By Mychal Hunter
So I am a day late with this, but I was enthralled with the NFL yesterday after the Boston College upset of Florida State. Here they are though, the ACCBR updated ACC Power Rankings!
- Duke: If you want to be the best you need to be the best and Duke did just that on Saturday. Virginia received my vote for #1 in the Rockin 25 poll last week, but Duke was able to fend them off sans Tre Jones 72-70 in Cameron. Zion and RJ Barrett had it working in the second half as the Blue Devils made it clear, they are the best team in the country right now.
- Virginia: The last team to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten even if just by a few hours. Kyle Guy has had his struggles against Duke over his career, but he will get another shot in a few weeks when the Dukies go to Charlottesville on 2/9. There is no disgrace in losing to the number one team in the AP Poll especially at their place, but Virginia no doubt wants that one back. I would not want to be Wake Forest on Tuesday night.
- North Carolina: After an embarrassing loss to Louisville on Roy Williams Court the Heels have bounced back and won two in a row albeit against Notre Dame and Miami. Wins are wins. The defense is still a bit suspect, Miami got to the rim way too much in the second half Saturday, but Kenny Williams is starting to turn it around on the offensive end and that is huge.
- Virginia Tech: VPI gets a nice bounce back win over Wake Forest after getting blitzed by Virginia last week. Tech is doing it with efficiency instead of running this season. They ranked 321st in tempo, but are a top 15 team in Adj Off Efficiency according to Kenpom. It also helps that NAW is a complete stud and NBA lottery pick.
- Louisville: Winners of three in a row, including two on the road, the Cardinals look better and better each game they play. After handing UNC a historic loss, they came from behind to beat BC and then destroyed Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Louisville is for real.
- North Carolina State: Even without injured star guard Markell Johnson they were able to pull of a road win in South Bend on a day when Braxton Beverly didn’t bring his game. Hopefully Johnson is back for this weeks tilt with Louisville. That game is going to give us a on of information on where each team is at moving forward this season.
- Syracuse: After a home loss to Georgia Tech the Orange have wins over Duke in Cameron and Pitt at home. The Orange are starting to put it together after bringing Paschal Chukwu back into the starting lineup. Tyus Battle is back to his way of scoring in bunches and playing every minute which is something Cuse needs every single bit of. They have a stretch of three straight road games coming up, that will really tell us if this team has elite eight upside or not.
- Florida State: Though they still rank 33rd in Kenpom, the Seminoles seem lost right now and may have hit rock bottom yesterday, blowing a big lead to Boston College. It should be noted that Phil Cofer did not play, but the talent is there to beat the Eagles. At 1-4 in the ACC they have some work to do, but could easily be 4-4 after their next three games (Clemson, Miami, Georgia Tech).
- Clemson: The team I was selling last week defended their home court nicely last Wednesday, defeating Georgia Tech at home. Marcquise Reed looked like his 2017-18 self and could be due for a string of nice games. Aamir Simms looked good in that game as well. Consistency is key for the Tigers, who I have as the last ACC team in the dance.
- Pitt: If it weren’t for Louisville, the Panthers would be the shocker of the league. They currently ranked 65th in Kenpom and have wins over Florida State and Louisville. Their schedule is absolutely brutal in conference play, but they could still clip Clemson and Notre Dame at the Pete.
- Notre Dame: It’s official, I have come to grips with the fact that the Irish won’t dance this season. This team is going to very good next season if everyone is back, but right now they just don’t quite know how to win. Prentiss Hubb needs to make better decisions and DJ Harvey needs to work on that jumper, but the potential to be a second weekend team for 2019-20 is definitely there. You won’t keep Mike Brey down for very long.
- Georgia Tech: You saw what they were without Jose Alvarado on Saturday and that has Yellow Jackets fans up in arms about Josh Pastner. He’s not going anywhere people. The defense is still solid and help is on the way with Jordan Usher. This team should dance in 2019-20, but some development needs to take place first. Until then, expect more peaks and valleys.
- Boston College: I had them at 14 coming in to yesterday, but that win over FSU showed me that the Eagles have not quit on Jim Christian. Health is an issue as Wynston Tabbs works his way back, but this team can score. Ky Bowman is a stud and when you have a stud you can beat anyone. At 1-4 this isn’t where I thought they would be, but with Wake Forest, Syracuse and Notre Dame ahead, they have an outside shot at evening that conference record.
- Miami: The only reason this team is not better is because of depth. They are tremendous for 30 minutes, but eventually stamina effects everyone not named Tyus Battle. Chris Lykes is star and Zach Johnson isn’t too far behind, but a thin front court is a constant battle for the Canes and I don’t see a resolution coming any time soon.
- Wake Forest: The Deacons put up a nice win last week at home over NC State. They are talented enough to pull off a couple of those victories this year if they remain focused. The offense is there with Hoard, Childress and Mucius. With home games against Boston College and Pitt remaining I wouldn’t be shocked to see Wake put a couple more notches in the left hand column.