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ACC basketball rankings: Virginia is top dog; Clemson, Syracuse rise; Josh Pastner smashes face mask

It seems inevitable that Virginia will win the ACC.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

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

For those of you who celebrated Valentine’s Day, congratulations. Contrary to what Ted Valentine believes the holiday is actually not meant to celebrate his existence.

Anyway, other than Josh Pastner smashing his face mask and a Nick Honor game-winner, last week in ACC basketball was by and large insignificant. That’s seems fitting for the conference this year. The NCAA Tournament Selection committee unveiled its top 16 teams and the ACC only had one team — Virginia as a No. 3 seed — represented within in the top four seed lines.

As for last week, two of top four teams were on pause, which robbed us of a meeting between Florida State and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles returned from pause and nearly took a tumble against one of the worst teams in the league before Scottie Barnes saved the day.

A prime time matchup awaits tonight between Virginia and Florida State. But it feels all but inevitable that Tony Bennett’s squad will have at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the fifth time in the last eight years.

As we do every week, we dive into the conference hierarchy*.

*These rankings are backed by an undisclosed methodology
NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Georgia Tech
Look, I ain’t tryna stunt, man. But Jay Huff is out here jumpin’ like Jumpman.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

1. Virginia (15-3, 11-1), Ken Pom: 9, NET: 6

Last week: Wins over Georgia Tech, North Carolina

All Virginia does is win. The Hoos do it so much they almost look bored of winning. They took down Georgia Tech and North Carolina and have now won 11 of its last 12 games.

The North Carolina game was the headliner as UNC had a chance to get right against UVa, except that’s not what happened. Jay Huff turned into a stroke artist against North Carolina, hitting from outside and posting a double-double. He finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Sam Hauser went 4-6 from deep to boost UVa’s hot shooting from outside. Hell, even Tomas Woldatensae made a shot.

Oh. And Trey Murphy did this.

Virginia looks poised for March. Which is pretty much what everyone has been saying for the last seven years.

2. Florida State (11-3, 7-2), Ken Pom: 20, NET: 25

Last week: Win over Wake Forest in OT

Florida State came off pause and almost lost a tire against Wake. But, trailing by two, Scottie Barnes dribbled the length of the floor and layed in a reverse to send it into overtime.

Barnes sent it into overtime, allowing the Seminoles to hold onto its two-plus year ACC home winning streak (23-0).

It should be noted that Florida State was without Karl Malone-like center Balsa Koprivica, who hurt his ankle in warmups. Turns out that ankle is as soft as balsa wood, but it stands to reason that the only takeaway from this game is just how important Koprivica is to his team. Get that man his MVP crown.


We interrupt these rankings to bring you ACC basketball trivia, brought to you in part by Marek Dolezaj’s favorite pizza and


Florida State tied an NCAA record by winning 11 straight overtime games. Which three teams also hold that record?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Indiana, UCLA, Louisville
    (39 votes)
  • 30%
    UMass, UCLA, San Diego State
    (41 votes)
  • 20%
    Louisville, UMass, Virginia
    (27 votes)
  • 20%
    Virginia, Gonzaga, Georgetown
    (28 votes)
135 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.


3. Virginia Tech (14-4, 8-3), Ken Pom: 32, NET: 34

Last week: On pause

Virginia Tech has been on pause.

4. Louisville (11-4, 6-3), Ken Pom: 31, NET: 33

Last week: On pause

Louisville has been on pause, but returned to practice.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Clemson
Vice principal Brownell is still confused as to how Nick Honor hit that game-winner
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

5. Clemson (13-5, 7-5), Ken Pom: 46, NET: 45

Last week: Win over Georgia Tech

Clemson is rounding into form and looks like a tournament team. The Tigers picked up an important home win over Georgia Tech as Nick Honor pulled the John Gillon.

Don’t be fooled. Honor didn’t call bank, but it doesn’t matter. That’s the kind of win that can catapult a team to the big dance.

6. North Carolina (12-7, 7-5), Ken Pom: 43, NET: 57

Last week: Loss to Virginia, game against Miami postponed

North Carolina failed to prevent anything for two consecutive Saturdays. After beating Duke nine days ago, Armando Bacot and Day’Ron Sharpe were out partying without masks. The beleaguered Miami Hurricanes saw that as a golden opportunity to dodge the smoke and the matchup with UNC was subsequently canceled.

