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ACC basketball rankings: Virginia Tech rises; North Carolina, Florida State fall

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There’s a new king in ACC basketball rankings.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 04 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, after a 14-day hiatus we welcome you back to the proud, preeminent, TNIAAM ACC basketball rankings; the only rankings bringing you jokes and garbage.

For those of you that tuned out during the holidays due to football, welcome back. For those of you that had to tolerate your family, my condolences. Not to fret. We’re here to get you up to speed on ACC basketball.

The ACC is wide open this year, which is not to say the league is any good. It seems teams placed one through six (plus Virginia Tech and N.C. State) in the preseason voting are capable of a top finish.

More recently, North Carolina and Clemson utilized clutch, late-game buckets to get past Notre Dame and Miami, while other teams around the league have been on pause. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been on hiatus while Florida State and Virginia had games canceled on Saturday due to positive tests within both programs.

Alright you tomato tossing Philistines. It’s time to dive into the basketball power structure* with a hint of ACC culture.

*These rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology
NCAA Basketball: AFR Hall of Fame Tip-Off-South Florida at Virginia Tech
Keve Aluma is a legitimate ACC Player of the Year candidate. How long before your favorite broadcaster catches on?
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

1. Virginia Tech (8-1, 2-0), Ken Pom: 42

Last two weeks: Wins over Longwood and Miami; game against Virginia postponed

Previous ranking: 3

Virginia Tech is king of the hill this week after North Carolina and Florida State took a fall. The Hokies picked up a pair of home wins over Longwood and Miami and still boast the best win in the league with a victory over Villanova neutral court.

Virginia Tech beat Longwood at home behind noted gunner Jalen Cone’s 18 points off the bench, all on made 3s. I’m not sure what’s more impressive: The fact that Cone got off 15 three-point attempts or the fact that all 15 of his shot attempts came from beyond the arc.

The Hokies later beat Miami by dodging a late three-point attempt from Miami’s Isaiah Wong that rimmed in and out to escape with an 82-80 win. Keve Aluma put up 26 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the win, which means it’ll only take two more weeks for credentialed media members to realize he’s a First Team All-ACC type of player.

Virginia Tech’s game at Virginia was postponed, delaying the in-state rivalry between ranked foes. As it stands now Virginia Tech has as good of a chance as anyone to win the league despite being pegged 11th in the preseason rankings.

2. Clemson (8-1, 2-1), Ken Pom: 18

Last two weeks: Wins over Morehead State, Florida State, Miami

Previous ranking: 4

Clemson’s defense is good enough to win games when its offense shoots under 40% from the floor. The Tigers did just that, chucking up a bunch of bricks against Morehead State and Florida State, but still took down the Eagles and ‘Noles by forcing 22 and 17 turnovers respectively in those games.

Aamir Simms then dropped 25 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks, including this game-winning bank at Miami.

Clemson is gritty defensive team and ranks top ten in the country in turnover percentage.

Now that the football team (and the rest of the ACC in bowl games) got smoked, maybe people in South Carolina will actually pay attention to the top 25 basketball team?

3. Florida State (5-2, 1-1), Ken Pom: 32

Last two weeks: Win over Gardner-Webb; loss at Clemson

Previous ranking: 2

Florida State took care of business against Gardner-Webb, a team probably capable of beating Kentucky, thanks to a strong 14 point, eight rebound performance (in 23 minutes) from Jack Sikma’s carbon copy Balsa Koprivica.

The Seminoles then fell on the road to a tough defensive team in Clemson. Scottie Banres had 14 points, five assists and four rebounds, but Wyatt Wilkes’ three 3s weren’t enough to lift the rest of the team’s 6-27 shooting performance from outside.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Louisville
Louisville finally earned a win over in-state rival Kentucky
Louisville Courier-Journal-USA TODAY Sports

4. Louisville (7-1, 2-0), Ken Pom: 25

Last two weeks: Wins at Pittsburgh, over Kentucky, at Boston College

Previous ranking: 8

Louisville has rattled off three straight wins since getting blown out at Wisconsin following a pause in play. The Cardinals beat two lower-tier ACC teams along with first-year division I team Kentucky.

Samuell Williamson and David Johnson both posted double-doubles against Pittsburgh. Johnson and Carlik Jones combined for 37 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Kentucky. No world-beating wins there, but perhaps Louisville has momentum to continue rising in the conference.

5. Duke (3-2, 1-0), Ken Pom: 11

Last two weeks: Games against Pittsburgh, Florida State postponed

Previous ranking: 5

Duke hasn’t been on pause, but they might as well have been. The Blue Devils have had games against Pittsburgh and Florida State postponed as both teams unveiled positive COVID-19 tests. Consider it the Blue Devil effect.

Coach K is in isolation after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID.

