Any ACC fan will tell that there is never a dull moment in the conference. Whether it’s football or basketball, no one is ever safe, and in just one day your opinion of a team can drastically increase or decrease. This week proved no different, with only question being fully answered, which is that Duke can overcome there struggles and beat a good Virginia team. Boston College, Maryland, and Florida St had great weeks, while Virginia Tech has dug themselves into a deep hole.
Without further ado lets get into this week’s power rankings:
1) Duke – Came back strong in the second half to prevent dropping back to back games, then handled their road woes on Sunday at LittleJohn to improve to 3-0.
2) Virginia – Only one game last week and it was loss, but there is no shame in losing by 3 at Duke. Virginia gets tested this week when they travel to Atlanta to face a scrappy Georgia Tech team and then welcome a desperate Virginia Tech team to Charlottesville.
3) Florida St – After getting beat by 20 at Clemson to open up the ACC season, Florida St went back on the road and beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg before crushing North Carolina in Tallahassee. They showed two sides this week by pulling out a gritty win over Virginia Tech, and then playing a flawless offensive game against the Tar Heels.
4) North Carolina – Right now, UNC is the 4th best team in the ACC. It seems rough, but they pulled a no show on Saturday at Florida St. The Tar Heels really struggle to adjust their game plan and to mentally get over a team playing at their best.
5) North Carolina St – Great come back win on the road over Wake Forest. Georgia Tech will play everyone tough, there is nothing easy about them, but the Wolfpack need to avoid dropping home games against teams like Georgia Tech.
6) Maryland – Took care of business at home this week, the Terps are playing great defense and are getting scoring outside of just Terrell Stoglin. Tough road game Tuesday night at Florida St, but if they pick up that win, then you have to start taking them serious in the race for a first round bye.
7) Boston College – I still don’t think a team playing as many freshmen as the Eagles do can succeed long term in the conference race, but getting home wins is key. They beat Clemson and Virginia Tech this week, not by much, but they are sitting at 2-1 with a trip to North Carolina St coming up before they welcome Wake Forest to the Conte Forum, the Eagles have a good shot at being at 3-2 by the end of the week.
8) Georgia Tech – May seem surprising, but the Yellow Jackets picked up a big win in Raleigh and battled the Terps tough in College Park. They are a scrappy team, that looks much better then they did in the non-conference. I still think they will have a tough time getting a lot of wins, but they will play everyone tough.
9) Clemson – The loss at Boston College hurts a lot especially after they lost to Duke Sunday night. Getting road wins in conference is big if you are looking to make a run to the upper half, and the Conte Forum isn’t the toughest of venues to play at. Win over Florida St carries more weight now, but they need to take advantage of their next 3 games to stay alive (@Miami, Vs Georgia Tech, Vs Wake Forest)
10) Wake Forest – Tough team mentally, they came back from being down 16 at Maryland and cut it to 3 in the second half. Couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to steal the game from the Terps, and then got punished by North Carolina St on Saturday. It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Deacs, but a trip to Boston College can be a nice morale boost.
11) Virginia Tech – The Hokies are painful to watch right now on offense, they are struggling to generate anything positive. They play great defense, but they can’t score to back it up. The Hokies have dug themselves into a big hole early in the season and could easily drop to 0-7 with North Carolina coming to town followed by a trip to Virginia and College Park, before they welcome Duke to Blacksburg.
12) Miami – The schedule eases up a little for the Canes as they play their conference home opener this week against Clemson and then get North Carolina St at home. Two tough early games against Virginia and North Carolina followed by a week off is what gets them the last place nod.
This Weeks Games:
Tuesday Jan 17
Maryland at Florida St – Terps have been playing great as of late getting two big games from Senior Sean Mosley, could be a big road win for them depending on which Seminoles team shows up.
Wednesday Jan 18
Clemson at Miami – Two athletic and veteran teams in need of a win. I don’t think the Canes will drop to 0-3 after a week off.
Thursday Jan 19
Wake Forest at Duke – If a shorthanded Wake team pulls this off, then we have entered the craziest ACC season ever.
Virginia at Georgia Tech – Extremely interesting game since Georgia Tech has enough height to battle Mike Scott inside. Can their guards defend Glen Rice Jr well enough or will Virginia’s defense force enough turnovers into easy baskets.
Boston College at North Carolina St – Can’t count out the confidence the Eagles will have when they travel to Raleigh. The Wolfpack can’t sleep on BC, but they should take care of business against them at home.
North Carolina at Virginia Tech – The Hokies need this win BADLY. However, UNC off of an embarrassing loss should be an even tougher match up for a team struggling to find points like Virginia Tech.
Saturday Jan 21
Wake Forest at Boston College – The Eagles have been a tough out at home and Wake Forest lack of depth could hurt them after playing at Duke two days earlier. Who would have thought the Eagles would be at 3-2 in the conference?
Georgia Tech at Clemson – Another tough game for the Tigers, and another exciting game for us. Both teams will see this game as an opportunity to stay alive in the conference. Georgia Tech is scrappy enough to steal any game on the road, and Clemson might be reeling if they lose in Coral Gables on Wednesday.
Florida St at Duke – Honestly, who knows. Florida St plays great defense and their length could frustrate Duke a lot and they could potentially go off for another 90 points against a top 5 team.
Sunday Jan 22
Virginia Tech at Virginia – In state rivals face off with one team enjoying what could be a really special season while the other one is searching to stay afloat.
North Carolina St at Miami – Potential trap game for the Wolfpack, the next two after Miami are @UNC and Virginia, Miami could be looking to get back to 500 if they beat Clemson earlier in the week.
This conference season is shaping up to be a great one. I don’t know how much clarity we’ll have after this week, but there are some great match-ups. I think we will learn a lot about Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Miami this week. These three teams need wins badly if they wish to fulfill their preseason expectations. Florida St can completely erase the loss to Clemson by beating Maryland and Duke this week, and the Terps on the other hand can silence some doubters with a road win at Florida St.