Friday, February 15, 2013
Conference Power Rankings: ACC
By Robbi Pickeral
If you haven't done it already, go ahead and circle March 2 on your calendar. That's when Miami travels to Duke in what should still be a clash of top-5 teams. In the meantime, here are this week's rankings based on myriad factors, including how teams have performed lately and the foes they've faced:
1. Miami. Raise your hand if you would have guessed at the beginning of the season that the Hurricanes would be in the conversation for the No. 1 ranking. They’re No. 3 in the AP poll, still the only undefeated team in ACC play. And point guard Shane Larkin continues to wow; he averaged 20 points and 6.5 assists in two wins last week.
2. Duke. Make that six wins in a row for the No. 2 Blue Devils after surviving tests at Boston College and versus UNC. Mason Plumlee continues to average a double-double (17.5 points, 10.2 rebounds) in ACC play. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he still expects Ryan Kelly to return this season, but he also used the word "if" a couple times last week.
3. Virginia. Can the Cavs, who have now won seven of their past eight, beat UNC on the road Saturday for a season sweep? A victory would certainly bolster their improving NCAA resume. Joe Harris is averaging 17.8 points in ACC play, second best in the league.
4. NC State. After three straight losses, the Wolfpack finally got back in the "W" column at Clemson last weekend, but it took a Scott Wood 3-pointer with a second to go to do it. Point guard Lorenzo Brown has returned from his ankle injury, and State had an open week to regroup and reset.
5. North Carolina. Despite being the unranked underdogs, the Tar Heels led by as many as 10 points in an eventual loss at second-ranked Duke, and the insertion of P.J. Hairston into the starting lineup was a big reason why. It will be interesting to see whether the move sticks.
6. Maryland. It’s been an inconsistent couple of weeks for Terps center Alex Len, who has scored in single digits in three of his past five games -- and the Terps have lost all three. Maryland had an open week since losing to Virginia last weekend. Next up: the Blue Devils.
7. Clemson. Senior Milton Jennings came up big Thursday night, blocking a potentially game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to secure his team’s victory over Georgia Tech. It was a nice bounce-back after losing to NC State on a 3-pointer the game before.
8. Florida State. The Seminoles’ five ACC wins have been by five points or fewer. Four of their six league losses? By double digits. Their six-point defeat to Miami last week was one of the rare exceptions. Michael Snaer continues to lead the team with 13.7 ppg.
9. Wake Forest. It’s wacky how much worse the Deacs are on the road than at home. Case in point: last week, when they blew out Florida State 71-46 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum, only to let a seven-point lead with 2:12 left at Boston College slip away.
10. Boston College. After losing a late five-point lead against the Blue Devils, the Eagles were the ones who staged a late-game comeback, against the Deacons. Joe Rahon, who capped an 8-0 run with two free throws, had 12 points and nine rebounds in that game.
11. Georgia Tech. Speaking (writing?) of ACC road woes, the Yellow Jackets finally ended theirs, at Virginia Tech, before losing to Clemson. Freshman Robert Carter posted his third double-double of the season in that defeat.
12. Virginia Tech. Weekly Erick Green tracker: He scored 28 against Georgia Tech, 22 at Virginia, and continues to lead the ACC (and nation) in scoring with 25.2 ppg. Seven straight losses now for the Hokies, though, with a trip to NC State up next.