Sorry for the two week absence from Power Rankings. Sometimes life gets in the way, and Power Rankings can be a bit time consuming to produce. I will definitely try to get these on out Monday's from here on out, especially with conference play ramping up towards the end of the month.
1. Duke (8-1)
The Blue Devils continue to take care of business as they play team after team on their home floor. They won't play an actual road game until January 2nd (and it's at Boston College, so their first real road test will come in Winston-Salem on January 6th). Grayson Allen continues to impress, as his 136.2 offensive rating ranks 20th nationally. Duke welcomes Georgia Southern tomorrow night, and a game against Utah on Saturday.
2. Virginia (8-1)
After the loss to George Washington in November, the Cavaliers have gotten their act together and rolled off 7 straight wins. Although Tony Bennett's team was down at the half to West Virginia, the vaunted Packline defense allowed just 18 second half points, en route to a 16 point victory. KenPom has the Cavaliers as the number one team in the country. A tough test against Villanova at the JPJ Arena on Saturday is one of the best games of the week.
3. Miami (8-1)
Miami has also put a bad loss to Northeastern in Coral Gables at the back of its mind and won three straight since. An eleven point victory over in-state opponent Florida proved that the Hurricanes are ready to compete in the ACC again this season. Sheldon McClellan has been excellent in the early season. Miami faces off against College of Charleston on Saturday in what should be another relatively easy victory.
4. North Carolina (7-2)
The Tar Heels fell for the second time this season on Saturday at Texas. A buzzer-beating 15 footer from Javan Felix on an exceptionally lucky bounce off the rim did the Heels in this time. Marcus Paige went for 20 points in the loss, so one wonders if he will collect National Player of the Week awards this time around. Roy Williams will look to get his team back on track on Wednesday against Tulane before facing off against a UCLA on Saturday that has knocked off Kentucky and Gonzaga this season (but notably lost to Wake Forest sans a point guard).
5. Louisville (7-1)
It's tough to get a read on Louisville so far this season due to its scheduling. The Cardinals lost its only big time game (at Michigan State) in close affair, but other than that have played no teams worth mentioning on the year. This week is no different as Kennesaw State and Western Kentucky visit the YUM! Center. In fact, the next four games Louisville play go like this in win percentage: 99%, 95%, 96%, and 99%. That adds up to 3.89 overall victories. Safe to say they will be 11-1 heading into Rupp on December 26th.
6. Notre Dame (7-2)
Notre Dame is another team that has bounced back nicely from a couple of early season losses to Monmouth and Alabama. The Fighting Irish once again boast one of the most impressive offenses in the country, and senior big man Zach Auguste is 10th in the KenPom player of the year race so far. Mike Brey's squad faces off against the Indiana Hoosiers at a neutral site on Saturday. That will be a good gauge as to where they are headed into a couple of easy games before ACC play begins.
7. Pittsburgh (8-1)
Jamie Dixon has once again scheduled one of the easiest out of conference schedules in America, losing its only test of the year to Purdue in a lopsided affair. This Sunday brings a bit of a change, as they take on Bob McKillop's Davidson Wildcats at a neutral site. This game will be a high-scoring affair, and may be closer than the Panthers' faithful want.
8. Florida State (6-2)
The Seminoles are yet another team that has taken a couple of early season losses, but played well in games around them. After a somewhat jarring defeat to Hofstra, the Seminoles have won four out of five games, and took a solid Iowa team to overtime at Iowa. The Noles take on Mississippi State and Florida Atlantic this week. Both should be victories if they want to keep up NCAA aspirations.
9. N.C. State (6-3)
The Wolfpack had two nice wins in the past week and a half over Bucknell, and South Florida. They ran the Bulls of USF out of the gym yesterday, and now are rewarded with High Point and Mizzou for this week. Cat Barber continues to be one of the best players in the ACC, if not the country, but his 7% three-point shooting will need to improve by ACC play, or he will likely be limited in what he can do getting to the basket.
10. Syracuse (7-3)
The Orange lost one of the most bizarre games of the year yesterday to St. Johns (once again, a team that got blown out by a D2 school in its exhibition game). Despite winning its early season tournament that included Charlotte, UConn, and Texas A&M, Syracuse has lost three out of four. Two of those losses were to Wisconsin and Georgetown, but interim coach Mike Hopkins needs to get his team re-focused for ACC play. The only game this week is a Saturday tilt vs. Ivy League's Cornell.
11. Wake Forest (6-2)
Wake has seemingly been off for the past three weeks, but has been able to at least be optimistic, with three straight wins against Power 5 conference teams. The Deacs' get a bit of a respite this week as well, facing off against UNC-G tomorrow night, and Coastal Carolina on Friday. It is rumored that Codi Miller-Mcintyre will be back for some minutes against the Spartans tomorrow. That would be great because after Friday, the Deacs play 3 of the top 10 teams in KenPom, and the one game that isn't features one of the best players in the country in LSU's Ben Simmons.
12. Georgia Tech (6-2)
The Yellow Jackets have had a pretty solid year overall, slipping up to East Tennessee State, and Villanova en route to a 6-2 record. This week is actually pretty difficult for Coach Brian Gregory, playing host to VCU tomorrow night before heading to Athens for in-state rival Georgia on Saturday. Going 1-1 this week wouldn't be the end of the world, and it lends way to three straight "should-win" games before ACC play begins.
13. Clemson (6-3)
Although Clemson boasts a 6-3 record, the Tigers have played on of the easiest schedules in the country as well, losing to all three of the "big name" schools they have played. Clemson has taken care of business against the bad teams on its schedule, but failed at an opportunity last night to grab a decent win over Alabama. They get right back at it with a home game tomorrow against Presbyterian before a rivalry game vs. a suddenly impressive looking South Carolina team on Friday.
14. Virginia Tech (7-3)
The best thing the Hokies have going right now is that Boston College is in the conference. That somewhat overshadows the embarrassing loss to Alabama State to begin the year. Virginia Tech has won three in a row against inferior opponents, and get another riveting matchup against Grambling State on Saturday as they will look to even their season record vs the SWAC to 1-1 on the year.
15. Boston College (4-6)
There are not a lot of good things to say about Boston College. They did manage to beat Maine by a lot of points yesterday to snap a 6 game losing streak that included vaunted powerhouse such as: Santa Clara, something called a UMass Lowell, and UC Irvine. KenPom has the Eagles at a 5% chance to go winless in the ACC, and this year is probably not going to get much better for Jim Christian with a loaded ACC.