ACC

ACC power rankings: Feb. 6, 2017

North Carolina coach Roy Williams directs his team on offense in the second half against Notre Dame on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams directs his team on offense in the second half against Notre Dame on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. rwillett@newsobserver.com

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. Louisville (19-4, 7-3)

Previous: 2

Last week: W at Boston College 90-67

This week: at Virginia, Monday; vs. Miami, Saturday

The Cardinals have taken it to a higher level of late, and have won their past three games (albeit against Pittsburgh, N.C. State and Boston College) by an average of 34.3 points.

2. North Carolina (21-4, 9-2)

Previous: 3

Last week: W vs. Pittsburgh 80-78; W vs. Notre Dame 83-76

This week: at Duke, Thursday

It looks like Theo Pinson will be back soon – at Duke on Thursday is a strong possibility – and that's great news, again, for UNC, which is probably a Final Four favorite with Pinson.

3. Virginia (17-5, 7-3)

Previous: 1

Last week: L at Syracuse 66-62

This week: vs. Louisville, Monday; at Virginia Tech, Sunday

Syracuse kept the Cavaliers from the Final Four last March, and now another defeat against the Orange keeps Virginia from being No. 1 in these power rankings. Equally devastating for the Wahoos.

4. Florida State (20-4, 8-3)

Previous: 4

Last week: W at Miami 75-57; W vs. Clemson 109-61

This week: vs. N.C. State, Wednesday; at Notre Dame, Saturday

Nice bounce-back week for the Seminoles, who responded to two consecutive losses with two impressive victories – one at Miami and then by 48 points against Clemson.

5. Syracuse (15-9, 7-4)

Previous: 7

Last week: W at N.C. State 100-93 (OT); W vs. Virginia 66-62

This week: at Clemson, Tuesday; at Pittsburgh, Saturday

Syracuse finally earned that elusive first conference road victory last week and perhaps that's a positive sign given that four of the Orange's next six games are away from the Carrier Dome.

6. Duke (18-5, 6-4)

Previous: 8

Last week: W at Notre Dame 84-74; W vs. Pittsburgh 72-64

This week: vs. North Carolina, Thursday; vs. Clemson, Saturday

After losing three out of four the Blue Devils have won three consecutive games. Coach K is back and a victory against UNC on Thursday would put Duke right back in the ACC regular season race.

7. Notre Dame (17-7, 6-5)

Previous: 5

Last week: L vs. Duke 84-74; L vs. North Carolina (in Greensboro) 83-76

This week: vs. Wake Forest, Thursday; vs. Florida State, Saturday

The Fighting Irish made it interesting late in Greensboro on Sunday, but then went about 3 ½ minutes without scoring. Two wins this week gets Notre Dame back in the conference race.

8. Wake Forest (14-9, 5-6)

Previous: 11

Last week: W at Boston College 85-80; W vs. Georgia Tech 81-69

This week: at Notre Dame, Tuesday; vs. N.C. State, Saturday

After snapping that 25-game ACC road losing streak, the Demon Deacons now have two road victories in league play. First time that's happened since 2010.

9. Miami (15-7, 5-5)

Previous: 9

Last week: L vs. Florida State 75-57; W at N.C. State 84-79

This week: vs. Virginia Tech, Wednesday; at Louisville, Saturday

The Hurricanes remain one of the most-difficult-to-figure teams in the league, what with an inspired victory against UNC followed by a flat loss against Florida State, followed by a road win at N.C. State.

10. Georgia Tech (13-10, 5-6)

Previous: 6

Last week: L at Clemson 74-62; L at Wake Forest 81-69

This week: vs. Tusculum, Tuesday; vs. Boston College, Saturday

The Yellow Jackets take a break from ACC play to play against Tusculum, which is a Division II school. And it won't be Georgia Tech's toughest test of the week, with Boston College's improvement.

11. Virginia Tech (16-6, 5-5)

Previous: 10

Last week: L at Virginia 71-48

This week: at Miami, Wednesday; vs. Virginia, Sunday

The Hokies lost their recent road games at UNC and Virginia by an average of 21 points, and it doesn't get a whole lot easier on Wednesday at Miami.

12. Clemson (13-9, 3-7)

Previous: 12

Last week: L at Florida State 109-61

This week: vs. Syracuse, Tuesday; at Duke, Saturday

The loss at Florida State last week was the second time the Tigers have lost a conference game by at least 32 points. If not for N.C. State, Clemson would be the ACC's most disappointing team.

13. N.C. State (14-10, 3-8)

Previous: 13

Last week: L vs. Syracuse 100-93 (OT); L vs. Miami 84-79

This week: at Florida State, Wednesday; at Wake Forest; Saturday

This season has been a worst-case-scenario kind of nightmare for Mark Gottfried and Co., but at least Dennis Smith, Jr., remains a must see.

14. Pittsburgh (12-11, 1-9)

Previous: 15

Last week: L at North Carolina 80-78; L at Duke 72-64

This week: at Boston College, Wednesday; vs. Syracuse, Saturday

A couple of moral victories for the Panthers last week – at UNC and at Duke – but those only go so far. Pitt has lost eight straight and Boston College seven. Something has to give on Wednesday.

15. Boston College (9-15, 2-9)

Previous: 14

Last week: L vs. Wake Forest, 85-80; L vs. Louisville 90-67

This week: vs. Pittsburgh, Wednesday; at Georgia Tech, Saturday

Eagles have lost seven consecutive games but, on the bright side, they’ve also won two more conference games than they did all of last season. So, silver linings.

Andrew Carter: 919-829-8944, @_andrewcarter

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