Another week, another befuddled attempt at ranking the ACC teams. The 2-8 teams continue to swap places like they're in one of those games where you try to figure out which cup the ball is under. But I'll try anyway, so here are my rankings for this week:
They hang onto the top spot, but Coach K should be concerned. His guys are playing way too many minutes. They are not a very deep team, and K seems to be refusing to play anyone outside of the rotation of Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, the Plumlees and Brian Zoubek. Early in the season, we were seeing a lot more of Andre Dawkins, but since the Dec. 29 win over Penn State, he has played 15 minutes or more just twice. That aside, after the slip up against State, Duke went out and did what they needed to do at Little John against Clemson and still look the conference's best team.
I don't want to do it. I really don't. But Wake is 4-2 in conference with wins against Maryland (3-1) and Virginia (3-1). They seem to be picking up steam and Ish Smith is playing at an all-ACC level. The Georgia Tech game this week will go a long way to showing whether or not this team belongs near the top.
3.) Florida State Seminoles
FSU is proving once again that if you play good defense, you will win more games than you lose. The 'Noles have a huge game in Cameron on Wednesday and match up extremely well with the Blue Devils. A sweep of GT is great for the computer numbers and they have no "bad" losses in the KenPom. Solomon Alabi has made great strides since last year and as long as other scorers step up, the defense is good enough to keep them in most games.
Ok I'll bite. I wrote last week that:
It's almost February, so that means that Maryland is going to start to wake up.
And after a week of blitzing opponents (even if one of them was Longwood), it looks like Maryland is up for the challenge. Again, in a crazy year of ups and downs, the most consistent teams are going to come out on top. And these teams 1-4 have played the same brand of basketball all year in their wins and losses.
5.) Clemson Tigers
Silly Clemson. Even splitting last week would have put you in really good shape, but you dropped a close one to GT and lost the big home game to Duke. Trevor Booker needs to demand the ball more and shots have to fall. If they can take care of business against BC on Tuesday, they'll enter Saturday's home game against MD at 4-3 in conference and that game could take on some real significance.
If you took Paul Hewitt's recruiting and added Gary Williams's coaching ability, you'd have one of the best teams in the nation. Unfortunately, both coaches don't like doing that other part. And for Hewitt, that means flipping a coin to see which team will show up on any given night. But there's no denying the Jackets' talent.
Tony Bennett knew that Saturday's contest at Wake Forest was going to be a test for his 3-0 team in the ACC. And Wake provided the formula to beating the Cavaliers. It requires teams to have the personnel to do so, but UVA won't be sneaking up on anyone like they did through their first three conference games. But, the Cavs are extremely disciplined, and Bennett is a terrific game coach, so Virginia has the edge over a bunch of teams right now. KenPom has tempered expectations as well, slotting them at 8-8 at year's end. That sounds about right.
UNC will have had six days to think about and figure out how to fix what is going on. Their next few games are winnable, but they need guard play badly. If they don't get it soon, the tailspin will continue.
I want to put VT higher. I really do. Malcolm Delaney is one of my favorite non-Wake ACC players and Seth Greenberg is a terrific coach. But aside from decent wins over Georgia, Seton Hall and Penn State, the Hokies haven't gone that extra step yet. Hold serve against Virginia and Miami this week and they'll start to make their case.
10.) N.C. State Wolfpack
Way to go State. That win over Duke had to be a sigh of relief for this team. And if you look at the numbers, the Pack aren't even that bad. 65th in Pomeroy with wins over Marquette, Florida State and Duke, to go along with decent computer numbers on offense and defense. Hey, they can win some games.
B.C climbs out of the cellar with their win over Miami. I haven't changed my mind about the Eagles, but they beat the 'Canes again so they move up a spot. I don't see anything to indicate that this team is going anywhere right now, and their next five games are rough (Clemson, Florida State, Duke, @Wake Forest, @Florida State).
12.) Miami Hurricanes
Three straight losses with two of them being blowouts are not making the 'Canes look very good right now. The lack of preparation in the non-con schedule is coming back to haunt them or at least bring the blemishes that were hidden in those games to the forefront. Regardless, Miami needs help. And they're another team that the schedule makers didn't exactly bless (Next seven: @Maryland, VT, @Wake, @Florida State, GT, @Clemson, Duke).