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ACC basketball rankings week 3: Duke is tops, Syracuse explodes on offense, Miami falters

Another Monday of ACC basketball rankings. Thank us later.

Bucknell v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

First things first. We’d like to give a warm welcome to everyone joining us for another week of ACC basketball rankings. With week three in the books, the time has come once again to arbitrarily rank all 15 ACC basketball teams, backed by no formula or methodology.

It was a wild week in the conference, one which saw Notre Dame win in overtime after a wedgie and game-tying three, Virginia give up over 50 points in a game, Jeff Capel survive another week of Pittsburgh basketball, Syracuse explode on offense and Wake Forest win.

That’s a mouthful, so let’s break down these rankings one-by-one in a more palatable manner.

2K Empire Classic- Duke Blue Devils v Georgetown Hoyas
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Jack White exchange pleasantries
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

1) Duke (6-0, 0-0)

Last week: Wins over Cal and Georgetown in the 2K Classic

Once again, Cal had the opportunity to get right back in this. Once again, Cal did not deliver. The Golden Bears could’ve continued the streak of having the No. 1 team in college basketball go down every week, but failed to execute. So did Georgetown, who, despite what people want you to believe, still sucks.

As for Duke, this team is absolutely frightening because Coach K is finding ways to win while this team is still finding itself. The Blue Devils are nowhere near its ceiling right now and while I understand that every team gets better as the season goes on, Duke is going to get a lot better and it’s still winning these games with relative ease.

The Blue Devils are getting it done on the defensive end and are pulling down 45.0 rebounds per game as a team. Vernon Carey is going to create issues on the low block for every team he goes against this year.

No Jack White jokes this week. Against Georgetown, the guy had the intelligence to blow a wide open layup off an oop so Cassius Stanley could corral it for a finish with an and one. That’s the kind of IQ that Duke basketball was founded on.

2) Louisville (6-0, 1-0)

Last week: Wins over South Carolina Upstate and Akron

Like I said last week, the South Carolina Upstate Spartans would have no idea what hit it. Neither did Akron because Louisville devours cupcakes like nobody’s business. Jordan Nwora is a bucket. Ryan McMahon is allergic to twos.

I’m not sure who upset Steven Enoch in life. All I know is that I would stay out of that guy’s way...

3) North Carolina (4-0, 1-0)

Last week: Win over Elon

North Carolina has somehow gotten away with only playing four games to this point, but that’ll change for Feast Week when the Tar Heels compete in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. Shoutout to Bad Boy Mowers.

Carolina handled Elon last week as freshman Armando Bacot emerged with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

Surprise, surprise. A Roy Williams team is leading the country in rebounding as the Heels grab 51.3 boards per game.

4) Virginia (6-0, 1-0)

Last week: Wins over Vermont, UMass and Arizona State

Can you believe it? Virginia let another basketball team score over 50 points in a game. That happened to be Vermont, led by Rochester native Anothony Lamb’s 30-point effort. Still, that wasn’t enough to overcome the Hoos at their place.

Also of note from last week, Kihei Clark had one of the dirtiest passes you’ll see in college basketball.

Freshman Casey Morsell also stepped up huge in crunch time against Arizona State to help seal the win in a close, low-scoring game.

I’m willing to go on the record and say that the first team to 50 points in every Virginia game this season will win the contest (if teams can even get there).

5) Florida State (5-1, 0-1)

Last week: Wins over Chattanooga and St. Francis (PA)

Despite not having MJ Walker and RaiQuan Gray, Florida State won with ease last week over Chattanooga and St. Francis (PA). That’s what happens when the Seminoles have rosters deeper than Todd Combs’s pockets.

Senior 7-foot big man Dominik Olejniczak stepped up in Gray’s absence. And go figure. Leonard Hamilton has another sleeping giant in freshman 7-footer Balsa Koprivica. He had 21 points in two games for the ‘Noles. Throw in Anthony Polite and how the heck is Hamilton getting all these eastern European dudes?

6) NC State (5-1, 0-1)

Last week: Wins over Alcorn State and Little Rock

Last week we asked if anyone could stop NC State’s CJ Bryce. The answer was yes: Alcorn State. The Braves limited him to just seven points in that contest. Markell Johnson stepped up though and a guy you’ve never heard of had a career game (Devon Daniels) to help get the win.

NC State also took down Little Rock behind Bryce and Johnson (not Brice Johnson).

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 21 Toledo at Notre Dame
The shot from Nate Laszewski, the second best chefski in the ACC
Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

7) Notre Dame (5-1, 0-1)

Last week: Wins over Presbyterian, Toledo. John Mooney win over the common cold.

*inserts Holy Toledo joke here*

*inserts follow up Rocket joke here*

Notre Dame keeps its spot at No. 7 with a pair of wins over Presbyterian and Toledo and the Irish needed an overtime period to do it.

