Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, we welcome you back to another week of the proud, preeminent, ACC basketball rankings. Backed by no formula or methodology, these rankings are entirely objective, accurate and have immeasurable influence over the AP Top 25. And by that, we mean that we don’t even have an AP vote, nor do we have one iota of influence over anything.
It was another wild week in the sport of college basketball and the ACC played a big part in that. Duke lost to Stephen F. Austin and Virginia Tech, picked to finish 14th in the ACC in the preseason, took down the preseason No. 1 team Michigan State in Maui.
That’s a sure-fire recipe for the college basketball cognoscenti to regurgitated the “college basketball is wide open!” and “there’s no one dominant team!” taeks.
Anyway, with that established, where do the conference teams rank ahead of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge?
1) Louisville (7-0, 1-0)
Last week: Win over Western Kentucky
By the time you read this, Louisville will likely be the new No. 1 team* in all of college basketball. That can only mean one thing. The Cardinals are destined to lose against Michigan on Tuesday as the top ranked team in college hoops has lost in three out of the first four weeks.
On a serious note, congratulations to Louisville for managing to become the No. 1 team in the country by scheduling zero top-90 KenPom teams to this point. Impressive stuff.
*Friendly reminder that it only took Louisville two years to go from firing its Hall-of-Fame head coach to being back on top of the sport
2) Virginia (7-0, 1-0)
Last week: Win over Maine
Don’t look now, but Virginia basketball is back in familiar territory near the top of the ACC. The Cavaliers held Maine to 26 points. That’s not a halftime score. Virginia really held Maine to 26 points in a full game.
I can’t be sure what’s going to be worse, watching Virginia chuck up a bunch of bricks from three all season or watching this team win games in the 40s with an air-tight pack-line defense.
And to all those out there that say people just don’t know how to appreciate good defense, quit lying to yourselves. That’s like saying you don’t know how to appreciate a good nails-on-the-chalkboard screech.
Some confuse the enjoyment of winning with the appreciation of good defense. Good defense is enjoyable when you win, but if you play good defense in a loss, it isn’t appreciated. Who knows though? Maybe it’s just me.
3) Florida State (7-1, 0-1)
Last week: Emerald Coast Classic champs, wins over Tennessee and Purdue
MJ Walker and RaiQuan Gray were back in the fold for the tallest team in the country last week as Florida State took home the title from the Emerald Coast Classic. Trent Forrest played well minus a few too many turnovers. Devin Vassell balled like a guy with no hair. We need more Balsa Koprivica.
Florida State might’ve also earned some respect for throwing shade like this:
And for Leonard Hamilton’s PR guy throwing out tweets like this:
I’d like to clear this up folks. I have no idea who this Bunny fella is y’all keep saying I look like.— Leonard Hamilton (@FSUCoachHam) November 27, 2019
So I looked him up. I mean....a slight resemblance but I think I’m more handsome #CaseClosed pic.twitter.com/92mx0ZloxT
Seriously though, Hamilton has been taking sips from the fountain of youth.
4) North Carolina (6-1, 1-0)
Last week: Wins over Alabama, Oregon, Loss to Michigan
North Carolina went 2-1 in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, beating Alabama, losing to Michigan and handling Oregon in the third place game. Shoutout to Bad Boy Mowers, who, unlike Maui Jim and the Maui invitation, make absolutely no sense as a corporate sponsor for a college basketball tournament played on a remote island surrounded by water with no grass and no teams participating from the state of Kentucky (where BBM was founded).
Senior guard Brandon Robinson returned from a right ankle injury to give UNC a much-needed boost in the backcourt. Cole Anthony is still going what he does, but UNC needs one of Leaky Black/Justin Pierce/Andrew Platek to step up.
Garrison Brooks averaged close to a double-double throughout the event, while freshman Armando Bacot had a double-double in the two wins.
This big on big matchup between Kaleb Wesson and Brooks/Bacot will be a lot of fun on Wednesday.
5) Duke (7-1, 0-0)
Last week: Loss to Stephen F. Austin, almost a loss to Winthrop, Coach K loss claiming he was ill
Cal couldn’t get right back in this to take down the No. 1 team in the country. Georgetown couldn’t either.
