshmen Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon struggled against Miami, combining for 15 points on 5-for-17 shooting, but Florida State still managed to compete and nearly win. That’s partly because seniors Devon Bookert and Boris Bojanovsky stepped up. Bookert — who doesn’t start but plays 24.8 minutes per game — posted a team-high 14 points, while Bojanovsky protected the goal with five blocks.
9. Clemson (up 1)
Record: 15-10 (8-5 ACC)
Last week: 83-89 L vs. No. 19 Notre Dame, 66-52 W vs. Georgia Tech
This week: Feb. 17 vs. Boston College, Feb. 20 at NC State
Here, I’d like to provide your weekly Jaron Blossomgame update. Clemson’s best player since K.J. McDaniels put up 17 points against Georgia Tech five days after torching Notre Dame for 30. Blossomgame, who hails from Alpharetta, Ga., is now averaging 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. The Tigers, meanwhile, might just make the tournament with a few more big wins.
8. Pittsburgh (down 1)
Record: 17-7 (6-6 ACC)
Last week: 63-65 L at No. 11 Miami, 64-85 L at No. 5 North Carolina
This week: Feb. 16 vs. Wake Forest, Feb. 20 at Syracuse
Coach Bennett is always saying no ACC team is an easy out, and I believe him — just look at Virginia’s conference losses. However, Pitt’s results this year suggest even if everyone can play, there’s a pretty sharp break between the best of the best and everyone else. The Panthers just faced off with Virginia, Miami and Carolina, taking three losses. Those are the teams — along with Louisville, Duke and Notre Dame — that everyone is chasing, and Pitt is among the chasers.
7. Syracuse (up 1)
Record: 18-8 (8-5 ACC)
Last week: 85-72 W vs. Florida State, 75-61 W at Boston College
This week: Feb. 17 at No. 18 Louisville, Feb. 20 vs. Pittsburgh
‘Cuse just keeps winning, with only a single loss — to our Cavaliers, ahem — in the past month. You’ve got to wonder where the Orange would have been had Coach Jim Boeheim not been on the bench all season. Might Syracuse have cracked the top 25?
Then again, Boeheim missed those games — and forfeited 108 wins — for a reason. So maybe it’s only right ‘Cuse is bicycling against the wind this year.
6. Louisville (down 3)
Record: 19-6 (8-4 ACC)
Last week: 65-72 L at No. 20 Duke, 66-71 L at No. 19 Notre Dame
This week: Feb. 17 vs. Syracuse, Feb. 20 vs. No. 20 Duke
After the Cardinals became ineligible for tournament play, the team vowed to keep scraping through the end of the regular season. Losses at Duke and Notre Dame are simply defeats on the road against good teams, but I wonder if Coach Rick Pitino’s team is flagging a bit. Where Louisville stands might be more clear after this week’s home games.
5. Duke (up 1)
Record: 19-6 (8-4 ACC)
Last week: 72-65 W vs. No. 18 Louisville, 63-62 W vs. No. 7 Virginia
This week: Feb. 17 at No. 5 North Carolina, Feb. 20 at No. 18 Louisville
We all know Grayson Allen’s foot came back down before he released his game-winner Saturday, and so maybe the Blue Devils should’ve taken a loss — actually, I’ll just say they should’ve. But as Coach K said after the game, Duke played well enough to win. The Blue Devils are playing good basketball in general right now, with five wins in six games since a surprising three-game skid.
4. Notre Dame (up 1)
Record: 18-7 (9-4 ACC)
Last week: 89-83 W at Clemson, 71-66 W vs. No. 13 Louisville
This week: Feb. 20 at Georgia Tech
Speaking of NBA Street, how about Demetrius Jackson’s game-breaking performance against Louisville? Notre Dame’s lead guard scored 27 points on 6-of-12 shooting from deep as the Irish picked up a third consecutive quality win. His backcourt running mate, Steve Vasturia, added 20 points, and the two logged 40 and 39 minutes, respectively.
3. Miami (up 1)
Record: 20-4 (9-3 ACC)
Last week: 65-63 W vs. Pittsburgh, 67-65 W at Florida State
This week: Feb. 17 vs. Virginia Tech, Feb. 20 at No. 5 North Carolina
You can call it surviving, but I’ll bet Miami just calls it winning. The Hurricanes picked up a couple more victories this past week to run their record to 20-4. Sure, those wins came by a combined four points, but at this point, there aren’t many teams in America with four or fewer losses. Hurricanes, storm on.
2. Virginia (down 1)
Record: 21-5 (10-4 ACC)
Last week: 67-49 W vs. Virginia Tech, 62-63 L at No. 20 Duke
This week: 73-53 W vs. NC State
What’s not to like about Virginia right now? The Cavaliers have won eight of nine, and the lone loss came at Duke on a tough call and a fantastic shot by Allen. I’m most encouraged by Malcolm Brogdon’s play. He’s leading this team, now, and his team is responding. This guy is the man.
Here’s that nifty lay-in just before Allen’s drive.
1. North Carolina (up 1)
Record: 21-4 (10-2 ACC)
Last week: 68-65 W at Boston College, 85-64 W vs. Pittsburgh
This week: Feb. 17 vs. Duke, Feb. 20 vs. No. 11 Miami
Marcus Paige is my favorite player to watch in the ACC — no joke. He’s a smooth operator, with a jump shot he must have honed since preschool. So, I’m hoping he finishes his senior season on the upswing. I’m ready for another Paige moment.
Anyway, Carolina returns to the top spot this week because Grayson Allen beat the buzzer. The Heels have a half-step on our Cavaliers — maybe not even that — and Feb. 27 is almost here.