How about the presence of mind for TJ Gibbs in the game’s final moments against Toledo? Down three, knowing that Notre Dame had the possession arrow, Gibbs took a three with a few second left. Instead of just making it to tie the game, he shot a wedgie to ensure that the Rockets wouldn’t have one last heave.

Instead, the ball stuck to the back of the rim, which meant Notre Dame would retain possession on the arrow. This allowed Nate Laszewski to nail a three off the inbounds as time in regulation expired. It led to an Irish win in overtime.

As they say for all point guards, you have to know time and score. Just a heads up play by Gibbs.

John Mooney also survived a cold earlier in the week after missing the first game. He came back to haul in 15 boards against the Rockets. Rex Pflueger finished with 21 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds and 8 steals in those two games.

Speaking of, why does Notre Dame always have guys with last names that sound more like ailments or diseases than actual names? Take this example from a conversation* overheard on campus in South Bend earlier in the week:

Student 1: Hey man, you hear John Mooney is out tonight for Presbyterian?

Student 2: Yeah dude. Heard he came down with a case of the Pflueger.

Student 1: Brutal. Yeah, my boy said he was Tripuca-ing everywhere. Hopefully he feels better. Sounds pretty severe.

Student 2: Ha, that’s nothing bro. My friend who graduated a few years back said another dude on the basketball team came down with a case of Abromaitas. He missed a whole season. This is light.

Student 1: Yeah, fair enough. Hopefully Mooney is back soon.

*Conversation may or may not have been entirely fabricated

Syracuse (4-1, 0-1)

Last week: Wins over Cornell and Bucknell

Syracuse earned a pair of wins over the ‘nells last week, surviving Jimmy Boeheim’s 25 point effort and blowing the hinges off of Bucknell. The Orange offense might be rounding into form, while the 2-3 zone is improving.

A big opportunity awaits as the Orange will face Oklahoma State and one of Penn State/Ole Miss in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off this week in Brooklyn. Someone, somewhere, is cueing up that, “Syracuse still hasn’t left the State of New York,” line.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC Basketball trivia brought to you in part by Harris Teeter and Mellow Mushroom. The answer to the trivia question can be found at the bottom of this post (it really is this time I promise).


Which Syracuse legend did Dan Dakich make reference to on the Duke vs. Georgetown broadcast?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Matt Gorman
    (44 votes)
  • 38%
    Lawrence Moten
    (322 votes)
  • 6%
    Andre Hawkins
    (58 votes)
  • 15%
    Mike Hopkins
    (134 votes)
  • 34%
    Louie AND Bouie
    (289 votes)
847 votes total Vote Now


No. 9 Virginia Tech (5-0, 1-0)

Last week: Win over Delaware State

Virginia Tech slides up to No. 9 moreso due to other teams in the conference losing games than anything on its own doing, but still. Who would’ve thought the Hokies would be 5-0 to start the season?

Nahiem Alleyne dropped 20 points over Delaware State. He could become a nice complimentary piece for Landers Nolley.

No. 10 Clemson (5-1, 0-1)

Last week: Wins over Alabama A&M and TCU

It’s hard to believe but Clemson does have a shooty hoops team. Brad Brownell beat Jamie Dixon’s TCU Horned Frogs in overtime on Sunday.

No. 11 Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-0)

Last week: Loss to Georgia

Can’t be sure if Georgia Tech is allowed to play more than one game per week, but the Yellow Jackets lost a close game to Georgia and freshman phenom Anthony Edwards.

James Banks is leading college basketball in blocks per game.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Boston College vs Pittsburgh
Jeff Capel very pleased with his team
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Pittsburgh (4-2, 1-0)

Last week: Wins over Monmouth and Arkansas Pine-Bluff

Pittsburgh looks like it could still be a year away from making some advancement in the league. Against Monmouth, the Panthers were chucking up shots off the side of the backboard and doing numerous other things that were not representative of a coherent offense.

With about 5 minutes remaining in the first half of that game, Jeff Capel could be seen on sideline doing what could only be interpreted as praying to the man upstairs. Somehow, those prayers were answered as the Panthers came back and won that game and another against Arkansas Pine-Bluff.

Xavier Johnson played solid, I guess.

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

Last week: Win over Missouri State, losses to Florida and UConn

Miami went 1-2 in the Charleston Classic, beating Missouri State in the first contest behind 25 points from DJ Vasiljevic.

Florida might be overrated at this point in the season, but no shame in Miami dropping that game. Still, The U drops all the way to No. 13 after taking a demoralizing defeat to mid-major UConn.

14) Boston College (4-2, 1-0)

Last week: Win over Eastern Washington, loss to Depaul

Boston College lost to DePaul. DePaul is actually kind of decent this season. Boston College is not. Consider this tweet from a mid-major:

15) Wake (3-2, 0-1)

Last week: Win over Davidson

If Wake Forest keeps up this effort, it might surpass BC in the rankings.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: Louie & Bouie

Follow James on twitter @JamesSzuba