Sam Bass gives his ACC basketball power rankings for week 9 of the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Matchup of the week: North Carolina State vs. Duke
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Virginia vs. Pittsburgh
All games listed are EST.
1) Miami Hurricanes
Last week’s ranking: 4 (+3)
Record: 13-1 (4-0)
Last week: @ Notre Dame (W) 76-65
Next week: @ Georgia Tech (Jan. 4 – 7 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Providence, NC State, Rutgers, @ UCF
Worst losses: N/A
Miami might be the best team in the conference and is certainly the hottest. They escaped a Virginia comeback to take down the Cavs and then won at Notre Dame, a more impressive win than it seems. Miami‘s quick pace and explosive offense have been very effective this season.
2) Virginia Cavaliers
Last Week’s ranking: 1 (-1)
Record: 10-2 (2-1)
Last week: Albany (W) 66-46, @ Georgia Tech (W) 74-56
Next week: @ Pitt (Jan. 3 – 9 p.m.), Syracuse (Jan. 7 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: Baylor, Illinois, @ Michigan
Worst losses: N/A
After losing two in a row, Virginia bounced back nicely with two convincing wins. More importantly, the Hoos looked much better from the field, especially from beyond the arc. Kihei Clark is playing at an All-ACC level, and Armaan Franklin has looked to regain his shooting stroke.
3) Duke Blue Devils
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-1)
Record: 11-3 (2-1)
Last week: Florida State (W) 86-67
Next week: @ NC State (Jan. 4 – 7 p.m.), @ Boston College (Jan. 7 – 1 p.m.)
Best wins: Xavier, Ohio State, Iowa
Worst losses: @ Wake Forest
Duke beat Florida State after falling to Wake the game before. The week off seemed to benefit the Blue Devils, as they won the winnable game handily. Two road tests against lower ACC basketball teams should get Duke back to the top portion of the league’s standings.
4) North Carolina Tar Heels
Last week’s ranking: 6 (+2)
Record: 9-5 (1-2)
Last week: @ Pitt (L) 74-76
Next week: Wake Forest (Jan. 4 – 9 p.m.), Notre Dame (Jan. 7 – 11:30 a.m.)
Best wins: Ohio State, Charleston, Michigan
Worst losses: @ Pitt
The Heels were red hot and hit a wall. Two straight wins over quality Big Ten teams got UNC back into the Top 25, but a loss at Pitt might just knock them back out. UNC has played better, and with Pitt trending in the right direction, the loss on the road might not be too damaging in terms of their resume.
5) Virginia Tech Hokies
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-2)
Record: 11-3 (1-2)
Last week: @ Wake Forest (L) 75-77
Next week: Clemson (Jan. 4 – 9 p.m.), NC State (Jan. 7 – 7:30 p.m.)
Best wins: North Carolina, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Dayton
Worst losses: @ Boston College, @ Wake Forest
It was a short ride for the Hokies in the Top 25, losing two straight ACC games to bottom half teams. Mike Young’s squad needs to get back in the win column, and it starts on the defensive end of the ball. The Hokies need to polish the defense if they want to make a push for the conference crown.
6) Clemson Tigers
Last week’s ranking: 7 (+1)
Record: 11-3 (3-0)
Last week: NC State (W) 78-64
Next week: @ Virginia Tech (Jan. 4 – 9 p.m.), @ Pittsburgh (Jan. 7 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: Penn State, NC State, Wake Forest
Worst losses: Loyola Chicago, South Carolina
Clemson is off to a hot 3-0 ACC start, picking up a quality win over NC State in the process. 11-3 is a great start for the Tigers, and two road test wins could greater improve their discussion to be atop the conference.
7) North Carolina State Wolfpack
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-2)
Record: 11-4 (1-3)
Last week: @ Clemson (L) 65-78
Next week: #17 Duke (Jan. 4 – 7 p.m.), @ Virginia Tech (Jan. 7 – 7:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Dayton, Butler, FIU
Worst Losses: N/A
In the last rankings, I said the Wolfpack are on the cusp of being a top-tier ACC team. Well, they have failed that expectation, falling to Clemson and falling to 1-3 in ACC basketball play. UNC is improving, Pitt looks sharp, and Wake Forest has played better. NC State may have fallen behind the pack (no pun intended.)
8) Pittsburgh Panthers
Last week’s ranking: 12 (+4)
Record: 10-4 (3-0)
Last week: #25 North Carolina (W) 76-74
Next week: #13 Virginia (Jan. 3 – 9 p.m.), Clemson (Jan. 7 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: North Carolina, @ NC State, @ Syracuse
Worst losses: Vanderbilt, VCU
3-0 start for Pitt and all of a sudden the Panthers are getting media attention. Wins over UNC and at Syracuse are very high quality and could be good resume boosters come March. A win over Virginia next week is far from unforeseeable.
9) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Last week’s ranking: 11 (+2)
Record: 10-4 (2-1)
Last week: Virginia Tech (W) 77-75
Next week: @ #25 North Carolina (Jan. 4 – 9 p.m.), @ Louisville (Jan. 7 – 3 p.m.)
Best wins: Duke, Wisconsin, Georgia
Worst losses: Loyola Marymount
Wake had two nice wins over VT and Duke, both at home. The Deacs are now 2-1 in conference play and have a conference Player of the Year candidate in Tyree Appleby, who averages just under 18 points per game.
10) Syracuse Orange
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-1)
Record: 9-5 (2-1)
Last week: Boston College (W) 79-65
Next week: @ Louisville (Jan. 3 – 7 p.m.), @ #13 Virginia (Jan. 7 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: Notre Dame, Georgetown, Richmond
Worst losses: Colgate, Bryant
Syracuse fell victim to Pittsburgh’s ACC basketball resurgence before bouncing back with a win over BC. Cuse does not have a strong resume and remains in the middle of the pack in the league. They could get over the hump with a win over Virginia, but it’s likely Cuse will go 1-1 next week and stay where they are in the standings.
11) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-3)
Record: 8-6 (0-3)
Last week: Jacksonville (W) 59-43, #14 Miami (L) 65-76
Next week: @ Boston College (Jan. 3 – 7 p.m.), @ #25 North Carolina (Jan. 7 – 11:30 a.m.)
Best wins: Michigan State, Bowling Green, Lipscomb
Worst losses: St. Bonaventure, Florida State
Notre Dame had a prime opportunity to pick up a quad 1 win over Miami on the road, but could not come close to doing so, losing their third league game. The Irish still have yet to beat an ACC team, but a trip to Chestnut Hill could be the first. After that, a game in Chapel Hill is another prime opportunity for a quality win, but given how ND has started the season, it seems unlikely.
12) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-2)
Record: 7-6 (0-3)
Last week: #13 Virginia (L) 56-74
Next week: Miami (Jan. 4 – 7 p.m.), @ Florida State (Jan. 7 – 1 p.m.)
Best wins: Georgia, Northern Illinois, Georgia State
Worst losses: N/A
GT has fallen to 0-3 in ACC basketball play after back-to-back losses to Clemson and Virginia. Their offense looks stagnant, but Miles Kelly is playing great basketball. Other than that, Georgia Tech looks to be headed in the direction of another rebuilding year.
13) Florida State Seminoles
Last week’s ranking: 13 (-)
Record: 4-11 (2-2)
Last week: @ #17 Duke (L) 67-86
Next week: Georgia Tech (Jan. 7 – 1 p.m.)
Best wins: Mercer, Louisville, SC Upstate
Worst losses: Stetson, Troy, Siena
FSU extended its win streak to 4 before losing in Durham to Duke. Although a win was not expected, it would have been a nice consolation for the Noles. Nonetheless, Florida State has at least picked up wins when it should, which it could not say at the beginning of the season.
14) Boston College Eagles
Last week’s ranking: 14 (-)
Record: 7-7 (1-2)
Last week: @ Syracuse (L) 65-79
Next week: Notre Dame (Jan. 3 – 7 p.m.), #17 Duke (Jan. 7 – 1 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia Tech, Rhode Island, Wyoming
Worst losses: Maine, Tarleton, New Hampshire
Boston College is still hovering at the .500 mark after losing to Syracuse. However, a nice overtime win over Virginia Tech was a quality game for BC. BC hosts Duke next week after hosting Notre Dame, and the Eagles have a history of beating Duke in Chestnut Hill. Upset watch on Saturday afternoon.
15) Louisville Cardinals
Last week’s ranking: 15 (-)
Record: 2-12 (0-3)
Last week: @ #19 Kentucky (L) 63-86
Next week: Syracuse (Jan. 3 – 7 p.m.), Wake Forest (Jan. 7 – 3 p.m.)
Best wins: Western Kentucky, Florida A&M
Worst losses: Bellarmine, Wright State, App State, Lipscomb
Louisville could not put together a long win streak, dropping three straight after picking up its first two victories of the season. A win in the rivalry matchup with Kentucky would have been nice for bragging rights, and that’s about it. It still looks like Louisville is the league’s worst team, and that does not look like it will change for a while.
Featured Image courtesy of @CanesHoops on Twitter.