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ACC Hoops Weekly Roundup vol. 2

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Recapping the ACC so far this season

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Back from the holidays and refreshed, so I’m pretty pumped for ACC basketball to really be getting cranked up now. And damn was that win over Miami awesome on Thursday (more on that in a minute). This is all sort of a work in progress for me so appreciate the feedback from my first run at this in the comments - I’ll try to have a more coherent organization of my list so it runs more like a power rankings. In the first installment, I really didn’t have any sort of ranking to it, so thanks to y’all for suggesting that. Oddly enough my top four hasn’t changed from last week despite not really ranking anything at all.

Let’s dive right into the latest in the ACC:

1. Virginia (12-0, 0-0), ranked #4

Virginia still remains the only undefeated team in the ACC, and since we last met the Hoos smoked their last three opponents, even scoring 100 points in their destruction of Marshall. Virginia scoring 100 points in a game seems like it should be a felony. While they may not be the most talented team in the conference, I’m leaving them at the top because they’re still undefeated, and they’re still really damn good.

Conference play starts for the Cavaliers next with what should be a really fun matchup against Florida State.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 vs #9 Florida State
  • 1/9 @ Boston College
  • 1/12 @ Clemson

2. Duke (11-1, 0-0) ranked #1

Duke is easily the most talented team on paper in the country, so unless there’s some sort of catastrophic failure on their part they’re going to be hanging around the top spot of this list all season. They’re also really one of the most interesting teams to watch in the country as well, just because of how they can turn it on and find ways to win like they did against Texas Tech, who played well against the Blue Devils. Duke has not played since 12/20 in that game against Texas Tech, which means mayyyyybe there might be some rust against Clemson, but I doubt it. Duke likely won’t be challenged again until that road trip to Tallahassee on January 12.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 vs Clemson
  • 1/9 @ Wake Forest
  • 1/12 @ #9 Florida State

3. Florida State (12-1, 0-0) ranked #9

I’ve mentioned Florida State a few times already, but once again Leonard Hamilton has this team playing very well. I mentioned that I couldn’t remember the last time they were ranked this high, so props to Wobatus for pointing out they reached #6 in early 2017, I didn’t remember that at all. The Seminoles did have trouble putting Winthrop away, but for the most part they’ve played very well all season. They’ll need another big game from Terance Mann if they’re going to be the first team to beat Virginia this year.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 @ #4 Virginia
  • 1/9 vs Miami
  • 1/12 vs #1 Duke

4. NC State (13-1, 1-0) ranked #18

The Wolfpack should be ranked in the top 15 by the time the next poll releases, and damn y’all this team is playing at a level I haven’t seen in a long time. I can’t tell you enough how impressed I am at how they find ways to win. That win against Auburn at home was just tremendous, and the Pack has kept it rolling since then. As my colleague Alec Lower mentioned on twitter after the Miami game, that’s a game that we’ve all seen countless times that State has lost. I can’t say enough about Markell Johnson, who is quickly becoming the type of go to offense when the Pack needs it. Also props to Wyatt Walker, who was a monster on the offensive glass.

Needless to say, there is a VERY important game on January 8. Go Pack. (Please wear the all red uniforms, PLEASE).

Next three games:

  • 1/8 vs #15 UNC-CH
  • 1/12 vs Pitt
  • 1/15 @ Wake Forest

5. UNC-CH (10-3, 0-0) ranked #15

So the Tar Heels are still a bit of a weird team. After beating Gonzaga, they lost to Kentucky, but then rebounded with some easy wins against Harvard and Davidson. They’ve got a pretty difficult start to conference play, having to hit the road for the first two games against Pitt (who is playing much better under Jeff Capel) and then against the Wolfpack as I mentioned above. I could easily see them losing both games or winning both games, because I still just don’t know what to make of them. I think they’re good?

Next three games:

  • 1/5 @ Pitt
  • 1/8 @ #18 NC State
  • 1/12 vs Louisville

6. Virginia Tech (12-1, 1-0) ranked #10

How is Virginia Tech ranked tenth? I realize they only have one loss but it’s to a 7-7 Penn State team...what’s happening here? Don’t get me wrong I think they’re a great team, but tenth? We’ll find out soon enough if the Hokies are that good because they’ve got some tough games looming.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 vs Boston College
  • 1/9 @ Georgia Tech
  • 1/15 @ #4 Virginia

7. Clemson (10-3, 0-0) not ranked

A four game winning streak has the Tigers feeling pretty good about themselves heading into conference play...but having to lead off on the road at Cameron Indoor is probably going to pump the brakes on that feeling a wee bit. I still think this is one of Brad Brownell’s better teams he’s had at Clemson, but having to play Duke and UVA in their first three conference games is likely going to put the Tigers in an early hole in ACC play.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 @ #1 Duke
  • 1/9 @ Syracuse
  • 1/12 vs #4 Virginia

