College Basketball Nation: power rankings 021312

Conference Power Rankings: Big Ten

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
10:30
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The Big Ten's tumult continues. Michigan State's win at Ohio State on Saturday changed the league's title race. It's still wide open with a few more weeks to go in the regular season. With that, I present my latest power rankings:

1. Michigan State: The Spartans' weekend road victory over the Buckeyes solidified their top spot in my power rankings. The Spartans have held their Big Ten opponents to a 38 percent clip from the field, the top mark in the conference. They’re physical and versatile. And with Draymond Green's leadership, the Spartans have the potential to make a serious run in March.

2. Ohio State: The Buckeyes took a tough loss against a talented team. Shots weren’t falling (26 percent from the field). Jared Sullinger was frustrated all game (10 turnovers). But it happens. Elite teams fall, especially when they’re up against other top-10 squads. If there’s one major question for the Buckeyes stemming from that loss, however, it centers on their struggles from beyond the arc. When they need the 3-pointer in a tight game (33 percent overall, 2-for-15 against the Spartans), who will step up and hit that shot? Deshaun Thomas was 3-for-11 from beyond the arc in the team’s four games before Saturday's contest, yet he took and missed all five 3-point attempts against the Spartans. Could be a major problem down the stretch.

3. Michigan: The Wolverines recorded back-to-back victories after last weekend’s loss at Michigan State, which looks even better considering the fact that Ohio State lost to the Spartans at home by the same 10-point margin. Tim Hardaway Jr. recently suggested that the Wolverines had some chemistry issues following his team’s loss in East Lansing last weekend. That might be an ominous indicator for Michigan’s future. The more immediate concern for the team’s supporters, however, should be Hardaway’s two single-digit scoring efforts in the team’s past three games.

4. Wisconsin: The Badgers’ game will never change. They’ll work the shot block, play tough defense and hope for a grind-it-out victory. But will they have the necessary offense to advance in the NCAA tournament? The Badgers lost a double-digit lead at Minnesota on Thursday when they failed to score for the final eight minutes of regulation in a game they eventually won in overtime. But to contend for the Big Ten title, they’ll have to beat Michigan State and Ohio State on the road. Wisconsin lost to both teams in previous meetings because it couldn’t find the offense to squeeze out wins in those games.

5. Indiana: The Hoosiers have won two in a row. But that’s not the best news for a program that’s been subpar outside of Assembly Hall. Three of the team’s final five Big Ten games will be played in Bloomington, where the Hoosiers are 14-1 this season. They’re shooting 49.6 percent from the field. The Hoosiers have a favorable schedule that could help them gain some momentum entering the postseason.

6. Purdue: The Boilermakers have lost five of eight. But all five losses came against ranked Big Ten teams. It won’t get much easier for Matt Painter’s squad, which will play Michigan and Indiana on the road and Michigan State in three of its last six Big Ten games. The Boilermakers continue to suffer from their limited interior depth. They have the worst rebounding defense (35.0 allowed per game) and field goal percentage defense (47.3 percent) as a result of their limited size. It could become an even bigger problem down the stretch.

7. Minnesota: The Gophers have won five of their past eight games and gave the Badgers hell Thursday. They don’t have a true star. They’re just winning with persistence. Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology projections list the Gophers as one of the “last four in,” a surprising position for a team that’s playing with so much youth and inexperience. A home win over Ohio State on Tuesday or Michigan State next week could seal their postseason fate.

8. Northwestern: The Wildcats had won three consecutive games before they lost to Purdue on Sunday. John Shurna (19.5 ppg) is a scoring machine, but his team has given up 70.4 points per game in conference play. And Northwestern is the worst free throw shooting team (65 percent) in the league. That’s not exactly the formula for a squad with limited athleticism and talent to climb the standings in the deepest conference in the country.

9. Illinois: It’s never a good thing when a school’s athletic director refuses to give a coach a vote of confidence with a month to go before Selection Sunday. Bruce Weber’s job will certainly be in jeopardy if this slide continues. The Illini have lost six of their last seven games. They’re just a bad team right now, and they could play their way out of the NCAA tournament. This is one of most disappointing programs in the country right now. They brought in a highly touted recruiting class and have a 7-footer inside who should be a first-round pick in this summer’s NBA draft. And still, perennial pitfalls persist.

