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ACC Basketball Power Rankings: Week 1

Louisville and Duke lead the way early, but Georgia Tech is on the rise

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The writers from From the Rumble Seat kick off a weekly series for ACC power rankings.

1. Louisville Cardinals (2-0, 1-0)

Don’t be fooled by the Miami score. Louisville obliterated a talented Miami team on the road and led 85-58 with 3:58 to go in the second half before pulling their starters. Jordan Nwora started off his junior campaign on the right foot averaging 22 points and 9 rebounds on 56% shooting through two games. Nwora has been able to do whatever he wants offensively and is my pick for ACC Player of the Year. Redshirt senior Ryan McMahon has been on fire for the Cardinals as well, averaging 4 3-pointers per game and shooting at a 57% clip. Louisville should cruise this week with 2 non Power 5 home games.

Last Week:
Win at Miami 87-74
Win vs Youngstown St 78-55

Next Week:
11/13 vs Indiana St
11/17 vs NC Central

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

2. Duke Blue Devils (2-0, 0-0)

It’s hard not to be impressed with Duke after coming from behind to beat the #3 team in the country, the Kansas Jayhawks. The Blue Devils followed it up by dismantling Colorado St by 34 points. Sophomore Tre Jones has been doing it all, averaging 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game and is well on his way to a first team All-ACC season. Cassius Stanley has been the freshman standout so far this season, averaging 16 points and 4.5 rebounds per game on 77% shooting. Up next for Duke are two non Power 5 home games, including Georgia St.

Last Week:
Win vs #3 Kansas 68-66
Win vs Colorado St 89-55

Next Week:
11/12 vs Central Arkansas
11/15 vs Georgia St

3. Virginia Cavaliers (2-0, 1-0)

Sorry Tar Heel fans. The Cavs began their title defense with two straight lock-down performances on defense. I mean COME ON! Through two games, Tony Bennett’s squad is giving up 34 points per game?! Virginia has struggled offensively, but when your defense is that stifling it doesn’t matter. Senior Mamadi Diakite leads the way for the Cavs with 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He has also contributed 3 blocks/steals per game. Braxton Key, Kihei Clark, and Jay Huff have been the other main contributors for Virginia so far. Up next is a team that just took Wake to the bitter end, but I don’t imagine Columbia being a tough game for Virginia at all.

Last Week:
Win at Syracuse 48-34
Win vs James Madison 65-34

Next Week:
11/16 vs Columbia

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

4. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0, 1-0)

North Carolina cruised to a season opening home win over Notre Dame last week behind a dazzling performance from freshman Cole Anthony, who went for 34 points and 11 rebounds. The Heels performed well in game two on the road vs UNCW, where Anthony again led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. William & Mary transfer forward Justin Pierce was able to get going in this one, chipping in 18 points and 12 rebounds on 7/12 shooting and 4/7 from beyond the arc. I have some concerns about the efficiency of Carolina’s offense so far, but transfer Christian Keeling getting going will definitely help. North Carolina plays just one game this week, a Friday game against Gardner-Webb.

Last Week:
Win vs Notre Dame 76-65
Win at UNCW 78-62

Next Week:
11/15 vs Gardner-Webb

5. Florida St Seminoles (1-1, 0-1)

After a disappointing road loss to a decent Pitt team, FSU responded well with an eye-opening 12 point win over #6 Florida. That is their 6th consecutive victory over Florida and Trent Forrest wants everybody to know.

Devin Vassell and Trent Forrest have been the standouts for the Noles. Vassell has shined on both ends of the floor, flashing strong fundamental defensive rotation and shot creating ability. He has averaged 13.5 points and 4 rebounds on 55% shooting. Forrest has also averaged 13.5 points, but has also chipped in 5 boards and 4.5 assists per game. Look for the Noles to stay on track this week vs Western Carolina.

