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ACC Basketball Power Rankings: Week 5

Louisville and Duke shine, Carolina struggles, a battle for worst in the ACC, and more...

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The writers from From the Rumble Seat continue a weekly series for ACC power rankings. The following rankings are based on games through Sunday 12/8.


1. Louisville Cardinals (9-0, 2-0)

AP Rank: 1
Kenpom: 2
Last Week Power Rank: 1

This was quite the week for the Cardinals and it is beginning to look like they are head and shoulders above the rest. Louisville started it off with a dominating win over #4 Michigan by 15 points. Nwora shined with 22 points and 12 rebounds. However, it was the defense that stole the show. The Cardinals held the Wolverines to 26% shooting and 16% from 3. Over the weekend, Chris Mack’s squad dispelled Pittsburgh by 18 points to move to 2-0 in ACC play. Surprising nobody, Nwora led the team with 19 points. Yet again the Cardinals did not allow their opponent to reach 50 points and now rank 3rd in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency per kenpom. This week, Louisville takes on Texas Tech in Madison Square Garden for the Jimmy V Men’s Classic. Later in the week, they will face off with in-state foe Eastern Kentucky.

Last Week:
Win 12/3 vs #4 Michigan 58-43
Win 12/6 vs Pittsburgh 64-46

This Week:
12/10 vs Texas Tech*
12/14 vs Eastern Kentucky

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

2. Duke Blue Devils (9-1, 1-0)

AP Rank: 7
Kenpom: 3
Last Week Power Rank: 5

Duke responded after a disappointing week with two double digit road wins. The Blue Devils knocked off #11 Michigan St in the B1G vs ACC challenge in a convincing 12 point victory. Vernon Carey was unstoppable in the post as he put up 26 points and 11 rebounds. Tre Jones also chipped in 20 points and 12 assists. Duke also was able to pick up their first ACC win against Virginia Tech. Tre Jones led the way with 15 points and 6 rebounds, but the best news for the Blue Devils was the return of Cassius Stanley from injury. Stanley will have another week to get right as Duke, like many other teams, is off this week.

Last Week:
Win 12/3 at #11 Michigan St 87-75
Win 12/6 at Virginia Tech 77-63

This Week:
None

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

3. Virginia Cavaliers (8-1, 2-0)

AP Rank: 9
Kenpom: 10
Last Week Power Rank: 2

Well it was a rough start to the week for UVA. One of Virginia’s best players, Braxton Key, is out after wrist surgery, but that is no excuse for being blown out by 29 by Purdue. Virginia’s defense looked in disarray as they allowed a season high 69 points and 52% from 3 (13-25). In addition, the Cavs only forced 7 turnovers. The offense was arguably more putrid as Virginia only mustered 40 points while shooting 4/24 from 3. Luckily for UVA, it was just one game and they bounced back at home with a win against #7 North Carolina. The Cavs held the Heels to 1 made 3-point basket (1-14) and just 47 points. Diakite led the way offensively with 12 points. Virginia is off this week as students are in the midst of finals week.

Last Week:
Loss 12/4 at Purdue 40-69
Win 12/8 vs #7 North Carolina 56-47

This Week:
None

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

4. Florida St Seminoles (8-2, 1-1)

AP Rank: 21
Kenpom: 15
Last Week Power Rank: 3

Florida State started off the week with a blowout road loss to undefeated Indiana. The Hoosiers were on fire from the field, shooting 56% for the game. However, it was FSU’s fouling problem that was the biggest issue as they surrendered 38 free throws. Trent Forrest was the only player with more than 10 points for the Noles with 13. FSU returned home to play game 2 in the ACC, where they picked up a 19 point win over Clemson. Devin Vassell led the way with 14 points and 9 rebounds. The Noles shot the lights out of the ball from beyond the arc, making 15 of 32 (47%) and 8 different players draining a 3-point shot. FSU will be off this week before playing their final 3 games on the non-conference schedule.

Last Week:
Loss 12/3 at Indiana 64-80
Win 12/8 vs Clemson 72-53

This Week:
None

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

5. NC State Wolfpack (7-2, 1-1)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 37
Last Week Power Rank: 6

The Wolfpack picked up a dominant 15 point home win in their B1G vs ACC Challenge game against Wisconsin. Sophomore forward Jericole Hellems carried NC State by contributing 23 points and 4 rebounds on 8 for 13 shooting. However, the most impressive aspect of the win was the fact they only turned the ball over 6 times. The Pack were also able to pick up their first ACC win of the season by defeating Wake Forest on the road in a high scoring affair. NC State was able to hold off Brandon Childress’s efficient 30 point effort to capture a 9 point win. Markell Johnson put in 14 points and 7 assists. Just one game is on the docket this week for the Wolfpack - in-state opponent UNC Greensboro.

