ACC Power Rankings: Miami holds top spot

Even with a close win against Clemson, the Miami Hurricanes stay on top of the ACC pyramid.

Miami finally wasn’t focused and sharp in a game, yet the Hurricanes still escaped Clemson with a two-point victory Sunday night. That’s a sign of a terrific team.

Maryland picked up a much-needed victory over Duke, North Carolina has a new lease on life, N.C. State is winning close games, and the bottom of the league is competitive, but can’t get over the hump.

Here are this week’s power rankings:

1. Miami (21-3, 12-0)

An impressive win at Florida State was followed by a predictably sluggish win at Clemson. That 45-43 victory made some question the Canes, which is silly because they won when most teams would have lost. All big-time clubs have games like that, and the Canes prevailed.

2. Duke (22-3, 9-3)

The Blue Devils beat UNC in the renewal of the best rivalry in American sports and then fell at Maryland. In one respect, Duke fans should be concerned that Mason Plumlee was so thoroughly dominated in that game, but on the other hand, had Quinn Cook’s shot been another inch to the left Duke would have won.

3. Virginia (18-7, 8-4)

For a while, it looked like the Cavaliers were going to romp to a win over UNC at the Dean Dome, but the Tar Heels erupted and dispatched Virginia. That said, it wasn’t a bad week, as the Wahoos clobbered Virginia Tech earlier in the week. Joe Harris keeps making a major push for ACC honors.

4. N.C. State (18-7, 7-5)

An overtime win at home over Virginia Tech generally isn’t much to get excited about, but given that the Wolfpack had been losing close games, and this is the second such victory in a row, is a small sign of growth. After dropping three straight, State might be generating some steam.

5. North Carolina (17-8, 7-5)

The new-look Tar Heels are fun, fast and have a higher ceiling than the approach Roy Williams was married to for too long. North Carolina played pretty well in losing at Duke and then impressively put 93 points on defensive-minded Virginia in a victory. Smaller is better for UNC.

6. Maryland (18-7, 6-6)

Don’t close the door on the Terrapins’ NCAA chances just yet. Beating Duke puts the Terps right in the middle of the conversation. But now they must back it up by not falling at Boston College this week. This team has nice parts, it just needs better guard play and more consistency.

7. Florida State (14-11, 6-6)

Perhaps the biggest problem that will keep the Seminoles out of the NCAA tournament is Michael Snaer’s inconsistency. The senior wing just hasn’t had the kind of season many expected, though he carried FSU past Boston College over the weekend. He must play at that level the rest of the way.

8. Clemson (13-12, 5-8)

The Tigers took a three-point game at Georgia Tech and then led Miami for most of the game but couldn’t hold on, falling 45-43. Clemson has now lost four of five games overall, and five of its eight ACC defeats have been by five points or less.

9. Georgia Tech (14-10, 4-8)

The Yellow Jackets found a way to lose at home to Clemson before finding a way to win at Wake Forest. A road win is huge for the team’s confidence, which will bode well with UNC visiting Atlanta this week.

10. Boston College (11-14, 3-9)

Competitive losses against good teams can help a team move up a spot or two when near the bottom of the league. But Boston College beat Wake last week and almost won at FSU, and this came after a one-point loss to Duke to close out the previous week.

11. Wake Forest (11-14, 4-9)

Narrow losses at Boston College and at home to Georgia Tech are signs things might no longer be headed in the right direction. Wake Forest has now dropped eight of its last 10 games, with one of the wins by just two points.

12. Virginia Tech (11-14, 2-10)

The Hokies took N.C. State to overtime in Raleigh, which followed an ugly loss at Virginia. Now, with Tech's losing streak at eight games, and with the Hokies having won just four of their last 18 games dating back to Dec. 1, there’s only one spot they can occupy.

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