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A Look at the ACC Men’s Basketball Standings

Something to read before the games later today make this irrelevant

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Back in early December, I wrote a little something about where the ACC teams stood coming off of the ACC-B1G Challenge. I spent a little time looking through some team profiles and results and mentally had an idea of how good I thought certain teams were.

Fast forward to today. I looked at the ACC standings for the first time in a while and I was so confused by some of the things I saw. While we haven’t quite hit the halfway point of the conference schedule, there were some teams nowhere near where I expected them to be.

I decided to dive back into the ACC team profiles and results and give an updated post. I’ll be listing the teams in order of the current conference standings as listed by ESPN which is sorting tied teams by alphabetical order. I’m also going to be using Ken Pomeroy’s rankings and stats quite a bit because I think KenPom’s stats have been insightful in the past and, well, I have a subscription so, gosh darn it, I’m going to use it. Apologies in advance to “Hungry like a wolf” for continuing to use these “ridiculously flawed” stats and rankings.

NET: NCAA Evaluation Tool Ranking
KP: Pomeroy Ranking
AdjO: Pomeroy “adjusted offensive efficiency” ranking
AdjD: Pomeroy “adjusted defensive efficiency” ranking

1. #19 Clemson Tigers
Overall record: 15-4
ACC record: 7-1
NET: 59
KP: 62
AdjO: 48
AdjD: 81

Clemson started the ACC season 7-0 including a big win over Duke and jumped out to an early lead in the ACC standings – just like everyone would’ve predicted, right? Going into 2023, the Tigers were sitting around that 60-ish KP ranking and despite their early ACC success, are still hovering around that ranking. I’m sure two losses to teams ranked in the KP 200s (South Carolina - 238, Loyola Chicago - 244) are contributing to that. The question moving forward is if Clemson can sustain their current momentum. It certainly looks like they’ve got a good shot of getting a top 4 ACC tournament seed.

T2. #17 Miami Hurricanes
Overall record: 15-3
ACC record: 6-2
NET: 41
KP: 43
AdjO: 10
AdjD: 141

Miami ended 2022 with a 13-1 record (only loss on a neutral court to Maryland) and was looking like an ACC title contender. Well, they are still looking like an ACC top 4 contender and have a win over Virginia, but do have a surprise loss at Georgia Tech. This is a team that has a really good backcourt led by Isaiah Wong, a solid interior, and a good coach in Jim Larranaga so that’ll carry them a long way. The concern going forward is that they haven’t hit the hard part of their conference schedule yet, which includes away games at Duke, Pitt, Clemson, Chapel Hill, and Virginia Tech. KenPom is currently predicting losses in each of those games.

T2. Pittsburgh Panthers
Overall record: 13-6
ACC record: 6-2
NET: 50
KP: 58
AdjO: 43
AdjD: 80

Jeff Capel’s name is being floated out there as an ACC Coach of the Year candidate and for good reason. After a transfer portal roster overhaul, Pitt started the season 1-4 with losses against West Virginia (22), Michigan (54), and VCU (86). Then the new roster started to gel, and Pitt is 12-3 since then. Pitt hasn’t been good in a long time, but this current Panthers team is playing the best basketball it has played since Jamie Dixon’s last season in 2016. Pitt already has wins at NC State and at home against unc-ch and Virginia. Their two conference losses were by 1 point at home to Clemson and at Duke. This is definitely a top half ACC team with the potential to push for a top 4 spot in the league tournament.

T2. #10 Virginia Cavaliers
Overall record: 14-3
ACC record: 6-2
NET: 14
KP: 11
AdjO: 24
AdjD: 23

According to all of the fancy stats, Virginia is the best team in the conference this year and I’m not going to argue with that. They are good offensively and defensively and currently have a couple of the best out-of-conference wins the ACC has gotten this year (Baylor – 16, Illinois – 27). None of their losses have been that head-scratching – Houston (1), at Miami, and at Pitt. They still play slow, boring basketball but that is a formula they continue to have a lot of success with and are looking like they can ride that to another ACC regular season title.

T2. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Overall record: 14-5
ACC record: 6-2
NET: 68
KP: 72
AdjO: 32
AdjD: 139

Wake Forest is one of those teams kind of like Clemson where their fancy stat ranking seems a bit low compared to the season they’ve had up to this point. They’ve won at Wisconsin, against Duke, and just handed Clemson their first conference loss of the season. But there are also a lot of bad teams on their schedule likely weighing down their ranking a bit. Wake is a solid, upper half ACC team with a really good player in Tyree Appleby who is just behind Terquavion Smith in the ACC leading scorer race and is currently leading the conference in assists.

T6. NC State Wolfpack
Overall record: 15-4
ACC record: 5-3
NET: 27
KP: 36
AdjO: 40
AdjD: 46

The NC State fan base has been on an emotional roller coaster this season. A 7-1 start with a close loss to Kansas (7) and decent wins over Dayton (54) and Butler (92) had fans optimistic. But then a 1-3 start in the ACC with losses to off-brand (but surprisingly good) ACC schools and a serious injury to starting center Dusan Mahorcic brought out the doom and gloom. However, the recent four-game ACC win streak with a 24-point win over Duke, a revenge win against Miami, and a couple of conference road wins has catapulted the Pack up the rankings and solidly in the NCAA tournament according to most predictions. This team has a great backcourt and has the highest defensive ranking NC State has seen in more than a decade. Injuries to a couple of starting tall players have left this Wolfpack team looking a little vulnerable due to depth issues and rebounding concerns, but so far, Burns, Gantt, and Ross have stepped up in a big way to help the Pack maintain a high level of play. The Pack is definitely a top half ACC team and could potentially be part of that conversation for a top 4 ACC spot. After all, the Pack is currently considered the 3rd best ACC team by the NET and 4th best ACC by KenPom and who are we to disagree with computers.

