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.