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Friday, December 14, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: ACC

By Robbi Pickeral

Final exams made for a fairly light week for most of the league’s teams. But here are this week’s ACC power rankings, based on myriad factors, including how teams have played lately and the foes they've faced:

1. Duke: Guard Seth Curry injured his left ankle during the Blue Devils’ win over Ohio State, and he continues to deal with a right shin injury that will likely bother him all season. But neither kept him from scoring 23 points against Temple in East Rutherford, N.J. Duke is now 9-0.

2. NC State: The Wolfpack returned to their old home, Reynolds Coliseum, to beat Cleveland State. Forward C.J. Leslie scored a season-high 19 points in that win, and State remains one of the best shooting teams in the nation (52.1 percent).

3. Virginia Tech: Erick Green failed to bury the game-winner at West Virginia last weekend, but the senior continued to show his mettle by recording 23 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds and zero turnovers -- while dealing with flu-like symptoms -- in the Hokies’ first loss of the season. He also scored 23 against Mississippi Valley State on Monday.

4. Maryland: Wednesday’s win over Monmouth marked the Terps’ ninth straight win since opening the season with a loss to then-top-5 Kentucky. They allowed the fewest points (38) in a game since 2004, and continue to be led by Alex Len’s 13.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

5. North Carolina: The Tar Heels couldn’t have learned a whole lot about themselves during Saturday’s blowout of undermanned East Tennessee State, but it had to serve as a good workout during exams. Point guard Marcus Paige returned after shoulder surgery, but the revolving door at center continues.

6. Miami: The Hurricanes haven’t played since their Dec. 1 victory at UMass, but their game Friday against undefeated Charlotte should serve as a good test. Shane Larkin leads the team in points (16.3 per game) and Reggie Johnson is averaging a double-double (12.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg).

7. Virginia: The Cavaliers held their past two opponents, Tennessee and Mississippi Valley State, to 38 and 39 points, respectively. Joe Harris (14.8 ppg) and Akil Mitchell (13.4) lead the team in scoring.

8. Georgia Tech: The Jackets, off to a 6-2 start after beating UNC-Wilmington, could get another boost with the addition of 6-foot Solomon Poole, who graduated high school early. He began practicing with Tech on Saturday and is waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center. His older brother, Stacey, a transfer from Kentucky, also becomes eligible next week.

9. Florida State: After losing three straight, the Seminoles got back in the win column against Maine with a more balanced attack and defensive focus. They have four more games to work out their inconsistencies before ACC play begins.

10. Clemson: The Tigers led unbeaten Arizona in the second half before the Wildcats pulled away. Senior forward Milton Jennings scored 15 points in his return after a two-game suspension; he ranks second on the team in points, rebounds and assists.

11. Boston College: The Eagles have now won two of their past three after beating St. Francis. Ryan Anderson continues to lead his team in scoring (14.3 ppg), but has posted single-digit points in four of his past five games.

12. Wake Forest: The Deacons have lost three of their past four games after last weekend’s home defeat to Seton Hall. C.J. Harris scored a season-high 28 points in that game, but Wake is last in the ACC in rebound margin (minus-3.4) and scoring defense (70.9 ppg).