The ACC Guru
Week 6 Power Rankings
It has not been a good start for the ACC in nonconference play. The league currently has an overall record of 91-53 or a winning percentage of 63.2%. That is not very good for November/December considering all of the lessor competition that is played in that time span. An even more concerning issue is the lack of signature wins across the league. Notre Dame's win over Kentucky is the best win outside of what Duke has done. Not only is the list of signature wins a short one, the list of bad losses is growing by the day. The league has very few opportunities left to pick up good wins before conference play begins in full, and it could use every one of them if the ACC is going to get more than 5 or 6 teams into the tournament.
On to the week 6 power rankings. I know it's been a few weeks since I put one of these out, but I was hoping there would be a little more clarity on how good these teams are after the Thanksgiving week tournaments and the first conference games. That doesn't seem to be the case. Pretty much the only things I do know is right now Duke is the best team in the conference and Pittsburgh is the worst. The middle of the league is very tough to sort out.
1. Duke (7-1)
Last Week: Exam Break
This Week: vs South Carolina State, vs Appalachian State, vs Cleveland State
Duke hasn't played since November 30th when they lost a true road game to Ohio State in a second half collapse. That is by no means a bad loss and Duke has looked far and away like the best team in the conference since opening night. They've got three more tune up games this week before starting their conference play next week against Virginia Tech.
2. North Carolina (7-2, 1-0)
Last Week: W 80-63 vs Elon
This Week: vs Furman, vs UCLA (neutral)
North Carolina looks to have figured some things out on the defensive end after back-to-back losses to Purdue and Tennessee. They have one of the few good wins in the league when dominated Michigan. They have another opportunity for a big win when they take on UCLA on Saturday.
3. Wake Forest (9-1, 1-0)
Last Week: W 79-53 vs South Carolina Upstate
This Week: vs VMI, @ Charlotte
I don't care who you've played, nine wins is an impressive feat at this point in the season. They did lose to the best team they played (LSU), but have solid wins over Northwestern and Virginia Tech. The Oklahoma transfer, Alondes Williams, looks like an early candidate for All-ACC that no one had on their list at the beginning of the year. He's averaging 18.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 4.9 APG. Impressive.
4. Virginia Tech (7-4, 0-1)
Last Week: W 93-60 vs Cornell, L 57-62 @ Dayton
This Week: vs St. Bonaventure (neutral)
The Hokies have been inconsistent thus far this year. They looked the part early in the season, they have a nice road win over Maryland, got blown out by Wake Forest, and lost close games to Memphis, Xavier, and Dayton. They better get it together soon, though, as their next three games are all tough. St. Bonaventure, at Duke, and at North Carolina. The ACC didn't do them any favors with their early league schedule.
5. Louisville (6-3, 1-0)
Last Week: L 55-62 vs DePaul
This Week: vs SE Louisiana, @ Western Kentucky
Speaking of inconsistent teams... Louisville has look really good at times this year, and very average at other times. Home losses to DePaul and Furman are head scratchers, but wins over NC State, Maryland, and Mississippi State are good wins.
6. NC State (7-3, 0-1)
Last Week: W 65-48 vs Bethune-Cookman, L 72-82 (OT) vs Purdue
This Week: vs Richmond
They were so close to pulling off the upset over Purdue, but almost doesn't cut it in this game. The Wolfpack are another team that is tough to peg so far. They've lost to the three best teams that they've played and don't have a true good win yet.
7. Florida State (5-4, 0-1)
Last Week: L 65-66 vs South Carolina
This Week: vs Lipscomb, vs UCF (neutral)
This team doesn't seem to be able to win close games and has trouble holding on to leads. That's not a good combination. I only leave them this high on the list because of all the talent that is on this roster. I still think they will figure it out by the end of the year.
8. Clemson (6-4, 0-1)
Last Week: W 90-80 (OT) vs Drake (neutral)
This Week: vs Miami (OH), vs South Carolina
Clemson seems destined to be middle-of-the-pack this year. They have no good wins and no bad losses to this point. Giving up 80 points in back-to-back games is an issue for a defensive first team, though.
9. Virginia (6-4, 1-0)
Last Week: L 49-52 @ James Madison
This Week: vs Farleigh Dickinson
Virginia looked like they were starting to figure things out in wins over Georgia and Providence on back-to-back nights, and then played their best half of the year in a comeback loss to Iowa. Since then they've been unable to score again. They need to find some shooting quickly if they're going to turn this season around. It's hard to beat anybody when you score 49 points.
10. Miami (8-3, 1-0)
Last Week: W 76-59 vs Lipscomb, W 72-66 vs Fordham
This Week: Exam Break
Miami is really close to being much higher on this list. They're one of the few teams in the league to win most of the games they're supposed to without a bad loss, but their best win so far is against Clemson. The Hurricanes resume is going to be built on their ACC record and they're got two good opportunities in a couple weeks with both NC State and Wake Forest making the trip to South Florida.
11. Notre Dame (4-4, 0-1)
Last Week: W 66-62 vs Kentucky
This Week: vs Indiana (neutral)
If I did these rankings last week, Notre Dame would have been solidly in the 14th spot. They looked completely lost and struggling to find scoring in their last few games, and then they beat #10 ranked Kentucky. That's college basketball for you, and why I love the sport so much. Freshman Blake Wesley looks like he's going to be a great player in this league.
12. Syracuse (5-5, 1-0)
Last Week: L 53-67 vs Villanova (neutral), L 75-79 @ Georgetown
This Week: vs Lehigh
Syracuse really needed to win that game against Georgetown on Saturday. They looked like the better team most of the game, but couldn't find a way to pull it off. They've got great scorers and great shooters, but they are very inconsistent. They have the potential to absolutely go off on any given night, though.
13. Boston College (6-4, (1-0)
Last Week: L 68-79 @ Saint Louis
This Week: vs Albany
BC is another team that's won the games they were supposed to and lost the games they should have. Their only "upset" is a home win over Notre Dame. The reason they aren't higher is because of how weak their nonconference schedule is. They finish that portion of their schedule tonight vs Albany and then it's all conference games from there for the Eagles.
14. Georgia Tech (5-4, 0-1)
Last Week: L 53-69 vs LSU
This Week: vs Southern Cal (neutral)
I don't think GT will be this low on the list all year. They've lost three straight games, but they were all to good teams. I think they will end up being close to a .500 team behind the emergence of Michael Devoe. He's averaging 21.9 PPG.
15. Pittsburgh (3-7, 0-1)
Last Week: W 71-68 vs Colgate, L 52-56 vs Monmouth
This Week: @ St. John's
For those of you that don't know, a "buy-game" is when one school pays another school to come to their home court to play them, normally resulting in an easy win for the home team. Pittsburgh has three "buy-game" losses this year.