Each week, the TNIAAM basketball staff will be ranking all 15 ACC teams in a completely subjective manner, just like everyone else on the internet does. Feel like we're completely off base?
Can it Chime in with your own ACC power rankings below.
We’ve been skipping every other week lately. Because frankly, nothing positive has been going on in the ACC outside of the Carrier Dome. And I’m busy. But for this week, we’re diving right back into this mess of a league we’re a part of, and trying to figure the whole thing out.
Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown (#HonorYourContract)? Check out the Google Doc here!
1. Syracuse Orange (10-0) (0-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 68-63 over St. John’s
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 2
Syracuse has firmly established itself as the top dog in the ACC. The Orange are undefeated. They’ve told everyone else what to do recently. And can we please start getting a conversation going around Tyler Ennis as the top freshman in the country – if not the player of the year? People are raving about a whole bunch of other folks (hi, Jabari Parker), but it's Ennis who's sitting atop them all with zero losses at the moment.
2. Duke Blue Devils (7-2) (0-0) (Last Week: 1)
Last Week: W, 85-66 over Gardner-Webb, W, 80-63 over UCLA
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 3
After a rocky start to the season, things appear to be clicking for Duke now, especially on defense. Since losing to Arizona in November, no opponent has scored more than 70 points against them, and they've looked much improved in three straight wins. Michigan and UCLA were no slouches. Despite two early (quality) losses, this Blue Devils squad is very much a contender this season.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels (7-3) (0-0) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 82-77 over Kentucky; L, 86-83 to Texas
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5
Once again, UNC goes out and beats a highly-ranked opponent. And once again, they proceed to fall flat later on against a weaker one. We've seen these types of squads before -- the ones that sleepwalk through lesser competition, but get up for big games (sound like some recent years, SU fans?). The Heels received good news in the return of Leslie McDonald the other day, but there's now a real possibility P.J. Hairston could sit the year. Lucky for them, Marcus Paige has more than handled the scoring load to this point.
4. Pittsburgh Panthers (10-1) (0-0) (LW: T-3)
Last Week: W, 91-73 over Youngstown State; L, 44-43 to Cincinnati
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 9
Woof. What else can you say about Tuesday night's 44-43 loss to Cincinnati. Just when you thought the old Big East rock fights were left in the past, Pitt goes and reveals its true self against the Bearcats. That's not basketball. And against Pitt's first quality competition of the season, that doesn't exactly allude to positive results for the Panthers.
T-5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-2) (0-0) (LW: 6)
Last Week: W, 77-62 over St. Bonaventure
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 8
As a program, Wake really needs to rebound, so good for them getting off to a strong start to the season. There are still plenty of questions though, even with the wins so far. Can Devin Thomas keep up his near double-double average once ACC play starts? And can Codi Miller-McIntyre keep up his own high performance? I'm tentatively saying yes, to a point.
T-5. Florida State Seminoles (7-3) (0-0) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 106-62 over Charlotte
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 8
You look at Florida State's resume, and you don't see three losses -- you see three times where the 'Noles simply fell short against better competition. This FSU team is very good, despite the 7-3 mark, and it's because they chose to schedule a bit more aggressively. But at some point, you need to close the deal against top competition if you're going to compete in the postseason. We'll see if the tide turns for them versus a ranked UMass team on Saturday.
7. NC State Wolfpack (8-2) (0-0) (LW: 9)
Last Week: W, 82-79 over Detroit; W, 65-58 over Tennessee
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 11
Like Pitt, NC State has suffered a loss to Pitt, but unlike the Panthers, State has also lost to a bottom-dweller like NC A&T. T.J. Warren and his 23 points per game have carried the Wolfpack so far, but like previous one-man shows down in Raleigh, how long can that last? They're shooting well as a team from the field (48.7 percent), but they still can't score against better teams. That could catch up to them in a couple weeks.
8. Clemson Tigers (8-3) (0-0) (LW: 7)
Last Week: W, 71-35 over Furman; L, 66-64 to Auburn
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 11
Clemon is NC State with even less scoring and an even better defense, so they may have more staying power in the long-term. Sure the opponents haven't been stellar, but only one team (Arkansas) has put up more than 70 against the Tigers all year. That sort of effort, regardless of who you've faced, is still impressive and will provide some great momentum for a team on the rebound in ACC play.
9. Virginia Cavaliers (7-3) (0-0) (LW: 5)
Last Week: N/A
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 13
You guys lost to Green Bay?! Was totally on board with giving the Hoos the benefit of the doubt, and then they go and do that. Like several other ACC squads, this team can't score to save its life and its "star" player, Joe Harris, is only averaging 11 points per game right now. But that is on 53-percent shooting. Perhaps he needs to take more shots. If I'm UVa, I've at least thought about it during this two-week break.
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-3) (0-0) (LW: 10)
Last Week: W, 79-72 over Indiana
Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 12
Things aren't going to go well for Notre Dame against Ohio State -- let's get that out of the way. Like always, the Irish can shoot the basketball very well, however, they can't seem to stop anyone from doing the same. Up against an Ohio State team that's overrated, yet still very dangerous, that's going to cause a lot of issues. To get out of Columbus alive, Notre Dame will need to rain threes on the Buckeyes defense from buzzer to buzzer.
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-3) (0-0) (LW: 11)
Last Week: W, 74-57 over Kennesaw State
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 12
Georgia Tech is a balanced team that's won and lost the games it was supposed to win and lose so far. But what the 8-3 record seems to gloss over is the fact that they've played really well inside. Robert Carter Jr. has been as impressive as any other 4 in the league, and I'd argue he's only improved as the season progresses. If the Jackets are going to rise to the middle of the pack in the ACC, it'll be on his back.
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3) (1-0) (LW: 13)
Last Week: N/A
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 13
With the SC Upstate loss now miles in the rearview mirror, I think it's safe to say that Tech's better than they showed that night. Beating up on the dregs of D-I basketball (and WVU), they've played their way back to respectability. But realistically, how good is this Tech team? Beating Miami was only an indicator that they're not the league's worst team. They'll have to hope to catch lightning in a bottle to get to six or seven conference wins.
13. Maryland Terrapins (7-4) (1-0) (LW: 12)
Last Week: W, 66-62 over Florida Atlantic
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position:13
The Terps beat Florida Atlantic by four. At home. And scored just 66 points. I'm not sure who thought this team was going to do anything of substance this year, but that ship has sailed. Dez Wells, as talented as he appears at times, can't fix all that ills this atrocious Maryland team.
14. Miami Hurricanes (6-5) (0-1) (LW: 14)
Last Week: W, 68-51 over Savannah State
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
Outside of the win over Arizona State, Miami's season has been a series of underwhelming efforts against overwhelming favorites. The 'Canes 63.9 points per game scoring output is one of the worst figures in the country, and they haven't even gotten to the meat of their schedule yet. Doom is the only outlook.
15. Boston College Eagles (4-7) (0-1) (LW: 15)
Last Week: W, 67-50 over Phila. U.
Highest Position: 15; Lowest Position: 15
BC, you played a D-II team the other night, and only won by 17? Yup, things are really that bad for the Eagles, a team that may not even win 10 games all season. Boston College has allowed 78 points or more in eight different games, can't rebound and outside of two players (Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan) can't do much right at all. Looking forward to facing you guys in January!