Each Sunday during the ACC regular season, we'll rank the conference's teams one through 15. This isn't a ranking of the best teams, necessarily, but one more reflective of current trends and direction. Let's get to it:
1. Duke (22-5, 10-4)
Last week: W at Virginia 65-55; W vs. Wake Forest 99-94
This week: at Syracuse, Wednesday; at Miami, Saturday
Make that a seven-game winning streak now for Duke, which is right back where it began the season: as the Vegas favorite to win the national championship.
2. North Carolina (23-5, 11-3)
Last week: W at N.C. State 97-73; W vs. Virginia 65-41
This week: vs. Louisville, Wednesday; at Pittsburgh, Saturday
March 4 in Chapel Hill – and the rematch against Duke – can't get here soon enough. But there are some ones in the meantime, starting with Louisville on Wednesday.
3. Louisville (22-5, 10-4)
Last week: W at Syracuse 76-72 (OT); W vs. Virginia Tech 94-90
This week: at North Carolina, Wednesday; vs. Syracuse, Sunday
If the Cardinals want at least a piece of the ACC regular season championship, then Wednesday at UNC looks like a must-win.
4. Notre Dame (21-7, 10-5)
Last week: W at Boston College 84-76; W at N.C. State 81-72
This week: vs. Georgia Tech, Sunday
The Fighting Irish have responded to a four-game losing streak in late January and early February with a four-game winning streak.
5. Virginia (18-8, 8-6)
Last week: L vs. Duke 65-55; L at North Carolina 65-41
This week: vs. Miami, Monday; at N.C. State, Saturday
The Cavaliers have now lost five out of seven games but their schedule – which included games against Duke and UNC last week – did them little favors. It's more manageable this week.
6. Florida State (21-6; 9-5)
Last week: L at Pittsburgh 80-66
This week: vs. Boston College, Monday; at Clemson, Saturday
Yes, it's tough to win on the road in the ACC and all but c'mon, Seminoles: You're better than 2-5 in conference games away from Tallahassee.
7. Miami (18-8, 8-6)
Last week: W vs. Georgia Tech 70-61; W vs. Clemson 71-65
This week: at Virginia, Monday; vs. Duke, Saturday
Quietly, Miami has six of its past eight games, with the only losses in that span coming against Florida State and Louisville.
8. Syracuse (16-12, 8-7)
Last week: L vs. Louisville 76-72 (OT); L at Georgia Tech 71-65
This week: vs. Duke Wednesday; at Louisville, Sunday
This is a huge week for the Orange, which has suddenly lost three in a row, putting its NCAA tournament chances in some doubt. A victory against Duke could be an elixir.
9. Georgia Tech (16-11, 7-7)
Last week: L at Miami 70-61; W vs. Syracuse 71-65
This week: vs. N.C. State, Tuesday; at Notre Dame, Sunday
If the Yellow Jackets win their remaining home games – and they've lost but one ACC game at home this season – they'd finish at least .500 in the ACC. What an accomplishment that would be.
10. Virginia Tech (18-8, 7-7)
Last week: W vs. Pittsburgh 66-63; L at Louisville 94-90
This week: vs. Clemson, Tuesday; at Boston College, Saturday
The Hokies played a poor non-conference schedule, and so they're especially reliant on their conference achievements to build an NCAA tournament case. A .500 finish probably won't cut it.
11. Wake Forest (15-12, 6-9)
Last week: L at Clemson 95-83; L at Duke 99-94
This week: vs. Pittsburgh, Wednesday
No pressure or anything here, Demon Deacons, but you probably need to win your final three games – vs. Pitt, vs. Louisville, at Virginia Tech – to make the NCAA tournament.
12. Clemson (14-12, 4-10)
Last week: W vs. Wake Forest 95-83; L at Miami 71-65
This week: at Virginia Tech, Tuesday; vs. Florida State, Saturday
The computers continue to love Clemson, which is ranked No. 38 nationally according to kenpom.com, but it needs to win out in the regular season to keep hope alive of making the tournament.
13. Pittsburgh (15-12, 4-10)
Last week: L vs. Virginia Tech 66-63; W vs. Florida State 80-66
This week: at Wake Forest, Wednesday; vs. North Carolina, Saturday
After that eight-game losing streak – those will always get you – the Panthers have won three of four and are showing some heart here late.
14. Boston College (9-18, 2-12)
Last week: L vs. Notre Dame 84-76
This week: at Florida State, Monday; vs. Virginia Tech, Saturday
The Eagles have lost 10 consecutive games now, but at least they remain quasi competitive. Only a few of those losses got completely out of hand.
15. N.C. State (14-14, 3-12)
Last week: L vs. North Carolina 97-73; L vs. Notre Dame 81-72
This week: at Georgia Tech, Tuesday; vs. Virginia, Saturday
Mark Gottfried has been fired but will coach the rest of the season – which sounds like the perfect script for N.C. State to win its first ACC tournament since 1987.