Monday, March 5, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: ACC
By Robbi Pickeral
One more set of power rankings to end the ACC regular season, as we prepare for this week's ACC tournament in Atlanta:
1. North Carolina: Wasn’t this where the Tar Heels were predicted to finish all along? It just seemed like a roller coaster ride to get here -- including Saturday’s 18-point regular-season-title-securing blowout at Duke. Anyone see that one coming?
2. Duke: Three league losses on its home court this season -- including its largest letdown at home to the Tar Heels since 1989? Not exactly the way the Blue Devils wanted to end the regular season. The ACC tournament always matters to Duke, though, so stay tuned.
3. Florida State: It seemed rather fitting that the Seminoles ended the regular season with a win against Clemson -- the team they lost to by 20 back in January. My, how far FSU has come.
4. Virginia: It took overtime against Maryland, but the Cavs clinched the No. 4 seed -- and first-day bye -- in this week’s ACC tournament. Mike Scott's career-high 35 points in his regular-season finale also gave voters one last fantastic performance to think about in the ACC POY race. (Votes were due at 11 p.m. ET Sunday).
5. Miami: Going 1-1 last week -- even with center Reggie Johnson’s eligibility restored -- didn’t help Miami’s NCAA tournament chances. It’s going to have to better inflate its postseason bubble with a strong ACC tournament.
6. N.C. State:After closing out the season with two straight wins (and nine overall in ACC play), Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said, according to The (Raleigh) News & Observer, that he thinks there are six league teams that should be in the NCAA tournament -- and his is one of them. State will try to better push its case as the fifth seed in the conference tournament.
7. Clemson: The Tigers allowed 49 points in the first half on Sunday to Florida State, a team known a whole lot more for defense than points. Clemson finished the season by winning three of four games, but Brad Brownell couldn’t have been happy after his team gave up the most points in a half since he’s been coach.
8. Maryland: The Terps closed out the regular season by losing four of their last five games – including Sunday, when they rallied from a dozen-point deficit but lost to Virginia in overtime.
9. Virginia Tech: Once again, the Hokies won’t make the NCAA tournament -- barring winning four games in four days to take an automatic bid via an ACC tournament title, that is. They closed out the season with four straight losses, though, so that scenario doesn't seem likely.
10. Georgia Tech: The Jackets won two of their last three games, both at Philips Arena -- which has been their home away from home during this ACC season as their normal building is under construction. Will that give them any sort of advantage when the league tournament is played there this week?
11. Wake Forest: The Deacons rallied to put a scare into Duke before losing to the Devils last week, then lost their season finale at Georgia Tech. C.J. Harris remains fourth in the league in scoring at 16.8 per game.
12. Boston College: The freshmen on this young team take one more step toward being sophomores as they prepare for their first ACC tournament. With four league wins under their belts, do they have any other surprises in store?