Sam Bass gives his ACC basketball power rankings for week 16 of the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Matchup of the week: Virginia vs. North Carolina
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Miami vs. Virginia Tech
All games listed are EST.
1) Virginia Cavaliers
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 21-4 (13-3)
Last week: @ Louisville (W) 61-58, Notre Dame (W) 57-55
Next week: @ Boston College (Feb. 22 – 7 p.m.), @ North Carolina (Feb. 25 – 6 p.m.)
Best wins: Baylor, Illinois, Duke, NC State, @ Wake Forest, North Carolina
Worst losses: @ Pittsburgh, @ Virginia Tech
Virginia barely escaped the league’s two worst teams this week, winning each game by just one possession. Fortunately for the Cavaliers, they were able to pick up two wins while Pitt lost, so Virginia sits alone atop the ACC. If UVA wants to stay there though, they have to improve their offensive input in order to take down a BC team who is playing well, as well as UNC in Chapel Hill.
2) Miami Hurricanes
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 22-5 (13-4)
Last week: @ North Carolina (W) 80-72, Wake Forest (W) 96-87
Next week: @ Virginia Tech (Feb. 21 – 7 p.m.), Florida State (Feb. 25 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Providence, NC State, Rutgers, Duke, @ North Carolina, @ Clemson
Worst losses: @ Georgia Tech
Miami continues to put together a fantastic season, winning handily at North Carolina and handling its business against Wake in Coral Gables. The Hurricanes have all but sealed a top-four seed in the ACC Tournament, and their ceiling continues to grow. They have a tough task going to Blacksburg, as the Hokies are electric at home, but two wins for Miami this week could be critical for seeding in March.
3) Pittsburgh Panthers
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)
Record: 19-8 (12-4)
Last week: Boston College (W) 77-58, @ Virginia Tech (L) 72-79
Next week: Georgia Tech (Feb. 21 – 7 p.m.), Syracuse (Feb. 25 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Miami (Fla), @ Northwestern, @ NC State, North Carolina (x2)
Worst losses: @ Vanderbilt, Florida State, @ Virginia Tech
Pitt was the latest victim to Blacksburg, as VT took down yet another top ACC basketball team on their home court. With the loss, Pittsburgh is out of first place, but still in a fantastic position to make a postseason run. The Panthers have two winnable home games this week that are critical to maintaining their standing.
4) NC State Wolfpack
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)
Record: 21-7 (11-6)
Last week: @ Syracuse (L) 72-75, @ North Carolina (W) 77-69
Next week: Wake Forest (Feb. 22 – 9 p.m.), Clemson (Feb. 25 – Noon)
Best wins: Miami (Fla), Duke, @ North Carolina, @ Wake Forest, Dayton
Worst Losses: @ Syracuse
NC State fell on the road to Syracuse by 3 but picked up a great win on the road in Chapel Hill to salvage the week. The Wolfpack fell out of the top 25, but it’s easy to see them getting back in sooner than later, especially when the offense fires on all cylinders.
5) Duke Blue Devils
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-)
Record: 19-8 (10-6)
Last week: Notre Dame (W) 68-64, @ Syracuse (W) 77-55
Next week: Louisville (Feb. 20 – 7 p.m.), Virginia Tech (Feb. 25 – 8 p.m.)
Best wins: Xavier, Miami (Fla), Iowa, Pittsburgh, North Carolina
Worst losses: @ Virginia Tech
The Blue Devils narrowly escaped Notre Dame at home but throttled Syracuse on the road. Duke definitely warranted some sort of wake-up call after losing two straight and barely beating a low-tier team in Notre Dame, and they did so with fire, beating the Orange, who were coming off a nice win against NC State, by 22 points.
6) North Carolina Tar Heels
Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)
Record: 16-11 (8-8)
Last week: #13 Miami (L) 72-80, @ NC State (L) 69-77
Next week: @ Notre Dame (Feb. 22 – 9 p.m.), #6 Virginia (Feb. 25 – 6 p.m.)
Best wins: NC State, Clemson, Charleston
Worst losses: Pittsburgh
UNC fell to .500 in conference with two losses to Miami and NC State. The Tar Heels remain in their position in the power rankings because Clemson fell to Louisville, but they have not played well at all as of late. Carolina is now firmly on the bubble and could very well be on the outside looking in. There is a clear division between the top of the league and the middle, and UNC has solidified itself in the middle.
7) Clemson Tigers
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 19-8 (11-5)
Last week: Florida State (W) 94-54, @ Louisville (L) 73-83
Next week: Syracuse (Feb. 22 – 7 p.m.), @ NC State (Feb. 25 – Noon)
Best wins: @ Pittsburgh, Duke, NC State, Penn State
Worst losses: Loyola Chicago, @ Louisville, @ Boston College
Clemson really took a step backward this week, crushing Florida State by 40 just to travel to the KFC Yum! Center to lose to last place Louisville. A loss like that could very well knock the Tigers out of the field of 68 completely and is inexcusable. Clemson has to do some more resume-building to play postseason basketball, and a road trip to NC State this week is a great opportunity to do so.
8) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 17-10 (9-7)
Last week: @ #13 Miami (L) 87-96
Next week: @ NC State (Feb. 22 – 9 p.m.), Notre Dame (Feb. 25 – 7 p.m.)
Best wins: Duke, @ Wisconsin, North Carolina, Clemson
Worst losses: Loyola Marymount
Wake Forest had one game this week, falling on the road to Miami. Not much to say for Wake, as they were not expected to win that tough matchup, and their postseason hopes continue to dwindle. Similar to Clemson, The Demon Deacons have a nice resume-boosting opportunity at NC State if they want to make their way back onto the bubble.
9) Syracuse Orange
Last week’s ranking: 10 (+1)
Record: 16-11 (9-7)
Last week: NC State (W) 75-72, Duke (L) 55-77
Next week: @ Clemson (Feb. 22 – 7 p.m.), @ Pittsburgh (Feb. 25 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: NC State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame (x2)
Worst losses: Colgate, Bryant, @ Virginia Tech
Speaking of the bubble, is Syracuse back on, as they are every year? Probably not. But their win over NC State is quite possibly the Orange’s first over a tournament team this season. Two road tests lie ahead for yet more quality win opportunities, and, who knows, Syracuse could be in the bubble conversation.
10) Virginia Tech Hokies
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-1)
Record: 16-11 (6-10)
Last week: @ Georgia Tech (L) 70-77, Pittsburgh (W) 79-72
Next week: #13 Miami (Feb. 21 – 7 p.m.), @ Duke (Feb. 25 – 8 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Duke, Pitt, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Penn State, Dayton
Worst losses: Boston College (x2), @ Syracuse, @ Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech fell to GT on the road before taking down Pitt at home. The win over Pitt, who is second in the league at the moment, is great, but the loss to the Yellow Jackets is just crushing for the Hokies, who are now just 6-10 in league play. Their bubble might be burst, but they play host to Miami before traveling to Duke, a team they narrowly escaped earlier this season.
11) Boston College Eagles
Last week’s ranking: 12 (+1)
Record: 13-15 (7-10)
Last week: @ Pittsburgh (L) 58-77, @ Florida State (W) 75-69
Next week: #6 Virginia (Feb. 22 – 7 p.m.)
Best wins: Clemson, Virginia Tech (x2), Notre Dame (x2)
Worst losses: Maine, Tarleton, New Hampshire
BC is one of those dangerous teams that have no chance to play in the NCAA Tournament but can very well make sure your favorite team is sitting there watching it with them. The Eagles have been playing their best basketball, minus the loss to Pitt, and have one game against Virginia this week that could be a crushing blow to UVA’s seeding.
12) Florida State Seminoles
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-1)
Record: 8-20 (6-11)
Last week: @ Clemson (L) 54-94, Boston College (L) 69-75
Next week: @ #13 Miami (Feb. 25 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Pittsburgh, @ Notre Dame, Mercer
Worst losses: Stetson, Troy, Siena, Boston College
Florida State fell twice this week, once at home to BC and once at Clemson by 40. It is safe to say the Seminoles’ season is all but over, and they are just grinding until the final game where they can reset and get to next season.
13) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last week’s ranking: 13 (-)
Record: 11-16 (3-13)
Last week: Virginia Tech (W) 77-70, Florida Tech (W) 79-56
Next week: @ Pittsburgh (Feb. 21 – 7 p.m.), Louisville (Feb. 25 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: Miami (Fla), Virginia Tech, Georgia
Worst losses: @ Florida State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, @ Louisville
GT won twice this week, beating Virginia Tech and then handling business out of conference against Florida Tech. The win over the Hokies is a nice victory for the Yellow Jackets who have had an otherwise disappointing season. Georgia Tech can play spoiler this week if they can upset Pitt on the road.
14) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last week’s ranking: 14 (-)
Record: 10-17 (2-14)
Last week: @ Duke (L) 64-68, @ #6 Virginia (L) 55-57
Next week: North Carolina (Feb. 22 – 9 p.m.), @ Wake Forest (Feb. 25 – 7 p.m.)
Best wins: Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Lipscomb
Worst losses: St. Bonaventure, Florida State (x2), Boston College (x2), @ Georgia Tech
Notre Dame lost twice this week, but played two good teams tough, both on the road. It is possible the Irish are playing with a bit more firepower toward the end of Mike Brey’s tenure, so UNC and Wake should be aware before Notre Dame plays them this week.
15) Louisville Cardinals
Last week’s ranking: 15 (-)
Record: 4-23 (2-14)
Last week: @ #6 Virginia (L) 58-61, Clemson (W) 83-73
Next week: @ Duke (Feb. 20 – 7 p.m.), @ Georgia Tech (Feb. 25 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: Clemson, Western Kentucky, Georgia Tech
Worst losses: Bellarmine, Wright State, App State, Lipscomb, @ Boston College, @ Notre Dame
Louisville is winning like no one’s business! Who would have thought the Cardinals upset Clemson, and by 10 points nonetheless? Not to go unnoticed, but they played Virginia very tough as well. This team is starting to play with reckless abandon, and for other ACC basketball teams, that is not something that they want to hear.