10. Iowa: For all of the Hawkeyes' struggles this season, they’ve been solid at home, where they’re 3-1 in their last four games. Three of their final six games will be played at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Perhaps they’ll finish strong.

11. Penn State: The Nittany Lions continue to give squads fits in State College. Wisconsin and Indiana escaped with single-digit victories. Purdue and Illinois lost at Penn State. Three of the team’s final five Big Ten games are at home.

12. Nebraska: Yes, the Huskers have lost four straight. But they’re investing in basketball in Lincoln. A new practice facility and a brand-new arena will be ready next season. As difficult as it might seem, nearby Creighton is proof that Doc Sadler can build in Nebraska in the coming years. If he’s still the head coach.

Conference Power Rankings: Big East

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
10:00
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The jockeying continues in the Big East, where nothing but the top spot ever seems to remain the same.

But finally there seems to be at least a little separation from the top of the pack, with Syracuse, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Marquette and Louisville pulling away.

After that, it’s open season on the bubble and the bottom.

1. Syracuse: The Orange face what could be their stiffest test of the season on Monday at Louisville. The Cardinals have had Syracuse’s number, winning seven in a row against the Orange, a string dating back to the 2006-07 season.

2. Georgetown: The Hoyas retooled after a hard-fought loss against Syracuse with a solid win over St. John’s. More importantly, Georgetown got big contributions from new faces: Nate Lubick and Greg Whittington. That’s the versatility the Hoyas will need as March nears.

3. Notre Dame: It took a while for the Irish to get going against DePaul, but ultimately they rolled to their sixth straight win. Luke Harangody look-alike Jack Cooley has 43 points and 26 rebounds in Notre Dame’s past two wins. In those games, he's a ridiculous 17-of-21 (81 percent) from the field.

4. Marquette: The Golden Eagles turned a 16-4 hole into a rout of Cincinnati, its fast-break offense exploding to a 17-point win. Darius Johnson-Odom is making a serious run at conference player of the year honors.

5. Louisville: Freshman Wayne Blackshear is back in the lineup at just the right time for the surging Cardinals. The freshman came off the bench against West Virginia but will be needed even more when the Cards host league-leading Syracuse on Monday.

6. Cincinnati: The Bearcats’ defense went AWOL against Marquette and so did a big lead. Cincinnati needs to start locking down if it’s going to assure itself an NCAA bid and keep its league record above .500.

7. South Florida: The Bulls are playing themselves onto the soft bubble, beating the teams they’re expected to beat. This team isn't great by any means, but 8-4 in the Big East is still 8-4 in the Big East. South Florida still could use a signature win, but this is a groundbreaking season for Stan Heath’s group.

8. Seton Hall: The Pirates ended a six-game skid with two wins this week, Sunday against Pitt and earlier in the week at Rutgers. But that victory against the Scarlet Knights only further sullied this rivalry with an endgame skirmish that included a Herb Pope head-butt.

9. West Virginia: The Mountaineers are going in the wrong direction in the standings with March right around the corner, losing five of their past six. This week’s Backyard Brawl with Pittsburgh is critical.

10. Connecticut: The Huskies played harder than the final score against Syracuse indicated, but UConn was supposed to be more than just competitive with the Orange. This once-promising season is threatening to spin out of control, with six losses in seven games dropping the league record to 5-7.

11. Villanova: The Wildcats slide ahead of some of the other teams with four league wins simply because they did fewer things wrong than the rest. That is to say, Villanova won a game, narrowly beating Providence after a 19-point rally.

12. Pittsburgh: Apparently news of the Panthers’ resurgence was a tad premature. Pitt’s promising four-game win streak was halted by South Florida and Seton Hall. The Panthers struggled to score in both. Looks like there will be no late surge to the bubble after all.

13. Rutgers: The schedule is not kind to the skidding Scarlet Knights. With three losses in a row, Rutgers now has to go to Notre Dame before hosting Syracuse. Ouch.

14. St. John’s: The Red Storm gave Georgetown all it could handle on the road before losing Sunday afternoon. That is the solace for a young team that needs to find a way to finish out a difficult season.

15. DePaul: Oliver Purnell earned himself a technical foul after slamming his clipboard in frustration in the loss to Notre Dame over the weekend. It’s an apt metaphor for the season, one in which the Blue Demons are better but simply cannot get over the hump.

