If you are reading this solely to find where UNC lands this week, I will save you some time: We’re last. There you are, I wish you a pleasant day. Least I could do for those who are suffering like I am.
There is a hotly-contested title race brewing atop the ACC for the second year in a row. Unlike last year, we aren’t even sniffing range of someone else who IS in sniffing range to smell it. Here are our ACC Power Rankings through the night of February 12th:
1. #5 Louisville Cardinals 21-4 (12-2)
The Cardinals were on a roll, capturing their 10 straight wins before falling at Georgia Tech Wednesday night. Chris Mack’s squad hold the best win of the season (on the road at Duke) which give them the tiebreaker over the Blue Devils and keep them in pole position. They have just one major challenge standing in their path the rest of the way: At Florida State on February 24th.
2. #7 Duke Blue Devils 21-3 (11-2)
Thanks to some (even by their infamous standards) helpful officiating, the Blue Devils picked up a massive win at home against Florida State on Monday to seize sole possession of second place in the ACC. They also had a win against someone on Saturday but for some reason I’m drawing a tidy, self-preserving blank. Duke got some help from the Cardinals to take a share of the regular season title and they have the easiest remaining schedule of the three contenders.
3. #8 Florida State Seminoles 20-4 (10-3)
The Seminoles’ loss in Durham nearly killed their title chances, as it was unlikely that both Duke AND Louisville would drop multiple games down the stretch. But Louisville’s loss to Georgia Tech helped them in a big way and they have a great opportunity to complete an impressive season sweep of the Cardinals when the leaders come to Tallahassee later this month.
4. Virginia Cavaliers 16-7 (8-5)
The good news? The Wahoos managed to get some offense going on the road at Louisville, scoring 73 points in a tough environment. The bad? They couldn’t stop the Cards, who rattled off 80 against UVA’s slowed down game. They then gutted out a close game against Notre Dame. Tony Bennett’s squad still holds the edge for a double bye in the ACC tournament and next face UNC in what promises to be an utterly unwatchable game.
5. NC State Wolfpack 16-8 (7-6)
The Pack picked up two road wins last week, putting them in striking range of the vulnerable Cavaliers for the all-important 4th seed. Next, they face Boston College in a very winnable game. They’ve got the advantage in catching UVA because...
6. Syracuse Orange 14-10 (7-6)
One of State’s wins last week came in the Carrier Dome to give the Wolfpack the tiebreaker. Things get even tougher for the Orange, who next head to Florida State.
7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 15-9 (6-7)
Mike Brey’s squad truly has no luck. They’ve won four of their last six games and their two losses were both by just a single point. The continuing saga of close defeats is denying them a shot at fully getting their season back on track.
8.Pittsburgh Panthers 15-10 (6-8)
The Panthers split their last two coming into last night, losing to Notre Dame and getting the win over Georgia Tech. But the Panthers suffered a brutal home loss to Clemson that may very well have killed off their last shot at the NCAA tournament.
9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 11-13 (6-7)
The Yellow Jackets fell to Pitt over the weekend but pulled off the shocker by knocking off Louisville at home in one of the biggest upsets of the season.
10. Virginia Tech Hokies 14-10 (5-8)
What at times looked like a very promising season for the Hokies has turned into a disaster in recent weeks. Tech has lost five in a row, several coming to below average competition, and even their signature win of the year (Preseason #1 Michigan State) has dropped out of the Top 25.
11. Clemson Tigers 12-12 (6-8)
The Tigers had lost three in a row before bouncing back with a road win over Pitt that got them back to .500.
12. Boston College Eagles 12-13 (6-8)
BC knocked off a reeling Virginia Tech last week, but followed it up with a dreadful loss to cellar-dweller Miami Wednesday night.
13. Miami Hurricanes 12-12 (4-10)
The Canes were beaten roundly by FSU, allowing 99 points to an offensively-challenged Noles squad, but routed Boston College Wednesday night.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 11-13 (4-10)
The Deacs thumped UNC on Monday night in about a thorough and humiliating a beating as one three-win ACC team can administer to another.
15. North Carolina Tar Heels 10-14 (3-10)
For the record, I did give some mildly serious consideration to putting a number of teams last instead, but the simple truth is that UNC has lost four straight, nine of their last eleven and has the worst record in the conference. So...