Last Week:
Win 12/4 vs Wisconsin 69-54
Win 12/7 at Wake Forest 91-82

This Week:
12/15 at UNC Greensboro

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

6. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-3, 1-1)

AP Rank: 17
Kenpom: 22
Last Week Power Rank: 4

It has been a brutal schedule for North Carolina with their past 4 games coming against top 10 opponents. The Tar Heels picked up 2 losses last week against Ohio St and Virginia and were held under 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1948. North Carolina’s stars are young, but they have proved they are not a top 10 team...yet. Carolina fell to Ohio St by 25 at home with Cole Anthony scoring just 15 points on 4 for 15 shooting. Freshman big Armando Bacot left the game with an ankle injury that was believed to be serious, but was able to make his return against Virginia. Yet again, Anthony was 4 for 15 from the field and had 12 points to show for it. The Tar Heels face off with Wofford this week at home, a team that stunned North Carolina in December of 2017 by pulling off the upset in Chapel Hill.

Last Week:
Loss 12/4 vs #6 Ohio St 49-74
Loss 12/8 at #5 Virginia 47-56

This Week:
12/15 vs Wofford

7. Virginia Tech (6-3, 1-1)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 60
Last Week Power Rank: 7

Virginia Tech fell at home in their only game of the week against Duke. It was a sloppy game for rising star Landers Nolley. The redshirt freshman had less points (7) than turnovers (9). Virginia Tech also was held to just 25% from 3 and 5 made shots from beyond the arc. Freshman Tyrece Radford was one of the few bright spots for the Hokies as he had 12 points and 7 rebounds on 6 of 7 shooting. The Hokies are one of the few teams with a busy week as they host both Chattanooga and Gardner-Webb this week.

Last Week:
Loss 12/6 vs #10 Duke 63-77

This Week:
12/11 vs Chattanooga
12/15 vs Gardner-Webb

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

8. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-3, 1-1)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 72
Last Week Power Rank: 10

It seemed like nobody wanted the 8 spot as many teams from here down had a black eye or two on their weekly resume. I guess Pitt’s was the most explainable as theirs came at the hands of the #1 team in the country on the road. In the B1G vs ACC Challenge, the Panthers came away with a home win against Rutgers. Xavier Johnson put up his best performance of the season with 20 points and 8 assists on 8 of 14 shooting. Later in the week, Pitt suffered a 18 point road loss to Louisville. Johnson led the way again with 15 points, but Louisville’s stout defense only allowed 46 points. Jeff Capel and company will be off this week.

Last Week:
Win 12/3 vs Rutgers 71-60
Loss 12/6 at #1 Louisville 46-64

This Week:
None

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

9. Syracuse Orange (5-4, 1-1)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 52
Last Week Power Rank: 11

Syracuse started off last week by getting ran out of the gym at home against Iowa. The Orange shot just 36% from the field and 29% from 3, while mustering 54 points. I guess they saved their shooting for later in the week as Syracuse caught fire against Georgia Tech. The Orange decided to perform 3 standard deviation above their season average against one of the best defensive teams in the conference. Syracuse shot 51% from the field, 42% from 3 and 83% from the line on THIRTY attempts. Syracuse also tied their season high in points with 97. Elijah Hughes had a career high 33 points on 10 for 15 from the field. The Orange will take on Georgetown on the road in their only game of the week.

Last Week:
Loss 12/3 vs Iowa 54-68
Win 12/8 at Georgia Tech 97-63

This Week:
12/14 at Georgetown

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

10. Miami Hurricanes (5-3, 0-1)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 82
Last Week Power Rank: 13

The Canes came out like world beaters against Illinois on the road, especially Chris Lykes. Miami opened up a 23-7 lead in less than 8 minutes and led by 27 points late in the first half. However, the Illini came storming back and had two chances to take the lead in the final 15 seconds in the second half. The Hurricanes hung on in the end behind 28 points from Lykes on 11 for 17 shooting. Dejan Vasiljevic also put up 20 points on a remarkable 6 for 9 from 3. Miami will take on Alabama A&M at home this week.

