ACC all but vanishes from top 25

The Atlantic Coast Conference had a pretty special streak going for, oh, three decades or so. That streak? Since 1977, when No. 5 North Carolina was by itself in the poll, the ACC has had at least two teams in the AP top 25 every time the poll was collected.

No more: As of yesterday, Duke is the only 2009-10 ACC team left in the top 25, breaking the conference's 30-year multiple-team streak.

The good news for the ACC is that things aren't quite so bad -- seven different ACC teams have held a poll spot at some point this season, and Virginia Tech and Maryland are just outside the poll in that ever-so-close "others receiving votes" pile. (Va. Tech tallied 76 votes this week while Maryland nabbed 57 votes this week, putting both teams just behind UTEP.) And there is still Duke, sitting pretty at No. 5. It's not as though the ACC is quite in dire Pac-10 poll drought levels yet.

The bad news, however, is that the ACC is demonstrably sliding a bit in recent weeks. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest and Clemson and Florida State and (most obviously) North Carolina aren't sniffing much of the poll anymore. That isn't the worst thing in the world, NCAA tournament-wise, but it's also not the most encouraging sign for conference partisans or, for that matter, for Duke, which would rather appreciate its conference mates putting up a fight as it seeks another signature win and a spot on the tournament's No. 1 line. If that win doesn't come from Maryland or Virginia Tech, it might not come at all.