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ACC basketball rankings: Clemson takes the helm; Louisville rises, Syracuse and Virginia Tech fall

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 12 Holiday Hoopsgiving - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

The ACC put together a rather “meh” week of games, which seems fitting for the conference this year. Still, we had game-winning shots, would be game-winning shots and witnessed one Marek Dolezaj lose a tooth. We also saw one coach pass John Wooden on the all-time wins list.

As for the rankings, a shakeup has emerged at the top for the second straight week with a new team at the No. 1 spot. As we do every week, we dive into the ACC hierarchy.*

*These rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology
NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Clemson
Vice Principal Brownell stares off into the abyss, contemplating life and how his team somehow reached the top of the ACC.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

1. Clemson (9-3, 2-1), Ken Pom: 18

Last week: Win over NC State, UNC game postponed

Previous ranking: 2

Clemson basketball isn’t just the best defensive team in the ACC. The Tigers are now the No. 1 team in adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom) in all of college basketball.

The Tigers are also the No. 1 team in the ACC right now and if you thought you were mistakenly parsing through football rankings, well, we’d understand.

Defense is the identity of this team, but Clemson doesn’t turn it over, either. That allows this team to chuck up a bunch of bricks on offense. Still, Dabo Swiney’s Vice principal Brownell’s team only had nine turnovers against N.C. State, which pushed his squad past the Wolfpack and into the No. 1 spot.

Nick Honor scored 21 points off the bench against N.C. State. He’s a big shot maker and an obvious candidate for the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

2. Louisville (8-1, 3-0), Ken Pom: 26

Last week: Win over Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech game postponed

Previous ranking: 4

Louisville moves up two spots after taking down former No. 1 Virginia Tech. The Cardinals survived a potential Virginia Tech game-winning three point attempt after late missed free throw.

Carlik Jones and David Johnson both scored 17 points in the win. Jaelyn Withers had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Chris Mack’s club has rattled off four straight wins since losing to Wisconsin on the road. With games at Wake and Miami this week, could Louisville get hot?

Virginia Tech v Notre Dame
Jalen Cone is a flamethrower.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

3. Virginia Tech (9-2, 3-1), Ken Pom: 33

Last week: Loss at Louisville, win at Notre Dame

Previous ranking: 1

Virginia Tech took one on the chin against Louisville early last week. Trailing by two in the final moments, Hunter Cattoor had a deep look from three that clanked off the right side of the rim.

The Hokies rebounded (no, like they really rebounded the ball) as Keve Aluma posted a double-double in the win against Notre Dame on Sunday night. Virginia Tech owned Notre Dame on the glass to the tune of 41-24.

Jalen Cone remains a flamethrower off the bench. He led the Hokies in scoring in both games last week, scoring a combined 41 points shooting 10-22 from range. He’s another Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

We should probably stop saying things like: Mike Young. Poppin’ like Orville Redenbacher.

But this is great.

4. Florida State (5-2, 1-1), Ken Pom: 31

Last week: On pause

Previous ranking: 3

Florida State was put on pause after a positive COVID-19 test within the program. Nothing to see here, which is a shame because the world doesn’t get to witness Oscar Robertson’s parallel in Balsa Koprivica.

5. Duke (5-2, 3-0), Ken Pom: 21

Last week: Wins over Boston College, Wake Forest

Previous ranking: 5

Call off the search. After being placed on a milk carton for the first five games, Wendell Moore emerged under new leadership. Jon Scheyer coached Duke against Boston College and Moore erupted for 25 points. In Coach K’s returned against Wake Forest, Moore had four points. Coincidence? You decide.

Anyway, Duke beat the two worst teams in the conference. Matthew Hurt had a good week. People are going to be upset in the comment section due to Duke remaining in the five spot but them’s the breaks.

6. Virginia (7-2, 3-0), Ken Pom: 15

Last week: Wins over Wake Forest, at Boston College

Previous ranking: 8

All five Virginia starters scored double figures in the win against Wake Forest. Sam Hauser has posted three straight double doubles. Jay Huff tied a career-high 18 points against Boston College.

This team still struggles to shoot the ball from deep, however.

