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ACC Power Rankings – Conference Week 1

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  1. North Carolina (14-2, 3-0) – Not much needs to be said about UNC right now. Brice Johnson just put up a historic game against FSU. His performance made your forget that Marcus Paige was nearly as good on the same night. UNC is one of just a few teams that have 5 guys averaging in double-figures and they might be the deepest team in the country. Their recent domination has been without Kennedy Meeks, who will play this weekend after missing 6 straight. Good luck to the rest of the ACC when UNC comes to town.
  2. Louisville (13-2, 2-0) – Only a 2 point loss at Kentucky keeps them from being a 1a, 1b with UNC. Damion Lee is a first team All-ACC player and its a shame the Cardinals only get him for 1 year. Rick Pitino has done a fantastic job with this his guys after the ugly start to the season filled with scandal. Donovan Mitchell is one of the best unknown freshman in the conference, who is starting to make himself a household name with his athleticism.
  3. Duke (13-2, 2-0) – After the Blue Devils tough 2-point loss to Utah, they seem to be clicking now, dominating in their next four games. Duke scores as much as any team in the country, in fact third behind Kansas and you guessed it, The Citadel. Grayson Allen has provided a huge spark all season long, but it is the recent play of freshman Brandon Ingram, who is averaging 21.3 points in his last 8 games, that is making Duke another national championship contender.
  4. Virginia (12-2, 1-1) – So what they lost to VT, every team has that one loss in a season and UVA just got theirs out of the way early on. Don’t forget they beat Nova, Cal, West Virginia, and Notre Dame in the last 3 weeks as well. As always they are the best defensive team in the ACC allowing only 60 points per game. Malcolm Brogdon is playing outstanding again and London Perrantes gets my vote for most improved player in the entire county, he shoots 59 percent from 3!
  5. Miami (12-1, 1-0) – The Hurricanes have rattled off seven straight wins. They are a very strong defensive team and Angel Rodriguez is as good as Shane Larkin was a few years ago. They walloped Syracuse in their only conference game so far. The Canes travel to UVA next week in their first big conference test.
  6. Pittsburgh (13-1, 2-0) – Pitt is finally back. After a few duds of seasons, Jamie Dixon’s team is ready to go dancing again. They have the 2nd best defense in the conference, allowing just 64 points per game. But since this is a very tough ACC this season, Pitt is going to have to fight t0 stay at the top of this list and 2 straight road games at Notre Dame and Louisville in the next week will certainly test that.
  7. Notre Dame (10-4, 1-1) – The Irish have four quality losses and wins over Iowa and Illinois. Conference play is going to show us if they are capable of a tournament run. As of right now they are the best team in the middle of the pack. If they win their games against the bottom half and steal some quality conference wins they’ll have a strong chance to dance.
  8. Virginia Tech (10-5, 2-0) – Who would have thought that Virginia Tech would knock of their in-state big brother, UVA? Buzz Williams has this football powerhouse school talking about basketball this week after that big win. But Saturday is another tough challenge, at Duke. Just like UVA had “that loss”, the UVA win for Tech may have been out of their norm and “that win” that sometimes mediocre teams get. If they beat Duke, they will rise high on this list.
  9. Wake Forest (9-5, 0-2) – Like Pitt, Wake is good again. What a tough break opening up conference play at Louisville and then against Duke. But the Demon Deacons have beaten UCLA, Arkansas, and Indiana and fought tough in both conference games as well as at Xavier. Three winnable games against NC State, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse are next. Also, Devin Thomas is this year’s “it seems like he has been there for 20 years” player.
  10. Clemson (9-5, 2-1) – Two good wins against Florida State and at Syracuse and only a lost to UNC is as good of a 3 game start that Tigers could have asked for. Jaron Blossomgame is playing as well as he did towards the end of the season last year. Clemson will surprise some people in conference play
  11. Florida State (10-4, 0-2) – Shows how deep the ACC is this season when a pretty solid FSU team is down this low. They beat VCU, Florida, and Mississippi State and competed with UNC for a majority of the Brice Johnson game, but they are still just not there yet. Four of their next five are against ranked opponents, yikes.
  12. NC State (10-5, 0-2) – Another team that really isn’t bad, just down here because of the strength of the rest of the conference. Cat Barber is too fun to watch, but the Pack have a long way to go if they want to dance like they did last season.
  13. Georgia Tech (10-5, 0-2) – Also a tough couple of games to open up conference play at both UNC and Pitt. But they fought hard in that and have also already beaten VCU, Tennessee and Arkansas.
  14. Syracuse (9-6, 0-3) – Not ready to give up on the Orange despite starting 0-3 in conference play. Boeheim is back and they have no choice but to turn things around, they’ll have to start the turnaround with UNC Saturday. Starting 0-4 would be tough to overcome.
  15. Boston College (7-8, 0-2) – There is a lot to like about this BC team, senior transfer Eli Carter is playing great basketball and they had a nice win against Harvard earlier in the season, but there is just too much talent in the ACC this year for them to compete strongly.

 

Scott Zolotorow