This past week was a busy one for the ACC. First, there was the ACC/Big Ten Challenge from Monday to Wednesday. Then, with the weekend came the second slate of conference games this season. Right now, Louisville looks like the team to beat while the normally dominant trio of North Carolina, Duke, and Virginia has suffered some unusual blemishes. Here are the week 6 ACC power rankings.
1. #1 Louisville Cardinals 9-0 (2-0)
The Cards reinforced their standing at the top of these rankings with a pair of dominating victories over #4 Michigan and Pittsburgh. In a year where seemingly every top team is prone to being taken down on any given night, Louisville has been the one of the few elite-looking squads. They are the clear favorite to win the conference at this point.
2. #7 Duke Blue Devils 9-1 (1-0)
Since its monumental upset loss to Stephen F. Austin, Duke picked up a couple impressive double-digit victories over Michigan State and Virginia Tech. They’ve all but finished up non-conference play, with games against Wofford and Brown coming later this month.
3. #9 Virginia Cavaliers 8-1 (2-0)
Virginia looked abysmal in its ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup with Purdue, losing 69-40. They played better against UNC, although both fanbases would likely agree that neither team looked great, especially in the first half. One thing that’s for sure is that Tony Bennett is continuing his slow-paced style of basketball, perhaps this year more than ever. The Cavaliers rank dead last in the country in possessions per game (61.5).
4. #21 Florida State Seminoles 8-2 (1-1)
The Seminoles followed up a disappointing loss to Indiana with a 72-53 victory over Clemson. With the usual elite teams in the conference struggling a bit, FSU is a dark horse to make some noise at the top. Their next game is a week from today against North Florida.
5. #17 North Carolina Tar Heels 6-3 (1-1)
To be honest, in my head I certainly figured I would drop the Heels more than just two spots. When looking at this conference, though, there legitimately aren’t more than four teams I can confidently rank above them. That being said, Carolina has major issues offensively that could continue its plummet down this list if they are not addressed. The Heels lost their two games this past week by a combined 34 points, and the Virginia final score appeared much closer than the game actually was.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies 6-3 (1-1)
The Hokies played just one game since the last power rankings, a home tilt with Duke. Though they ultimately lost 77-63, the Blue Devils didn’t really gain control of the game until the last seven or eight minutes. With a much weaker-than-usual ACC, Mike Young just might have a shot to take this Hokies squad to the tournament in his first year.
7. NC State Wolfpack 7-2 (1-1)
The Wolfpack had a very solid week, with wins over Wisconsin and Wake Forest. With such a weak non-conference schedule, it’s difficult to know how legitimate this team is, but a road tilt with Auburn later this month should help answer that question.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers 7-3 (1-1)
After a couple pushes in the second half to try and get back in the game, Pitt ultimately fell to Louisville, 64-46. Pair that with an eleven-point win over Rutgers, and last week went roughly as expected for the Panthers. The rest of their month doesn’t get any more interesting, with games against Northern Illinois, Binghamton, and Canisius.
9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-3 (0-2)
Notre Dame got blown out by Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and then followed that up by falling to a five-loss Boston College team. Injuries haven’t helped, but this has been a disappointing start for a team that many thought would make some noise in the ACC this year. They now sit at 0-2 in the conference with games against Detroit and UCLA coming up.
10. Syracuse Orange 5-4 (1-1)
The Orange ended a three-game skid by beating down Georgia Tech this weekend, 97-63. It’s clear this team doesn’t have the talent of typical Jim Boeheim teams, but they’ll look to carry this momentum into their trip to Georgetown this coming Saturday.
11. Miami Hurricanes 5-3 (0-1)
The Hurricanes haven’t played a game since the last power rankings but move up a spot because of poor play from other teams in the conference. They are back in action Saturday against Alabama A&M.
12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 4-3 (1-1)
Georgia Tech picked up a decent win over Nebraska before getting blitzed by Syracuse. The Yellow Jackets haven’t played too many noteworthy teams yet so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare when they travel to Lexington to take on Kentucky this weekend.
13. Clemson Tigers 5-4 (0-2)
The Tigers followed up their ugly defeat against Minnesota with another near-20 point loss at the hands of Florida State. That’s now three straight losses for a Clemson team that has managed to beat just one power five conference team (TCU) so far this season. They are one of three teams that sit at 0-2 in the ACC.
14. Boston College Eagles 5-5 (2-0)
Believe it or not, Boston College is currently tied for first place in the conference with Louisville and Virginia. However, this team is not close to the same level as those two. With losses to Belmont, Depaul, and Richmond, it’s a miracle the Eagles were even able to eke out two ACC wins.
15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5-5 (0-2)
Wake Forest has been pretty much equally as bad as Boston College, but they get the bottom spot since they lost head-to-head. The Demon Deacons are on a three-game losing streak and things don’t get much easier this Saturday as they take on #23 Xavier.