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ACC basketball rankings: North Carolina back on top, Florida State slips, Syracuse and Virginia Tech rise

We have some movement in this week’s rendition of ACC basketball rankings.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Kentucky Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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

Week four is officially in the books and two top teams took one in the loss column, thus creating a shakeup at the top of the conference. As we edge closer to the end of non-conference play, some programs returned from pause while others (looking at you, Virginia) remained on hiatus.

There’s been one month of basketball played (unless your name is Wake Forest) and yet, we still don’t have a clearcut frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year. Conference play has started, however, so perhaps we gain more clarity soon.

Wait no further. It’s time for our weekly Vaudevillian trope as we rank the conference hierarchy.*

*These rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology
NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Kentucky
North Carolina asserts its dominance over the conference
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

1. North Carolina (5-2, 0-0), Ken Pom: 23

Last week: Win over Kentucky

North Carolina played just one game last week, a 75-63 win over struggling mid major Kentucky. With Florida State and Clemson both taking losses, that’s enough to place UNC in the top spot. Carolina’s two losses have come to a pair of top ten KenPom teams.

UNC ranks No. 8 in the country in rebounding with 45.4 boards per game. That’s what you come to expect from a Roy Williams club. The question is whether this team can hit from outside. Have the Heels found a shooter in Kerwin Walton?

2. Florida State (4-1, 1-0), Ken Pom: 25

Last week: Win over Georgia Tech, loss to UCF

Florida State Tacko Falls one spot this week due to the loss at home to UCF. MJ Walker’s 22 points weren’t enough as Florida State took its first blemish of the season. Scottie Barnes has the league fawning, but he’s yet to truly take the league by storm with his play.

KemPom suggests this team should be ranked lower as FSU is 25th in.. wait, what’s that? We’ve received correspondence from KP?

Well yes, KenPom. Yes, actually, I am.

Leonard Hamilton’s team is deep and will find a way to bounce back.

The loss to UCF is understandable when you consider Balsa Koprivica, a 7-foot-1 post talent similar to Karl Malone, only played 14 minutes.

3. Virginia Tech (6-1, 1-0), Ken Pom: 37

Last week: Wins over Clemson, Coppin State

Virginia Tech took a big step forward with a home win over No. 24 ranked Clemson. Tyrece Radford has made some big shots in his Hokie career, including two within the final minute against Clemson, pushing the lead to two possessions each time.

Hats off to the young man for handling this question with grace.

This is what happens when you let the cool kids and the TikTok influencers in the post-game presser. What happened to the stick-in-the-mud sports journos? Can we please bring back the nerds and pencil-pushers to ask the serious, Big J Journalism questions?

4. Clemson (5-1, 0-1), Ken Pom: 22

Last week: Loss to Virginia Tech, game against South Carolina postponed

Clemson lost on the road to Virginia Tech and made the game interesting down the stretch. With under one minute to play, Nick Honor connected on a triple and an Aamir Simms layup got the game to within two points, but Virginia Tech kept the Tigers at bay.

Clemson’s game at South Carolina was postponed due to a positive test within the Gamecocks’ program. Nobody in South Carolina cares about any of this, however, because football.

5. Duke (3-2, 1-0), Ken Pom: 12

Last week: Win at Notre Dame, game against Gardner-Webb canceled

Duke picked up a win earlier in the week at Notre Dame. Matthew Hurt led the way with 18 points, which of course means Dickie V went home happy.

Jalen Johnson remains out for Duke, but freshmen DJ Steward, Jeremy Roach and Jaemyn Brakefield all scored in double figures at Notre Dame.

Coach K appreciated the refereeing in South Bend after only 24 fouls were called.

6. Syracuse (6-1, 1-0), Ken Pom: 30

Last week: Wins over Northeastern and Buffalo

Syracuse rises one spot this week after escaping with a pair of wins over Northeastern and Buffalo. Alan Griffin blocked Buffalo’s upset hopes on a potential game-winning dunk and in doing so simultaneously blocked the teams below from surpassing the Orange in the power rankings.

Quincy Guerrier is putting together an All-ACC caliber season in the 315. Jim Boeheim is putting together all-time caliber post-game pressers in 2020.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Geico and the Spurtle. Nothing spreads quite like the spurtle.


Syracuse is off to a 6-1 start to the season. When was the last time that happened?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (256 votes)
  • 18%
    (158 votes)
  • 25%
    (215 votes)
  • 24%
    (205 votes)
834 votes total Vote Now

The answer to the ACC basketball trivia question can be found at the bottom of this page.

