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ACC basketball rankings: Trent Forrest ends Jordan Nwora, Clemson beats Florida State, Duke takes Ls, North Carolina doesn’t

What a week it was in ACC basketball

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

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

In the previous rankings post, we recapped a relatively modest week of basketball. But after the past seven days the ACC returned to form as Duke lost to Wake Forest, Florida State lost at Clemson while Virginia Tech and Pitt continued their free fall. We saw a plethora of game-winning shots and surprisingly not one of them came at the expense of North Carolina.

It’s sure to be a wild finish as we now have a five-way log-jam for for fifth place in the ACC.

We’ve also officially reached that point of the season, and no, I’m not talking about the month of March. I’m talking about Joey Brackets season. We’ve reached the point where Joe Lunardi is brought onto random broadcasts during live games where he takes up a disproportionate percentage of the screen for no discerning reason and opines on who will and who will not make the NCAA Tournament.

He might finally have a good use for that bracket bunker of his, too. If the coronavirus begins to take over the U.S., nobody among the college basketball cognoscenti will be more prepared to deal with the fallout than Joey Brackets. Anyway, as we do every week, let’s dive into the conference hierarchy.

Full disclosure: These rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology.
NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Florida State
On his head
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

1. Florida State (24-5, 14-4)

Last week: Win over Louisville, loss at Clemson

We started the week of basketball with Florida State demolishing Louisville in the second half of last Monday’s contest. Trent Forest balled with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. He also nearly ended Jordan Nwora’s basketball career with this dunk:

Dunks aside, it was pretty incredible that Florida State was able to take down Louisville the way it did with Balsa Koprivica sitting on the bench.

In FSU’s second game of the week, Forest appeared to hit the game-winning floater at Clemson until Al-Amir Dawes went coast to coast for the game-winner layup. Easy come, easy go.

According to the methodology, Florida State stays on top of the rankings given the head to head win over Louisville despite the loss to Clemson.

2. Louisville (24-6, 15,4)

Last week: Loss at Florida State, win over Virginia Tech

Louisville slides up one spot from last week as Duke dropped a pair of games and the Cardinals took care of business against Virginia Tech on Senior Day. Legendary gunner Ryan McMahon went out the right way.

3. Duke (23-6, 13-5)

Last week: Loss at Wake Forest, loss at Virginia

Even with the loss at Virginia on Saturday, Duke slides to No. 3 but still stays above the Cavaliers in the rankings due to better wins and overall record, according to the rankings methodology. Virginia fans everywhere can’t believe it.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Duke went to double overtime with Wake Forest and lost. Then on Saturday Duke ran into the human buzzsaw, Jay Huff.

All of this will eventually be forgotten about when Duke inevitably makes the Final Four this year.

Duke v Virginia
Jay Huff hangin’ around
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

4. Virginia (21-7, 13-5)

Last week: Win at Virginia Tech, win over Duke

Kihei Clark played the role of hero with his game-winning 3-pointer against Virginia Tech in the worst ACC basketball arena, Cassell Coliseum.


Huff almost messed around with a triple-double by scoring 15 points, blocking 10 shots and grabbing 9 rebounds. Legend.

5. NC State (18-11, 9-9)

Last week: Loss to North Carolina, win over Pitt

NC State’s NCAA Tournament chances took a blow with a loss to North Carolina. But the Wolfpack rebounded on Saturday to pick up an important win over Pitt.

Big Johnson and CJ Bryce will have to play... big down the stretch for NC State to earn a tournament berth. Duke looms large tonight on Big Monday.

6. Notre Dame (18-11, 9-9)

Last week: Win at Boston College, loss at Wake

TJ Gibbs. That is all.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Clemson
Another Clemson basketball court storm!
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

7. Clemson (15-13, 9-9)

Last week: Loss to Georgia Tech, win against Florida State

Rejoice, Clemson fans. Yes, you finally rise above Syracuse in the rankings.