Last Week:
Loss at Pittsburgh 61-63
Win at #6 Florida 63-51

Next Week:
11/15 vs Western Carolina

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at N.C. State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0, 1-0)

Georgia Tech has been impressive thus far this season. The Jackets knocked off a very talented and well coached NC State team on the road in overtime. Then followed that up by holding Elon to 21.6% from the field, which was good for the second lowest opposing FG% in Georgia Tech basketball history. Sophomore Michael Devoe has been a revelation so far, leading the way with 22 points per game on 61% shooting and 75% from 3. Senior James Banks has averaged a double-double through 2 games with 15.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is also making an early case for ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 5.5 blocks per game. Keep in mind that Georgia Tech has a level-up coming in 6 games when Jordan Usher is eligible on December 18th.

Last Week:
Win at NC State 82-81
Win vs Elon 64-41

Next Week:

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1, 0-1)

Notre Dame fell in an ACC road loss to North Carolina to open the season. However, the Irish were able to get back on track with a 35 point drubbing of Robert Morris. Notre Dame appears to have a 3 headed scoring attack with TJ Gibbs, Prentiss Hubb, and John Mooney. Gibbs has been very efficient from the field through 2 games, raining in 17 points and 4.5 assists per game on 50% shooting and 64% from 3. Prentiss Hubb has been equally effective from the field scoring 17.5 points on 52% shooting and averaging 4 3-pointers per game at a 50% clip. Mooney has disappointed me so far, but has still managed to put up 10 points and 9 rebounds per game. Mooney average 14.1 points and 11.2 rebounds, but has failed to reach either of those two numbers in either game. The Irish have 2 home games this week that should allow them to move to a 3-1 record overall.

Last Week:
Loss at #9 North Carolina 65-76
Win vs Robert Morris 92-57

Next Week:
11/12 vs Howard
11/15 vs Marshall

8. NC State Wolfpack (1-1, 0-1)

NC State lost a heart-breaker to Georgia Tech at home in their season opener without their best player Markell Johnson and junior DJ Funderburk. NC State was able to respond with a 19 point win over Detroit as Markell Johnson made his season debut. Senior CJ Byrce has been very impressive so far, averaging 21.5 points and 8 rebounds per game on 68% shooting. Redshirt freshman Manny Bates has been a force on the defensive end, averaging 6 blocks per game in just 26.5 minutes per game. Once Markell Johnson gets going, this team will be tough to beat. The Wolfpack should cruise until squaring off with Memphis in New York on November 28th. Circle it on your calendar.

Last Week:
Loss vs Georgia Tech 81-82
Win vs Detroit 84-65

Next Week:
11/13 vs FIU
11/16 vs St. Francis (NY)

NCAA Basketball: Coppin State at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

9. Virginia Tech (2-0, 1-0)

Well. Well. Well. It’s early, but Mike Young is really coaching up this young Hokies team. A road ACC win and 2-0 on the week certainly has my attention. I don’t think Virginia Tech stays this high long as this ranking says more about what other teams didn’t do, but a good start to the season for the Hokies nonetheless. Forward Landers Nolley and freshman guard Nahiem Alleyne have led the way for VT as the only two players to reach double figures in both games. Nolley was spectacular in the season opening win over Clemson, pouring in 30 points on 52% shooting and 50% from 3. It will be interesting to see how the Hokies fare against USC Upstate and Lehigh this week.

Last Week:
Win at Clemson 67-60
Win vs Coppin St 74-42

Next Week:
11/13 USC Upstate
11/16 Lehigh

10. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1, 1-0)

Pitt was on its way to a high ranking this week after a tough win against a strong FSU team. However, it slipped up on Saturday suffering a brutal loss to Nicholls St at home. Freshman sensations Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens are both back for their sophomore year, but have failed to get going in the first two games. The starting backcourt has combined for just 38% from the field, 31% from 3, and 17 total turnovers. Fortunately, transfer Ryan Murphy has picked up the slack offensively, scoring 20.5 points per game on 54% from the field and 54% from 3. Pitt has the opportunity to rebound in the rankings with games against Robert Morris on the road and a Power 5 opponent in West Virginia.