[ENTER STONE COLD STEPHEN F. AUSTIN]
Duke lost in heartbreaking fashion at home to the Lumberjacks, as Nathan Bain dropped a Stone Cold Stephen F. Austin Stunner on the Blue Devils as time expired.
I really want to stop making Jack White jokes, but this guy can’t get out of his own way. He tried to foul Bain once he gained possession, but no whistle was blown. Then, channeling his inner Zion Williamson chase-down block impression, he ... came up short as Bain laid it in at the buzzer.
As for Bain, how awesome is this? Before the win at Duke, nobody knew him or anything about his story; Originally from the Bahamas, Bain’s hometown and his family were hit hard by hurricane Dorian. Since his game-winning layup, people have donated over $140,000 to his GoFundMe page.
The power of college hoops, baby. There’s nothing quite like it.
We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by
Bad Boy Mowers Food Lion and those biscuits they serve at Bojangles.
After Duke was upset by SFA and saw its 150 consecutive home game non-conference winning streak snapped, who leads the country in that category now?
This poll is closed
San Diego State
Now back to your scheduled program.
6) Virginia Tech (6-2, 1-0)
Last week: Win against Michigan State, Losses to Dayton and BYU
Who could have predicted this? Virginia Tech upset Michigan State in Maui and shoots up to No. 6 in the rankings. If not for consecutive losses to Dayton and BYU, the Hokies would rank even higher. It can be hard to cool down after a big time win, but Landers Nolley is playing at an All-ACC level. If the basketball team keeps winning, it might be able to make up for the fact that Blacksburg is hell on earth.
7) Notre Dame (6-1, 0-1)
Last week: Win over Fairleigh Dickinson
Notre Dame has quietly put together six straight wins since losing the season-opener at North Carolina.
Nate Laszewski, the second best chefski in the ACC, rode his momentum from the game-tying three against Toledo to 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks over the Knights last week. Six Notre Dame players reached double-figures in that blowout and surprise, surprise, John Mooney had another double-double.
8) NC State (5-2, 0-1)
Last week: Loss to Memphis
NC State only played one game last week, a loss to the James Wiseman-less Memphis Tigers. Penny Hardaway was also without freshman stud Lester Quinones, who’s currently nursing a broken hand.
Markell Johnson dropped 22, but it wasn’t enough to get over the hump. The Wolfpack drop two spots in the rankings this week.
9) Pittsburgh (6-2, 1-0)
Last week: Wins over Kansas State and Northwestern
Pittsburgh? Is that you?
This is where the league starts to separate, and that might ring true by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around as only eight teams from the ACC, at most, look fit for the big dance right now.
Pitt slides up to the nine spot, somewhat due to two negligible wins but mostly due to the teams above it sh*tting the bed last week.
Justin Champagnie is stepping up, but Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens are turning the ball over at a faster rate than you can say Primanti Bros. Those two guards need to be better and more consistent.
10) Clemson (5-2, 0-1)
Last week: Loss to Colorado
Clemson fans probably didn’t even realize the basketball team played last week. They’re too busy being worried about #DISRESPECK and the CFP.
11) Syracuse (4-3, 0-1)
Last week: Losses to Oklahoma State and Penn State
12) Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-0)
Last week: Loss to Arkansas, win over Bethune-Cookman
Georgia Tech broke the unwritten rule of only playing one game per week, as it snuck in a late Sunday game against Bethune-Cookman. The Yellow Jackets lost on a banked in three at the buzzer against Arkansas, but edged out a win over the Wildcats on a game-winning three-point play from Michael Devoe.
Josh Pastner still has awful hair.
Devoe does lead the ACC in scoring, by the way.
13) Miami (4-3, 0-1)
Last week: Nothing
Miami did everyone a solid by having a much-needed week off. It was probably a necessity after a 1-2 showing in the Charleston Classic.
A big opportunity at Illinois awaits in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
14) Wake Forest (5-3, 0-1)
Last week: Wins over College of Charleston and Long Beach State, loss to Arizona
Congratulations to Wake Forest, who kept up its effort and surpassed Boston College in the rankings. Nice work, Demon Deacons.
15) Boston College (4-4, 1-0)
Last week: Losses to St. Louis and Richmond
Contrary to popular belief, the above doesn’t stand for laugh out loud. It stands for loss on loss, because that’s all BC seems interested in doing lately.
Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: Butler
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