ACC Basketball: Power Rankings – 1/20/13


January 16, 2013; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Miami Hurricanes center Kenny Kadji (35) reacts after a basket against the Boston College Eagles during the second half at Silvio O. Conte Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not a big fan of doing power rankings until teams get into conference play. It is just too difficult to compare Team X who has three losses against a difficult schedule to Team Y who has one loss against a particularly easy schedule. When conference play begins, all the teams, for the most part, are playing schedules very similar in difficulty. Obviously, they aren’t completely similar, because a Georgia Tech team has Duke on their schedule where Duke has Georgia Tech on their schedule. Duke can’t play Duke! That’d just be weird!

Alright, I’ll shut up. Let’s get to the power rankings:

12. Georgia Tech (10-6, 0-4)

ACC Standing – 12th

Georgia Tech is one of the more enjoyable teams to watch in the ACC…in the first half. The Yellow Jackets, a very young team that has been hampered with inconsistency troubles all throughout the first half of their season. In their defense, they’ve probably faced the toughest ACC schedule so far, with Miami, Duke, and NC State, the three teams at the top of the ACC standings, handing them three of their four losses. Regardless, they are the only team in the ACC without a win and therefore get no love in these power rankings.

10. Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3)/Boston College (9-8, 1-3)  (tie)

ACC Standing – 9th (tie) and 11th

I don’t know if there are two teams more similar in the ACC than Wake Forest and Boston College. Both teams sit at 9-8 on the season. Wake Forest scores at a 67.4ppg clip while Boston College sits at a 69.4 mark. Wake Forest has shot .435 on the year while Boston College has shot .439. Wake Forest is led by a 6’7, 220 lb forward who has posted a 15.3ppg, 8.2rpg, and 1.4apg line while Boston College is led by a 6’7, 220 lb forward who has posted a 16.4ppg, 9.5rpg, and 1.5apg. Wake Forest’s RPI is 113. Boston College’s is 114.

The two teams have played head-to-head, with Wake Forest winning by 3…at home…in a game where both teams blew double digit leads. At this point in time, it is impossible to definitively say one of these teams is better than the other.

9. Virginia Tech (11-6, 2-2)

ACC Standing – 4th (tied)

The Hokies find themselves at the back of the jumbled mess that is the 2-2 teams in the ACC, a result of them losing four of their last six games. Their two wins in that span: a one-point win over a poor Wake Forest team at home and an overtime victory against last place Georgia Tech on the road. This team has fallen so far since their December 1st victory over the #15 Oklahoma State Cowboys.

8. Clemson (10-6, 2-2)

ACC Standing – 4th (tied)

I’m very hesitant with Clemson, because they’ve been wildly inconsistent this season. This is the team that nearly beat the Arizona Wildcats in Arizona, only to be embarrassed by Coastal Carolina eleven days later. They can’t score and they can’t rebound, being ranked in the bottom third nationally in both categories. They’ve appeared to be terrible and impressive on numerous occasions this year. They could easily be ranked anywhere as high as fifth in this ranking, but for now, I’ll leave them in the eighth spot.

7. Florida State (10-7, 2-2)

ACC Standing – 4th (tied)

Next up in the jumbled mess is the Seminoles, who were much higher in this poll a couple days ago before being embarrassed by Virginia, 56-36. Florida State has the most impressive resume out of all the jumbled mess, but their two-game losing streak has hurt them considerably. This should be no surprise, as the Florida State Seminoles are the epitome of ‘bubble-team’. Michael Snaer, the self-proclaimed best shooting guard in the nation, has been disappointing this season, especially in ACC play.

6. Virginia (12-5, 2-2)

The Cavaliers pick up our sixth spot because of their tremendous defense. Really, the group of Clemson, Florida State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech is a giant, jumbled mess, but Virginia sticks out to me because of their ability to stay in every game they play in via defense. Know what the highest total any team they’ve played this year has put up against them? 64. They haven’t played the toughest of schedules far, but that is beyond impressive.

5. Maryland (14-4, 2-3)

ACC Standing – 9th (tie)

Maryland was my dark horse pick heading into ACC play, but the Terrapins have slipped in recent weeks. Their near victory over Kentucky in their season opener isn’t nearly as impressive as it was at the time, and their three-point loss to Florida State at home will look ugly come March. Still, the Terrapins have one of the ACC’s better players in Alex Len and they’re still a threat to anyone they play. They’re still very much alive in the ACC race, and will be a team to watch out for in the ACC tournament. Especially when you consider the fact that they’ll be playing for their NCAA tournament lives down the stretch.

4. North Carolina (12-5, 2-2)

ACC Standing – 4th (tied)

When I first started to think about these rankings a few days ago, I had North Carolina in the eighth or ninth spot, but a sudden surge by the Tar Heels have lifted them right back near the top. Florida State and Maryland aren’t marquee wins, but North Carolina has looked MUCH better in their last couple contests, specifically on the defensive end. The Tar Heels are always a threat given their talent level, and they are a team you should keep your eye on over the next couple weeks. For all we know, they could fade right back into mediocrity, but I doubt it.

3. #14 North Carolina State (14-3, 3-1)

ACC Standing – 2nd (tied)

The Wolfpack are the only team to defeat the Duke Blue Devils this season, but they followed up that victory with a disappointing 51-50 loss against the fading Maryland Terrapins. I still expect them to be there until the very end in the race to win the ACC, but this team has had a serious problem being consistent from game to game this season.

2. #3 Duke (16-1, 3-1)

ACC Standing – 2nd (tied)

The Blue Devils’ one loss this season came on the road without one of their best players in Ryan Kelly. Looking past that, they have victories over Kentucky, #22 VCU, #9 Minnesota, #11 Ohio State, and #1 Louisville. When healthy, it is tough to argue that anyone in the ACC has more talent than Coach K’s squad. They have the #1 rank in RPI and likely will have it in the AP Poll with Louisville and Indiana losing this week, but they’ll get the number two spot in this ranking. They could change that quickly with a win over Miami on Wednesday.

1. Miami (13-3, 4-0)

ACC Standing – 1st

The Hurricanes’ 4-0 start hasn’t been pretty, but they’ve got the job done, which is something no other team in the ACC can say up to this point. The fact that the Hurricanes aren’t ranked is absurd, as they’ve put together a RPI rank of 4 and have looked fairly impressive all throughout the season.

Are they the best team in the ACC? I don’t know, Duke and NC State probably has something to say about that. Until they lose, though, it is tough to argue moving them out of this top spot, especially if they find a way to beat Duke on Wednesday.