Each week (sort of), 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.
Plenty happened this week, but there's plenty more happening this weekend. Big matchups all around the league will continue to sort out the ACC's mess and start writing some of these rankings in stone. And others... will just continue to muddle everything we thought we knew. Buckle up. Still a lot of basketball left to be played.
Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown (#HonorYourContract)? Check out the Google Doc here!
1. Syracuse Orange (20-0) (7-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 64-52 over Miami; W, 67-57 over Wake Forest
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
Lately, Syracuse has been rebounding incredibly well, which feels very weird to type. And yet, that odd fact is the main reason they've pulled out tough road wins over Miami and Wake. The game changes this Saturday, though. With Duke coming up to the Dome, it's unlikely that things just come down to boards. SU will face arguably its toughest challenge of the year in a resurgent Blue Devils squad. And they may need to score a whole lot more than they have lately if they hope to win...
2. Duke Blue Devils (17-4) (6-2) (Last Week: 3)
Last Week: W, 78-56 over Florida State; W, 80-65 over Pittsburgh
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 2
Forget everything you thought about Duke. They're gaining competent shooters by the day, and suddenly this isn't just a two-man show. Sure, the perimeter defense could use some improvement, but when you can score over 80 points per game, regardless of opponent, that doesn't matter a ton. The Blue Devils are sure to challenge the SU zone on Saturday and will not make things easy for the Orange at all.
3. Pittsburgh Panthers (18-3) (6-2) (LW: 2)
Last Week: W, 83-79 over Maryland; L, 80-65 to Duke
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 4
Rough week for Pitt, suddenly giving up tons of points and looking like less than one of the league's top teams. The Duke game, fine. But Maryland scoring 79? The Panthers' defense won't be pressed by Virginia on Sunday, but you can bet the Hoos' defense will aim to give Pitt fits. Should they suffer a loss come the weekend, that'll make them 0-3 against the ACC's top squads.
4. Virginia Cavaliers (16-5) (7-1) (LW: 4)
Last Week: W, 65-45 over Virginia Tech; W, 68-53 over Notre Dame
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 4
UVa continues to buckle down on defense, suffocating any and all takers in league play. But now can that same D keep the Hoos in what should be a bruiser against Pitt? Those rebounding numbers (just 36.5 per game) make things look ominous, but Virginia has been riding a four-game hot streak. If they make it five in a row, they may end up in a tie for first in the ACC by Sunday night.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-7) (4-4) (LW: 6)
Last Week: W, 65-58 over Notre Dame; L, 67-57 to Syracuse
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 7
Wake Forest didn't look terrible against Syracuse on Wednesday, despite some retched numbers (out-rebounded by 20, 34-percent shooting). Not only were they able to force rare turnovers (eight), but they also caught SU in some foul trouble as well. Their shooting simply couldn't get the job done, but the Deacs showed themselves as a team that can hang tough. Now they just need that illusive resume-worthy victory.
6. Florida State Seminoles (13-7) (4-4) (LW: 5)
Last Week: L, 78-56 to Duke; L, 74-70 to NC State
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 9
That was not the week the 'Noles had in mind. The loss to Duke makes plenty of sense..But the close defeat to what should have been an over-matched NC State squad? That's a puzzling result and it deals FSU its first "poor" loss of the year. Florida State has now lost three of four, by the way. But as luck would have it, they're still only a half-game out of fifth place with a string of winnable games coming up.
7. Clemson Tigers (13-6) (4-3) (LW: 7)
Last Week: L, 80-61 to North Carolina
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 8
The Tigers have now lost 57 straight road games to North Carolina. And this isn't even a quality Heels team. But when called upon vs. UNC, the Clemson defense just had no answer whatsoever. They also were ice cold from the floor (made just 18-of-53 shots all game) and relied on just one player -- K.J. McDaniels -- same as always. It's great if one guy leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, but someone else simply has to contribute, too.
8. NC State Wolfpack (14-7) (4-4) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 80-78 (OT) over Georgia Tech; W, 74-70 over Florida State
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 10
It was a productive week for NC State, which at least resurrected its season by appearances and now looks like far more than the squad that was blown out by Duke a couple weeks back. At .500 in the league, they're right back in the thick of things and get two full weeks of manageable games before having to head up to Syracuse to face off with the Orange.
9. North Carolina Tar Heels (13-7) (3-4) (LW: 12)
Last Week: W, 80-61 over Clemson; W, 78-65 over Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 10
At least they're winning the games they're supposed to now. North Carolina appears to be a far cry from the NCAAs, but if they can grab a respectable (above .500) ACC record that includes a major upset or two -- perhaps they find themselves in the Tournament. Like several other league squads, they've got a manageable slate coming up these next couple weeks that could set them up nicely before diving into the heart of the schedule come mid-February.
10. Maryland Terrapins (12-9) (4-4) (LW: 10)
Last Week: L, 83-79 to Pittsburgh; W, 74-71 over Miami
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 10
A three-point win and a four-point loss gets you... in the exact place you were last week. Maryland actually didn't look half bad against the formerly vaunted Pitt defense and even found themselves able to handle Miami's zone as well. Again, this is far from a "great" or even "sort of good, I guess" team. The Twerps are just winning games at a rate that coincides with their very manageable schedule. Four vs. SU, Duke and UVA still await, though.
11. Miami Hurricanes (10-10) (2-6) (LW: 9)
Last Week: L, 64-52 to Syracuse; L, 74-71 to Maryland
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 13
Without actual wins to put up on the board lately, Miami's been trying to grab at "moral victories" and actually picked up two of them last week. That's all well and good, but this zone can only go so far without an offense. While they can certainly keep others in check (just one team over 70 in league play), Miami's also one of the worst scoring offenses in the country.
12. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-10) (2-6) (LW: 11)
Last Week: L, 65-58 to Wake Forest; L, 68-53 to Virginia
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 13
Since beating Duke in South Bend during the school's first ACC game, they've proceeded to lose six of seven and are truly staring last place in the face (though they're not there just yet). This is a lost year for Irish basketball that couldn't come at a worse time (league transition, Indiana resurgence, Butler's league upgrade). Curious to see the impact of this poor campaign over the next 3-5 years.
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-10) (2-6) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 80-78 (OT) to NC State; L, 78-65 to North Carolina
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 13
More excellent play by Trae Golden simply can't combat an utter lack of defense, struggles from three-point land and an inability to hit free throws. It just can't, which is a shame, because the senior has actually had a great campaign for Georgia Tech. Without solid shooting or defense to hang its hat on as a team though, the Yellow Jackets are doomed to mediocrity for the remainder of this season.
14. Boston College Eagles (6-14) (2-5) (LW: 15)
Last Week: W, 76-52 over Virginia Tech
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
Boston College finally dug themselves out of last place! The other voters simply couldn't keep them behind the Hokies any longer following the team's second win over Virginia Tech and their prize is... being 14th instead. Beyond SU, the Eagles' home-and-home partners (Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame) may have been a godsend this year -- the only thing keeping them from something like a disastrous 1-17 finish in-conference.
14. Virginia Tech Hokies (8-12) (1-7) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 65-45 to Virginia; L, 76-52 to Boston College
Highest Position: 15; Lowest Position: 15
Two 20-point losses in one week is a tough pill to swallow, especially when you're sunk in last place. The Hokies' defense is about as porous as they come this season, completely to shooting barrages, especially from three. BC made 14 three-pointers against them the other night, just to prove a point. Tech's rebounding may appear to be solid (38.4 per game), but really, when you can't do anything else right, what does that matter?