16. Providence: The Friars have just two wins since the New Year and the schedule offers little in the way of optimism. This week, Providence has to face a hungry Cincinnati team before hosting Georgetown.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
9:30
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The race for the Big 12 title appears to be a two-team affair between Missouri and Kansas. The rest of the league, however, is in a state of flux. Here are this week’s power rankings:

1. Missouri: Aided by Oklahoma's porous free throw shooting, the Tigers escaped Norman with a three-point victory last week before dismantling Baylor at home Saturday. On Wednesday they get to avenge last month’s loss to Oklahoma State when they take on the Cowboys in Columbia. Marcus Denmon has made 14 of his previous 26 attempts from 3-point range.

2. Kansas: The Jayhawks looked like a totally different team last week thanks to the emergence of Jeff Withey. The 7-foot center scored a career-high 25 points in Wednesday’s win at Baylor before erupting for 18 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks Saturday against Oklahoma State. Kansas travels to Manhattan to play Kansas State on Big Monday. Bill Self’s squad defeated the Wildcats by 18 points on Jan. 4. Expect a closer game on the road.

3. Baylor: Not many teams in the country had a worse week than the Bears, who were humiliated in blowout losses to Kansas and Missouri. Baylor looked ill-prepared in both games and cowered under the national spotlight. Leading scorer Perry Jones III accounted for just nine points on 3-of-20 shooting in the two losses. It’ll be gut-check time for Scott Drew’s team when it hosts Iowa State on Monday.

4. Iowa State: If they beat Baylor, the Cyclones will be able to make a case for being the Big 12’s third-best team. They’ve already defeated Kansas, Kansas State and Texas. On Saturday, Fred Hoiberg’s squad defeated Texas A&M by 23 points. Leading scorer Royce White is averaging just 7.7 points in his last three games, but ISU is still hanging in.

5. Texas: The Longhorns -- who count six freshmen among their top nine players -- are beginning to mature. Texas has won four of its last six games, and the two losses were by a combined six points. Freshman guard Sheldon McClellan has taken some of the pressure off of leading scorer J'Covan Brown by scoring in double figures in his last three games.

6. Kansas State: Saturday’s 75-64 loss to Texas may have been the most frustrating of the season for the Wildcats, who blew a 13-point halftime lead en route to their third defeat in five games. Texas attempted 48 free throws compared to 12 by Kansas State. Once a Top 25 team, the Wildcats will fall to 6-7 in the Big 12 if they don't defeat Kansas at home Monday.

7. Oklahoma State: You won’t see the Cowboys in the NCAA tournament this season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope for the future. Travis Ford’s squad has shown loads of improvement during the last month. Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State on Tuesday and cut a 29-point deficit to 12 at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday before eventually falling to Kansas 81-66. Guard Markel Brown is averaging 20 points in his past two games.

8. Texas A&M: Saturday’s 23-point loss at Iowa State was the fourth in a row for the Aggies, who are even in danger of falling at Texas Tech on Tuesday. Khris Middleton (knee) returned to the court Saturday but contributed just five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Point guard Dash Harris has missed five consecutive games with a foot injury.

9. Texas Tech: The team that nobody thought would win a Big 12 game finally pulled off a victory Saturday. Billy Gillispie couldn’t help but get emotional when talking about the Red Raiders’ 18-point win over Oklahoma in Lubbock. The victory was the first for Texas Tech since Dec. 30. Javarez Willis scored 21 points.

10. Oklahoma: The Sooners went 10-2 in nonconference play, but things have been going south for Lon Kruger’s squad ever since. Oklahoma is just 3-9 in Big 12 play -- with two of the wins coming against K-State -- and Saturday it was embarrassed by a Texas Tech squad that had yet to win a league game. The Sooners shot just 32.7 percent in the loss.

Conference Power Rankings: SEC

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
9:00
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The SEC waited to see how Kentucky would fare with "College GameDay" at fired-up Vanderbilt in what appeared to be UK's toughest road test to date.

Well, the Wildcats passed -- and now the SEC must deal with the possibility that Big Blue could run the table and win the conference handily. There are no givens, but UK appears to be as much of a lock to win its league title as any other favorite in the country.

1. Kentucky: The one potential problem for the Wildcats was at the point. Well, Marquis Teague played one of his best games of the season at Vanderbilt, dishing out eight assists. If Teague can distribute the ball, make smart decisions and not turn the ball over, the Cats have a legit shot to win the national title, not just cruise to an undefeated SEC record.

