ACC Power Rankings: Miami holding on

Miami finally came crashing to earth while Duke responded to a loss

nicely and North Carolina appears to be a different ball club than from

earlier in the season. 

At the same time, most of the ACC’s

struggling teams at the bottom picked up wins last week in what was an

odd seven days of hoops. 

Here are this week’s power rankings:

1. Miami (22-4, 13-1)

The

struggles at Clemson were easily explained: the Hurricanes were finally

being flat. The narrow win over Virginia at home was against a

desperate, well-coached team that has a great player. It happens.

Getting pounded at Wake Forest brought those aforementioned games back

into the picture and reveals a trend is concerning underway. Miami needs

to right the ship or it will fall from this spot and psychologically be

where it can’t reclaim the edge it had over other teams.

2. Duke (24-3, 11-3)

It

was a great week for the Blue Devils, who responded well to the

Maryland loss. They got some practice time and were sharper on offense

in routs of Virginia Tech on the road and at home against Boston

College. Neither opponent presents a daunting task, but the manner Duke

went about crushing them was impressive and says a lot about the team’s

collective mindset.

3. North Carolina (19-8, 9-5)

Maybe

the team in the ACC surging the most, the Tar Heels convincingly won at

Georgia Tech and then pulled away from N.C. State and are playing quite

well. The smallish lineup is working and Roy Williams is pushing the

right buttons with his team.

4. Virginia (1-8, 9-5)

Tony

Bennett’s club is building some shields of mental toughness. After a

difficult loss at UNC in which the Tar Heels scored more points than

anyone has against Bennett since he got into the ACC, the Cavaliers

suffered what was essentially a last-second loss at Miami. But they

rebounded to rip apart Florida State, 82-54, and remain in excellent

position to get a bye in the ACC Tournament. 

5. N.C. State (19-8, 8-6) 

The

most underachieving team in the ACC so far this season was once again

at it. The Wolfpack looked terrific in pounding Florida State, but then

couldn’t handle UNC’s second-half eruption and lost convincingly at the

Tar Heels. N.C. State is in serious danger of having to play on Thursday

of the ACC Tournament.

6. Maryland (19-8, 7-7)

This

bunch only makes sense in its inconsistency. After closing out the

previous week with an RPI-boosting victory over Duke, the Terrapins lost

at Boston College, basically canceling out that win. Then they came

back and played well against a very good defensive team in Clemson. The

record looks better than this team’s current NCAA chances. The Terps

need some quality wins now.

7. Wake Forest (12-14, 5-9)

Understanding

the Demon Deacons requires a PHD in Psychology, because how do you

explain a team getting blown out so often on the road that also beats

many of the ACC’s best teams at home? Wake Forest not only defeated

Miami, but Jeff Bzdelik’s team clobbered the Hurricanes on Saturday.

8. Florida State (14-13, 6-8)

If

there was a place further down FSU could fall after getting routed at

N.C. State and giving up 80 points at Virginia Tech in a 10-point loss,

the Seminoles would quickly drop there. But the teams below them have

been even worse, so the Seminoles could only fall one spot after their

lousy week.

9. Clemson (13-13, 5-9)

Offense

continues to be an issue for the Tigers. It kept them from competing

more with an up-and-down Maryland team – 72-59 loss – as it has kept

this team from many other possible victories on the season. 

10. Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-10)

In

a week where the other lower-end teams picked up wins, the Yellow

Jackets fell twice, losing big at home to UNC and by 28 at Virginia.

This team was close to putting together a nice string of outings, but

hasn’t been able to get it going. 

11. Boston College (12-15, 4-10)

The

bottom teams picked up victories this past week, including the Eagles

over Maryland just days after the Terrapins knocked off Duke. Boston

College has proven to be quite difficult at home, but is awful on the

road, as evidenced by their uncompetitive loss at Duke on Sunday.

12. Virginia Tech (12-15, 3-11)

The

Hokies picked up a victory by defeating a flat Florida State team to

end the week after getting ripped apart at home by Duke to start the

week. Still in the cellar, this is where Virginia Tech belongs, but this

team continues to fight.