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ACC basketball rankings: Duke back on top, Clemson can’t be stopped

Clemson can’t be stopped from being bad, that is.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, the proud, preeminent ACC basketball rankings are — much like Duke — back! After a long three week hiatus, we’ve decided to forego the load management and actually rank ACC basketball teams this week.

When we last left off, Louisville was tops in the conference, Virginia was second and I was on my way to Key West promising you all to be back in two weeks.

Well, after venturing up to Syracuse for the Niagara game two Saturdays ago and spending all my NunesBucks on a bus ride back to New York City, a travel delay (or two) prevented rankings from happening last week.

Alas, we’re back and have a lot of ground to make up. Much has happened in the conference in the span of 21 days. Just about every team not named Duke has had some sort of slip up, while half of the league is already on life support. Six teams are fighting to be above .500 and UNC has fallen so far from its perch that the entire state of North Carolina might spontaneously combust. But hey, at least the ACC Tournament returns to Greensboro this year.

Maybe the conference will have a stroke of good fortune and actually get more than four teams into a post-season tournament that has more than three letters.

So it goes.

1. Duke (13-1, 3-0)

There really isn’t much debate on the No. 1 ranked team in the conference. Duke is head and shoulders above the rest of the league right now.

Tre Jones could post single-digit point and assist totals in every game from here on out and still receive consideration for ACC Player of the Year somehow.

2. Florida State (13-2, 3-1)

Is Florida State really the No. 2 ranked team in the ACC? I don’t know.

All I know is that with three losses and a win over Louisville, I can’t put the Cardinals here. And even though Virginia only has two losses, you can’t put a team that chucks up bricks like nobody’s business in the No. 2 spot.

South Carolina v Virginia
Kody Stattmann looks to brick another shot from range.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

3. Virginia (11-2, 3-0)

You know the league is down when the No. 3 ranked team shoots 28 percent from three. That is not a typo. Virginia shoots 28 percent from three as a team.

Tony Bennett could recruit Sandy from Along Came Polly and actually increase his team’s shooting percentage.

4. Louisville (11-3, 2-1)

Jordan Nwora has entered into a rivalry with his own teammate to see who can claim the throne as the biggest gunner on the team. Nwora has chucked up more shots from deep than Ryan McMahon over the last three weeks, but neither of them are shooting it well.

I actually made all of that up and have no clue if that’s correct. Someone fact check me.

5. Virginia Tech (10-4, 1-2)

Mike Young might be having his team play at a molasses pace, but Virginia Tech doesn’t have a bad loss thus far.

Landers Nolley is playing at an All-ACC level though. Someone put some respect on that man’s name.

6. NC State (10-4, 1-2)

NC State drops to the six spot after losing to Clemson. You can’t lose to the worst basketball team in the ACC.

7. Notre Dame (10-4, 1-2)

Riddle me this. If John Mooney wasn’t secretively a Cooney brother, then why did he have the best individual game in the Syracuse-Notre Dame series since Trevor Cooney hit nine 3s in 2014?

You can’t. That’s because Mooney is a Cooney brother.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Gatorade and Mike Brey’s chest hair. The correct answer to the trivia question can be found at the bottom of this post.


During the Syracuse vs. Notre Dame broadcast, Dan Dakich incorrectly referenced this last name when referring to former Syracuse legend Craig Forth.

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (16 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    (8 votes)
  • 51%
    (82 votes)
  • 31%
    (51 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now

Now back to your regularly scheduled jokes and garbage.


8. Miami (9-4, 1-2)

Miami got absolutely obliterated by Duke, but that was bound to happen with the Blue Devils dominant bigs against Miami’s fallible front-court.

DJ Vasiljevic is still the best shooter in the ACC and I might repeat that in every rankings piece until it becomes universally accepted as indisputable fact. He’s doing some great things for his native Australia to aid in the brushfires, too.

9. Pittsburgh (10-4, 1-2)

The only team playing at a slower pace in the league than Pittsburgh is Virginia. And when you watch both teams play their eye sore of an offense, you begin to understand why.

It’s no coincidence that two of the league’s three best brickmasons are Pittsburgh and UVa. The Panthers are chucking up bricks from long-range at an incredible 71 percent success rate. That’s the kind of triumph Pitt needs to rebuild this program brick by brick.

The third best in that mix is Georgia Tech, by the way. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first...

10. North Carolina (8-6, 1-2)

Okay, we knew North Carolina was bad. But lose to Georgia Tech bad?

UNC is snake-bit this season. After losing Cole Anthony with a knee injury, Sterling Manley had season ending surgery on his knee. To add insult to injury, Anthony Harris will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL against Yale.

Poor Roy and UNC. I’m sure the rest of the league feels terrible for their misfortune.

11. Syracuse (8-6, 1-2)

Yeah, ok. So Syracuse is allowing every decent big man put up All-American numbers against its 2-3 zone. So what?

Don’t let that distract you from the fact that Clemson basketball is bad.

12. Wake Forest (8-5, 1-2)

Wake has put together three straight victories. If the Demon Deacs keep this up, Danny Manning might get bought out at a cheaper price when he’s eventually fired.

13. Georgia Tech (7-7, 1-2)

Georgia Tech actually makes Pittsburgh look like a decent shooting team, which is probably the highest praise we could give to the Panthers.

14. Boston College (8-6, 2-1)

Boston College lost by 39 to Duke.


This feels like a good time to remind you that Jim Christian is the head coach of a P5 division one basketball program.

Clemson cheerleaders cheering for the season to be over.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

15. Clemson (7-7, 1-3)

Hats off to Clemson for somehow beating NC State to get to .500. Before that happened though, the Tigers lost two games in impressive fashion to Yale and Miami.

Let’s get a closer look.

On a serious note, congratulations to Clemson on being the worst basketball team in the league. This is no small feat especially considering how bad the ACC is this season. We would also like to give a special shoutout to the Tigers fans that created the @FireBrad twitter account.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: Forte