T6. North Carolina Tar Heels
Overall record: 13-6
ACC record: 5-3
NET: 36
KP: 25
AdjO: 18
AdjD: 63

The preseason #1 team in the nation hasn’t performed that way for much of the year. A late-November/early-December 4-game losing streak dropped the heels down the rankings. They still have a lot of the same players who made the run to the national title game last season but are also the same players who had a ‘meh’ overall season by school standards and landed them an 8-seed in the NCAA tournament last year. This year, their season so far (rankings-wise), has been a similar kind of ‘meh’ but, again, they have talent that you expect to carry them to a top 4 ACC finish.

T6. Syracuse Orange
Overall record: 12-7
ACC record: 5-3
NET: 110
KP: 88
AdjO: 67
AdjD: 130

This Syracuse seems pretty defined right now. They are 11-2 against teams outside KenPom’s Top 100 and 1-5 against teams inside the Top 100 with the lone win coming against a free-falling Virginia Tech (49) team that hasn’t won a game since mid-December. Currently they seem like a bottom half ACC team with no business sniffing the NCAA tournament. But you know how Syracuse works: struggle in the early season, only to turn it on in time to grab a bubble spot in the NCAA tournament. Maybe they’ll turn it around again and make a late surge, but it is difficult to see that happening. However, they do have quite a few “quality win” opportunities coming (aka - their schedule is about to get a lot harder).

9. Duke Blue Devils
Overall record: 13-5
ACC record: 4-3
NET: 26
KP: 29
AdjO: 41
AdjD: 33

Duke is their usual talented-but-young selves. In OOC play, Duke looked like one of the top two teams in the conference along with Virginia and picked up several top 30-ish wins. Their only OOC losses were to Kansas (7) and Purdue (5). Then ACC play started and they had to start playing these things called “road” games where they are currently 1-3 in league play - the only win coming at Boston College by 1 point. If they “grow up” soon and start winning on the road, I expect them to be a top 4 ACC team. If the road issues continue, they could be 8-ish seed team in the tournament. And remember they don’t have Coach K on the sidelines bending refs to his will anymore so it’ll be interesting to see how things play out.

10. Florida State Seminoles
Overall record: 6-13
ACC record: 4-4
NET: 207
KP: 154
AdjO: 114
AdjD: 206

I don’t know what has happened in Tallahassee. Florida State was a complete disaster in OOC play but have somehow won twice as many games in ACC play (4) as they did outside the conference (2). Of course, those four ACC wins were against the three teams currently occupying the conference basement. I expect the Noles to be playing on Tuesday of the ACC tournament.

11. Boston College Eagles
Overall record: 8-11
ACC record: 2-6
NET: 213
KP: 195
AdjO: 273
AdjD: 110

Boston College is not good. They have two losses at home to teams not ranked in the KenPom top 275: Maine (316) and New Hampshire (285). Their lone Top 100 win was against a struggling Virginia Tech (49) team. Expect them to be playing in a Tuesday ACC tournament game.

12. Virginia Tech Hokies
Overall record: 11-7
ACC record: 1-6
NET: 60
KP: 49
AdjO: 35
AdjD: 83

Virginia Tech was 11-1 on Dec. 20th with wins over Penn St. (39), unc-ch (25), Dayton (55), and Oklahoma St. (34). The Hokies have not won a game since then. The loss at Boston College on Dec. 21st seems to have broken them. They have a good enough team to finish in the top half of the ACC but losing every game for a month straight can mess a team up mentally. Mike Young is a good coach so I would bet on them turning things around, but it isn’t fun times in Blacksburg right now.

T13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Overall record: 9-10
ACC record: 1-7
NET: 181
KP: 145
AdjO: 78
AdjD: 247

Things are not going well right now for the Irish men’s basketball program. On December 10th, Notre Dame was 6-2 with a win over Michigan State (35). Since then they have only won two of their last ten games, gotten off to a rough start in ACC play, and their head coach decided to step down at the end of the year. Unless Mike Brey’s decision triggers some inspired play for the remainder of the season, the Irish will be playing on Tuesday of the ACC tournament.

T13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Overall record: 8-10
ACC record: 1-7
NET: 158
KP: 142
AdjO: 287
AdjD: 95

Georgia Tech seems to be a not-very-good basketball team that can trip you up if you aren’t prepared. They have two top 100 wins: Georgia (87) and Miami (43). Their next best win is against Georgia State (226). I expect we’ll see them on Tuesday of the ACC tournament.

15. Louisville Cardinals
Overall record: 2-17
ACC record: 0-8
NET: 338
KP: 293
AdjO: 322
AdjD: 231

This Louisville team is currently trending as the worst ACC basketball team in the history of the conference. But, hey, they did have that two-game winning streak against Western Kentucky (157) and Florida A&M (359) in mid-December.


I think this confirms what we already know: the ACC isn’t great this year. It is currently the 6th best basketball conference in the nation according to KenPom. The league has fewer (if any) elite teams and the bottom of the league is the worst I can remember. But there are still quite a few moderately good teams that are going to be in the NCAA tournament discussion in March.