Now back to your regularly scheduled jokes and garbage.

7. Virginia (3-1, 0-0), Ken Pom: 17

Last week: Game against Wake Forest postponed

Does Virginia even play basketball anymore?

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Wisconsin
Bucky Badger ain’t ever tell no lie.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

8. Louisville (4-1, 0-0), Ken Pom: 33

Last week: Game against NC State postponed, loss at Wisconsin

Louisville returned from its pause only to get embarrassed on the road at Wisconsin. The Cardinals lost by 37 without its best player Carlik Jones. There’s no shame in losing to Wisconsin, but it’s hard to turn the other cheek on just how Louisville lost. The Cardinals had more turnovers than field goals, which turns out to be a deplorable strategy when trying to win basketball games.

Chris Mack’s team has a higher ceiling than eighth in the ACC, so let’s see what more practice time and a Jones return does for this squad.

9. Pittsburgh (5-1, 1-0), Ken Pom: 73

Last week: Win at Miami

We know of Pittsburgh’s effective troika of Justin Champagnie, Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney. Now Ithiel Horton has emerged for the Panthers. His 18 point performance helped push Pitt past Miami.

On Saturday it was announced that Jeff Capel tested positive for COVID-19. He’ll be unavailable to coach in Tuesday’s game against Louisville.

10. NC State (4-1, 0-0), Ken Pom: 41

Last week: Game against Louisville postponed, loss at St. Louis, win over Campbell

Manny Bates put up a 20 point, seven rebound effort but NC State took a loss to a 6-0 St. Louis Billikens squad on the road before winning against Campbell. The Billikens might be the best team in the country that nobody is talking about.

NC State just happens to be a team that nobody is talking about. Congrats to the Wolfpack on four sub-200 KenPom wins.

11. Georgia Tech (4-3, 0-0), Ken Pom: 76

Last week: Loss to Florida State, wins over Florida A&M, Delaware State

Michael Devoe broke the 20 point threshold for the second time this season at Florida State, but it wasn’t enough to get over the hump.

The Yellow Jackets picked up two wins later in the week, including Florida A&M, one of the 16 A&M schools in Division I.

Just kidding. Bet you didn’t know there are only five A&M schools in DI.

Moses Wright scored 24 points on the Rattlers. Jose Alvarado dropped 29 in the win over Delaware State.

12. Miami (4-2, 0-1), Ken Pom: 68

Last week: Loss to Pittsburgh, win over Jacksonville

Miami lost to Pittsburgh, which actually isn’t the worst thing to happen in 2020. Isaiah Wong put up 21 in the loss.

Jim Larranaga’s club is still without Chris Lykes, Kam McGusty and Rodney Miller due to injury. The good news? Miami adds Stony Brook transfer Elijah Olaniyi after the NCAA’s push to grant all transfers immediate eligibility.

The Hurricanes rebounded with a win over in-state foe Jacksonville on Saturday. Wong gave Jacksonville 25 to go along with nine rebounds. Freshman Earl Timberlake put up 12 points in his debut after injuring his ankle. Anthony Walker had back to back double-doubles for Miami. He had 30 points and 20 boards on the week.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Notre Dame
Mike Brey signals 11 for the date of his team’s last win over a ranked opponent: February 11, 2017
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

13. Notre Dame (2-4, 0-1), Ken Pom: 82

Last week: Loss to Duke, loss to Purdue

As mentioned, Notre Dame lost to Duke earlier in the week. Mike Brey’s team has faced one of the toughest schedules in the country, having taken on two college basketball blue bloods and Kentucky. The Irish are 0-3 against the Big Ten following a loss to Purdue (Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue).

Against the Blue Devils, Dane Goodwin, Prentiss Hubb and myself combined to score over half of Notre Dame’s 65 points. No other Notre Dame player scored in double figures. That’s a problem because this team can’t guard a parked car.

14. Wake Forest (2-0, 0-0), Ken Pom: 127

Last week: Game against Virginia postponed

Wake Forest had its game against Virginia postponed due to positive COVID-19 test within the Demon Deacons program.

Wake has not played in the month of December. Seriously.

15. Boston College (1-5, 0-1), Ken Pom: 105

Last week: Nothing

Boston College decided to do everyone a solid by not playing last week. The conference eyesore remained well hidden.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: 2017-18