ACC Power Rankings: Duke keeps crown

The last two weeks since our last power rating have been pretty bad for the ACC.

Virginia
Tech has fallen apart, Miami suddenly hit a snag out in Hawaii,
Virginia lost to a one-win team, Clemson suffered a humiliating defeat,
North Carolina was routed and Mike Krzyzewski isn’t pleased with how his
Duke team is playing.

On the upside, Maryland, Georgia Tech and
N.C. State continued to impress with the Wolfpack playing perhaps the
best hoops of anyone in the conference at this time. Even Boston College
has had a couple of positive weeks.

But the league didn’t help its overall power rating, which could hurt come NCAA selection time. Here are this week’s rankings:

1. Duke (12-0)

The
Blue Devils exploded after very slow starts against Cornell and Elon
and then had to pull away very late from Santa Clara. Coach Krzyzewski
made clear his displeasure with these recent performances, so expect
amped up intensity from the top-ranked team in the land.

2. N.C. State (10-2)

Making
a hard push toward the top right now is Mark Gottfried’s improving
team. The Wolfpack has been excellent in the second halves of its
six-game winning streak, which includes well-played wins over Stanford,
St. Bonaventure and Saturday versus Western Michigan. Lorenzo Brown is
making teammates better and freshman forward T.J. Warren is one of the
best sixth-men in the nation.

3. Maryland (11-1)

It’s
a shame the Terrapins have been playing nothing but patsies because we
still don’t have a real good handle of what they’re all about. It
appears the Terps are a good team with a nice balance. A lack of
slip-ups keeps them this high.

4. North Carolina (10-3)

An
ugly, unenthusiastic loss at Texas is what keeps the Tar Heels this
low, but if the last two games mean anything, they are definitely
trending upward. UNC blasted McNeese State by executing a lot of little
things and then put forth an effort that made even hard-to-please coach
Roy Williams proud in a victory over a fine UNLV team.

5. Miami (8-3)

Miami
is unbeaten with its full complement of players, but has lost without
Durand Scott and last week dropped a pair of games in Hawaii without
Reggie Johnson, who will miss 6-8 weeks with a broken left thumb. The
Hurricanes had been playing so well, and after a blowout win at Hawaii
were crushed by Arizona before dropping a nail-biter to Indiana State.
They may not make the NCAAs losing Johnson for that long.

6. Georgia Tech (9-2)

Brian
Gregory’s team hasn’t played stiff competition so it’s difficult to
gauge exactly how they are playing. But we do know this much: Tech is
much better than a year ago, appears to have chemistry and a nice
on-court balance, and it has some depth.

7. Florida State (8-4)

Quietly
moving forward are the Seminoles, who after a terrible start to the
season have pulled off a couple of solid wins at Charlotte and over
Tulsa. Florida State has won four consecutive games without injured
point guard Ian Miller. Expect the Seminoles to take it up a notch when
he returns.

8. Virginia (9-3)

Old
Dominion is usually a talented team and always well coached by Blaine
Taylor, so there’s nothing embarrassing about losing to them in most
seasons. But Virginia fell to an ODU team that entered the contest 1-10,
and they did so on a neutral floor in Richmond. Not good.

9. Virginia Tech (9-4)

After
adding another notch to their then-growing resume by edging Bradley in
Las Vegas, James Johnson’s team has completely collapsed. The Hokies
lost by 36 to Colorado State and by 26 at BYU without missing any key
players. VPI was out-rebounded by 18 in the two games, registered just
15 assists while allowing 40, and converted a paltry 8 of 41 (19.5
percent) 3-pointers.

10. Clemson (7-4)

How
does losing by 27 at Coastal Carolina sound? Pretty bad for any team at
any level of Division One college basketball, but it’s totally
inexcusable for an ACC team. It will take a long time for the Tigers to
shake that embarrassment.

11. Boston College (7-5)

The
Eagles have quietly strung together four consecutive victories,
including over Providence. BC hasn’t been overwhelming in any capacity,
but Steve Donahue’s club will take the wins and the confidence that
comes with them.

12. Wake Forest (6-5)

The
Demon Deacons took care of UNC-Greensboro and routed Furman in their
most recent contests, which are steps up from how they had been playing.
But still, this team has done little to get itself out of the cellar.