ACC Power Rankings: Miami holds top spot

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 UVa. 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, 7-4)

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. Carolina played
pretty well in losing at Duke and then impressive 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 to be more
consistent.

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

Among
the problem areas that will keep the Seminoles from the NCAA Tournament
has Michael Snaer’s inconsistency near the top of the list, if not at
the top. The senior wing just hasn’t had the kind of season many
expected, though he carried FSU past BC over the weekend. He must play
at that level the rest of the way.

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

The
Tigers took a 3-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 over all, 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 BC 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 BC and at home to Georgia Tech are signs things might no
longer be headed in the right direction. Wake 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. And with the losing streak now 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.