Last Week:
Win 12/2 at Illinois 81-79

This Week:
12/14 vs Alabama A&M

11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-3, 1-1)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 93
Last Week Power Rank: 9

Georgia Tech was able to take care of Nebraska at home in the B1G vs ACC Challenge. The Jackets pulled away in the second half and finished with a 17 point victory. Michael Devoe had 26 points on 10 for 17 from the field. The sophomore guard also contributed 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in one of his best games as a Yellow Jacket. Moses Wright also chipped in 18 points and 9 rebounds. However, GT came out flat on Saturday. Syracuse started on fire, but the Jackets showed no fight to make the game close as they fell to the Orange by 34 points. Devoe was held to a season low 7 points on 2 for 12 shooting. Wright was the lone bright spot as he put in 17 points and 9 boards. Georgia Tech will have a tough time rebounding after this loss as they travel to Lexington to face #8 Kentucky over the weekend.

Last Week:
Win 12/4 vs Nebraska 56-73
Loss 12/8 vs Syracuse 63-97

This Week:
12/14 at #8 Kentucky

12. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-3, 0-2)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 67
Last Week Power Rank: 8

Notre Dame had a chance to prove they belonged on the road against a top 5 Maryland team. However, the Irish were destroyed by 21 points and looked severely outclassed. Notre Dame shot a dismal 29% from the field and 28% from 3. John Mooney showed flashes of an All-ACC caliber player with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Luckily for the Irish, they had arguably the worst team in the ACC at home to get back on track, right? Wrong. The Irish fell at home to the Eagles by one point. TJ Gibbs had a game high 22 points and Mooney put up 16 points and 18 rebounds in a losing effort. Notre Dame has two home games this week to try and right the ship against Detroit and UCLA.

Last Week:
Loss 12/4 at #3 Maryland 51-72
Loss 12/7 vs Boston College 72-73

This Week:
12/10 vs Detroit
12/14 vs UCLA

13. Clemson Tigers (5-4, 0-2)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 89
Last Week Power Rank: 12

Clemson moves down a spot in this week’s rankings as they fall in two road games that weren’t particularly close. The Tigers lost their B1G vs ACC Challenge game against Minnesota by 18 points and shot just 2 for 11 from 3 point range as a team. Over the weekend, the Tigers fell to Florida State by 19 points. Clemson was putrid offensively again, putting up 53 points on 53 shots. In addition, Brad Brownell’s squad coughed it up 18 times against a pesky Nole defense. Clemson will square off with arch rival South Carolina in Littlejohn Coliseum this weekend.

Last Week:
Loss 12/2 at Minnesota 60-78
Loss 12/8 at #17 Florida State 53-72

This Week:
12/15 vs South Carolina

14. Boston College Eagles (5-5, 2-0)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 136
Last Week Power Rank: 15

It seemed that Boston College was destined to stay in the rear, but pulled off a major surprise over the weekend. In the B1G vs ACC Challenge, the Eagles dropped a dud against Northwestern as they lost by 18 points at home. BC was outclassed on the glass as they were out-rebounded by 17 (38-21). However, the Eagles were able to pull off a shocking road upset over Notre Dame to move to 2-0 in the ACC (WHAT?!). It’s hard to believe that a 5-5 team with bad losses is tied for first in the ACC, but here they are. Derryck Thornton had a team high 19 points on 9 for 12 shooting to lead BC to a 1 point victory. The Eagles will play Albany and Central Connecticut St at home this week as they have an opportunity to move to 7-5 on the season.

Last Week:
Loss 12/3 vs Northwestern 64-82
Win 12/7 at Notre Dame 73-72

This Week:
12/10 vs Albany
12/15 vs Central Connecticut St

15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-5, 0-2)

AP Rank: N/A
Kenpom: 94
Last Week Power Rank: 14

Back to the bottom for the Deacs. Wake Forest was outclassed, outmanned, and out-coached as they fell to Penn St by 22 points. Olivier Sarr had 14 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 3 of 9 from the field. Wake Forest’s starting lineup just managed 17 points in the entire game. Game 2 of ACC play came on Saturday against NC State, where they kept it close at home. This was in large part due to Brandon Childress being white hot. Childress had 30 points on 10 for 13 from the field. Olivier Sarr was the only other Deac to reach double figures with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Wake will face off with #23 Xavier in Winston Salem in their only game of the week.

Last Week:
Loss 12/4 at Penn St 54-76
Loss 12/7 vs NC State 82-91

This Week:
12/14 vs #23 Xavier