Then this past Saturday UNC allowed Virginia to shoot 45.5% percent from outside. No Carolina player scored in double-figures for the first time since 1966 and the Heels fell to UVa for the seventh straight time. Tough week for the Tar Heels who figure to be directly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Clemson
Aits! Josh Pastner has been watching way too much Cobra Kai
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

7. Georgia Tech (10-8, 6-6), Ken Pom: 58, NET: 61

Last week: Losses to Virginia, Clemson, win over Pittsburgh

Get a load of this.

Earlier in the week at Clemson, Josh Pastner smashed his face mask and slapped that sucker back on like nothing happened.

Georgia Tech has been nothing if not entertaining this year, smashing covid balls and face masks at a rate that would make Steve Forbes jealous.

Anyway, the Yellow Jackets took a pair of Ls against Virginia and Clemson before winning at Pittsburgh. Against the Panthers, Jose Alvarado scored 12 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. Moses Wright scored 24 points while Bubba Parham chipped in 11 off the bench.

This is still the most confounding team in the ACC with a 4-0 record in quadrant two games, yet a 3-2 record in quadrant three.

8. Syracuse (12-6, 6-5), Ken Pom: 57, NET: 52

Last week: Wins at NC State, over Boston College

There was a lot of nonsense going on in the Syracuse program last week but the Orange went 2-0, picking up a road win at NC State and returned home to knock off Boston College. Syracuse is 10-1 at home this year, but 2-5 on the road.

Syracuse fans think the Orange are primed for another stretch run. Is America’s bubble team back, or are the Orange dead in the water? We’ll find out soon enough.

9. Duke (8-8, 6-6), Ken Pom: 34, NET: 66

Last week: Loss to Notre Dame, win at NC State

Wendell Moore put up 24 and 10 against Notre Dame but it wasn’t enough for the win. Duke was able to stop the bleeding with a win at NC State, however, as Matthew Hurt scored 24.

Duke still sits at .500 on the year and in the league, which means the Duke/Dallas Cowboy/New York Yankee/Notre Dame football fan cohort have all started to look toward next season.

Despite Coach K asking for empathy, nobody should feel too bad for Duke as they’ve signed two top 10 recruits and will likely add another. The Blue Devils have a real chance to be ranked preseason No. 1 next fall.

10. Pittsburgh (9-7, 5-6), Ken Pom: 75, NET: 80

Last week: Loss to Georgia Tech

Pittsburgh has lot five of its last six games.

We now go live to Pittsburgh to gauge the current state of affairs within the basketball program:

11. Notre Dame (9-10, 6-7), Ken Pom: 53, NET: 72

Last week: Wins at Duke, over Miami

Notre Dame has won six of its last eight behind a hot offense. Cormack Ryan dropped 28 on Duke and all five Irish starters scored in double-figures as Notre picked up its second ever win inside Cameron Indoor Arena.

Notre Dame’s recent defensive performances are fools gold, though. Because this team couldn’t stop ice from melting in the winter.

12. NC State (8-9, 4-8), Ken Pom: 81, NET: 100

Last week: Losses to Syracuse, Duke

Weird to think NC State was actually 6-1 at one point this season.

13. Miami (7-12, 3-11), Ken Pom: 132, NET: 153

Last week: Loss at Notre Dame

Can somebody please get Isaiah Wong some help?

Miami played Notre Dame with just seven scholarship players. Chris Lykes re-injured his ankle in practice last week and Earl Timberlake will miss the rest of the way with a shoulder issue. Wong put up 17 points in the loss. Somebody needs to get him out of Miami.

14. Wake Forest (6-9, 3-9), Ken Pom: 110, NET: 115

Last week: Win over Boston College, loss to Florida State

Wake, let’s talk.

After a long, grueling season you guys had a chance to take down Florida State. What an opportunity to get a program win and put a memorable victory on Steve Forbes’ résumé.


At least there’s Carter Whitt’s hair to talk about.

15. Boston College (3-13, 1-9), Ken Pom: 122, NET: 166

Last week: Losses to Wake Forest, Syracuse

Boston College is taking a page out of Miami’s book by playing with a depleted roster. But the Eagles are bad. Other than talking about how Rich Kelly is a long-lost Cooney brother, there’s not much more you can say about this team.

Update: There is more that you can say about this team. Syracuse has ended the Jim Christian era at Boston College:

Answer to the ACC basketball trivia question: Louisville (1968-1975), Umass (1991-1996), Virginia (1991-1996)