clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ACC basketball rankings: Florida State takes the helm, Syracuse rises, Clemson owns Tobacco Road and OMG Malik Williams

Like we said last week. Clemson basketball is back!

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, we welcome you back to another edition of the proud, preeminent TNIAAM ACC basketball rankings.

It’s been another interesting week of ACC basketball as Florida State has taken its place at the top, Clemson now owns Tobacco Road (it’s like we said last week), Malik Williams ended Jack White and Virginia Tech fans still think Cassell Coliseum is the best basketball venue in the country.

Just when you though it couldn’t get any worse for North Carolina, the Tar Heels do in fact find a way to make things worse. Duke showed that it was capable of losing back to back games for the first time in two seasons. At this point, the only thing guaranteed in the ACC is a John Mooney double-double.

Anyway, let’s dive into the ACC basketball hierarchy. As always, these rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology not known to the general public.

South Florida v Florida State
Leonard Hamilton, fountain of youth sipper and notorious W stacker
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

1. Florida State (16-2, 6-1)

Last week: Win over Virginia, win over Miami

Everybody else comes into the college basketball season with all the hype and hoopla while Leonard Hamilton flies under the radar with all of his 6-foot-8+ athletes and his eastern European recruits that nobody knows anything about.

Then Ham Sauce just quietly goes about his business, stacks Ws and finds himself in the Sweet 16 every year. He’s got a great thing going at Florida State and its something that we don’t talk about enough.

Last week Devin Vassell balled out against Virginia and Miami while Anthony Polite was... nice off the bench. He scored double-figures in both games last week. We need a healthy Balsa Koprivica!

2. Louisville (15-3, 6-1)

Last week: Win over Pittsburgh in OT, win at Duke

Louisville moves up one spot this week after two road wins. The Cardinals needed overtime at Pittsburgh, but held off the Blue Devils’ late push inside Cameron Indoor on Saturday.

Chris Mack’s role players have really stepped up of late. The rematch against Florida State in late February could decide who wins the league this year.

Jordan Nwora is tired of carrying the burden of being the leading scorer in the ACC though. In fact, he decided to only score 6 points at Duke — he even purposely missed a dunk in hopes that Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes will surpass him in points per game. It can be tiresome having a target on your back.

Oh. We almost forgot. Malik Williams ended Jake White’s basketball career after this Mortal Kombat fatality.

Flawless victory.

3. Duke (15-3, 5-2)

Last week: Loss at Clemson, loss to Louisville

Duke went 0-2 on the week, but the Blue Devils are still head and shoulders above the remainder of the league.

Cassius Stanley is different at the rim. As Jay Bilas suggested, that dude has another step on the ladder that the rest of us don’t have. But he’ll have to execute better down the stretch as he missed Matthew Hurt on a late post-up and took an errant three on the ensuing possession.

Duke has a light schedule moving forward, with only two home games in two weeks against Miami and Pittsburgh before hitting the road to Syracuse on Feb. 1.

4. Virginia Tech (13-5, 4-3)

Last week: Win over Georgia Tech, loss to Syracuse

There were certainly a lot of open seats inside Cassell Coliseum for Virginia Tech’s “sold out” crowd against Syracuse. Still, it’s impressive for the Hokies to sell that many tickets considering that Cassell ranks No. 1427 in ACC arenas.

Jokes aside, the Hokies hold down the No. 4 spot over NC State due its impressive win over Michigan State on a neutral court and VT’s 3-4 Q1 record in comparison to NC State’s 2-4 Q1 record.

Landers Nolley came up clutch with a big three against the Spartans in Maui, but he came down with a severe case of hero ball against Syracuse as he chucked up a 30-foot brick to lose the game against the Orange.

To little surprise, that was not the shot Mike Young drew up in the huddle.

5. NC State (13-5, 4-3)

Last week: Win over Miami, win against Clemson

Kevin Keatts picked up a pair of wins over middle-tier conference goes to keep NC State above the middle of the league.

Has anyone even watched an NC State basketball game this year though?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 18 Virginia at Georgia Tech
Noted booger-eater Kody Stattmann takes it off the dribble because he can’t shoot
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

6. Virginia (12-5, 4-3)

Last week: Loss at Florida State, win at Georgia Tech

The bad news for Virginia is that the Hoos continue to chuck up bricks at a rate that’s alarming for even Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

The good news is they didn’t have to hear Dan Dakich say outlandish things last week, like making erroneous comparisons between Jay Huff and Anthony Davis.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Food Lion and Buddy Boeheim’s jumper being hotter than a pepper sprout. As always, the answer to this trivia question can be found at the bottom of this post.


