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ACC Basketball Power Rankings: Week Four

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We are still learning a lot about the conference in mid-December.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With the ACC football regular season comes to a close, and the North Carolina Tar Heels football team eagerly awaits the next College Football Playoff ranking this evening, more and more coverage at Tar Heel Blog will shift towards basketball.

It might be the fourth week of the AP basketball poll, but this is the first installment of the ACC Basketball Power Rankings since there was a conference game last week between Syracuse and Boston College.

By this time last year, the Tar Heels had already competed in nine games. UNC and the rest of the conference are way behind in the numbers of games played so far this season.

So, with the small sample size we have, here is a first shot at the ACC Basketball Power Rankings.

1. Clemson (5-0, 0-0 ACC)

There are five ACC teams that are undefeated this season. However, not all unblemished records are created equal.

The Tigers earn the top spot in the power rankings because they have the most wins in the conference, and four of their five victories have come against Power Five conference teams. Sure, it might not be the toughest schedule in the conference, but they have not scheduled a powderpuff slate to get to 5-0.

This week: 12/15 at Virginia Tech, 12/18 at South Carolina.

2. No. 20 Florida State (3-0, 0-0 ACC)

The Seminoles were picked to finish third in the ACC this season behind the play of ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year Scottie Barnes. However, senior guard MJ Walker is leading the way for FSU, averaging 17 points a game so far in 2020.

Wins over Indiana and Florida put the undefeated ‘Noles in the second spot.

This week: 12/15 vs. Georgia Tech, 12/19 vs. UCF.

3. No. 15 Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-0 ACC)

In the second game of the season, the Hokies rallied from an 11-point deficit against third-ranked Villanova to force overtime. Then, VT scored 17 points in the extra frame to secure a 81-73 victory.

Two games later, Virginia Tech was hammered by Penn State by 20 points in Blacksburg.

This week: 12/15 vs. Clemson, 12/19 vs. Coppin State.

4. No. 25 Louisville (4-0, 0-0 ACC)

So far, the Cardinals are undefeated and climbed into the Top 25 last week.

The only victory of note this season was against Seton Hall thanks to a couple of clutch free throws by JJ Traynor in the waning seconds.

This week: 12/16 vs. NC State.

5. No. 16 North Carolina (4-2, 0-0 ACC)

This is the section of the power rankings where the underperforming teams sit. The Tar Heels added NC Central last week, and UNC forgot to show up for the tip of that game, trailing by as much as 11 in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Unfortunately, this has been a trend all season. At least Carolina’s two losses are against ranked teams.

This week: 12/19 vs. Ohio State.

6. No. 18 Virginia (3-1, 0-0 ACC)

Did you know that the San Francisco Dons men’s basketball program has double the NCAA Tournament Championships than UVA?

The Cavaliers did not get a chance to gain some ground in the rankings after their loss to San Francisco because of the cancellation of their matchup against no. 4 Michigan State.

This week: 12/19 vs. Villanova.

7. No. 10 Duke (2-2, 0-0 ACC)

Yes, there was a big announcement from the Duke men’s basketball head coach last week. There are not any virologists on staff here at THB, and it is of this writer’s opinion that we should not wade too deep into those discussions. It is not our team, so this is the extent of the content.

Back to the results. Even though the Blue Devils are not known for scheduling tough non-conference opponents in Durham, here is an indisputable fact: Duke’s loss against Illinois was the largest non-conference home loss under K.

This week: 12/16 vs. Notre Dame.

8. Syracuse (4-1, 1-0 ACC)

For the first time since February 2014, the Orange are atop the ACC standings.

Prior to their win over Boston College, Syracuse had a tough battle against former Big East rival and currently-ranked Rutgers. The Orange held a slight lead late, but could not hang on for the victory.

This week: 12/19 vs. Buffalo.

9. Pitt (4-1, 0-0 ACC)

The St. Francis Red Flash hit a three-pointer two minutes into the first game of the season against Pitt, then never looked back. The Panthers lost by 10 in Pittsburgh to open their season.

Since then, they have won four straight. The only P5 victory was a one point come-from-behind victory against Northwestern.

This week: 12/16 at Miami.

10. Miami (3-1, 0-0 ACC)

After coming off a victory against Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Hurricanes dropped a game at home versus intrastate school Florida Gulf Coast.

Two Miami players were hurt during that loss to FGCU, and only had six healthy scholarship players left on the sidelines.

This week: 12/16 vs. Pitt, 12/19 vs. Jacksonville.

11. NC State (3-0, 0-0 ACC)

The Wolfpack paused basketball activities due to positive COVID-19 cases in the program.

NC State has only managed three games this season, and has cancelled an equal number. All three wins this season are against mid-majors.

This week: 12/16 at Louisville, 12/19 vs. Campbell.

12. Wake Forest (2-0, 0-0 ACC)

The Demon Deacons have not played since November 27 amid cancellations and postponements. WF took care of two mid-majors before pausing activities.

This week: n/a

13. Notre Dame (2-2, 0-0 ACC)

The Irish had spirited efforts against ranked opponents Michigan State and Ohio State. However, Notre Dame did not look good versus Detroit Mercy, and their one-point victory over Kentucky is looking less impressive by the day.

This week: 12/16 vs. Duke, 12/19 vs. Purdue.

14. Georgia Tech (2-2, 0-0 ACC)

Georgia State took the Yellow Jackets to four overtimes, and the Panthers took down their intrastate opponents. Georgia Tech went on to drop their next game against Mercer before beating Kentucky and Nebraska.

This week: 12/15 at Florida State, 12/18 vs. Florida A&M.

15. Boston College (1-5, 0-1 ACC)

Hard times up in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles have only managed a five-point victory against Rhode Island, and that was after a second half rally.

After their loss to Syracuse, BC is at the bottom of the ACC standings.

This week: n/a