So this probably should have been done yesterday, but I really want to get in the habit of doing power rankings throughout the season. UNC occupies the top spot this week, with Duke coming in second, as both are coming off tough losses last week to strong opponents.
Let's take a look at who is where after the jump...1.) UNC-- [W vs. Michigan State, L vs. Kentucky] UNC is getting better as was expected. The young guys are playing well and Larry Drew II looks a lot more comfortable. I'm still concerned about the Heels' bench, as Strickland looks a little lost out there and Henson just does not know what to do with his body. The Wear twins are eating up a ton of minutes without a lot of productivity. Tyler Zeller is a great player for them though and really makes the perfect sixth man. UNC gets another tough test when they head to Dallas to play Texas at the Cowboys stadium next week.
2.) Duke -- [L vs. Wisconsin, W vs. St. John's] I thought this Duke team was supposed to be able to shoot? Kyle Singler is looking average at best so far this year and is taking a LOT of shots. You know what you're getting out of Jon Scheyer week in and week out and that is a great stabilizer. Andre Dawkins has been spectacular so far and we are going to be seeing a lot more of him as Duke enters ACC play. Duke's big weakness is still down low--Zoubek and Thomas are just bad, but the Plumlees work hard and are good players.
3.) GT [W vs. Siena, W vs. USC] The Jackets were left out of the Challenge this year because of their finish last season, and that really is a shame as I believe they would have won their matchup and turned the tide for the ACC. Instead, Tech put a whooping on Siena and USC last week. GT is stellar in the frontcourt with Lawal, Peacock and Favors, but losing Iman Shumpert is going to be sidelined for 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.
4.) Clemson [L vs. Illinois, W vs. South Carolina] Clemson is looking like bi-polar Clemson again, surprise! This is a good, solid basketball team. They have 5 players averaging at least 9 points per game and Trevor Booker is almost averaging a double-double (13 and 9). Their problem is that they just lose focus (as seen by the terrible collapse against Illinois). I think they are a better team than Georgia Tech, but they just can't pass them until they show some consistency.
5.) Miami [W vs. Minnesota, L vs. BC] Yes, I know they lost their first conference game. But it was very close and came down to the buzzer. They picked up a great non-con win over Minnesota, but still have not really been challenged other than their last two contests. Dwayne Collins is very good, but there's a lot of pressure on him coming into conference play since two of Miami's three strong guards are newcomers (Malcolm Grant from Villinova and freshman Durand Scott.) James Dews can get it done too, but we will see just how much the 'Canes miss Jack McClinton after the 1st of the year.
6.) Wake Forest [L vs. Purdue, W vs. Gonzaga] After a disappointing loss at home to William & Mary, the Deacs took to the road for two very tough tests. After a hard-fought loss to Purdue, the Deacs looked like they finally clicked in a win over Gonzaga at the Kennel. If the Demon Deacons can use this as a momentum builder, they could enter the new year at 10-2. They will be tested by UNC-W, who has played some good teams tough, as well as Richmond, which received votes in the polls this week. Freshmen C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart are looking like the real deal, but the Deacs absolutely need to get consistency from their bigs and from Al-Farouq Aminu.
7.) Virginia Tech [W vs. Iowa, W vs. Georgia] I like VT. They're better than they look on paper, and their loss to Temple is not a bad one--the Owls almost pulled off the upset against Georgetown a few games ago. They easily could finish anywhere between 6th and 10th, but the combo of Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen should be good for at least 6 conference wins.
8.) Maryland [W vs. Indiana, L vs. Villanova] I've seen Maryland play 4 times now this year and I'm sorry, I just don't think they are very good. Greivis Vasquez takes way too many ill-advised shots and he is shooting 32%. Sean Mosley and Landon Milbourne are the strong points to this team and Eric Hayes keeps them calm sometimes, but they aren't deep and I'm not sold on their front court. The Terps were a hot pick to start the season, but they have to prove something to me before they can move up the board.
9.) Boston College [W vs. Michigan, W vs. Miami] Here we go again. It's the same old story every year. BC looks sparse on paper and then Al Skinner does a great job coaching his team to overachieve. It'll probably happen again this year and their last two wins are a big indicator of this. Reggie Jackson could be a great player, and BC gets bumped up a spot just from his nasty dunk against the 'Canes (on a terrible offensive foul call in the last 30 seconds) and his clutch FTs to seal the win. Raji, Jackson, Trapani is a great combo and they get a good effort out of Josh Southern too.
10.) Florida State [L vs. Ohio State, W vs. FIU] Florida State looked downright ugly against Ohio State. And downright ugly against Florida. But that win against Marquette was big, so they have that in them. Alabi, Singleton and Kitchen are a nice 1-2-3, but the 'Noles need to be getting more out of Xavier Gibson and Ryan Reid.
11.) NC State [L vs. Northwestern, W. vs Marquette] After their loss to Northwestern, I didn't think at all that the Wolfpack would beat Marquette. It was the furthest thing from my mind. State is 6-1, but they are a mess and there is just not much there.
12.) Virginia [L vs. Penn State, L vs. Auburn] Hey, at least Virginia has beaten Cleveland State, something Wake wasn't able to do last year. Sylven Landesberg is a heck of a player, but when your next two leading scorers are Mike Scott and Sammy Zeglinski, there's a problem there. Virginia is not very good.