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.