Monday, February 27, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: ACC
By Robbi Pickeral
One key player was ruled ineligible. At least one key team likely saw its at-large NCAA tournament hopes snuffed. And once again, it looks as if the ACC regular-season title will come down to the final Duke-North Carolina game, next weekend. This week’s attempt at the ACC power rankings:
1. Duke: The Blue Devils -- who already lost to Miami and Florida State at home this season -- had another close call at Cameron Indoor Stadium, needing overtime to beat Virginia Tech. But their win at FSU last week keeps them right where they want to be: In the hunt for No. 1 seeds in both the NCAA and ACC tournament.
2. North Carolina: ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi said last week the Tar Heels would need to win out to make a case for a top seed in the NCAA tournament. That push continues this week with their home finale against Maryland, and trip to Duke. When will point guard Kendall Marshall set the new school record for assists in a season? Stay tuned.
3. Florida State: It was a rough week for the Seminoles. First they lost at home to Duke -- and likely lost their chance at the regular-season ACC title. Then they fell at Miami on Sunday. They’ll try to stop their slide at Virginia, next.
4. Virginia: Saturday’s loss to the Tar Heels stung -- not just because of the physical game, the myriad of whistles against the Cavs’ big guys, or forward Mike Scott's ACC-season-low six points. But also because Virginia has now lost three of its last five games.
5. Miami: The Hurricanes beat Florida State on Sunday without center Reggie Johnson, who was declared ineligible by the school after an investigation revealed members of his family took impermissible travel benefits from the former coaching staff. The victory enhanced the Hurricanes' NCAA résumé, but they’re going to need Johnson back to make a stronger push (and case).
6. Clemson:Andre Young's game-winning 3-pointer in overtime against N.C. State means the Tigers are now 2-8 in games decided by five or fewer points this season. They have now won four out of five games, and pushed themselves to .500 in league play. But that still hasn’t made much of a dent in their triple-digit RPI.
7. N.C. State:Saturday’s overtime loss at Clemson was just the latest defeat to rip at the Wolfpack’s NCAA tournament hopes. An ACC tournament title would give them an automatic bid, but that now is probably they only way they get there after four-straight defeats (Duke, Florida State, UNC and the Tigers).
8. Maryland: After beating Miami at home last week, the Terps went on the road against a struggling Georgia Tech team, and promptly lost. Coach Mark Turgeon summed up his team’s performance at Georgia Tech this way: “I thought we were growing up, but today showed we haven’t grown up all the way,” he said, according to The Washington Post.“We weren’t ready to play.”
9. Virginia Tech: “One or two more rolls went different this year, we’d be a whole different team,” senior guard Dorenzo Hudson told The Washington Post on Saturday after the Hokies lost another close one -- this time at Duke. ‘Nuf said.
10. Wake Forest: After Duke comes to town on Tuesday, the Deacs will finish the regular season with a winnable game in Atlanta. After prevailing in two of their last three, they’d like to continue on a high note.
11. Georgia Tech: After managing only 37 points in a loss to Clemson, the Yellow Jackets beat Maryland by a bucket. “We're real happy,’’ guard Mfon Udofia said, according to The Associated Press. “I always tell the guys, 'Something's going to shake.'"
12. Boston College: The Eagles have now lost 10 of 11 games. The positive: All of those freshmen will be sophomores next season.