As we’re approximately a third of the way through the 2014-15 Duke basketball season, a few teams have established themselves as the top tier of the ACC this season.
Notre Dame and N.C. State currently sit atop the league standings with 1-0 records, but the conference has has five teams in the Top 25.
The Blue Devils lead the way at No. 2, Louisville is No. 4, Virginia is No. 5, Notre Dame is No. 16, and North Carolina is No. 20.
With all due respect to Notre Dame and the Tar Heels, I feel that Duke, Virginia and Louisville have stood out as the top three teams in the ACC through this point in the year.
Based on that assessment, we want to know whether you think Louisville or Virginia serves as Duke’s biggest competition to win this year’s ACC Championship.
Duke is in the unenviable position of having to face both teams on the road this season without getting a return trip from either team to Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils will play at Louisville on January 17 and will face Virginia in Charlottesville on January 31.
The game against the Hoos will be the last stop on a three game road trip for Duke, with the prior games coming against St. John’s and Notre Dame, two teams currently ranked in the Top 20.
A strong argument could be made for Louisville in that the Cardinals have one of the best players in the country in Montrezl Harrell, and Rick Pitino almost always does a fantastic job of improving his team over the course of a season. Louisville also benefits from getting home games at the end of the year against Notre Dame and Virginia, when a conference crown could be on the line.
As for Virginia, the Cavaliers have a talented, experienced roster led by guys who played important roles on last year’s squad that ran the table through the regular season and ACC Tournament. If anything, this year’s team appears to be even stronger.
While Louisville finishes the season with two home games, the Hoos have the opposite as they’ll travel to Syracuse and Louisville to finish the year.
Either team has a chance to keep Duke from winning the ACC this season. The reality is that both teams are fully capable of finishing ahead of the Blue Devils in the conference standings.
But, given the choice between the two, which one are you taking?