The rest of the ACC has joined the conference play party, as this past weekend had the rest of the conference members play their first game. No one had a dominant performance, and with all of the unbeaten teams in college gone after the first weekend, these rankings likely will go through many highs and lows. Let’s see where we stand now.
1) #2 Duke (13-1)
The Blue Devils leveled their record in the conference to move into 7th place. I only type that because it’s very unlikely they’ll stay that low during the season.
Duke notched probably the best win of the weekend by coming back to top Florida State in Durham. They needed a Herculean effort from Marvin Bagley, he of the 34 points and 21 rebounds, in order to pull it out.
It was tempting to knock Duke down as their depth issues have been exposed early, and it was announced on New Year’s Eve that Jordan Tucker will transfer from the program. For most programs, the loss of a top-100 recruit halfway into his first year is huge news. The Devils will keep rolling along, and Bagley is going to be a monster for this conference to defend.
2) #8 Virginia (12-1)
As noted, no one had a real dominant win, so the second spot goes to the second highest team. BC (we’ll get to them later) may be a legit competitor this year, as UVa barely squeaked out a 1 point win over the Eagles. Still, it’s a win and the Cavs are staring at a chance to get a foothold early with a trip to Blacksburg and then hosting the Tar Heels later.
3) #12 North Carolina (12-2)
Considering the upset bug that swept the country this weekend, that Carolina lost their opener last year, and that they were 0-2 against Wake in ACC openers under Roy, this was a good win. We are going to find out about this team over the next four: at Florida State, at Virginia, host BC, at Notre Dame. Anything better than a 2-2 record sets them up well in the long run.
4) #25 Clemson (12-1)
Time to give the Tigers their due. Ranked in the Top 25, notched their first ACC win against NC State over the weekend, and they now have eight straight wins. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it up, but the Tigers are set up to make some noise. With games against BC, Louisville, and another match against NC State, the Tigers could be 4-0 before Miami comes calling on January 13th.
5) #15 Miami (12-1)
A win against Pitt that was closer than it should have been. Miami gets the “early” bye this year, as they play Tech and FSU before getting a week off. That game against FSU next Saturday should tell us a lot about how real the Hurricanes are.
6) #24 Florida State (11-2)
Had the Devils down late and let them slip through their hands. Probably tough to drop them this far, but you don’t get many chances to defeat Duke at Cameron, and when you don’t manage to get anyone to foul out despite four players have four fouls, it’s fair to say you let that game get away. Also this, courtesy of our Jake Lawrence:
Down 4, FSU uses final timeout with 1:30 left.— Jake Lawrence (@therealestrjl) December 30, 2017
FSU fires up 25 footer immediately out of the timeout.
Leonard Hamilton folks.
7) Syracuse (12-2)
They won on opening weekend, and arguably had the most surprising win with how easily they beat Virginia Tech. With games against Wake and Notre Dame this week, we’ll know quickly if this was a fluke or of Boeheim plan to be in the mix for the upper tier of the conference.
8) Notre Dame (11-3)
Things were a little scary in South Bend as Georgia Tech was up on the Irish at the half, but things turned around quickly in the second, and Notre Dame starts ACC play 1-0. The Irish have been a disappointment so far, but they have a good shot to be 4-0 when they face Carolina in South Bend, which would quickly erase their head-scratching losses
9) Boston College (10-4)
The Eagles almost pulled off two upsets in a row, this one being on the road, announcing to the rest of the conference that at the very least, they aren’t going to be pushovers for the rest of the league. Don’t be surprised to see them clip someone-and that includes Carolina. Their game next Tuesday comes after a trip to Tallahassee and Charlottesville, and is before a flight to South Bend. It has “let down” written all over it.
10) Wake Forest (7-6)
Manning’s crew gave Carolina a tough fight for the second year in a row, and it took a run from Carolina’s “Death lineup” to seal the win for the Tar Heels. The record is a little deceiving for the Deacs, as they started 0-3 and will have their chance to make a statement in their next few.
11) Louisville (10-3)
You saw the jokes, I saw the jokes, we don’t need to repeat them here. A 29-point loss to one of Kentucky’s weaker teams doesn’t bode well for the Cards coming into conference play. We’ll see how they recover in their conference opener versus Pitt.
12) NC State (10-4)
Recovered from their stumble against UNCG and just couldn’t quite hang with Clemson. The Pack needed that win, as their schedule is brutal to open: at Notre Dame, host Duke, host Clemson (yes in a 15-team league they are playing the same opponent twice in two weeks), at UVa. The Wolfpack are staring at an 0-5 conference start baring an upset, but hey, they won the Sun Bowl.
13) Virginia Tech (11-3)
Their loss to Syracuse is one of those games the NCAA looks back on in March as one that will keep a team out of a tournament. The Hokies have a chance to right the ship this week, as UVa is looking vulnerable.
14) Georgia Tech (6-7)
Having a lead on the road in the first half allows you to avoid the basement, but the ACC Coach of the year isn’t likely to repeat.
15) Pittsburgh (8-6)
Boston College may have competition for the 0-18 season.