7. Syracuse (7-2, 1-1), Ken Pom: 39

Last week: Loss to Pitt, win over Georgetown

Previous ranking: 6

Syracuse leads the ACC in both scoring margin and assists, yet still falls one spot as SU blew an 18 point second half lead against Pittsburgh.

The Orange almost blew a similar lead against Georgetown, but thanks to unsung hero Robert Braswell and Marek Dolezaj playing through a chipped tooth, Syracuse got it done against the Hoyas.

Hats off to Dolezaj for increasing his legend status at SU. Looks like he’ll need to take it easy on the pizza in the interim though.

8. North Carolina (7-4, 2-2), Ken Pom: 29

Last week: Win at Miami, Clemson game postponed

Previous ranking: 9

Andrew Platek played hero for North Carolina last week. He scored the game-winning bucket at Miami in the closing seconds. Wait hold on, let me fact check that.

Okay, sorry. That was actually correct.

Payback is a dish best served cold and UNC exercised its Ja’Quan Newton demons from a few years back.

Day’Ron Sharpe struggled at times against Miami, but he still put up 12 points and hauled in 16 boards. He’s the best player on this North Carolina team.

9. N.C. State (6-3, 2-2), Ken Pom: 49

Last week: Losses to Clemson, Miami

Previous ranking: 7

Devon Daniels’ double-double wasn’t enough to get past Clemson’s defense. DJ Funderburk dropped 20 points in the loss. Then N.C. State failed to crack 60 points in the loss to Miami. The Wolfpack need more scoring outside of Daniels and Funderburk.

10. Pittsburgh (6-2, 2-1), Ken Pom: 76

Last week: Win at Syracuse, Florida State game postponed

Previous ranking: 11

Pittsburgh rises one spot following a road win at Syracuse without star Justin Champagnie. The Panthers are good rebounding team, but the offense still leaves much to be desired.

11. Georgia Tech (6-3, 2-1), Ken Pom: 70

Last week: On pause

Previous ranking: 10

Georgia Tech drops one spot as Pittsburgh won on the road. The Yellow Jackets are on pause following a positive COVID-19 test within the program. Guess we can’t be spiking COVID balls, can we?


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Geico and We’re more than just nuts.

We’re switching up the trivia format this week. Instead, we ask you to identify the person below.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports


Who is this?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Bernie Sanders
    (8 votes)
  • 4%
    Jim Boeheim
    (8 votes)
  • 5%
    Larry David
    (10 votes)
  • 85%
    Jim Larranaga
    (155 votes)
181 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.

12. Miami (5-5, 1-4), Ken Pom: 62

Last week: Loss to UNC, win at N.C. State

Previous ranking: 12

Miami suffered a heart-breaking loss to North Carolina on the aforementioned game-winner. The Hurricanes weren’t daunted in the next game, however, taking down N.C. State behind Isaiah Wong’s 24 points and nine rebounds.

In doing so, Jim Larranaga passed John Wooden on the all-time wins list. Larranaga has now won 665 games in his career.

13. Notre Dame (3-7, 0-4), Ken Pom: 89

Last week: Loss to Virginia Tech

Previous ranking: 13

Looks like it was too cold for Mike Brey to don a Hawaiian shirt and shorts on the sideline. No shorts means it was below freezing in Blacksburg on Sunday night, which is also another way to describe Notre Dame’s shooting. Dane Goodwin came off the bench in Sunday’s loss to Virginia Tech in favor of Nik Djogo. That was for naught as the Irish still suffered a double digit defeat to the Hokies.

Nate Laszewski is the best scoring option on this team. He’s a fine player, but that’s an issue for a team still winless in league play.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 03 Wake Forest at Georgia Tech
Carter Whitt matches his hair with Wake’s jerseys.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

14. Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3), Ken Pom: 125

Last week: Loss at Virginia, at Duke

Previous ranking: 14

Carter Whitt made his college debut against Duke and his hair is phenomenal. Wake Forest is not. But would you check the flow? How about how tight those curls are? Impressive stuff.

Nothing else to see here.

15. Boston College (2-9, 0-5), Ken Pom: 104

Last week: Losses at Duke, to Virginia

Previous ranking: 15

Boston College strung everyone along at Duke only to lose by a single point. You really had us going, BC.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: Jim Larranaga. All others answers still accepted.