8. Pittsburgh (10-3, 0-0) not ranked

Already two wins clear of the Kevin Stallings era, Pitt opens conference play against the Tar Heels. I haven’t had a chance to watch too much of Pitt yet this season, but they seem to be much more competitive than they were last year. If they can survive the front half of conference play, the back half of their schedule sets up pretty well. They’re going to need to find out how to win on the road, which they have not done yet this season. Considering the fact that almost nobody was left on this team though when Capel arrived and they have four players averaging double figures, that says a lot about what he’s been able to do so far in just thirteen games.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 vs #15 UNC-CH
  • 1/9 vs Louisville
  • 1/12 @ #18 NC State

9. Louisville (9-4, 0-0) not ranked

The Cardinals haven’t played in a week since their tough home loss to Kentucky, but they move on to conference play now against Miami in what I believe is the first ACC Sunday Night Hoops game of the season. Much like NC State, Louisville seems to have a pretty deep rotation, which should serve them well against Miami. If Louisville can find more points from players other than Jordan Nwora, they’ll be very competitive in conference play.

Next three games:

  • 1/6 vs Miami
  • 1/9 @ Pitt
  • 1/12 @ #15 UNC-CH

10. Notre Dame (10-4, 0-1) not ranked

The fighting Mike Breys were pretty well handled by Virginia Tech in the first conference game. Much like I said last time, I think this is going to be a year where the Irish take a significant step backwards. The next two conference games are vitally important if they’re going to make any run in ACC play this year, because after Syracuse and Boston College, four of the next five conference games for Notre Dame are against ranked teams (UNC-CH, NC State, Duke and UVA). If Notre Dame has three wins over that seven game stretch, that’d be a miracle.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 vs Syracuse
  • 1/12 vs Boston College
  • 1/15 @ UNC-CH

11. Boston College (9-3, 0-0) not ranked

A loss to Hartford, BC? Even with forty-four points from Ky Bowman? Bruh. The Eagles hit the road for three of their first four conference games, and they’re likely going to need similar performances from Bowman if they’re going to win any of these games.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 @ #10 Virginia Tech
  • 1/9 vs #4 Virginia
  • 1/12 @ Notre Dame

12. Syracuse (9-4, 0-0) not ranked

Since those two back to back losses to ODU and Buffalo, Syracuse seemed to find some sense of an offense again by blowing out Arkansas State and St. Bonaventure. Despite their early struggles, they have a decently favorable start to conference play, and they really need to win all three just to put them in a good position to try and finish the year .500 in conference play. They still have to play Duke twice, and the back half of their schedule has a lot of road games. We’ll probably see a lot more Boeheim stank face as the season progresses.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 @ Notre Dame
  • 1/9 vs Clemson
  • 1/12 vs Georgia Tech

13. Miami (8-5, 0-1) not ranked

By no means do I think Miami is a bad team. The team we saw against the Wolfpack was not the same team that had lost four in a row earlier this season. Chris Lykes is a super fun player to watch and Ebuka Izundu is going to be a really difficult matchup for a lot of teams. But as we saw against the Wolfpack, depth is going to be a major issue for the Hurricanes, especially now that Dewan Hernandez was ruled ineligible for the entirety of the season. I never like counting out Jim Larranaga because I think he’s a fantastic coach, but teams are just going to wear them down every game. It’s going to be really tough for Miami to overcome that.

Next three games:

  • 1/6 @ Louisville
  • 1/9 @ #9 Florida State
  • 1/12 vs Wake Forest

14. Georgia Tech (8-5, 0-0) not ranked

This team still stinks, and they better hope they win some of these early conference games because by the end of January, they’re going to hit a murderers row of playing Duke, UNC-CH and Florida State back to back to back. See ya.

Next three games:

  • 1/5 vs Wake Forest
  • 1/9 vs #10 Virginia Tech
  • 1/12 @ Syracuse

15. Wake Forest (7-5, 0-0) not ranked

There’s no question that the Deacs are the worst team in the conference right now, and it’s not close. They lost to Gardner-Webb at home. Enough said. If Wake doesn’t beat Georgia Tech or Miami in their opening run of conference games, they are staring an 0-6 start to ACC play square in the face. They too have a stretch of games like Notre Dame does of ranked opponents all bunched together. Honestly, when are they going to call it quits on the Danny Manning era?

Next three games:

  • 1/5 @ Georgia Tech
  • 1/8 vs #1 Duke
  • 1/12 @ Miami