ACC Power Rankings: Austin Rivers Propels Duke Blue Devils To The Top

What a difference a shot makes. Had I done rankings in the off week, Duke would have been down around second or third after the loss to Miami, but a late second half comeback and some heroics from Austin Rivers over UNC have brought Duke back to the top. The ACC now sports five teams in the KenPom Top 50 (with N.C. State at 53), and it's becoming increasingly clear that there's a line of demarcation between the top six and the bottom six.

Find the full ACC Power Rankings after the jump...

1.) Duke Blue Devils (21-4, 8-2, KenPom 14): Duke needed a bounceback win pretty badly. The Blue Devils still haven't completely solved their defensive woes or their rotational problems, but look like contenders in March again. Austin Rivers is making better decisions and taking over games, which takes the load off the other guards, Ryan Kelly and the Plumlees. The perimeter defense is still a concern, but Saturday's convincing win over Maryland was a nice touch.

2.) North Carolina Tar Heels (21-4, 8-2, KenPom 8): The Tar Heels were two minutes and a Tyler Zeller derp away from being put in the top spot with a bullet. UNC showed a lot of resolve in the win over Virginia on Saturday and enters a very controllable part of their schedule.

3.) Florida St. Seminoles (17-7, 8-2, KenPom 26): Leonard Hamilton's team must have forgot Boston College was in the ACC for a second and thought the Eagles were an Ivy League team. That's the only excuse. FSU can't afford to lose games like that, but bounced back with a nice win over Miami. The 'Noles absolutely have to take care of business against Virginia Tech before a strong test at N.C. State this Saturday.

4.) Virginia Cavaliers (19-5, 6-4, KenPom 21): The Cavs absolutely demolished Wake Forest before running into an angry Tar Heel team. Virginia is playing really well at times, but outside of Mike Scott, needs more consistent scoring or they are going to continue to let teams that shouldn't play with them stay in games.

5.) N.C. State Wolfpack (18-7, 7-3, KenPom 53): The Pack played their way onto the bubble, but they still need a signature win. They'll have three chances in a row, with games at Duke and at home against Florida State and UNC coming up.

6.) Miami Hurricanes (15-8, 6-4, KenPom 41): The 'Canes handled VT and played pretty well against Florida State for the most part. They're getting themselves in the NCAAT conversation as well. Nice play from Shane Larkin and Kenny Kadji and better consistency from Reggie Johnson is taking some of the pressure off Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant.

7.) Maryland Terrapins (14-10, 4-6, KenPom 130): If only the Terps could force some turnovers. It's good to see them getting production out of Alex Len, but the loss of Pe'Shon Howard for the rest of the year with an ACL tear will hurt.

8.) Clemson Tigers (12-12, 4-6, KenPom 85): Brad Brownell has got his bunch playing hard and as a unit. The offensive struggles are still a concern, but it's amazing what good coaching can do.

9.) Virginia Tech Hokies (14-11, 3-7, KenPom 81): The Hokies finally got some good luck. About time. The team is one of the more inexperienced teams in the country (271st) and Seth Greenberg isn't exactly setting the world on fire with his coaching decisions this year, but they're still a better team than their record. Maybe things are finally leveling out a bit.

10.) Boston College Eagles (8-17, 3-8, KenPom 221): BC is playing much, much better. Steve Donahue is doing an unbelievable job with this team. They returned two players from a year ago, and neither are playing significant minutes (they are 344th out of 345 NCAA teams in experience). The Eagles finished off a huge upset over Florida State and were a minute away from a pretty nice road win over Virginia Tech. Boston College has Maryland, Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Miami left, and if they were somehow able to take two or three out of those five, that would be a minor miracle for a club that was sitting at 271st in the KenPom ratings just a month ago.

11.) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-15, 2-8, KenPom 148): Georgia Tech has been competitive, but decision-making and shot selection have doomed the Jackets this year. They've won just one of their last eight games and are set for a serious #Quest4The12 barn burner in Winston-Salem on Tuesday night against Wake Forest.

12.) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-14, 2-9, KenPom 213): The Deacs have lost nine of their last 10 and still haven't won a game in February or March in the Jeff Bzdelik era. The team lost by a combined 44 points last week against Virginia and Clemson, allowing the Tigers to win their first game at the Joel since the 1989-1990 season.

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