Week 2 – ACC Basketball Power Rankings

Justise Winslow Dunk

Photo: Mark Dolejs-USA Today Sports

We’re back for Week Two of our ACC Basketball Power Rankings.

As I predicted in last week’s opening rankings, this past week gave us a much better idea of where teams around the league currently stand at this point in the season.

We saw some impressive performances from the likes of Duke, Louisville, and Miami, while we also had some bad losses from teams like Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

At this point, it’s interesting to see which teams could already be digging themselves in a hole that could be tough to get out of to salvage any postseason chances. An early season loss to a bad opponent could be the breaking point on a resume with the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Here are our latest power rankings.

1. Duke – 5-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
Games: 81-71 win vs. Michigan St., 74-54 win vs. Temple, 70-59 win vs. Stanford

The Blue Devils rolled through the first full week of the season with a win over Michigan State in Indianapolis and then back-to-back victories in Brooklyn over Temple and Stanford in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow might be the two best freshmen in the country and Quinn Cook has been outstanding as the senior leader.

Up Next: Furman – Nov. 26, Army – Nov. 30

2. Louisville – 3-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Games: 88-39 win vs. Jacksonville St., 85-67 win vs. Marshall

Louisville had a solid week with comfortable wins over Jacksonville St. and Marshall. After Montrezl Harrell carried the Cardinals in the season opener against Minnesota, the team had much more balanced efforts against Jacksonville St. and Marshall, with all five starters scoring in double figures in both games.

Up Next: Savannah St. – Nov. 24, Cleveland St. – Nov. 26

3. Virginia – 4-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Games: 75-55 win vs. South Carolina St., 59-42 win vs. George Washington

Is there anything more consistent in college basketball right now than Virginia’s defense? The Cavaliers were stifling again in victories over South Carolina St. and George Washington. Tony Bennett’s squad held the Bulldogs and Colonels to under 33% from the field and also dominated the glass. Strong rebounding and defense is a recipe to compete with anyone in the country.

Up Next: Tennessee St. – Nov. 25, La Salle – Nov. 28

4. North Carolina – 3-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
Games: 90-72 win vs. Davidson

North Carolina had a strong 18-point win over Davidson in Charlotte on Saturday, and a win over the Wildcats hasn’t been easy for teams from power conferences over the past few years. Kennedy Meeks recorded his second consecutive double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the sophomore big man appears to be a different player after losing weight during the offseason.

Up Next: Butler – Nov. 26

5. Miami – 5-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
Games: 69-67 win @ Florida, 66-46 win vs. Drexel, 79-51 win vs. Akron, 77-58 win vs. Charlotte

Miami had an amazing week. It started on Monday night with an incredible comeback win on the road at Florida and the Canes kept the momentum rolling at the Charleston Classic. Angel Rodriguez has quickly established himself as Miami’s leader and is making a case for being the best point guard in the ACC. And with Tonye Jekiri dominating the glass, Jim Larranaga suddenly has a team with some firepower that’s already putting together a great resume.

Up Next: @ Charlotte – Nov. 25, South Alabama – Nov. 28

6. N.C. State – 4-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
Games: 76-64 win vs. Hofstra, 79-43 win vs. Jacksonville, 68-65 win vs. USF

N.C. State has yet to notch a signature win, but the Wolfpack have also avoided any embarrassing slip-ups, which is more than can be said for many other teams around the league. State is winning with great defense and Mark Gottfried may have the best shot blocker in the country in Beejay Anya. The sophomore big man is averaging 4.7 blocks per game and has 15 in his past two outings.

Up Next: Richmond – Nov. 26, Boise St. – Nov. 28

7. Notre Dame – 4-1
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
Games: 104-67 win vs. Coppin St., 81-68 win vs. UMass, 75-74 loss vs. Providence. 

The Fighting Irish were rolling along until a heartbreaking one-point loss to Providence on Sunday afternoon in the championship of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. Still, Mike Brey’s team is off to a great start and Jerian Grant is showing why he was named to the Preseason All-ACC team. Zach Auguste has also been an imposing presence in the paint for the Irish, averaging 17.8 points and seven rebounds while shooting 70% from the field.

Up Next: Grambling St. – Nov. 26, Chicago St. – Nov. 29

8. Syracuse – 3-1
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Games: 73-59 loss vs. California, 66-63 win vs. Iowa

Jim Boeheim has his hands full with this year’s Syracuse team and we got a good idea why at Madison Square Garden this past week with the 2K Classic. The Orange were dominated by California in Thursday’s 14-point loss and nearly surrendered a 15-point second half lead to Iowa before hanging on for the victory. Chris McCullough appears ready to make an impact as a freshman, but it’s clear there’s a significant drop with Kaleb Joseph as the point guard compared to last season with Tyler Ennis.

