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ACC Basketball Power Rankings: Week 15

What happened in the ACC over the past week, and where do these 15 teams subjectively rank in comparison to each other? The TNIAAM staff dives in...

Justin K. Aller

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.


Syracuse sits atop the hill, as they have for months now. And beyond that? Well, the chaos has died down, though that also means the overall conference picture looks rather awful. Eight teams at .500 or worse. And 11 at 6-5 or worse. This isn't what we had in mind joining the ACC, but oh well. We're still unbeaten. And no matter what the pile under you looks like, if you're on top of it, that's what is most important.

Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown (#HonorYourContract)? Check out the Google Doc here!

1. Syracuse Orange (24-0) (11-0) (LW: 1)

Last Week: W, 57-44 over Clemson; W, 58-56 over Pittsburgh

Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1

You don't need to hear anything else about the Orange's win over Pitt on Wednesday night. You've heard it over and over. This team refuses to lose, and as long as Tyler Ennis is holding the ball at the close of the game, there's little doubt of the outcome for SU fans. Plenty of games left to play, but we're on the brink of something special in Syracuse. I'm now knocking furiously on wood.

2. Duke Blue Devils (19-5) (8-3) (Last Week: 2)

Last Week: W, 89-68 over Boston College

Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3

Duke was dealt an interesting hand on Wednesday. Not only did their game against rival UNC get cancelled, but it gives them a week off between games. On top of that, the rescheduled matchup gives them just two days between UNC and Syracuse. While that may not matter in the long run, it's worth consideration for a team that would likely be in contention for high seed. Two big, draining games in a row just doesn't seem like it would help matters.

3. Virginia Cavaliers (20-5) (11-1) (LW: 3)

Last Week: W, 64-45 over Georgia Tech; W, 61-53 over Maryland

Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3

Virginia was tested a bit against Maryland, but beyond that, it's more of the same for the second-hottest team in the conference. For those keeping track, not one league team has topped the 70-point mark against the Hoos through 11 games. That's exactly the type of game we Syracuse fans hate, but also the very type of game the Orange have won over and over. Might as well start circling your calendars for that March 1 matchup now.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers (20-5) (8-4) (LW: 4)

Last Week: W, 62-57 over Virginia Tech (2OT); L, 58-56 to Syracuse

Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 5

Yet another rough week for Pitt -- a team that's suddenly taking on water as the tournament nears. The Panthers are just 4-4 in their past eight, with two brutal losses to SU, plus forgivable defeats at the hands of UVa and Duke, too. But 25 games in, they possess no signature wins. It can be argued their best victories are against NC State and Stanford -- nothing to brag about. It may hurt their tourney seeding, though it may also make them a very dangerous low seed.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels (16-7) (6-4) (LW: 6)

Last Week: W, 73-62 over Notre Dame

Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 5

UNC may not have been favored against Duke, but I doubt they were pleased to see Wednesday's game postponed at all. This team seems to have found itself in recent weeks and if there's anyone outside the top four who can find a way to run through the ACC Tournament, it's the Heels. Since scoring just 45 v. Syracuse, North Carolina has put up 73 or more in all but one game. With a formidable offense, this is a very different -- and dangerous -- squad.

6. NC State Wolfpack (16-8) (6-5) (LW: 9)

Last Week: W, 56-55 over Miami; W, 82-67 over Wake Forest

Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 7

Like their rivals, the Tar Heels, NC State has also been hot of late. The Wolfpack have won five of six, and while the NCAAs are still a bit of a longshot, beating Syracuse on Saturday would go a very long way toward setting them up well for the postseason. T.J. Warren has scored 20 or more seven straight games, and over 55-percent from the floor in that stretch. He'll be a challenge for the Orange to lock down, especially if other State players get involved.

7. Clemson Tigers (15-8) (6-5) (LW: 5)

Last Week: L, 57-44 to Syracuse; L, 68-64 to Notre Dame (2OT)

Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 8

The loss to Syracuse on the road is defensible. But Notre Dame? There's much left to be desired for questionable Tigers, who have one quality win (Duke) and very little else on the resume. We wont' be over-dramatic and claim Clemson needs to win out to get to the postseason. But taking the five winnable games just won't cut it anymore. Clemson has to beat either Pitt, UVa or both if they have any shot at the NCAAs.

