Ballsy ACC Power Rankings


For now, two teams have pulled away from the pack…and when we say “pulled away” we’re really only talking about one game in the loss column. Meanwhile, four teams are quickly playing their way out of the NCAA Tournament.

Duke has seven games left on the schedule, but none are against teams currently ranked in the top-25 (although that should change soon enough if the Terps can sneak in this week). If the Devils can play like we all know they can, there is no reason they can’t finish 6-1 (counting at least one loss, probably at Maryland).
NCAA OUTLOOK: Lock. Winning the ACC should be enough to earn them a No 2 seed.

Even though the ass-kicking of the Tar Heels was impressive, I was actually more impressed by the win against Florida State. The win over Carolina was a home game against a team that can’t beat anyone. The win at FSU was at a hostile environment, coming off a tough loss against Clemson. Right now, Greivis Vasquez is looking like the ACC player of the year, but Maryland would probably have to win the ACC for that to happen.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Lock. They still have two games against Duke that should decide the conference title. If not, a 4.5 seed is not too shabby.

They’re 5-2 in their last seven, with their only two loses come at Duke and at Georgia Tech. It’s like asking out Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba and getting rejected…there’s no shame in that. Of course, they lost those two games by an average of 20.5ppg, which would be like asking out Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba and having them throw water in your face and kneeing you in the nuts…there’s a little shame in that. So far this season, Wake has dropped five games and in those five loses, they’ve shot 24-85 from three-point range. That’s 28%. Maybe they should take less three’s, just a thought.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Lock. If they finish 4-3, they’ll lock down a second straight 20-win season.

A month ago, I had them as a bubble team (expecting them to fall out like always), but after solid wins over Virginia, North Carolina and Clemson, the Hokies would need a major collapse to miss the tournament again. Let’s be honest, we’re all rooting for them simply because we all want to see Coach Seth Greenberg in a tournament game.

So how are they doing it? Against Clemson, they made only 15 shots for the entire game, yet still won by 11, thanks to shooting 46 free throws (hitting 38). In fact, the Hokies hit their final 13 in the final five minutes of the game. Delaney of course led the way, hitting 20-23. In fact, he took two more free throws than the entire Clemson team (23-21).
NCAA OUTLOOK: Lock. With games against Duke and Maryland still on the schedule, they have an outside shot at the ACC title.

According to Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez, Seminoles fans yelled racist taunts at him that included calls for “deporting him back to Mexico.” (Side note: My Cuban friend tells me, I can call him a spic all day long, but I’m never allowed to call him Mexican or Puerto Rican). Of course Vasquez is not Mexican and is in fact Venezuelan. We here at Big Duke Balls do not support this kind of behavior and being originally from the state of Florida, we’re not surprised by it. We are happy that Maryland was able to prevail in the game out of spite, but having said that, Vasquez can’t complain too much. While I can honestly say I’ve never heard of any racist taunts by Terps fans, they have done there fair share of truly awful things. Just ask Carlos Boozer’s mom.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Near Lock. The Noles are only 4-4 in their last eight, including two home loses, but they’re still 23rd in Ken Pom’s RPI rankings.

The Yellow Jackets road woes continue as they are now 5-5 away from Atlanta, dropping four out of their last five road games. They’re only win? At North Carolina where every seems to be able to win lately. Yet, despite being only 7th in the ACC, Georgia Tech is still one of only two ACC teams ranked in the top-25. It’s just reason number #85 why we shouldn’t go pre-season rankings.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Near-Lock. If my predictions meant anything (which they don’t), Tech has three sure-fire loses on their schedule, all on the road (Wake, Maryland and Clemson). 2-2 in their other four games (three at home) should easily be enough for a tournament bid.

Welcome back to earth, Cavaliers. Yet, despite suffering loses in three of their last five games, Virginia is still 5-3 in conference and two of those loses were tight ones (an overtime loss to Virginia Tech and a three-point defeat to Wake). The problem is, those two loses were at home where you have to hold serve in the ACC.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Bubble. Realistically, they have to finish with 10 wins in the ACC. That would leave them 19-10 (although 18-11) might do it. The problem is, I don’t see five wins on their schedule, since five of their last eight are on the road.

Not too long ago we thought Clemson was the second best team in the conference. Yet after losing four of five, we’re not sure if they make the tournament. Over their last two, Trevor Booker has been awful, hitting only 4 of 26 shots. Yet, the problem has been guard play. It doesn’t matter who Clemson starts (Young, Smith or Stitt), all have struggled in the Tiger’s last four loses. The Tigers’ starting guards in their four loses have shot 22-73 (30%) from the floor, 8-31 (26%) from three, and despite shooting a decent 80% from the free throw line, they’ve only taken 20 free throws (five per game).
NCAA OUTLOOK: Bubble. The next three games will decide Clemson’s fate. They have three in a row at home, all against teams they should beat at home (Florida State, Miami and Virginia). If they don’t sweep, they’re in trouble, as three of their last four are on the road.

With back-to-back road games at Wake Forest and at Florida State coming up, the Eagles are on the verge of becoming the only ACC team to slip under .500 for the season. The sad part is, they really had a good opportunity to win in their last three loses. Against Virginia Tech, they had the lead (by one) and the ball with 21 seconds to play. They turned it over twice and lost the game by one. Against Florida State, they had a one-point lead with 76 seconds to play. They turned the ball over on two straight possessions and let the Noles go on a 5-0 run, sealing their fate. Against Duke, they got back within four, but shot only 1-5 in the final 59 seconds.
NCAA OUTLOOK: No tournament. Right now, they would either need to go undefeated down the stretch or win the ACC Tournament.

Talent-wise, they may not be the worst team in the ACC, but they’re sure playing the worst basketball. Seriously, do they need to trail by 20 in every game? My question is, why is Roy Williams running the same basic offense and defense as he did last year, even though he clearly doesn’t have the talent, especially at point guard, to pull it off? Yes, the man has won two titles in the last four years and I’m impressed. But you know what, great coaches adjust to their talent and find ways to win. If I didn’t know any better, Roy is just waiting for next year’s top-five recruiting class.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Bubble. I’m only saying bubble, because people can’t forget the name on the jersey.

Man, that win over Duke seems like so long ago, doesn’t it? If you want to find a reason for State’s troubles, look no further than point guard (which is a common theme among the bad ACC teams), Javier Gonzalez. Against Duke, he had 15 points, but more importantly, he finished with eight assists to go along with just two turnovers. In their 10 loses this season, Gonzalez has only 28 assists, twice producing zero assists (unacceptable for a ACC point guard) to 40 turnovers.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Maybe next year.

The fact that they were once 15-1 and have no shot at the tournament doesn’t really shock me. What does is the fact that they can’t beat Boston College (losing twice to BC), yet they’ve beaten Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, who are sitting third and fourth in the ACC. Explain that.
NCAA OUTLOOK: Not going to happen. Even if they somehow manage to win four more games and get to 20, because of their SOS (#192), they still probably couldn’t sneak into the NCAA tournament.