Joe Harris and Virginia beat Duke, Tunnel-gate, the return of Ryan Kelly, North Carolina continues surging and Chris Paul had his jersey retired by Wake Forest.
Miami and Duke played a thriller, leaving some salivating for a third matchup in Greensboro in two weeks. This was a good week for the ACC. The conference generated a ton of national attention, and it has two clear national title contenders, both of which proved their worthiness to the country on Saturday.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Miami (23-5, 14-2)
Even in defeat, the Hurricanes proved a lot to the naysayers. The 79-76 loss at Duke was tough for the Canes to absorb, but the reality is they played very well in a ridiculously difficult environment. And they still deserve the top spot this week.
2. Duke (25-4, 12-4)
Without Ryan Kelly, Duke is a nice team that could win a couple of games in the NCAA tournament, and one that lost at Virginia last Thursday. With him, they beat Miami and became national title contenders. His return to the lineup was huge in Saturday’s victory, but the impact will be felt by his teammates more moving forward.
3. North Carolina (21-8, 11-5)
After winning at Clemson and beating Florida State at home, North Carolina has now won five straight games. The Tar Heels show signs of getting closer each game, and are getting more dangerous as each game passes. It looks like Roy Williams can coach after all.
4. Virginia (20-9, 10-6)
Similar to Maryland, Virginia followed a win over Duke with a loss at Boston College. The Cavaliers could not afford that, but they are still in better position than the Terrapins were two weeks earlier. UVa is playing better ball, so Tony Bennett’s team should rebound quickly.
5. NC State (21-8, 10-6)
Don’t disregard Mark Gottfried’s team. The Wolfpack won twice last week, beating BC and winning at Georgia Tech. NC State also has five victories in its last six games. The ‘Pack aren’t beating Goliaths, but this team needed to win games to get back its mojo. It is doing that.
6. Maryland (20-9, 8-8)
The Terrapins are hanging by a thread with respect to the NCAA Tournament. The guards are struggling, Alex Len can’t find a groove, and they couldn’t win at Georgia Tech last week, though Mark Turgeon’s club did prevail at Wake Forest.
7. Florida State (15-14, 7-9)
Michael Snaer led his Seminoles past the Demon Deacons this week, but came up a little short against the Tar Heels. Florida State needs two more victories to lock down an NIT bid, because the NCAAs are no longer an option unless FSU wins the ACC Tournament — and that’s not happening.
8. Wake Forest (12-16, 5-11)
For all of the talk about Wake’s improvement from last season, the Demon Deacons are still one game from last place in the ACC after dropping games at FSU and at home to Maryland on the day Wake retired former star Chris Paul’s No. 3 jersey. Wake has lost 10 of 13 games.
9. Georgia Tech (15-13, 5-11)
The Yellow Jackets’ big push toward the middle of the ACC will have to wait. They beat Maryland last week and then collapsed down the stretch in a home loss to NC State. Next season can’t get here too soon.
10. Boston College (13-16, 5-11)
The Eagles were bad on the road at NC State but knocked off Virginia over the weekend. BC plays well at home, where its parts simply respond better. This team has interesting potential, butit won’t be fully realized until maybe next season.
11. Clemson (13-15, 5-11)
The Tigers have now lost seven of eight games after falling at home to UNC and at Virginia Tech last week. Clemson has dropped four straight, and is pretty much out of the NIT picture. This team has major offensive issues.
12. Virginia Tech (13-16, 4-12)
The Hokies have won a few games of late, including last Saturday at home over Clemson. The fans celebrated with a Green Out, a night showing support for senior Erick Green, who is bidding to become the first ACC player to lead the nation in scoring since 1957.