2. Vanderbilt: The Commodores are in the No. 2 spot by default. No one else appears to want this position, and Vandy did push Kentucky 'til the end this past weekend and had the Wildcats on the ropes. But the Dores got rushed at the end and tried to shoot over Anthony Davis -- a big mistake. Vanderbilt needs to be more patient in late-game situations.

3. Florida: The Gators are also in this spot because no one else stood up and grabbed it. Florida should know better than to come out flat against a Tennessee team that clearly played with more purpose and passion on Saturday. UT was the aggressor on the offensive backboard and found the holes in the Gators’ defense. If Florida doesn’t shoot its way to a win, it simply can't physically outmuscle teams. This loss was a major concern for UF going forward.

4. Mississippi State: Hey, look: We have a full-blown trend here. The Bulldogs could easily be at No. 2 in the SEC Power Rankings had they actually won a home game against a lower-level team. Instead, State fell flat in overtime to Georgia and took the air out of the marquee remaining home game against Kentucky on Feb. 21. The Bulldogs still have the frontcourt talent, shot-blocking ability and perimeter shooting to be a dangerous team in the NCAA tournament. But their lack of consistency makes them a hard team to back in March.

5. Tennessee: The Volunteers are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time, having won three in a row and five of their past seven. If Tennessee can bottle the way it played at Florida, this team has danger written all over it going into the SEC tournament. The Vols could be a major spoiler, as UT has the size and strength to cause serious problems for teams. The win in Gainesville showed how defense and board work can get this team far during the next three weeks. Cuonzo Martin may be the coach of the year in the SEC if he continues on this run.

6. LSU: The Tigers took advantage of a depleted Alabama squad and won a convincing home game Saturday night. LSU is making shots, looking like it has figured out how to score efficiently and defending at the right time. The Tigers won't be an NCAA tournament team but now are playing like a team that could at least make the NIT. Trent Johnson’s rebuilding plan is finally looking like it took a turn upward.

7. Arkansas: If the games are at home, the Hogs have a shot to be in the NCAA tournament. But they’re not. Arkansas simply can’t win a road game this season -- the latest evidence being that beatdown it took in Athens. The Razorbacks can still beat Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss at home to finish with eight wins in the conference. But there is no indication that this young group will win a road game -- which is essential for any bubble team.

8. Alabama: The Crimson Tide are now the big unknown. Anthony Grant made a choice of choosing character in his program over possible wins and the NCAA tournament when he suspended Tony Mitchell, JaMychal Green, Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele. There is no timetable for any of their returns. If they don’t come back soon, the Tide won’t be on the bubble any longer. But it’s the right choice for Grant to show that he has a program built on character.

9. Georgia: The Bulldogs have won two in a row and are now a team that may be trouble going forward. Georgia blew out Arkansas and then won at Mississippi State, a home court that had become as difficult as any other in the SEC. UGA didn’t hesitate to go right at Arnett Moultrie and challenge him in the post. The Bulldogs are playing loosely and without the pressure of making the Dance. That’s a dangerous combination in the final three weeks of the season for teams that need wins to impress the selection committee.

10. Ole Miss: The depleted Rebels are playing hard and staying in games, but they just don’t have the personnel to finish. Andy Kennedy had to make a similar choice to Grant when key players were suspended. In his case, they won’t return. That was the end of the Rebels’ NCAA chances. But it was worth the risk. He has to run a program with ethics and character. This squad simply doesn’t have enough scoring to win key games late.

11. Auburn: The Tigers’ rebuilding progress has hit a serious bump with losses in five of their past six games. Auburn looked like it could turn its season around with a home win over Alabama after nearly winning at Mississippi State. But the Tigers couldn’t score against their archrival and lost by 18. Losing to Auburn from this point forward will be considered a bad loss for teams trying to impress the selection committee (see Alabama, Mississippi State and Florida).

12. South Carolina: Darrin Horn has tried to turn the Gamecocks around during his tenure, but it’s getting harder to believe that this will happen in the short term. This team is simply struggling to put together two quality halves. The five-game losing streak needs to end against Georgia and LSU this week, or it could continue all the way to the SEC tournament.

Conference Power Rankings: Pac-12

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
8:30
AM ET
It's the second week of February. The college hoops season's version of crunch time is upon us. Where does the Pac-12 stand?