Last Week:
Win vs Florida St 63-61
Loss vs Nicholls St 70-75

Next Week:
11/12 at Robert Morris
11/15 vs West Virginia

11. Miami Hurricanes (1-1, 0-1)

The Canes were blown out by Louisville in their home opener, and made the score closer that it was in garbage time. They followed it up with an unimpressive performance against FAU, where they were only up 5 midway through the second half. As expected, Chris Lykes and Dejan Vasiljevic are carrying the Canes offensively. Lykes is average 16.5 points per game as well as 3.5 assists and 2 steals. It’s early, but I expect Lykes to continue to be a more efficient scorer this year (44.8%) than a season ago (40.6%). Miami will face off with in-state foe UCF on the road. This will be a good test for the Canes.

Last Week:
Loss vs #5 Louisville 87-74
Win vs FAU 74-60

Next Week:
11/12 at UCF
11/16 vs Quinnipiac

12. Syracuse Orange (0-1, 0-1)

Small sample size for Syracuse so far as they have only played one game, but they looked pitiful offensively against the defending champs. A Power 5 team scoring 34 points at home is nothing short of embarrassing regardless of who they are playing. Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim struggled offensively shooting 4-14 and 3-12 respectively. As a team, Syracuse shot 23.6% from the field and 17.2% from 3. Despite only having 9 turnovers, they lost by 14. The Orange will look to flip the script this week against Colgate and Seattle at home.

Last Week:
Loss vs #11 Virginia 34-48

Next Week:
11/13 vs Colgate
11/16 vs Seattle

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Arizona vs USC Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

13. Boston College Eagles (2-0, 1-0)

After losing Ky Bowman and Jordan Chatman from last year’s squad and Wynston Tabbs being out for the season with an ACL injury, I had significant doubts about BC this year. Derryck Thornton has been sensational through 2 games, averaging 22.5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals per game on 52% from the field. Nik Popovic has been the secondary scorer chipping in 17 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Jim Christian has done an excellent job so far with the hand he was dealt. I’m still not ready to believe in the Eagles yet, but another 2-0 week with a win over Belmont would give them a sizable bump in the ACC Power Rankings next week. Show me Boston College.

Last Week:
Win vs Wake Forest 77-70
Win at South Florida 74-60

Next Week:
11/13 vs High Point
11/16 vs Belmont

14. Clemson Tigers (2-1, 0-1)

Well I wasn’t high on Clemson going into the season, and a loss to Virginia Tech at home doesn’t do the Tigers any favors. Despite the season opening loss, Clemson was able to rebound with wins over Presbyterian and Colgate at home. The Tigers are playing small this year with 4 guards and an undersized big in 6’8 Aamir Simms. Transfer Tevin Mack and guard John Newman III have led the way so far for the Tigers with 13.7 and 13.3 points per game respectively. Clemson hosts Detroit on Sunday in their only game of the week.

Last Week:
Loss vs Virginia Tech 60-67
Win vs Presbyterian 79-45
Win vs Colgate 81-68

Next Week:
11/17 vs Detroit

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1, 0-1)

It’s still early, but its looking like I was wrong about Wake Forest at 11 in the ACC in the preseason. Wake is a veteran team with talent, but it seems as though I have overestimated Danny Manning’s coaching ability (if that’s possible). Wake lost on the road to BC, coughing up the ball 17 times. The Deacs then followed up that performance by needing a last second field goal to put away Columbia. Wake had bad out of conference losses last season (Houston Baptist) and could find themselves in a similar situation this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Deacs drop a game to either of their fellow North Carolina schools this week.

Last Week:
Loss at Boston College 70-77
Win vs Columbia 65-63

Next Week:
11/13 vs UNC Asheville
11/17 at Charlotte