ACC Power Rankings: Miami takes top spot

Last week was one of the more intriguing in years for ACC basketball. Miami’s hot stretch, the different sides we saw of Duke and North Carolina State, a buzzer beater, North Carolina’s strange night in Raleigh and the nation’s leading scorer kept doing his thing. 

There was also a shakeup at the top of the Power Rankings, as Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes broke through.

Here are this week’s power rankings:

1. Miami (15-3, 6-0)

Last week may have been the best week in the history of Miami’s program. The Hurricanes beat No. 1 Duke by 27 points and arch rival Florida State by 24 and are 6-0 in conference play for the first time in any league the school has played in ever. 

2. NC State (16-4, 5-2)

From one extreme to the other, the Wolfpack blew a big lead and lost to a bad Wake Forest team before opening up a 28-point lead on UNC, helped by a 20-2 first-half run, in beating the Tar Heels. NC State had 39 fast-break points on the night. Now the Wolfpack must back it up by playing well. 

3. Duke (17-2, 4-2)

Moving forward, the Blue Devils should only be judged on what they achieve without Ryan Kelly, who may not return until the postseason. Last week, Duke was demolished at Miami by 27 points and then pounded Maryland by 20. Duke ran a lot of new offensive sets versus the Terps, and it has fully moved on and is building to its new approach.

4. North Carolina (13-6, 3-3)

An impressive home win over Georgia Tech preceded a strange loss at NC State. UNC was down by 28 points with 13 minutes left and cut it to five before losing by nine. North Carolina showed its many warts and some of its strengths in those stretches. But the Heels were mostly out-everythinged by the Wolfpack.

5. Virginia (14-5, 4-2)

Quietly, the Cavaliers are making a move in the ACC and playing their way into NCAA Tournament consideration. The Wahoos finally notched a league road win at Virginia Tech and then handled Boston College at home. They have won three in a row, and with NC State coming in this week, opportunity abounds. 

6. Maryland (15-5, 3-4)

The Terrapins beat Boston College but lost by 20 at Duke. Maryland’s problems are mostly offensive: Alex Len shies from contact too much; the Terps don’t move enough or set enough screens; and the decision-making by the guards in the second half at Duke was quite poor. This team has the parts but not yet the resume.

7. Clemson (11-8, 3-4)

Not a bad week for the Tigers. They lost at the buzzer at FSU and beat Virginia Tech at home. Playing competitively on the road for such a young team is big for the Tigers’ growth, and they played very well late in defeating the Hokies.

8. Florida State (11-8, 3-3)

Michael Snaer beat Clemson with a buzzer beater during the week before the Seminoles got drubbed at red-hot Miami. Every weakness the Seminoles have was on display in Coral Gables. 

9. Wake Forest (10-9, 3-4)

Jeff Bzdelik finally notched a notable victory when his team came from behind to beat NC State last week, but followed that up with an ugly loss at Georgia Tech for the Yellow Jackets’ first ACC win. Wake has played above expectations, but the loss to Tech was a downer in how unprepared the Deacons appeared. 

10. Georgia Tech (11-7, 1-5)

The Yellow Jackets were bound to make someone pay for their tough early conference slate, and they waxed Wake Forest on Saturday after falling at UNC earlier in the week. Robert Carter was excellent in the win over Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech’s three freshmen starters combined for 41 points in the victory.

11. Virginia Tech (11-8, 2-4)

The Hokies rely on Erick Green way too much. For example, he scored 35 of their 58 points in a loss to Virginia during the week, which is just not good basketball. They were more balanced at Clemson and narrowly lost. At least that was some progress. 

12. Boston College (9-10, 1-5)

The Eagles have dropped four consecutive games and five of six in league play, last week falling at Maryland and at Virginia. They’ve mostly been competitive, but just don’t have the horses to get over the hump.