Feb 25, 2012; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Austin Rivers (0) drives against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke beat Virginia Tech 70-65 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE
Only one more week remains in the ACC regular season, and things are shaping up down the stretch toward the ACC Tournament in Atlanta. Florida State's slide has left Duke or UNC as the likely regular season title winner (again), the middle is a complete mess, and the #QuestFor12 is still the hottest joint in the club.
1.) Duke Blue Devils (25-4, 12-2, KenPom 10): The only edge is the head to head. The Blue Devils still have too many stretches of inconsistency, but Coach K's team is playing better defense lately, and has just enough inside to make a deep tournament run. Duke has Wake on Tuesday night before the finale against the Tar Heels on Saturday, which will likely decide the top seed in Atlanta.
You can find the full power rankings after the jump...
2.) North Carolina Tar Heels (25-4, 12-2, KenPom 7): Again, would be pretty easy to flip Duke and UNC and make an argument either way. The Tar Heels need to get better outside shooting, but if they hit anything from beyond the arc, there aren't many teams that can get out and run with them. I was working on my All-ACC first team last night, and I've struggled because there are four UNC players who have a convincing case. This is a terrific team that is capable of playing at a high level against anyone.
3.) Florida St. Seminoles (19-9, 10-4, KenPom 29): What are we going to do with the Noles? Florida State's offense is a major liability this year, and dropped another game on Sunday to a hungry Miami team without Reggie Johnson (intentional pun alert). FSU has one of the best defenses in the country, but its inability to score points with regularity has cost them this year and is a major concern come tournament time.
4.) Virginia Cavaliers (21-7, 8-6, KenPom 19): What Tony Bennett has been able to do with his three-legged team is pretty outstanding, but eventually, injuries stop becoming an excuse. Virginia had UNC on the ropes on Saturday, but couldn't seal the deal, and the Cavaliers have Florida State and Maryland to close out the season. The Cavs have to win at least one of those two, escape the regular season and hopefully will get some good news regarding Assane Sene come ACCT time.
5.) Miami Hurricanes (17-10, 8-6, KenPom 40): Miami needed a win in the worst way on Sunday, and was able to get it, despite playing shorthanded against Florida State. The Hurricanes had lost three of their last four coming into the matchup against the Seminoles. It isn't known whether Reggie Johnson will return to the 'Canes this year after being suspended for "impermissible travel benefits," but a team with Malcolm Grant, Durand Scott, Shane Larkin and Kenny Kadji is still pretty dangerous.
6.) Clemson Tigers (15-13, 7-7, KenPom 67): No team in the ACC has made a bigger jump this season than Clemson, and that's largely thanks to the job Brad Brownell is doing. The Tigers were 11-12, sitting at 98 in KenPom heading into a road meeting against Wake Forest, and after waxing the Demon Deacons, have won four of their last five, with the lone loss coming at North Carolina, where the Tigers may never win again. The Tigers have Virginia Tech and FSU left before the ACC Tournament, and are very capable of making some noise in Atlanta.
7.) N.C. State Wolfpack (18-11, 7-7, KenPom 58): Poor, poor Wolfpack. NCSU had Duke right where it wanted them, folded, and has now lost four straight, including Saturday's disappointing overtime loss to Clemson. The Wolfpack are likely on the outside looking into the NCAA Tournament. It's a season of almosts for State, but closing out the season with wins against Miami and Virginia Tech headed into the ACCT certainly wouldn't hurt.
8.) Maryland Terrapins (16-12, 6-8, KenPom 139): Last week was a microcosm of Maryland's season. A nice win over Miami, coming off a horrendous loss to Virginia in which Maryland scored only 44 points, gave hope that the Terps would get rolling a little bit. And then they lost to Georgia Tech. They're a head scratching team, for sure, and the schedule isn't doing them any favors, as they finish the slate with North Carolina and Virginia to end the year.
9.) Virginia Tech Hokies (15-14, 4-10, KenPom 77): This isn't VT's year. So many close losses, so many missed opportunities. Yes, the Hokies are a young team, but some of it comes down to coaching too. Duke, Virginia and Florida State were all very winnable games, and they crumbled. Virginia Tech has Clemson and NCSU left to finish the season strong, and is another team that could throw a wrench in a smooth ACC Tournament if it shows up and gets hot at the right time.
10.) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (13-15, 4-10, KenPom 189): Wake won a game it was supposed to win against BC after getting a week off to regroup following a blowout loss to Miami. It was encouraging to see the Deacs play well for a full game, at home, against an ACC opponent, and especially nice to see Wake Forest find a third scoring option in Carson Desrosiers, if only for one game. The Deacs have Duke on Tuesday and Georgia Tech to close it out on Saturday, with an outside shot at the nine seed. Baby steps.
11.) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-18, 3-11, KenPom 162): Look, look, look, guys, Georgia Tech won! It was the Yellow Jackets' first win in almost a month, and couldn't have come at a better time. GT is kind of a mess. The Jackets aren't playing in their real arena, their best player is a knothead and isn't even playing, their point guard loves turning it over, their big men are kind of inept a lot of the time, and Brian Gregory's style isn't exactly ... riveting. That, said, GT is finally in the winnable part of its schedule, and KenPom has the Yellow Jackets winning their last two games to finish the year at 5-12 in the ACC, which would be a minor miracle at this point. The home game against Wake Forest should be AWE-INSPIRING.
12.) Boston College Eagles (8-20, 3-11, KenPom 253): The Eagles got steamrolled by Wake on Saturday, and are not threatening the modern ACC record for worst team (last year's 8-24 Wake team, at 251 in KenPom). BC is young, and tired and beaten down. At least Patrick Heckmann is back!