8. Maryland Terrapins (14-11) (6-6) (LW: 8)

Last Week: W, 83-71 over Florida State: L, 61-53 to Virginia

Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 9

The Terps are doing what they're supposed to do, which is how they end up quietly at .500 in league play. But now they have to elevate their play. Three more games against ranked squads present golden opportunities to break the trend. A 9-9 record isn't taking Maryland anywhere if those losses are to SU, UVa and Duke. If nothing else, this team just needs to figure a way to control the pace and play their game every night (not the case this season).

9. Florida State Seminoles (14-10) (5-7) (LW: 7)

Last Week: L,83-71 to Maryland; L, 77-73 to Miami

Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 11

No ugly losses until that Miami game... now, that resume's been tossed out the window. The wins can't outweigh the copious losses forever, meaning the 'Noles are back to proving something. They've lost six of eight at this point and while the offense has come along well over time, the defense has apparently come apart. Like several other teams though, they have ample opportunity to bounce back over the final six games.

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-10) (4-7) (LW: 10)

Last Week: L, 82-67 to NC State

Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 10

Nothing changes for Wake Forest, who's now lost four straight and must find a way to start putting the ball in the basket again (haven't scored more than 70 in a game in nearly one month). Three of the final seven are on the road, where Wake has struggled mightily. They'll need to bury those issues in a hurry if they have any hope of a strong finish to the season.

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-12) (4-8) (LW: 11)

Last Week: L, 73-62 to North Carolina; W, 68-64 over Clemson (2OT)

Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 12

For a less-than-great Notre Dame team who was written off weeks ago, the Irish continue to challenge teams, regardless of where they play. And surprisingly, it's been on the defensive end. Last week, it took Clemson two OTs to get to 64 points. And no team has been able to score in the 80s against them since 2013. Teams have only scored just 67 points per game in the past six (and that includes three OT periods). Not bad, and certainly something to build on.

12. Miami Hurricanes (12-12) (3-8) (LW: 13)

Last Week: L, 56-55 to NC State; W, 77-73 over Florida State

Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 12

It's unlikely you'd be surprised that Miami's 77-point output on Monday was the highest number of points the team's scored since November 14 (84). What may actually be surprising is that FSU's 73-point total was the second-highest opponent total since November as well. That's how good this zone defense has been. As we've said before, it's a transition year, and a very scary one at that.

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (13-12) (4-8) (LW: 13)

Last Week: L, 64-45 to Virginia; W, 74-71 over Boston College

Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 13

Again, what is Georgia Tech? Some games are low-scoring slugfests. Others are high-scoring affairs. Most impressively, they've gotten very little from senior Trae Golden in recent games. Just three points from the guard in all of February, yet Tech's managed to go 1-2 thus far. We'll see how well that holds up in coming weeks though, with a challenging schedule ahead.

14. Boston College Eagles (6-18) (2-9) (LW: 14)

Last Week: L, 89-68 to Duke; L, 74-71 to Georgia Tech

Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14

BC likely wishes they could face Virginia Tech every night. With that option out the window though, there's just too much wrong here to figure out what needs to be fixed. The main motivations for Boston College? Playing spoiler against Pitt and Syracuse, and trying to avoid another 20-loss season. Beyond that... well, that's pretty much it. Maybe next year, Eagles.

15. Virginia Tech Hokies (8-15) (1-10) (LW: 15)

Last Week: L, 62-57 to Pittsburgh (2OT)

Highest Position: 15; Lowest Position: 15

What's left to say about this Hokies team? Ten straight losses and not one win in the New Year. Tech has scored more than 70 points just once in that stretch, and again, still no victories. As was stated when the season started, this squad couldn't just depend on Jarell Eddie to shoot the lights out every night. He hasn't (just 39 points over the last four games total), and the result's been ghastly.