By Mychal Hunter
I haven’t kept up with this like I’d like to have, but hey, shit happens. Things are really interesting in the conference these days as the middle of the ACC seems to be a crapshoot. Here is my take:
- Virginia 9-0 Kenpom 2: The Hoos were ranked 2nd in my rockin 25 vote. The loss of Kihei Clark is a massive blow, but Virginia is equipped to handle it. Things are usually OK when your back up point guard is Ty Jerome. If anything, Tony Bennett’s crew will be a bit bigger and longer on the defensive end. While their schedule has been unspectacular, they have beaten everyone they have faced. That has to count for something.
- UNC 8-2 Kenpom 4: The Tar Heels beat Gonzaga, Duke lost to Gonzaga. The Heels have a 54 strength of schedule while Duke’s is 71st. The fact that UNC thoroughly dominated Gonzaga all over the floor only solidifies their position. The location of the games is not lost upon me, but I do and have always thought that UNC is deeper, longer, more experienced and just as talented as the Blue Devils.
- Duke 9-1 Kenpom 1: The number one team in Kenpom is my number three team in the ACC right now. If not for any other reason, their recent schedule. Granted, this team has played Kentucky, Gonzaga, Indiana, Auburn and San Diego State, but lately it has been a bit of cup cake city when you consider their talent. That talent may be the best in the ACC, but Virginia is undefeated and UNC just demolished the #6 team in the country. You could treat this as a 1a-b-c situation.
- Florida State 8-1 Kenpom 14: Ranking the number 4 team was easier than 1-3. The Seminoles are currently 14th in Kenpom and own wins over 4 top 100 Kenpom teams. They are deep and talented and about to get even better with the return of Phil Cofer. Cofer was the leading scorer on last season’s elite eight team and provides the Seminoles with even more versatility. They still lack a true point guard, but this “sum of its parts” team is poised for another deep tournament run.
- Virginia Tech 9-1 Kenpom 11: This spot was very much up in the air. The Hokie’s schedule is garbage, but they did beat a decent Washington team yesterday. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this team is that they rank north of 260th in adjusted tempo. They are also top 30 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Expect both of those numbers to regress once ACC play begins. They are absolutely talented and are missing two of their top 7, but I simply can not trust this team. They have fooled me before.
There you have it. The top 3 could be argued in any order and I would be receptive. I also think the duo of FSU and VPI are the next best teams. The ACC is being splintered into many different tiers in my opinion.
Here they are:
Tier 1: Virginia, UNC, Duke
Tier 2: FSU, VT
Tier 3: Louisville, Syracuse, North Carolina State, Clemson
Tier 4: Notre Dame, Boston College, Pitt
Tier 5: Miami, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest