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ACC basketball rankings: Virginia, Florida State rise; Syracuse in free fall

For the fourth consecutive week there’s a new king in ACC basketball rankings.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Two teams have emerged at the top as Clemson lost a nail-biter to Virginia, which is a facetious way to say the Tigers got blown out by 35 at home. The triangle took a tumble, going a combined 1-3 on the week. A Hall of Fame coach was T’d up and one player returned early from an LCL injury and dunked like there was no tomorrow. It seems like every team had a player score a career high last week.

We’ll dive into the rankings, but first Dick Vitale joins us for some quick thoughts on the ACC:

Whoops. Wrong channel. Sorry about that.

Okay folks. Apologize for the technical difficulties. As we do every week, we dive into the ACC hierarchy.*

*These rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology
NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Clemson
After a failed high-five attempt, Vice Principal Brownell passes the baton off to Tony Bennett.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

1. Virginia (9-2, 5-0), Ken Pom: 7

Last week: Win over Notre Dame, waxed Clemson on the road

Previous ranking: 6

Virginia has rattled off five straight wins and the Cavaliers are up to their old tricks again by getting it done with defense. After a forgettable win over Notre Dame (although Jay Huff did tie a career high 18 points), The Hoos smoked last week’s No. 1 Clemson, previously the country’s previous best defensive team.

Virginia held Clemson to a season low 50 points and shot lights out from three (15-27). Sam Hauser and Tomas Woldetensae made four 3s each.

Virginia is now the No. 7 in KenPom and sits atop the league with a 5-0 conference record. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised?

2. Florida State (7-2, 3-1), Ken Pom: 25

Last week: Creamed N.C. State at home, win over North Carolina

Previous ranking: 4

Coming off a pause, Florida State took down two members of the triangle and might’ve had the most impressive week of any ACC team. The Seminoles shot 70.7% against N.C. State and blew the Wolfpack out fo the water behind Rayquan Evans’ career-high 24 points. Then Ham Sauce’s squad held North Carolina to a season low 29 rebounds without Scottie Barnes.

M.J. Walker scored a career-high 21 points on UNC. Against Carolina’s monster bigs, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mirror image Balsa Koprivica put up 10 points and hauled in nine boards.

I see you Balsa.

Florida State has won 20 straight ACC home games. Can anyone top the ‘Noles at the Tuck this season?

3. Virginia Tech (11-2, 5-1), Ken Pom: 33

Last week: Wins over Duke, Wake Forest

Previous ranking: 3

Virginia Tech stays put in the No. 3 spot after taking down Duke at home despite struggling somewhat at Wake Forest on Sunday night.

Led by Tyrece Radford’s 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, the Hokies took down Duke in Cassel Coliseum, (widely regarded as the worst arena in the ACC). Keve Aluma put up 17 points and grabbed seven off the glass. Jalen Cone shot something other than a three point shot and scored 14.

In a Sunday night game, Radford led the Hokies once more with 20 points. David N’Guessan put up a career-high 13 points off the bench. Nobody knows this because most people were watching Tom Brady take down Drew Brees to finally advance in the NFL Playoffs.

4. Clemson (9-2, 3-2), Ken Pom: 35

Last week: Blown out at home by Virginia

Previous ranking: 1

After jumping to the top of the league and defending at the highest level the country, there was one question we all wanted to know before the Tigers took on Virginia at home:

Was Clemson for real?

*Narrator voice*

They were not.

Clemson chucked up bricks better than a demolition crew, shooting a cool 21.7% from deep. The Tigers were stymied against Virginia’s defense as no player scored over eight points. Brad Brownell’s adjusted defense slipped to No. 7 from No. 1 in Ken Pom.

5. Louisville (9-2, 4-1), Ken Pom: 30

Last week: Win at Wake Forest, Loss at Miami

Previous ranking: 2

Carlik Jones scored 23 points and grabbed 10 boards while Samuell Williamson had a double-double as well in Louisville’s win over Wake Forest.

Jones then scored 25 points against Miami, but it wasn’t enough to fend off Miami’s Isaiah Wong. The Cardinals had a five-game winning streak snapped and drop three spots in the rankings.

6. Duke (5-3, 3-1), Ken Pom: 25

Last week: Loss at Virginia Tech

Previous ranking: 5

Duke falls one spot in the rankings this week after dropping one on the road at Virginia Tech. Don’t let Coach K’s eloquence fool you. Duke’s defense is bad. The Blue Devils allowed the Hokies to shoot 50.0% from the floor.

Duke is 0-3 against ranked opponents this season. Now would a convenient time for K to question whether or not we should be having a season amidst a pandemic.

***

We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by the Bojangles sausage biscuit and the Ab Coaster; you too can have shredded abs in three easy steps.

Poll

Duke has lost three straight games against ranked teams. When was the last time that happened?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    1999-2000
    (27 votes)
  • 25%
    2014-2015
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    2018-2019
    (1 vote)
  • 31%
    2011-2012
    (21 votes)
66 votes total Vote Now

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

Now back to your regularly scheduled jokes and garbage.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina
Roy, how many spots has North Carolina moved up in the rankings?
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

7. North Carolina (8-5, 3-3), Ken Pom: 36

Last week: Win over Syracuse, loss at Florida State

Previous ranking: 8

In North Carolina’s 1,000th ACC game, the Heels took advantage of its size and out-muscled Syracuse on the glass for the win. Then North Carolina fell by seven to Florida State as the ‘Noles mitigated UNC on the glass. Despite the poor rebounding effort, Carolina still leads the country in offensive rebounding percentage.

R.J. Davis had a strong week as North Carolina slides up one spot in spite of the loss.

8. Pittsburgh (7-2, 3-1), Ken Pom: 66

Last week: Win over Syracuse

Previous ranking: 10

Ladies and gentlemen, call in an order to Primanti Bros. Even I.C. Light is starting to taste good.

Pittsburgh won back to back games against Syracuse. The Panthers are tied for fourth place in the league. Justin Champagnie returned in a big way off an LCL injury, scoring 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, dunking all over the Orange.

Pitt has now won seven of its last eight games.

Forget the I.C. Light. Pop the Champagnie.

9. N.C. State (6-4, 2-3), Ken Pom: 59

Last week: Had its hinges blown off at Florida State,

Previous ranking: 9

N.C. State got worked at Florida State. There’s not much else to say.

10. Georgia Tech (6-3, 2-1), Ken Pom: 74

Last week: Nothing

Previous ranking: 11

Sometimes in life you do nothing and get rewarded for it. More often than not that’s how it works in these rankings, too. Georgia Tech slides up one spot and remains on pause due to a positive COVID-19 test within the program. The Yellow Jackets had no games last week.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh
Syracuse forwards attempt to placate their head coach from receiving another T.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

11. Syracuse (7-4, 1-3), Ken Pom: 51

Last week: Losses at North Carolina, at Pitt

Previous ranking: 7

Who took the three-hole punch to Syracuse’s 2-3 zone? This defense has more holes than a Louis Sachar novel. The Orange are living on skid row having lost three of its last four games. Jim Boeheim was T’d up in the road loss to the fighting Champagnies.

Alan Griffin had a career high 28 points at Pitt and Quincy Guerrier had two double-doubles last week, but this team needs some defensive and rebounding help.

At least this team cycles through defenses when the zone doesn’t work.

12. Miami (6-6, 2-5), Ken Pom: 77

Last week: Loss at Boston College, win over Louisville

Previous ranking: 12

Hats off to Miami for the weirdest week in the league. The Hurricanes lost to perennial basement dweller Boston College but then took down red hot Louisville on Saturday.

Isaiah Wong dropped a 30 burger on Louisville.

If this team can get healthy, Miami can make a run in the ACC despite its record. But even without Sam Waardenburg, Chris Lykes, Kam McGusty and Earl Timberlake, this team is still sneaky.

13. Notre Dame (4-8, 1-5), Ken Pom: 86

Last week: Loss at UVa, win over Boston College

Previous ranking: 13

Notre Dame picked up its first ACC win against Boston College. Dane Goodwin scored 21 while Juwan Durham and Prentiss Hubb had double-doubles but this team couldn’t defend a local savings bank with Fort Knox security.

14. Boston College (3-10, 1-6), Ken Pom: 94

Last week: Win over Miami, loss at Notre Dame

Previous ranking: 15

Boston College somehow took down Miami and moves up one spot in the rankings. Jay Heath scored a career high 27 points. Rich Kelly dropped 25.

Don’t let that distract you from the fact that this team is still bad.

15. Wake Forest (3-5, 0-5), Ken Pom: 125

Last week: Losses to Louisville, Virginia Tech

Previous ranking: 14

Wake went from the last unbeaten team in the league to the last winless team in ACC play. We’ve run out of interesting things to talk about when it comes to Wake so we’ve devolved into Carter Whitt movie character comparisons.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: 2018-2019. Duke lost to North Carolina twice and Virginia Tech.