Exactly where it stood three weeks ago. Or three weeks before that. Generally speaking, this is a league in stasis. Because the various at-large résumés are so weak, we've been waiting for one team -- first Cal, then Washington, and now maybe Arizona -- to congeal toward the end of the season and distinguish itself above the otherwise mediocre fray. It hasn't really happened. But there has been some movement of late, so let's dig in and check it out.

1. California: The Bears are back atop the rankings this week, but not thanks to any sudden surge of brilliance. Rather, given Washington's loss this week (more on that in a second), the fighting Mike Montgomerys get the top nod after sweeping the L.A. schools on the road. Cal hasn't been dominant in league play, but it has the best overall per-possession numbers by far (it ranks No. 15 in Pomeroy's rankings; the closest conference team to the Bears is No. 40 Arizona) and the top efficiency margin within league play. This isn't a dominant team, and I seriously doubt it's anywhere near as good as that KenPom rank, but with minimal exception, the Bears have been the Pac-12's top team.

2. Arizona: Want to know how fluid and open this league really is? Just a few weeks ago, the Wildcats were ranked No. 8 in this space. True story. They seemed dead in the water, trading wins and losses, unable to break out of the early-season struggles and unable to really put it together. But lately, thanks to the Pac-12's top-ranked efficiency defense, the Wildcats have put together a four-game winning streak, beginning with wins at Cal and Stanford and ending with two handy victories over Colorado and Utah last week. The Wildcats' defense is their calling card, but if their offense builds on the recent improvement, Arizona may just get in the tournament after all.

3. Washington: Sometimes you lose on the road. It happens. But Washington's loss at Oregon this week was more than that. It was an 82-57 beating at the hands of the Ducks, and it was the kind of loss that makes you question whether we'll ever be able to believe in this Washington team. The Huskies were No. 1 last week. They were rolling. And they're still, at least to this humble writer's eye, the most talented team in this league. They're also still tied for first with Cal at 10-3 (one game ahead of Arizona, Colorado and Oregon). But the inconsistency lingers, and the thin at-large ice grows ever thinner.

4. Oregon: Were it not for that somewhat mystifying home loss to Oregon State, the Ducks would be 8-1 in their past nine with only a one-point loss at Colorado -- on a disputed last-second foul call, no less. Despite the UW blowout, I can't put them above the Huskies just yet. That loss to Oregon State did happen, after all, and the Ducks, despite their league-leading offensive efficiency, are allowing opposing offenses (at least opposing offenses not named Washington) to do pretty much anything they want. Still, with former Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph in the fold and playing well, Dana Altman's team certainly seems to be improving.

5. Colorado: This was a big week for Colorado, and the results were mixed. A win at Arizona State doesn't do much for me (does it do much for you?), and a loss at Arizona tends to reinforce the notion that this squad can't beat decent teams on the road. (Its only Pac-12 road wins came at USC and ASU.) Still, when you go down the Buffs' résumé, none of their losses are particularly bad. There is some fringe at-large potential. The question is whether that status can survive the remaining schedule, which goes like this: at Utah, versus Stanford, versus Cal, at Oregon, at Oregon State. Your guess is as good as mine.

6. UCLA: The Bruins are in a dead-end season, but they're not fading nearly as fast as Stanford, so they get a bump up to the No. 6 spot. The vibes are bad in Westwood, the fans are restless, the basketball is substandard (particularly for a program with UCLA's tradition) but not so bad as to call it horrible. Nothing much to see here.

7. Stanford: The Cardinal has lost five of its past seven, with the only wins since Jan. 14 coming at home against Arizona State and at USC. There was a time when Johnny Dawkins' team seemed set to contend for the league title. Remember that? When Stanford held Syracuse to a six-point margin in Madison Square Garden? Back then, Stanford's defense looked like it might be the best in the league. Alas, it is merely mediocre (No. 5 in adjusted efficiency in conference play), and without much offense to back it up, Stanford's wheels have long since come off.

8. Washington State: Is Ken Bone's team as good as Craig Robinson's? I don't know. Probably not, all things considered. But I'm allowing the Cougars to leapfrog the Beavers here if only because Washington State -- having lost leading scorer Faisal Aden to a devastating, career-ending knee injury -- still fought hard enough to take a 10-point win in Corvallis on Thursday. With Aden gone and the Cougars' tournament chances nonexistent, it would be easy for this team to merely trudge toward the finish. That they aren't is worthy of some small commendation.

