We are now solidly in the home stretch as the ACC regular season winds down, and there was a massive shift at the top of the league thanks to two big results. Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State Seminoles are now in pole position to win their first ever ACC regular season championship and have three very winnable games left. What could go wrong? Well...ask Louisville and Duke, who both bungled their latest opportunities. In other news, a certain team from Raleigh detonated their tournament hopes by losing to a certain team from Chapel Hill. Not sure if you’ve heard...
Here are the ACC Power Rankings through Week 17:
1) # 6 Florida State Seminoles 24-4 (14-3)
No team in America has had a better week than Florida State (well, maybe Kansas, I suppose). The Seminoles got a huge win at home over Louisville to complete a season sweep of the Cards, while Duke slipped up against Wake Forest. The Seminoles have been elite defensively all season, but often uninspiring putting the ball in the hoop. In the second half against U of L, they exploded for 50 points in a massive comeback win. If they can bring that kind of scoring to tournament play, they’re going to the Final Four.
2) #11 Louisville Cardinals 23-6 (14-4)
Two weeks ago (in a draft that has since been corrected) I made the case that Louisville was in fantastic shape to lock up the ACC. Part of that was because I was a moron who read their result against Georgia Tech wrong, but it was also because Louisville held the tiebreaker over then-second place Duke. By dropping both the GT game, then the Clemson game, AND THEN collapsing in Tallahassee, the Cards have now dropped to a game behind the title leaders, and the Noles hold the tie-breaker. They’ll need some serious fortune to reclaim the one seed.
3) #7 Duke Blue Devils 23-5 (13-4)
The Blue Devils had been rolling after their great escape in Chapel Hill two weeks ago and had a gild-edged chance to win the ACC, but blew a lead down the stretch to Wake Forest (see, Dookies! That’s how it feels!) and lost in double OT. The Blue Devils are now in line for the 3rd seed in the ACCT and head to Virginia next.
4) Virginia Cavaliers 20-7 (12-5)
The Wahoos, who gutted out another close, ugly win last night, this time over VA Tech, are the beneficiaries of the utter incompetence that is the middle of the ACC. They have two big games coming up against Duke and Louisville and yet if they were to drop both of those games, they would STILL have the 4-seed locked up. Tony Bennett’s squad lacks a signature win, but the Blue Devils and Cardinals both present a golden opportunity: both games are in Charlottesville.
5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish 18-10 (9-8)
Well, nice to know that someone else can lose to the Irish at the buzzer: T.J. Gibbs hit the game winner to finish off Boston College last night. Mike Brey’s squad are possible favorites for the “team that will surprise you in the ACC Tournament” award. The Fighting Irish have lost a wave of close games all season, but have played the top teams tough for the most part (horrific loss at Duke excepted). They have no shot at jumping up to the 4-seed, but considering how much of this season has gone, an easy first round conference opponent and a 4-5 matchup in the second round isn’t half bad.
6) Syracuse Orange 16-12 (9-8)
The Orange lost a close game to Florida State and then were obliterated at Louisville. But they bounced back against Georgia Tech and then again with a decisive against Pitt to stay with the middle of the pack. Who knows? maybe Boeheim’s team will go full Boeheim in the ACCT. Meh, probably not.
7) NC State Wolfpack 17-11 (8-9)
Getting swept by the lucid nightmare of a team that is UNC might be the State-iest thing ever State-ed.
8) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 14-14 (8-9)
The Yellow Jackets fell to Syracuse over the weekend, but bounced back with a win over Clemson on Tuesday.
9) Clemson Tigers 14-13 (8-9)
Clemson helped ruin Louisville’s title challenge and pave the way for Florida State two weeks ago. They can flip the narrative again when the Noles come to town on Saturday.
10) Virginia Tech Hokies 15-13 (6-11)
The Hokies came up short after an impressive second half comeback against Virginia last night. Things don’t get easier, as they head to Louisville on Sunday.
11) Boston College Eagles 13-16 (7-10)
We feel you, BC. We really do.
12) Pittsburgh Panthers 15-14 (6-12)
The Cuse and Pittsburgh “Do you think the Big East would take us back?” Bowl.
13) Miami Hurricanes 14-13 (6-11)
The Hurricanes actually had three strong wins in a row before Notre Dame smashed them in South Bend in the “Our Football Games Are Better” Bowl.
14) Wake Forest Demon Deacons 12-15 (5-12)
We love you Wake! Until Tuesday that is.
15) North Carolina Tar Heels 11-17 (4-13)
Yeah unfortunately beating State didn’t give us enough to jump a spot. But playing spoiler to the Wolfpack’s season is...new and fun, I guess?