Up Next: Loyola (MD) – Nov. 25, Holy Cross – Nov. 28

9. Georgia Tech – 3-0
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
Games: 66-46 win vs. Alabama A&M, 78-69 win vs. IPFW

Georgia Tech essentially holds its ground by beating teams it has no business losing to. The Yellow Jackets dominated the boards and forced Alabama A&M to a miserable shooting performance, and then pulled away from IPFW with a second half run. If nothing else, Brian Gregory’s transfers in the frontcourt appear to be adjusting nicely, with Charles Mitchell and Demarco Cox both averaging over 12 points per game.

Up Next: Marquette – Nov. 27 (Orlando Classic)

10. Pittsburgh – 2-1
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
Games: 74-70 loss @ Hawaii

I pointed out last week that there was cause for concern with Pittsburgh’s narrow victory over Samford and the Panthers didn’t let me down. Saturday’s 74-70 loss at Hawaii certainly isn’t the way Jamie Dixon wanted to start his team’s trip and it could get uglier depending on who Pitt faces as part of the Maui Invitational.

Up Next: Chaminade – Nov. 24 (Maui Invitational)

11. Boston College – 2-3
Last Week’s Ranking: 15
Games: 69-65 win vs. New Mexico, 70-66 loss vs. West Virginia, 65-53 loss vs. Dayton

I wouldn’t have expected for Boston College to go 1-2 and move up four spots in the rankings, but the Eagles actually had a good week, all things considered. Playing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Boston College gutted out a tough win over New Mexico and then nearly pulled off the upset against West Virginia. The 12-point loss to Dayton is disappointing, but that’s a Flyers program that was in the Elite Eight last season. The Eagles may be 2-3, but it feels like new head coach Jim Christian already has the program going in a better direction than what we saw last year.

Up Next: No games this week

12. Wake Forest – 2-2
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
Games: 71-49 win @ Tulane, 83-53 loss @ Arkansas, 85-81 loss vs. Iona

Wake Forest got the week off to a great start with a 22-point win on the road against Tulane, but the wheels came off after that. The Demon Deacons were blown out in Arkansas and then suffered a bad loss at home to Iona. It appears to be an open competition for the point guard spot and it seems like Danny Manning isn’t particularly happy with any of his options. It’s hard not to feel for Devin Thomas, who’s averaging over 17 points and 13 rebounds and has recorded a double-double in all four of Wake’s games this season.

Up Next: Nicholls St. – Nov. 24, Mt. St. Mary’s – Nov. 26, Delaware St. – Nov. 28

13. Clemson – 2-2
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
Games: 77-74 loss vs. Winthrop, 72-70 loss vs. Gardner-Webb, 59-50 win vs. Nevada

It’s never a good sign for Clemson when the Tigers can’t even claim to be the best basketball team in their own state – which they certainly can’t do after a loss to Winthrop. Brad Brownell’s team followed that up with another lackluster performance in the loss to Gardner-Webb in the opening round of the Paradise Jam. The Tigers managed to stop some of the bleeding with a victory against Nevada, but I doubt many Clemson fans are optimistic at this point.

Up Next: LSU – Nov. 24 (Paradise Jam), High Point – Nov. 28

14. Virginia Tech – 2-1
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
Games: 73-63 win vs. Liberty, 65-63 loss vs. Appalachian St.

One of the problems with Virginia Tech over the past five years is that the Hokies lose games they shouldn’t. It’s part of why Seth Greenberg and James Johnson both lost their jobs as head coach of the basketball team. Now, Buzz Williams is having to change the culture and raise the standard, which will take time – as evidenced by Tech’s 65-63 loss at home to Appalachian St. With many more mid-major teams on the schedule over the next few weeks, it likely won’t be the only embarrassing nonconference loss of the season for the Hokies.

Up Next: Northern Iowa – Nov. 25 (Cancun Challenge), Morgan St. – Nov. 30

15. Florida State – 1-3
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
Games: 76-73 loss vs. Northeastern, 80-54 loss vs. Providence, 75-69 loss vs. UMass

There must be something about whoever I pick to be the surprise team in the ACC every year. It was Boston College last season and the Eagles turned out to be a dumpster fire. It was Florida State this season and the Noles appear to be falling apart. Three straight losses and a disastrous showing in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic is a nightmare start to the season for Leonard Hamilton and it could be too much to overcome if FSU wants to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Wins will be hard to get in conference play this season, which makes these nonconference games and early season tournaments so important.

Up Next: Citadel – Nov. 25, Charleston Southern – Nov. 28

Do you agree with our Power Rankings? Vote in our poll and let me know what you think in the comments section!

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David Aldridge

David Aldridge

David has been a die hard fan of Duke Basketball since the 1990's, when Coach K and the Blue Devils slapped the floor and made their way into his heart. During his playing days, David perfected his role on his basketball team as being the guy who would hold everyone on the bench back after a teammate would make a clutch shot. He once played N.C. State legend David Thompson in a game of H-O-R-S-E. David won.

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