North Carolina Tar Heels: power rankings 021312

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
8:00
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Remember earlier this season, when it looked as if 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 last 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 game-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 last 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 still 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 been able to use him more at UNC, where the senior was in foul trouble early and his team lost by double figures. The Cavs have now lost two of their last three games, both to top-25 foes.

5. N.C. 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 now 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 like 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 now 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 N.C. State, and has now 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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