Clemson has proven to be a tough out inside Lil Jon’s Coliseum. Josh Newman and Dawes both posted 18 points in the Tigers’ upset win over Florida State.

Clemson now has home wins over the top three teams in the ACC in Duke, Louisville and Florida State. No punchlines this time, I promise. You have earned my RESPECK.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Zaxby’s and the Buffalo gold coin commercial. Avoid disappointment and future regret. Order your gold coin now!


The Atlantic Coast Conference was founded in 1953. How many times has founding member Clemson won the ACC regular season title?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    (14 votes)
  • 18%
    (25 votes)
  • 64%
    (87 votes)
134 votes total Vote Now

The answer to the ACC basketball trivia question can be found at the bottom of this post. No cheating.

Now back to you regularly scheduled jokes & garbage.


NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Syracuse
After sitting next to Tom Brady, Jimmy Fallon gets his sports confused as he fires a basketball into the crowd
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

8. Syracuse (16-13, 9-9)

Last week: Win at Pittsburgh, loss to North Carolina

Syracuse waxed Pittsburgh earlier in the week, only to return home and get waxed by North Carolina.

Due to the uninteresting game on Saturday, Orange fans at the dome turned their attention away from the game and orange fans at home turned their attention away from whatever the heck Cory Alexander was bloviating about in regards to the All ACC freshman team.

Instead, both tuned into anything and everything that Jimmy Fallon was doing. Apropos of absolutely nothing, Fallon acted like a giant anus and stole the show. Fallon had the ultimate whose mans? moments, but he did it in a way that was equal parts funny and delightful.

Everybody has already made their jokes about Tom Brady showing up in Syracuse for the final game under the Carrier Dome’s inflatable roof. But why the heck were people acting like it was the final game in Carrier Dome history and pouring one out for a giant piece of teflon?

9. Georgia Tech (15-14, 9-9)

Last week: Win over Clemson, win over Miami

Georgia Tech earned a pair of wins last week. Jose Alvarado, Michael Devoe and James Banks all had good weeks. Georgia Tech might actually finish the season with a winning record.

10. Pittsburgh (15-15, 6-13)

Last week: Loss to Syracuse, loss at NC State

Pittsburgh basketball had been shot to hell by losing six straight games. Can the Panthers make it seven straight to end the regular season? Tune in Wednesday night to find out.

11. Virginia Tech (15-14, 6-12)

Last week: Loss to Virginia, loss at Louisville

Remember when people were talking about Landers Nolley? Do you also remember when people were talking about Mike Young being ACC Coach of the Year? Good times.

12. Boston College (13-16, 7-11)

Last week: Loss to Notre Dame

Jay Heath hit a clutch floater over Notre Dame but BC left too much time on the clock as TJ Gibbs responded with a floater as time expired. Boston College is snake bit.

Louisville v Miami
Lykes and McGusty are still looking for front-court help
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

13. Miami (14-14, 6-12)

Last week: Loss to Georgia Tech

Fire the Miami front-court into the Coral Gables sun.

Hurricane fans — if they even exist — can look forward to next year with its promising backcourt of Chris Lykes, Kam McGusty, Isaiah Wong and Harlond Beverly. Maybe Jim Larranaga will even go four-guard.

14. Wake Forest (13-15, 6-12)

Last week: 2OT win over Duke, win over Notre Dame

Wake Forest won the National Championship last week when it beat Duke in double overtime and partied like it was 1999. Then the Demon Deacs rode that momentum and took a shot at Notre Dame’s waning tournament hopes later in the week by upsetting the Irish.

All jokes aside, it was great to see an emotional Brandon Childress have his moment in the sun after the win. Hats off, fella.

15. North Carolina (12-17, 5-13)

Last week: Win over NC State, win at Syracuse

North Carolina is starting to look like the team it could’ve been if they weren’t hampered by injuries. Unfortunately for the Tar Heel faithful, it’s too little too late, barring an ACC Tournament title run.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: 1