clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ACC basketball rankings: Louisville is tops, Duke is back, North Carolina & Notre Dame fall, Syracuse with work to do

Week five of ACC basketball rankings. Thank us later.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 05 Women’s Michigan State at Florida State Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sirs and madams, we welcome you back to another edition of the proud and preeminent TNIAAM ACC basketball rankings. This week we would like to give a special thank you to that Florida State fan in the lead photo. Hats off to that guy.

It was another wild week of basketball in the ACC, one which featured a poor overall showing in the ACC/Big Ten challenge as multiple ACC teams got run out of the gym by Big Ten foes. There were also conference games in early December for no logical reason other than to appease the 20-game ACC league scheduling overlords. Some might call it stupid. Others might call it a money-grab.

With that settled, let’s dive into the rankings which are backed by an undisclosed methodology.

Pittsburgh v Louisville
Chris Mack yells out to Ryan McMahon to take the pull up two instead of the three.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Pittsburgh v Louisville
A pleasantly defiant McMahon pretends that he can’t hear his head coach
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

1. Louisville (9-0, 2-0)

Last week: Wins over Michigan and Pittsburgh

The “L” in Louisville certainly doesn’t stand for loss. The Cardinals are out to a 9-0 start and now have a win over a top five opponent to boast about. Jordan Nwora heard that Michigan wanted smoke and they gave Juwan Howard’s squad all the smoke.

Nwora looks to be the front-runner for Player of the Year in the ACC. He took a hard fall against Pittsburgh, so that will be something worth monitoring, but Nwora was dominant in that Pitt game. The Cards got a big night out of Malik Williams too.

Ryan McMahon — the absolute gunner — took six shots against Pitt and none of them were from inside the arc. What’s more, McMahon is taking 81 percent of his shots from beyond the three-point line this season.

I don’t know about you guys but that’s my kind of player.

North Carolina v Virginia
Roy Williams, the most frustrated he’s ever been, against Virginia.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

2. Virginia (8-1, 2-0)

Last week: Shellacked by Purdue, win over North Carolina

Virginia went on the road to Purdue and proved that its going to have to score to win some games this season. Then it came back home to JPJ and proved that it can still win games by chucking up a bunch of bricks on the offensive end and playing the best defense in the country on the other.

Seriously though, Virginia is playing the best defense in the Ken Pom era by allowing just 80.2 points per 100 possessions. From 2002-present, this level of defense is unprecedented in the college game.

With that, I’d like to remind you that in week three I said I’d be willing to go on record by stating the first team to 50 points will win every Virginia basketball game this season (if either team can even get there at all). So far that is still correct. As someone who isn’t all that intelligent, I need to overcompensate to try to convince you that I am.

3. Duke (9-1, 1-0)

Last week: Wins over Michigan State and Virginia Tech

My how the mighty have fallen ... and risen again. Duke is back! ... in the No. 3 spot after becoming the second ACC team to beat Michigan State this season. Despite the roster turnover, Duke and Sparty met again (hmmmm.. what a wild coincidence) after the Elite Eight matchup last season, which feels like an appropriate time to remind everyone that Javin DeLaurier got dunked on by Matt McQuaid.

Anyhow, Duke came away with the win from East Lansing even without Cassius Stanley. Vernon Carey and Tre Jones combined for 46 points in that one.

Stanley returned in some brief action against Virginia Tech, but after the starters dug an early hole, the Duke bench stepped up to help secure the win. Points were scarce, but luckily for Duke Jack White was out there throwing down.

Vernon Carey is going to be double-teamed in every game he plays from here on out.

4. Florida State (8-2, 1-1)

Last week: Loss at Indiana, win over Clemson

After losing by 16 to Indiana and then rebounding to win against Clemson, it isn’t clear whether Leonard Hamilton is actually coaching or just rolling the balls out for a bunch of tall, athletic dudes. It probably won’t matter either way when Florida State rolls out of bed and makes another Sweet 16 appearance in March.

Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams are intriguing NBA draft prospects.

