The ACC continues to be utterly unpredictable. After it looked like Duke might be the clear-cut best team in the conference, the Blue Devils lost two straight to Clemson and Louisville. Moreover, the defending champion Virginia Cavaliers have now lost four out of the last five after falling to NC State at home last night. Without further ado, here are the week 12 ACC power rankings.
1. #5 Florida State Seminoles 16-2 (6-1)
The Seminoles are on a nine-game winning streak and they managed to crack the top five for the first time since 1972. Though the conference is not nearly as strong as it usually is, credit Leonard Hamilton’s squad for beating what’s in front of them.
2. #6 Louisville Cardinals 15-3 (6-1)
Louisville had a nice week, taking down both Pittsburgh and Duke on the road. The Cardinals are another team that has taken advantage of a weak field. They’ll look to keep things rolling when they face Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
3. #8 Duke Blue Devils 15-3 (5-2)
The Blue Devils had rattled off nine straight victories heading into its road tilt with Clemson. Not only did they lose that one, but they turned around a few days later and dropped another one to Louisville. This seems like as good a year as any for Coach K to win his first outright ACC regular season title since 2006, but it won’t be handed to him.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies 13-5 (4-3)
It’s extremely difficult to rank these teams after the top three but someone has got to be #4. The Hokies had a so-so week, nabbing a ten-point road victory over Wake Forest followed by a close loss to Syracuse. They’ll be back in action on Wednesday against UNC.
5. NC State Wolfpack 14-5 (5-3)
The Wolfpack picked up a solid road win over Virginia last night. They’re now riding a three-game win streak and have sole possession of fourth place in the conference. State will travel to Atlanta this weekend to take on Georgia Tech.
6. Virginia Cavaliers 12-6 (4-4)
This might be the same Virginia defense we’re used to watching but it’s definitely not the same offense. The Cavaliers are shooting under 40% from the field as a team in ACC play and as mentioned previously, they’ve lost four of the last five. Tony Bennett will try to stop the bleeding on Sunday when the Hoos go on the road against Wake Forest.
7. Pittsburgh Panthers 12-6 (3-4)
Here’s a statement you probably didn’t think you’d hear coming into the season: Pittsburgh just completed a season sweep of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Though those wins don’t mean nearly as much as they would any other year, the Panthers have been impressive nonetheless. They host Boston College on Wednesday.
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11-6 (2-4)
The Fighting Irish missed opportunities for a couple solid wins after losing close ones to NC State and Louisville. Though they responded with a 78-74 victory over the Yellow Jackets, they’re going to have to start closing out more of these key games if they want a shot at making the tournament.
9. Clemson Tigers 9-8 (3-4)
Clemson completed its sweep of the triangle by defeating Duke at home, 79-72. The Wolfpack did manage to get their revenge this weekend, but Tigers fans have to be satisfied overall. They’ll take on Wake Forest tonight.
10. Syracuse Orange 11-7 (4-3)
The Orange are playing much better as of late. They are currently on a three-game winning streak, with a pair of road wins over the Virginia schools and a blowout victory against Boston College. Syracuse will look to carry that momentum into its Wednesday night trip to Notre Dame.
11. Miami Hurricanes 10-7 (2-5)
The Hurricanes have lost four of their last five games. Things don’t get much easier this week with road games against Duke and a Carolina team that will likely have Cole Anthony back in the lineup.
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 9-8 (2-5)
Wake Forest snapped its three-game losing streak with a convincing 80-62 win over Boston College. The Demon Deacons are set to take on Clemson tonight.
13. Boston College Eagles 9-9 (3-4)
As lousy as Boston College has looked at times, they’ve managed to nab three conference victories, including wins over Virginia and Notre Dame. However, the Eagles have lost their last three games by a combined 63 points. They travel to Pittsburgh tomorrow for their third consecutive road game.
14. North Carolina Tar Heels 8-9 (1-5)
The North Carolina Tar Heels are in dead last in the ACC and under .500 in January for the first time since 2002. Though the Heels probably deserve the bottom spot in these power rankings, I’m refraining from assigning it to them just yet. It’s easy to forget that with Cole Anthony, the Heels defeated a current top-15 team in Oregon. Assuming Anthony makes his return at some point this week, Carolina should be a different-looking team.
15. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8-10 (3-5)
The Yellow Jackets are currently the only team in the ACC with double-digit losses. Not once this season have they strung together three straight wins. That doesn’t figure to change any time soon with games against Louisville and NC State upcoming.