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ACC Power Rankings: Week of 2/4

The Usual Suspects are cementing themselves at the top of the ACC...but there’s a long way to go

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It is becoming a truth universally acknowledged: Just as the Sun will rise in the east and set in the west, come February, it will be Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina be battling for the ACC Regular Season crown. The three premier programs in the ACC sit atop the standings and our power rankings, all with a single conference loss apiece. The back end of ACC play will be as thrilling as ever.

Here are the ACC Power Rankings.

1.#2 Duke Blue Devils (8-1)

The Blue Devils got a major lift from the recently returned Tre Jones on Saturday against St. John’s. The freshman guard had a terrific defensive performance against Shamorie Ponds, one of the best guards in America, and the Blue Devils cruised to an easy 30-point win. Tuesday night, they followed it up with a second half beatdown of Boston College. Now comes the real challenge...

Next Game: @ #3 Virginia 2/9 at 6:00 pm

2. #3 Virginia Cavaliers (8-1)

Right on the Devils’ heels are the Cavaliers, who followed up their survival act against NC State with another gritty win against Miami. The separation between the Blue Devils and Cavaliers is razor thin at this point: Both are 8-1 in conference play, they are ranked 2 and 3 nationally, and Duke only won by 2 points in Cameron. This is really 1A and 1B.

Next Game: vs. #2 Duke 2/9 at 6:00 pm

3. #8 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1)

Right on their ahem heels is UNC. Carolina is playing its best basketball at the perfect time to keep pace with their competitors. The Heels have now logged four double digit wins in a row, the two most recent being vengeance for their home loss to Louisville followed by completing their season sweep of the Wolfpack. The Heels host the Canes on Saturday, then comes their showdown with Virginia.

Next Game: vs. Miami 2/9 at 12:00 pm

4. #16 Louisville Cardinals (8-2)

Louisville had its buzz killed a bit by Carolina’s terrific performance on Saturday, but the Cardinals rebounded nicely, beating Virginia Tech on the road in Blacksburg. What Chris Mack has done with this team is nothing short of remarkable and at this point, ACC (maybe even National) Coach of the Year is his to lose.

Next Game: @ #22 Florida State 2/9 at 4:00 pm

5. #11 Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3)

The Hokies gave nation a good hearty laugh by holding those fellas from Raleigh to 24 points, but they missed a big opportunity 48 hours later by dropping a game at home against the Cards. They were without Justin Robinson, but this team’s inability to win games against top competition could very well kill them come Selection Sunday; they’re looking more and more like fool’s gold. The bright side? The ACC keeps giving you chances for signature wins.

Next Game: @ Clemson 2/9 at 12:00 pm

6. #22 Florida State Seminoles (5-4)

After a DREADFUL start to conference play, the Seminoles have righted the ship, running off four straight wins. Their latest was a thorough beating of Syracuse on the road to the tune of 80-62. The Noles could climb the polls pretty steadily these next two weeks by just taking care of business: They host Louisville on Saturday, but after that they play GTech, Wake Forest, and Clemson.

Next Game: vs. #16 Louisville 2/9 at 4:00 pm

7. Syracuse Orange (7-3)

The home loss to FSU dealt a killer blow to the Orange’s hope of being an ACC darkhorse. Jim Boeheim’s squad are now 7-3 in conference play with a rematch with Duke and games against Louisville, UNC, and Virginia all looming.

Next Game: vs. Boston College 2/9 at 2:00 pm

8. NC State Wolfpack (4-6)

Try this on for size: The Wolfpack scored FOUR TIMES as many points against UNC than they did against Virginia Tech...and still lost by 17. Heavens preserve us. The Pack, like the Hokies, are staring at very few remaining chances to grab a signature win. They head to Durham next Saturday and Tallahassee two weeks later. If they can’t steal a game anywhere in there, they’re not gonna like what happens in early March.

Next Game: @ Pitt 2/9 at 2:00 pm

9. Clemson Tigers (3-5)

The Tigers have grabbed two in a row, feeding off ACC’s cellar-dwellers in the past week. The next two Saturdays are vital for them, since they host Virginia Tech, then head on the road to take on Louisville.

Next Game: @ Georgia Tech 2/6 at 7:00 pm

10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-6)

The Yellow Jacket’s ongoing search for offense continues: They managed only 49 points against the Seminoles on Saturday, dropping their third straight game. Easier matchups with Clemson and Notre Dame will give them an opportunity to right the ship.

Next Game: vs. Clemson 2/6 at 7:00 pm

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-7)

Mike Brey’s squad finally snapped their five-game losing streak with a close win on the road at Boston College. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same team that gave UNC so much trouble in the Dean Dome three weeks ago, but there you have it.

Next Game: @ Miami 2/6 at 7:00 pm

12. Boston College Golden Eagles (2-7)

Red: “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope will drive a man insane...” The Golden Eagles actually held a 30-28 lead at halftime in Cameron on Tuesday night, before the predictable Blue Devil barrage smashed them into a thousand tiny pieces. That’s three Ls in a row for the Boston boys, here’s hoping the locals were too busy celebrating their umpteenth Super Bowl to notice.

Next Game: @ Syracuse 2/9 at 2:00 pm

13. Pittsburgh Panthers (2-8)

The Panthers came agonizingly close to snapping their losing streak last night against Wake Forest, but came up short, losing in overtime 78-76. That’s six straight for Jeff Capel and Co. Ten bucks says that he leaves for back surgery next week and has Jason take it the rest of the way, Pete Gaudet-style.

Next Game: vs. NC State 2/9 at 2:00 pm

14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-8)

Pitt’s misery was Wake’s salvation, as the Deacs snapped a six-game losing streak of their own. Wake taking down the Wolfpack seems like a loooong time ago. But things don’t get easier for them: They head to Tallahassee next, then host UNC.

Next Game: @ FSU 2/13 at 7:00 pm

15. Miami Hurricanes (1-8)

Jim Larranaga’s club has been in shambles in the past few weeks. The Canes have dropped five straight games, by an average of 13 points. In fact, their closest game in that stretch was against UNC in Coral Gables. Woof.

Next Game: vs. Notre Dame 2/6 at 7:00 pm