9. Oregon State: The Beavers played Washington close Sunday night but fell short, making that three losses in the last four, including the aforementioned home defeat to Wazzu. When Oregon State beat Texas in the nonconference, there was some hope that this was the year Robinson's once-bereft program would conquer the letdowns of recent seasons. That hasn't happened, and it doesn't look likely now.

10. Arizona State: As usual, the Sun Devils lead the "I almost feel bad for these teams" portion of the proceedings, and little has changed down here since last week. But ASU does have four conference wins, so it gets the nod at No. 10.

11. Utah: The Utes, winless in their past six games, were at least feisty in two losses in the Grand Canyon State (57-52 at Arizona State, 70-61 at Arizona).

12. USC: Then there are the Trojans, who are scoring well below a point per possession in league play (.83 ppp, to be painfully exact) and, after another sub-50-point performance at home, have still won just one game in the worst power-six league we've seen since, well, I don't know. A long time. The Trojans are just ... actually, you know what? My mom always told me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. So let's just end this here.

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
8:00
AM ET
Remember earlier this season, when it looked as though the ACC might not get more than three NCAA tournament bids? As many as six are making cases now. My attempt at this week’s power rankings:

1. Duke: The Blue Devils beat Maryland over the weekend, but it will be their come-from-behind victory at UNC on Wednesday -- rallying from 10 points down in the final 2:38 -- that will linger in the annals of the rivalry. Freshman Austin Rivers, who scored 29 points (including the winning 3-pointer) in the victory, averaged 20 points, three rebounds and three assists for the week -- and shot his team back to the top of these ratings.

2. North Carolina: The Tar Heels -- led by forward Tyler Zeller -- bounced back from the Duke loss with a double-digit win over Virginia. But they’ve hit only 2 of their past 16 3-pointers and will be thin on the bench until freshman P.J. Hairston (who missed Saturday’s win with a sore foot) returns.

3. Florida State: Forward Bernard James scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to help beat Miami, but the loss at Boston College has to burn. Guard Michael Snaer, who had been shooting better than 57 percent from 3-point range during his team’s seven-game winning streak, managed only one 3 against the Eagles, proving again how key he is to this team’s success.

4. Virginia: Coach Tony Bennett was able to rest star forward Mike Scott for a long second-half stretch in a blowout victory versus Wake Forest. But Bennett would have liked to have used him more at UNC, where the senior was in foul trouble early and his team lost by double figures. The Cavs have lost two of their past three games, both to Top 25 foes.

5. NC State: Junior Scott Wood finally missed a free throw, ending his ACC-record streak at 66. But the Wolfpack won their only game last week, at Georgia Tech, avenging their loss to the Yellow Jackets last month. They have won three in a row.

6. Miami: Reggie Johnson was held to four points as FSU halted the Hurricanes’ winning streak at five. Next up: a home rematch with UNC.

7. Maryland: With players moving in and out of the lineup early on, first-year coach Mark Turgeon said it felt as though he had coached several different seasons in one. Add another. Starting point guard Pe’Shon Howard, who missed the first nine games with a stress fracture in his foot, is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his knee. The Terps lost their first game without him (again), at Duke.

8. Clemson: After losing three straight games by four points or fewer, the Tigers got a 20-point blowout win at Wake Forest. Forward Milton Jennings, back from his second suspension of the season, scored 15 points.

9. Virginia Tech: The Hokies followed a sloppy 16-point loss at Miami with a one-point win over Boston College on Sunday when Dorian Finney-Smith hit a tip-in with 1.8 seconds left.

10. Boston College: Eagles coach Steve Donahue said he doesn’t put great emphasis on wins and losses, considering the youth of his team. But he had to be thrilled with the Eagles’ upset win over Florida State, its third ACC victory of the season. They followed that with a one-point loss to Virginia Tech.

11. Georgia Tech: Tech made only 1 of 17 3-point attempts against NC State and has lost seven of its past eight games.

12. Wake Forest: The Deacons’ 20-point loss to Clemson marked their sixth straight defeat. "Obviously we are embarrassed," coach Jeff Bzdelik said, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. "Obviously we have some limitations on this team. ... What we have to do is be stronger and tougher to stay the course with great energy in those areas we can control -- like defending and rebounding and running the court."

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.

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