Before the win over Georgia Tech, Virginia had lost 3 straight basketball games. When was the last time that happened?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    2010-11 season
    (98 votes)
  • 37%
    2013-14 season
    (101 votes)
  • 15%
    2015-16 season
    (41 votes)
  • 8%
    2016-17 season
    (24 votes)
  • 1%
    2017-18 season
    (3 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now

Now back to you regularly scheduled jokes & garbage.

7. Syracuse (11-7, 4-3)

Last week: Win over Boston College, win at Virginia Tech

Jim Boeheim has always been a shrewd basketball coach. But sometime after the 2013-14 season he began to show his true genius. Instead of being a perennial top 25 team throughout the entire college basketball season, Boeheim eventually learned to sandbag the regular season and show up to March Madness as a low seed. That’s what he’s done yet again for the sixth consecutive season as Syracuse has now won three straight.

The Orange have picked up two quadrant one victories in the past two weeks and will look to tack on another at Notre Dame on Wednesday.

I’m not going as far to say that Syracuse is actually going to make the tournament this year, but every Syracuse fan in the country thinks a Sweet 16 run is within the realm of possibility now.

Principal Brownell switches up the wardrobe and finally gets some RESPECK around here
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

8. Clemson (9-8, 3-4)

Last week: Win over Duke, loss at NC State

Clemson owns Tobacco road, but couldn’t complete the triangle sweep at NC State.

Heck of a last few weeks for Clemson though as the home win over Duke allowed for a small amount of solace after the football team’s loss to LSU in the National Championship.

9. Pittsburgh (12-6, 3-4)

Last week: Loss to Louisville, win against UNC

Pittsburgh took a really good Louisville team to overtime at their house, but came up short in extra time. The Panthers completed the sweep against UNC this season later in the week.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse
John Mooney eyes another double-double with Syracuse on the schedule this week
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

10. Notre Dame (11-6, 2-4)

Last week: Win at Georgia Tech

There are only three guarantees in life: Death, taxes and John Mooney double-doubles.

Notre Dame pulled out a tough victory at Georgia Tech behind John Mooney and by making free throws down the stretch. Prentiss Hubb is a baller, as is John Mooney, but the Irish are going to need to stack a few more Ws in the conference to rise in the rankings. People aren’t talking enough about John Mooney.

Also worth mention: John Mooney.

11. Miami (10-7, 2-5)

Last week: Loss at NC State, loss to Florida State

If Miami could defend or rebound worth a lick, the Hurricanes might not be that bad. But when Jim Larranaga’s squad doesn’t do that and relies on Chris Lykes, Kam McGusty and DJ Vasiljevic to score 73 percent of the team’s points, the ‘Canes become overly reliant on its backcourt.

That hasn’t translated to many Ws in Coral Gables.

But, as I am contractually obligated to say in every rankings piece, DJ Vasiljevic is the best shooter in the ACC.

12. Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5)

Last week: Loss to Notre Dame, loss to Virginia

Georgia Tech probably is a better team than its record suggests, but it sounds lame when it comes from the head coach.

13. Wake Forest (9-8, 2-5)

Last week: Loss to Virginia Tech, win over Boston College

Nothing to see here. Wake Forest did what it was supposed to do by losing to Virginia Tech and winning against Boston College.

14. Boston College (9-9, 3-4)

Last week: Loss at Syracuse, loss at Wake

Tough week for Boston College, but then again every week is a tough week when you’re Boston College.

Clemson v North Carolina
UNC is trying to win games with Andrew Platek as a starter
Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images

15. North Carolina (8-9, 1-5)

Last week: Loss at Pitt

North Carolina reclaims its throne spot as the ACC’s cellar dweller. This 2019-20 season has Roy Williams saying all sorts of whacky things that not even he believes, such as how his AD should fire him.

Roy has only had two seasons without at least 20 wins: The 1988-89 season at Kansas and the 2003-04 season at UNC. Both were his inaugural season with KU and UNC, respectively.

Roy is in danger of having his first losing season ever.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: 2016-17 season where UVa lost 4 straight