5. UNC (6-3, 1-1)

Last week: Losses to Ohio State and Virginia

No shame in UNC losing to the No. 6 and No. 5 ranked teams in the country, but being held to under 50 points in each of those games is a little concerning for a Tar Heels squad that usually has no trouble in that category.

It was a tough shooting week for Cole Anthony, and a tough week in general for Armando Bacot, who injured his ankle against Ohio State but returned for the Virginia game. It was for naught, as the Hoos took down UNC in a defensive clinic. Virginia has won the last five meetings against North Carolina.

Let’s check in on Coy Roy:

6. NC State (7-2, 1-1)

Last week: Wins over Wisconsin and Wake

I haven’t actually watched a full game of NC State basketball this season, but nobody else really makes sense in the No. 6 spot.

7. Virginia Tech (6-3, 1-1)

Last week: loss against Duke

Virginia Tech has come back down to earth since its win over Michigan State. The Hokies took its two-game slide back to Blacksburg and lost its third straight game, this time to Duke.

That Michigan State loss might be losing its luster, but it’s a better win than any other 3-loss ACC team can boast.

8. Pittsburgh (7-3, 1-1)

Last week: Win over Rutgers, Loss against Louisville

No surprises last week from Pittsburgh. The Panthers are in a neck-and-neck battle with Virginia for who can chuck up the most bricks from 3 in a single season.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC Basketball Trivia, brought to you in part by Brad Brownell’s wardrobe and those new Migos items on the Popeyes menu. That’s sure to rile up the folks at Bojangles.

The answer to this trivia question is coded at the top of this post and written in plain english at the bottom. No cheating though — you’re on the honor code.


Last week against Pittsburgh, Louisville wore which colored jerseys for the first time in program history?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    (4 votes)
  • 68%
    (141 votes)
  • 16%
    (34 votes)
  • 9%
    (19 votes)
207 votes total Vote Now

Now back to your regularly scheduled jokes & garbage.


COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 02 Miami at Illinois
DJ Vasiljevic quieting the haters.
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

9. Miami (5-3, 0-1)

Last week: Win at Illinois

Miami doesn’t have a bad loss and it did pick up its best win of the season at Illinois last Monday, hence the No. 9 spot. Sam Waardenburg stepped up against the Illini and there’s still a whole lot to Lykes about this Miami backcourt.

Sooner or later people will recognize that DJ Vasiljevic is the best shooter in the ACC.

10. Notre Dame (6-3, 0-2)

Last week: Losses at Maryland, against Boston College

Let’s check in on the Notre Dame basketball program after losing at home to Boston College:

Moving along.

11. Syracuse (5-4, 1-1)

Last week: Loss to Iowa, Win over Georgia Tech

If you took a moment to gauge the temperature of the Syracuse fan base after the Iowa loss last Tuesday, it would have looked something like this:

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Syracuse at Georgia Tech
Tfw they run out of Dome nachos.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

12. Clemson (5-4, 0-2)

Last week: Losses to Minnesota and Florida State

Clemson is on a three-game losing streak. The basketball team has already lost more games this season than the football team has lost in the last four years.

13. Georgia Tech (4-3, 1-1)

Last Week: Win over Nebraska, Loss to Syracuse

Georgia Tech has taken on a serious form of load management this season by only playing seven games to this point. Two games in one week might’ve been too much for the Yellow Jackets to handle as Syracuse broke Josh Pastner’s team in Atlanta on Saturday.

14. Boston College (5-5, 2-0)

Last week: Win over Notre Dame

Boston College, a bad basketball team, lost its best player in Nik Popovic (indefinitely) and somehow got a win on the road in South Bend.

There are only four undefeated teams remaining in ACC league play and somehow BC is one of them. To the untrained eye it might actually seem like Boston College is good.

But that’s why you read a discerning publication like TNIAAM.

Boston College. Fool’s gold.

15. Wake Forest (5-5, 0-2)

Last week: Losses to Penn State and NC State

Back to the basement you go, Demon Deacs.


Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: Grey