After another crazy week in the ACC where anything could --and did--happen,I decided to start up my power rankings again. The top teams are largely the same as you would expect (four ACC teams are still in the polls), but much like a bag of Scrabble letters, any combination can come out when you shake it up.
There's a new number one after the jump...
2.) Duke Blue Devils -- Had Duke beaten FSU on Saturday, it'd be firmly entrenched in the top spot. The Blue Devils are still having some rotation problems, Coach K is still tinkering and tinkering and trying to find the right combination of players and minutes, and at this point in the season, it's an okay problem to have. Regardless, the team needs to get more consistency from Austin Rivers, and the Plumlees need to play bigger.
3.) North Carolina Tar Heels -- I still don't see a ton of evidence that UNC can win on the road, but the VT win is a start. Roy's boys are going to have to toughen up a bit more if they hope to be a title contender, both in the ACC and the NCAAT. The Dexter Strickland injury is going to hurt a lot more than people think. If the Heels can get anything out of Stilman White, that would really help their depth.
4.) N.C. State Wolfpack -- The fans are the same. The arena is the same. The roster is largely the same as well, But coaching is different, and that has gone a long way for the Pack. Mark Gottfried has the athletic bunch playing at a high level -- after the loss to Syracuse, the Wolfpack have won nine of their last 10 and given up just 57 points per game.
5.) Virginia Cavaliers -- We learned two things from the Cavs' 47-45 loss to Virginia Tech: a.) Tony Bennett's style of play runs the risk of keeping any team in it (see example two: TCU), and b.) Assane Sene's injury is going to hurt UVA a lot more than initially thought.
6.) Maryland Terrapins -- The Terps are a better team than what they showed against Temple. Alex Len was lost to an ankle injury, but is expected to play Wednesday. Pe'Shon Howard is still pulling it together. Terrell Stoglin is too much a focal point of the offense, and when he struggles, Maryland struggles. Coach Mark Turgeon needs to find a way to get more balance out of his team. I still think the Terrapins are better than the other teams below them in the ACC though.
7.) Clemson Tigers -- Clemson is a tough nut to crack. They can play with anyone defensively, but undergo Boston College-level excruciating offensive stretches as well. Brad Brownell needs more playmakers. Clemson has a chance to get on a bit of a roll, with four very winnable games in its next five and what could be a sloppy affair against UVA on Jan. 31. We'll see what the Tigers are made of soon.
8.) Miami Hurricanes -- Miami, on the other hand, has plenty of playmakers, but can't pull it all together. Malcolm Grant, Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji and Shane Larkin are all ACC-level players, but have not come through with regularity. I don't know if it's Jim Larranaga not getting through to his guys or what, but the 'Canes are largely disappointing with relation to their skill level.
9.) Wake Forest Demon Deacons -- The Deacs have more ACC wins than they had all of last year. That's nice. One was against an anemic Virginia Tech squad in Winston-Salem; the other against a 263rd KenPom-rated Boston College team in Boston. Kudos to Jeff Bzdelik for his first ACC road win, but Wake has to show me something before I'm going to move them up any higher. CJ Harris and Travis McKie aside, this team doesn't play together enough or hard enough for long stretches at a time.
10.) Virginia Tech Hokies -- Yay, the Hokies got their first win. It may have set basketball back 50 years, but they did it! Seth Greenberg isn't going anywhere anytime soon, I've been told, but the team needs to turn it around, and fast. And that starts with getting more production out of a talented freshman class, and better desire and hustle from guys like Dorenzo Hudson.
11.) Boston College Eagles -- Someday, we're all going to look back on this Boston College team and wonder how in the living hell it was able to win two of its first three ACC games.
12.) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -- Poor Brian Gregory. He has a team built for Paul Hewitt that loves jacking it up and playing no defense, and speaking of setting basketball back, the first ten minutes of the GT-Clemson game were enough to cause a literal blackout on the Clemson campus. The game was so bad it literally stopped. Somehow, someway, the Jackets beat N.C. State for their lone ACC win. I don't understand it either. The ACC: who knows?