After UNC’s horrific loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Heels’ ACC season is already at risk of being dead on arrival. A plethora of injuries has made what already looked to be a challenging season into an outright disaster thus far. Fortunately for Carolina, we are only three games into conference play and plenty of time for a turnaround. Here is how things stand as of Week 10:
1. #2 Duke Blue Devils 13-1 (3-0)
Duke got a breezy victory on the road in Miami, smashing the Hurricanes 95-62. The victory came with a cost, however, as Wendell Moore suffered a broken hand and underwent surgery earlier this week. Duke has not played again without the forward, but unless they see a significant dropoff (unlikely), the Devils are the team to beat in the ACC. Joy.
2. #10 Florida State 13-2 (3-1)
No ACC team had a bigger win this week than the Seminoles, who knocked off Louisville on the road 78-65 on Saturday. Leonard Hamilton’s squad has now won six straight and have a chance to climb even further up the conference standings later this month: They play Virginia twice in the next three weeks.
3. #13 Louisville 12-3 (3-1)
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Cardinals, who looked like the best team in the country at times in November and December, but suffered back to back losses in big games. Dropping a game at home to the Noles was their first in-conference loss, but they can bounced back last night with an easy 78-65 win over Miami.
4. #18 Virginia 11-3 (3-1)
Virginia earned a decisive win 65-39 win over Virginia Tech at home, but followed it up with an anemic performance against Boston College literally as I was writing this, losing to the Eagles 60-53 in Boston. The Cavaliers’ offensive woes continued, as they shot just 33% from the field and went 3-16 from deep.
5. Boston College Eagles 9-6 (3-1)
The Eagles pulled off the stunner last night in Chestnut Hill, knocking off the Wahoos 60-53. Most impressive in their victory was their ability to score points in the paint and get to the line. The Eagles may not be anyone’s idea of world beaters, but they’ve got three wins in an ACC with a very weak mid-level.
6. Virginia Tech 10-4 (1-2)
Now we get into the rough part of the schedule, where basically all the mid-level teams had weeks to forget. The Hokies’ four-game win streak came to a hideous end in Charlottesville but bounced back with a win on the road at Syracuse. Their ability to string together win streaks (of six and four) and the big win over Michigan State keeps them in the top five for now.
7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10-4 (1-2)
The Irish came away with a close win on the road at Syracuse on Saturday, winning 88-87. Mike Brey’s squad appears to have found its footing of late and faces just one top ACC opponent in its next four games (Louisville at home), giving ND a chance to climb back up the standings.
8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 8-5 (1-2)
The Demon Deacons looked to be dead and buried a few weeks ago, losing three straight, but they’ve bounced back with three straight wins, including a road win at Pitt over the weekend. Up next, however, they host FSU, then head to Durham, so that win streak is not long for this world, I’m afraid.
9. Pittsburgh Panthers 10-4 (1-2)
Pitt had been riding a three-game win streak against mid-majors coming into Saturday’s game at home against the Deacs and got a splash of cold water in the face. Fortunately for them, they face the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill tonight, which is curently a much less frightening prospect than it normally is...*cries quietly in the corner*
10. NC State Wolfpack 10-4 (1-2)
The Pack suffered a bad loss on the road at bottom feeder Clemson on Saturday, the kind of loss that won’t do them any favors come postseason seeding. They do, however, have a golden opportunity to improve their standing with three of their next four games coming at home and none of them against top teams.
11. North Carolina Tar Heels 8-6 (1-2)
Put bluntly, if Roy Williams and Co. are going to turn their season around and start picking up wins, they have to do it here and now. UNC’s remaining games in January come against Pitt (twice), Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, NC State, and Boston College. That’s seven highly winnable games. After that comes the usual February gauntlet.
12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 7-7 (2-2)
The Yellow Jackets handed UNC its worst loss of the season on Saturday and picked up their second conference win. Josh Pastner’s squad hosts #2 Duke tonight and heads to Boston College on the 11th.
13. Miami Hurricanes 9-5 (1-3)
The Hurricanes took an absolute bludgeoning at home against Duke over the weekend and followed it up with a loss to Louisville on the road. While all three conference losses by Miami have come against quality opponents, the manner in which they’ve been dispatched doesn’t bode well for them.
14. Syracuse Orange 8-7 (1-3)
The Orange dropped back to back games at home to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech this week. Jim Boeheim’s squad has lacked consistency all season long, with their offense and defense alternately failing them on any given night. Things don’t get easier: They head to Virginia next.
15. Clemson Tigers 7-7 (1-3)
Despite the win at home over the Wolfpack, the Tigers have struggled offensively all season, don’t have a single player averaging over 14 ppg and only two in double figures, have lost six of their last eight, and don’t have a single win away from home. Despite this, they have one of their best shots in recent memory to end their drought in Chapel Hill on Saturday. Lordy lord...