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

Last two weeks: Nothing

Previous ranking: 6

Syracuse remains on pause following a positive COVID-19 test within the Buffalo program, the Orange’s opponent on Dec. 19. Jim Boeheim has missed almost as much time this season due to COVID-19 as he did for his nine game suspension in 2016.

7. N.C. State (6-1, 2-0), Ken Pom: 46

Last two weeks: Wins over North Carolina, Boston College

Previous ranking: 10

N.C. head coach Kevin Keatts is a voracious reader of ACC basketball rankings, so once he read that nobody was talking about his Wolfpack team two weeks ago and posted it on the team bulletin board it served as motivation for taking down UNC.

That part might’ve been fabricated, but N.C. State posted identical 79-76 wins over North Carolina and Boston College. Hats off to Devon Daniels, who isn’t a no name player anymore, for a solid week.

8. Virginia (5-2, 1-0), Ken Pom: 17

Last two weeks: Wins over William & Mary, at Notre Dame; Shellacking against Gonzaga

Previous ranking: 7

Virginia picked up a win over William & Mary and then was destroyed by Gonzaga, which isn’t thrown shade at UVa as much as it is a compliment to how impressive Gonzaga has been. The Zags are head and shoulders above everyone else in college basketball this year, which means Baylor fans are now offended.

AnyHoos, Kihei Clark led Virginia past Notre Dame and Sam Hauser had a double-double as the Cavaliers started out league play with a win.

***

We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Bolt 24 and Food Lion.

Poll

Virginia just dodged giving up 100 points to Gonzaga. When was the last time the Cavaliers allowed an opponent past the century mark?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    2010
    (40 votes)
  • 1%
    2019
    (2 votes)
  • 40%
    2009
    (51 votes)
  • 25%
    2015
    (32 votes)
125 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.

9. North Carolina (6-4, 1-2), Ken Pom: 31

Last two weeks: Losses at NC State, Georgia Tech; win over Notre Dame

Previous ranking: 1

My how the mighty have fallen. In the two weeks since we’ve last updated the rankings, North Carolina lost at N.C. State and Georgia Tech and needed a Leaky Black game-winner to edge Notre Dame for a one point victory.

It’s almost like everyone forgot North Carolina was 14-19 a season ago. The All Carolina Conference voted Garrison Brooks as preseason ACC Player of the Year, a move that still might make you raise an eyebrow.

Day’Ron Sharpe is the best player on this Carolina team and has now supplanted Brooks as the starting five man. Freshman Kerwin Walton is also a starter now. Roy Williams has let him loose as the only player on this roster capable of making 3s.

If not for the aforementioned game-winner by Black, the Tar Heels would be looking at 0-3 in conference play.

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

Last two weeks: Wins over North Carolina, Wake Forest

Previous ranking: 11

Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe each had 20 points in the win over North Carolina. Then the pair combined for 42 in Sunday night’s win over Wake Forest. Alvarado had two Player of the Week caliber performances.

11. Pittsburgh (5-2, 1-1), Ken Pom: 80

Last two weeks: Loss to Louisville

Previous ranking: 9

Pittsburgh lost to Louisville without head coach Jeff Capel and two starters in Justin Champagnie (knee) and Au’Diese Toney (ankle) to injury. The Panthers have been on pause since.

12. Miami (4-4, 0-3), Ken Pom: 64

Last two weeks: Loss at Virginia Tech, loss to Clemson

Previous ranking: 12

Tough break for Miami by just missing the playoffs following a Sunday loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The college basketball team that plays in Coral Gables also had a tough break, losing two games by a combined three points. Shorthanded Miami lost to Virginia Tech on a potential game-winner that went awry and losing to Clemson on a late go-ahead bank shot.

13. Notre Dame (3-6, 0-3), Ken Pom: 88

Last two weeks: Losses to Virginia, at North Carolina

Previous ranking: 13

Nate Laszewski’s 28 points against Virginia and 25 against UNC weren’t enough to get over the hump and into the win column.

Perhaps Yale transfer Paul Atkinson, Co-player of the Year in the Ivy League last season, can help this team?

14. Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1), Ken Pom: 131

Last two weeks: Losses to Georgia Tech

Previous ranking: 14

If I told you Wake Forest was the last remaining unbeaten team in the ACC, would you believe me? It’s true. Wake had a long run as an undefeated team. As it turns out, waiting until New Year’s Eve to play your first game in the month of December is an effective strategy when it comes to preserving your loss total at zero.

But in the new year (Sunday night), the Demon Deacons fell to Georgia Tech. It was a good run, Deacs.

15. Boston College (2-7, 0-3), Ken Pom: 105

Last two weeks: Losses to N.C. State, Louisville

Previous ranking: 15

Boston College can’t get out of its own way. The Eagles had a chance to knock off N.C. State at home but poor late game execution led BC to do BC things.

The Eagles then lost to Louisville, thus the cellar dwelling continues for Jim Christian’s squad.

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: 2010; in Tony Bennett’s second season, Washington beat Virginia 106-63 at the Maui Invitational