ACC Basketball Rankings Jan. 24-Feb 1: Here Comes Wake Forest

Jeffrey Fann@TalkinACCSportsAnalyst IJanuary 24, 2010

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 11:  Wake Forest Demon Deacons players react as they leave the court at halftime in a game against the Duke Blue Devils during the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament on March 11, 2006 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With no Sunday Night ACC game, we can put out the ACC power poll a little early this week.

Duke recovered nicely from a road loss at NC State by winning at Clemson Saturday night, and North Carolina continues to head in the wrong direction. As usual, it was a wild, unpredictable week in the ACC.

Previous ACC Basketball All About Sports Blog Rankings
Dec 13-Dec 20
|Dec 21-Dec 28 |Dec 28 - Jan 4 |Jan 4 - Jan 11  |Jan 11 - Jan 18
Jan 18 - Jan 25

1) Duke Blue Devils (16-3, 4-2) Last week-1

Duke had one of its worst defensive performances of the year losing 88-74 NC State, but then came up with one of their best in a 60-47 victory at Clemson.

With all the hype surrounding the game at Clemson, the Blue Devils never panicked and controlled the game pretty much the whole way.

Lance Thomas had 13 inside. Thomas gives Duke an extra inside dimension that the Blue Devils haven't always had this year. That's a good sign for them.

They are still the class of the ACC. The Blue Devils get Florida State at home Wednesday, then a big non-conference game with Georgetown Saturday.

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2) Florida State Seminoles (15-4, 3-2) Last week-4

Florida State picked up an important win Sunday with a 67-66 victory over Georgia Tech. They've now swept the Jackets which is a good NCAA resume builder. Chris Singleton had 23 in the win.

Now the Noles head on the road to face Duke Wednesday and then at Boston College on Saturday. Keep an eye on Singleton and Solomon Alabi in the Duke game. The Noles' athletic frontcourt can cause the Blue Devils some problems.

3) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-4, 4-2) Last week-8

I know North Carolina had some injuries, but winning in Chapel Hill is still an accomplishment. Wake Forest won 82-69 over the Heels in a game that wasn't that close.

Then the ACC's previously only unbeaten team Virginia came to Winston-Salem, and the Deacs easily handled them 69-57. I really like Ishmael Smith at the point guard position. A big road game at Georgia Tech is on Thursday.

4) Clemson Tigers (15-5, 3-3) Last week-2

There is a little cause for concern in Clemson. The 66-64 loss at Georgia Tech is not really that big a deal, but scoring only 47 in the home loss to Duke is. The Tigers are having trouble scoring. Trevor Booker is the only consistent scorer for the Tigers right now.

Demontez Stitt's foot injury is really hindering the Tigers on the offensive end. He's their best ball handler and isn't 100 percent. Word is he may sit the BC game Tuesday; after that is Maryland at home Sunday.

5) Virginia Cavaliers (12-5, 3-1) Last week-4

The Cavaliers finally lost an ACC game. After a puzzling two-point home win over NC Wilmington, the Cavs were defeated by Wake Forest in Winston Salem 69-57. It was a road game in the ACC against a very good team. The road team isn't going to win very often.

Nothing to indicate that the Cavs start was a fluke at this point. They get Virginia Tech at home Thursday, then head to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina Sunday.

6) Virgina Tech Hokies (15-3, 2-2) Last week-7

The Hokies narrowly escaped what would have been a crushing home loss in a 63-62 home loss to Boston College. Virginia Tech leads the ACC in scoring defense.

They have a couple of tricky road games coming up where a 1-1 week would nice. They head to Virginia Tech Thursday and are at Miami on Sunday.

7) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (14-5, 3-3) Last week-5

If the Jackets fail to make the NCAAs, they will look back at the two losses to Florida State as the reason. While the week started out fine with a 66-64 win over Clemson, the 66-67 loss to the Noles Sunday has to hurt.

The Jackets failed to convert on any of several chances to win the game in the final 30 seconds. The goal is at least 8-8 in the conference to secure an NCAA bid.

A must-win at home with Wake Forest is on Thursday, then a game that should be a breather with Kentucky State on Saturday.

8) Maryland Terrapins (13-5, 3-1) Last week-9

Even though the Terps are 3-1 in the ACC, and a road OT loss at Wake Forest from being 4-0, I just can't bring myself to buying into them yet. They did pound NC State by 24 at home, and also beat Longwood 106-55.

They have a winnable home game with Miami on Tuesday, then a game at Clemson on Sunday. The Terps are flying under the radar, but are in good position in the ACC.

9) North Carolina Tar Heels (12-7, 1-3) Last week-6

You can't deny it any longer; the Tar Heels have some real problems. The backcourt is struggling with turnovers. The frontcourt has injuries with Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller missing time, and they just got whooped at home by Wake Forest.

Oh, I forgot, they are 1-3 in the ACC now. It's not a good sign when you have to call a road game a must-win, but the Heels really need to win at NC State on Tuesday, before facing Virginia at home on Sunday.

10) North Carolina State Wolfpack (13-7, 2-4) Last week-11

The Wolfpack had a weird week. First they look spectacular beating Duke in Raleigh by 14 then go on the road and get routed by Maryland 88-64. Tracy Smith is making a case for All-ACC by averaging 17 points and nearly 9 rebounds a game.

They face UNC at home Tuesday in what I'm calling an elimination game for NC State. If the Pack loses, I think their slim NCAA hopes are history.

11) Boston College Eagles (11-9, 2-4) Last week-12

I bet Boston College wishes they could play Miami every week. They swept the Canes this week by beating them 79-75 in Miami. If they had been able to win at Virginia Tech in a game they lost by one point, then some eyes would have been really opened.

Boston College most likely can forget about the NCAAs, but they are going to win three or four more ACC games and take a couple of teams down with them.

Two home games, Clemson on Tuesday and Florida State on Saturday, give the Eagles a chance to even their ACC record. It is now or never if BC has one last run in them.

12) Miami Hurricanes (15-4, 1-4) Last week-10

It's hard to believe that two weeks ago, Miami was 15-1 and now I'm calling them the ACC's worst team this week. They blew a double-digit second-half lead at home to Boston College in a 79-75 loss.

That's really a devastating loss for Miami, as it dropped them to 1-4 in the ACC. They are last in the ACC in free throw shooting and you aren't going to win many close games like that.

The Canes are now going to have to try to steal some games on the road to recover. They head to Maryland on Jan. 26, and then get Virginia Tech at home on Sunday.


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