Sam Bass gives his ACC basketball power rankings for week 17 of the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Matchup of the week: Duke vs. North Carolina
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Pittsburgh vs. Miami
All games listed are EST.
1) Pittsburgh Panthers
Last week’s ranking: 3 (+2)
Record: 21-8 (14-4)
Last week: Georgia Tech (W) 76-68, Syracuse (W) 99-82
Next week: @ Notre Dame (Mar. 1 – 7 p.m.), @ #16 Miami (Fla) (Mar. 4 – 6 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Miami (Fla), @ Northwestern, @ NC State, North Carolina (x2)
Worst losses: @ Vanderbilt, Florida State, @ Virginia Tech
It has been a long time coming, but I am finally giving Pitt the praise they rightfully deserve. My apologies are due to those in the Oakland Zoo. Pittsburgh controls its destiny in terms of winning the ACC regular season title and securing a one-seed in the league tournament, but they will have to win at Notre Dame and Miami to do so.
2) Miami Hurricanes
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 23-6 (14-5)
Last week: @ Virginia Tech (W) 76-70, Florida State (L) 84-85
Next week: #25 Pittsburgh (Mar. 4 – 6 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Providence, Duke, NC State, Rutgers, @ North Carolina, @ Clemson
Worst losses: @ Georgia Tech, Florida State
With Virginia dropping twice and looking bad doing so, Miami can easily be argued as the best team in the conference, and the team most poised to make a run in the NCAA Tournament. Miami also controls its destiny to win at least a share of the ACC, as if it beats Pitt, it will tie Pitt for the best ACC basketball record, as well as win the tiebreaker and give the Hurricanes the one seed in the ACC Tournament.
3) Virginia Cavaliers
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-2)
Record: 21-6 (13-5)
Last week: @ Boston College (L) 48-63, @ North Carolina (L) 63-71
Next week: Clemson (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.), Louisville (Mar. 4 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: Baylor, Illinois, Duke, NC State, @ Wake Forest, North Carolina
Worst losses: @ Virginia Tech, @ Boston College
It has been a tale of two teams for Virginia. The ‘Hoos looked awful last week and it showed up this week, losing to BC and UNC. Virginia’s offense has gone stagnant and there seems to be no firepower for UVA. Optimistically, Virginia played as poorly in December as they have in February, and Virginia’s January was exceptional. Maybe March can be the same.
4) Duke Blue Devils
Last week’s ranking: 5 (+1)
Record: 21-8 (12-6)
Last week: Louisville (W) 79-62, Virginia Tech (W) 81-65
Next week: NC State (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.), @ North Carolina (Mar. 4 – 6:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Xavier, Miami (Fla), Pittsburgh, Iowa, North Carolina
Worst losses: @ Virginia Tech
Duke is starting to click at just the right time, beating Louisville and Virginia Tech, both by double-digits. The Blue Devils probably have the purest talent in the conference, so if they truly do click by the postseason, Duke is a real threat to win the league.
5) NC State Wolfpack
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-1)
Record: 22-8 (12-7)
Last week: Wake Forest (W) 90-74, Clemson (L) 71-96
Next week: @ Duke (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.)
Best wins: Miami (Fla), Duke, @ North Carolina, @ Wake Forest, Dayton
Worst Losses: @ Syracuse
NC State pushed themselves a bit closer to the bubble with a home loss to Clemson. The Wolfpack should make the field, however, their seeding continues to slip as they lose very winnable games. They have one final chance to push away from the bubble before the ACC Tournament during a trip to Durham this week.
6) North Carolina Tar Heels
Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)
Record: 18-11 (10-8)
Last week: @ Notre Dame (W) 63-59, #13 Virginia (W) 71-63
Next week: @ Florida State (Feb. 27 – 7 p.m.), Duke (Mar. 4 – 6:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, NC State, Clemson, Charleston
Worst losses: N/A
UNC picked up two nice wins this week, thwarting Mike Brey’s farewell tour in South Bend and then beating the sixth-ranked Cavaliers in the Dean Dome. Pete Nance shot the ball extremely well in the win over Virginia, and Caleb Love’s shot selection is slightly improving. However, the win over Virginia gets UNC comfortably off the bubble, as it was the Heels’ first Quad 1 win.
7) Clemson Tigers
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 21-8 (13-5)
Last week: Syracuse (W) 91-73, @ NC State (W) 96-71
Next week: @ #13 Virginia (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.), Notre Dame (Mar. 4 – 8 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Pittsburgh, Duke, NC State (x2), Penn State
Worst losses: Loyola Chicago, @ Louisville, @ Boston College
Clemson was outside of the field of 68 before the weekend began, but the Tigers got an excellent win over NC State on the road that could get them over the hump and out of the NIT. Clemson travels to Virginia with a real possibility to solidify a tournament birth, but if they don’t win, they would have to put together a decent run in the ACC Tournament to make the big dance.
8) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 18-11 (10-8)
Last week: @ NC State (L) 74-90, Notre Dame (W) 66-58
Next week: Boston College (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.), @ Syracuse (Mar. 4 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: Duke, Clemson, @ Wisconsin, North Carolina
Worst losses: Loyola Marymount
Wake Forest remained in the middle of the pack with a loss at NC State and a win over Notre Dame. Wake should be a one-win-and-done team in the ACC Tournament, as it has been a perfectly average season for the Deacs.
9) Boston College Eagles
Last week’s ranking: 11 (+2)
Record: 14-15 (8-10)
Last week: #13 Virginia (W) 63-48
Next week: @ Wake Forest (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.), Georgia Tech (Mar. 4 – 2:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Clemson, Virginia Tech (x2)
Worst losses: Maine, Tarleton, New Hampshire
BC picked up a great win in its lone contest this week, beating Virginia handily, and, frankly, making the ‘Hoos look lost on both ends of the ball. BC travels to Wake and then hosts GT to end its season, hoping for a miraculous run in the ACC tourney afterward.
10) Syracuse Orange
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-1)
Record: 16-13 (9-9)
Last week: @ Clemson (L) 73-91, @ Pittsburgh (L) 82-99
Next week: Georgia Tech (Feb. 28 – 7 p.m.), Wake Forest (Mar. 4 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: NC State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame (x2)
Worst losses: Colgate, Bryant, @ Virginia Tech
Syracuse’s imaginary bubble chances disappeared this week, losing two road contests and leaving their resume basically empty. Unless the Orange can win the ACC, it will be a year without a tournament birth in Syracuse.
11) Florida State Seminoles
Last week’s ranking: 12 (+1)
Record: 9-20 (7-11)
Last week: @ #13 Miami (Fla) (W) 85-84
Next week: North Carolina (Feb. 27 – 7 p.m.), @ Virginia Tech (Mar. 4 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Miami (Fla), @ Pittsburgh, @ Notre Dame
Worst losses: Stetson, Troy, Siena, Boston College
Matthew Cleveland delivered FSU’s biggest shot of the season, knocking down a three-point runner to take down then-ranked 13 Miami on the road. Cleveland continues to be clutch, and although this season is a wash for the Seminoles, if he returns, he will be a problem for the rest of the ACC next season.
12) Virginia Tech Hokies
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-2)
Record: 16-13 (6-12)
Last week: #16 Miami (Fla) (L) 70-76, @ Duke (L) 65-81
Next week: @ Louisville (Feb. 28 – 9 p.m.), Florida State (Mar. 4 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: Virginia, Pittsburgh, Duke, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Dayton
Worst losses: Boston College (x2), @ Syracuse, @ Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech had a chance to upset Miami at home, but they fell short, and then lost at Duke handily, virtually eliminating VT from NCAA Tournament contention. The Hokies have no chances for quality wins before the ACC Tournament starts, and even then, it might be too little too late.
13) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last week’s ranking: 13 (-)
Record: 12-17 (4-14)
Last week: @ Pittsburgh (L) 68-76, Louisville (W) 83-67
Next week: @ Syracuse (Feb. 27 – 7 p.m.), @ Boston College (Mar. 4 – 2:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Miami (Fla), Virginia Tech, Georgia
Worst losses: @ Florida State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, @ Louisville
Georgia Tech picked up its fourth league win of the season this week, evening the season series with Louisville. GT travels to Syracuse and then to Boston for two final regular season matchups this week.
14) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last week’s ranking: 14 (-)
Record: 10-19 (2-16)
Last week: North Carolina (L) 59-63, @ Wake Forest (L) 58-66
Next week: #25 Pittsburgh (Mar. 1 – 7 p.m.), @ Clemson (Mar. 4 – 8 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 last week, remaining in a tie for last with Louisville in the ACC. ND does have a chance to play spoiler this week, though, as they host red-hot Pitt in Mike Brey’s final game in South Bend. It could be a story-book ending for the Irish after all.
15) Louisville Cardinals
Last week’s ranking: 15 (-)
Record: 4-25 (2-16)
Last week: @ Duke (L) 62-79, @ Georgia Tech (L) 67-83
Next week: Virginia Tech (Feb. 28 – 9 p.m.), @ #13 Virginia (Mar. 4 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: Clemson, Western Kentucky, Georgia Tech
Worst losses: Bellarmine, Wright State, App State, Lipscomb, @ Boston College, @ Notre Dame
Louisville could not keep itself in the win column this week, losing both its matchups by 17 and 16, respectively. The Cardinals close out with the Commonwealth tandem, hosting Virginia Tech before traveling to Charlottesville to close out against Virginia.
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