I missed last week’s set of our ACC Basketball Power Rankings because I was out of the country, but we’re back for the week five installment of the rankings.
Things have been a little disjointed with schedules over the past couple weeks because of exams and the holiday break.
However, the teams at the top of the ACC seem to have already established themselves while the middle-of-the-pack and bottom of the league are much more jumbled.
Here are my rankings we we inch ever closer to the heart of the ACC basketball season play.
1. Duke – 8-0
Week 3 Ranking: 1
Games: No games last week
Duke was off this past week for exams but the No. 2 Blue Devils will be back in action with a home game against Elon before heading to the Meadowlands to take on UConn. The only bit of bad news for Duke this past week was the announcement that sophomore forward Semi Ojeleye is transferring.
Up Next: Elon – Dec. 15, UConn – Dec. 18
2. Virginia – 9-0
Week 3 Ranking: 2
Games: No games last week
Virginia didn’t play in this past week, but last weekend’s 17-point win at VCU was extremely impressive. The emergence of Justin Anderson gives the Cavaliers two All-ACC caliber wing players in Anderson and Malcolm Brogdon. With the way UVA defends, Tony Bennett has a great chance to win back-to-back ACC titles.
Up Next: Cleveland St. – Dec. 18, Harvard – Dec. 21
3. Louisville – 8-0
Week 3 Ranking: 3
Games: 94-74 win vs. Indiana, 68-57 win vs. UNC Wilmington
Louisville flexed its muscles in Madison Square Garden in its 20-point victory over Indiana. Terry Rozier and Chris Jones were fantastic in the Louisville backcourt, and when they play well, the Cardinals are one of the most balanced teams in the country. Now, the Cards get a couple tune-ups before a huge game against Kentucky on December 27.
Up Next: @ Western Kentucky – Dec. 20
4. Notre Dame – 10-1
Week 3 Ranking: 7
Games: 93-67 win vs. Mount St. Mary’s, 83-63 win vs. Florida St.
As critical as I was of Notre Dame in the preseason, the Fighting Irish are proving me wrong. Jerian Grant is showing why he was a Preseason All-ACC pick, but the biggest key to the team’s success has been the consistency of role players such as Pat Connaughton and Zach Auguste.
Up Next: Purdue – Dec. 20
5. Miami – 9-1
Week 3 Ranking: 4
Games: 70-39 win vs. Savannah St.
It was a light week for Miami, but the Hurricanes did get a nice bounceback win over Savannah St. after the first loss of the season to Green Bay. Unlike many of the other teams around the ACC that are still struggling to find reliable scorers, Miami has multiple players in the backcourt who are comfortable creating their own shot, which can carry a team a long way.
Up Next: Eastern Kentucky – Dec. 19
6. UNC – 6-3
Week 3 Ranking: 5
Games: 108-64 win vs. ECU, 84-70 loss @ Kentucky
While UNC isn’t a program where moral victories are even remotely acceptable, the Tar Heels played relatively well against Kentucky. Hard to fathom in a 14-point loss. North Carolina did a nice job pushing the pace and finding holes in the Kentucky defense, which is something that’s looked almost impossible to do this season. UNC will have another chance to prove itself this week with a big game against Ohio State.
Up Next: @ UNC Greensboro – Dec. 16, Ohio State – Dec. 20
7. N.C. State – 8-2
Week 3 Ranking: 6
Games: 86-50 win vs. Charleston Southern, 55-54 loss vs. Wofford
N.C. State’s return to Reynolds Coliseum ended in heartbreaking fashion as a Trevor Lacey 3-pointer to win the game was waved off. The Pack struggled mightily to score in the 2nd half and the lack of a consistent post presence could become a regular problem in conference play. Still, Lacey looks like a guy who thrives in late-game situations.
Up Next: Tennessee – Dec. 17, West Virginia – Dec. 20
8. Syracuse – 6-3
Week 3 Ranking: 8
Games: 71-69 win vs. Louisiana Tech
The more I see this Syracuse team, the more I think it will struggle to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Orange couldn’t hang with St. John’s last weekend and had to pull out a two-point victory at home against Louisiana Tech. The simple fact is that this team is young and not particularly talented.
Up Next: @ Villanova – Dec. 20
9. Pittsburgh – 6-3
Week 3 Ranking: 9
Games: 58-54 win vs. St. Bonaventure
The offensive inconsistency continues for Pitt as the Panthers struggled to a 58-54 victory over St. Bonaventure. There were a few bright spots as sophomore forward Michael Young pulled down 17 rebounds and senior guard Cameron Wright returned to the lineup after missing the first nine games of the season with a broken foot. Jamie Dixon is hopeful Wright can give the team a big lift on offense.
Up Next: Manhattan – Dec. 17, Oakland – Dec. 20
10. Georgia Tech – 6-2
Week 3 Ranking: 10
Games: No games last week
The Yellow Jackets were off this past week but have two very winnable games on the schedule this week with home contests against Appalachian State and Vanderbilt.
Up Next: Appalachian St. – Dec. 15, Vanderbilt – Dec. 20
11. Clemson – 6-3
Week 3 Ranking: 12
Games: 72-61 win vs. Auburn
Clemson’s win over Auburn gives the Tigers two consecutive victories over SEC opponents when combined with last weekend’s big win against Arkansas. They’ll have a chance to extend the streak to three straight against the SEC with a trip to Columbia to take on in-state rival South Carolina. After the loss to Gardner-Webb in early November, this would be a great job by Brad Brownell of getting things turned around.
Up Next: @ South Carolina – Dec. 19
12. Boston College – 6-3
Week 3 Ranking: 11
Games: 85-74 win vs. Maine, 63-49 win vs. Binghamton
Jim Christian is quietly putting together a very nice start to the season with Boston College. The Eagles are 6-3 and are currently riding a four-game winning streak, which is much more than last season’s team could say.
Up Next: USC – Dec. 21
13. Wake Forest – 5-5
Week 3 Ranking: 15
Games: 86-68 win vs. Samford
Wake Forest snapped a three-game losing streak with an 18-point win over Samford. The reality is that the Demon Deacons haven’t really been competitive against any quality opponents this season, but they’ll have a chance to build some confidence this week with a game against a Florida squad that has really struggled to begin the season.
Up Next: Florida – Dec. 20
14. Virginia Tech – 5-4
Week 3 Ranking: 14
Games: 65-55 win vs. Alabama A&M
The Hokies recovered from the embarrassment of a loss to nearby Radford with a win at home over Alabama A&M. It wasn’t as easy as it probably should have been and Virginia Tech let the Bulldogs hang around in the 2nd half, but every win is a something to build on for Buzz Williams this season.
Up Next: Citadel – Dec. 20
15. Florida State – 4-5
Week 3 Ranking: 13
Games: 83-63 loss @ Notre Dame
The 20-point loss to open conference play on the road at Notre Dame was even the worst news of the week for Florida State. That award would go to the announcement that junior guard Aaron Thomas has been declared ineligible for the remainder of the season. With its best player now sidelined, FSU will likely find itself at the bottom of the league standings similar to what happened to Notre Dame last season without Jerian Grant.
Up Next: North Florida – Dec. 17, South Florida – Dec. 20
What do you think of our rankings? Let me know in the comments section!