ACC Basketball Power Rankings: 2/26
1. Duke Blue Devils (LW: 1) 24-3 (12-2)
Last Week: L vs UNC 72-88, W @ Syracuse 75-65; Next Week: @ VT 2/26, vs Miami 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Can the talented freshmen handle adversity? - The Blue Devils were soundly defeated by their rivals in Chapel Hill after Zion Williamson’s shoe exploded less than a minute into the game. They were then able to avenge an earlier loss to Syracuse, so RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish are off to a good start.
2. Virginia Cavaliers (LW: 2) 24-2 (12-2)
Last Week: W @ Louisville 64-52; Next Week: vs GT 2/27, vs Pitt 3/2, @ Syracuse 3/4
End-of-season Storyline: Can they replicate last season’s regular season success, and then fix their NCAA Tourney blunder? - In case you forgot, last season UVA became the first 1-seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This season, they are back in contention for another 1-seed, with their only 2 losses this season coming to fellow national contender Duke. Can the Cavaliers make better use of their opportunities this season?
3. North Carolina Tar Heels (LW: 3) 22-5 (12-2)
Last Week: W @ Duke 88-72, W vs FSU 77-59; Next Week: vs Syracuse 2/26, @ Clemson 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Do the Tar Heels deserve more respect? - Even though Zion went down early in UNC’s victory over Duke, the Tar Heels still have a collection of quality wins this season including the current #1 team in the nation Gonzaga, Virginia Tech and Florida State. UNC is also currently tied atop the ACC.
4. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 5) 22-6 (10-5)
Last Week: W @ Clemson 77-64, L @ UNC 59-77, W vs ND 68-61; Next Week: vs NC State 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: How long can the Seminoles keep this up? - The Noles have lost only once since the middle of January, and that was to red hot UNC. Will this run of quality basketball lead to another tourney run?
5. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 6) 21-6 (10-5)
Last Week: W @ ND 59-67; Next Week: vs Duke 2/26
End-of-season Storyline: Can the Hokies find some consistency? - VT is 7-5 in their last 12 games, with scoring outputs as high as 87 points and as low as 47, as well as defensive showings from 24 points to 103. Hard to identify an identity in those performances.
6. Syracuse Orange (LW: 7) 18-9 (9-5)
Last Week: W vs Louisville 69-49, L vs Duke 65-75; Next Week: @ UNC 2/26, @ Wake 3/2, vs UVA 3/4
End-of-season Storyline: Are the Orange in line to be a dangerous March team? - In 2018, Syracuse made a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament after an up-and-down regular season. In 2019, the Orange are experiencing a similar campaign. How similar? Through 27 games in 2018, Syracuse was 18-9, which is their current record.
7. Louisville Cardinals (LW: 4) 18-10 (9-6)
Last Week: L @ Syracuse 49-69, L vs UVA 52-64; Next Week: @ BC 2/27, vs ND 3/3
End-of-season Storyline: Can the Cardinals stop their freefall? - after reaching the #15 spot in the national rankings, Louisville has lost 5 of their last 7 games, leaving them now closer to the bubble than to safety in the tourney picture
8. NC State Wolfpack (LW: 8) 20-8 (8-7)
Last Week: W vs BC 89-80, W vs Wake 94-74; Next Week: @ FSU 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Can the Wolfpack handle big-time opponents? - NC State is 1-8 against ranked opponents this season, with another one on deck in #18 FSU. The conference tournament is on the horizon, meaning more top opponents, which NC State will need to figure out or else their season will be over.
9. Clemson Tigers (LW: 9) 16-11 (6-8)
Last Week: L vs FSU 64-77, W vs BC 76-66; Next Week: @ Pitt 2/27, vs UNC 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Why can’t the Tigers close out games? - Clemson is in the top 5 of the conference in field goal percentage and field goal percentage allowed, yet they are below .500 in conference play. They could likely improve their results with better rebounding and less turnovers.
10. Boston College Eagles (LW: 10) 13-13 (4-10)
Last Week: L @ Pitt 80-89, L @ Clemson 66-76; Next Week: vs Louisville 2/27, @ GT 3/3
End-of-season Storyline: Can Ky Bowman get some help? - The Eagles’ junior guard is having one of the best individual seasons in the conference, yet BC currently sits at 4-10. Bowman’s teammates will need to step up if BC wants to make a run in the conference tourney and have any shot at making the NCAA or NIT.
11. Miami Hurricanes (LW: 12) 12-14 (4-10)
Last Week: W vs GT 80-65; Next Week: @ Wake 2/26, @ Duke 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Can the Canes salvage any part of the season? - Miami was picked to finish 10th this preseason by the ACC Coaches, and currently sit 11th. While by that measure the Canes are nearly right where they should be, Miami has experienced so many losses not on the scoreboard that one has to believe this team at its best should have been capable of so much more.
12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (LW: 13) 12-16 (4-11)
Last Week: W vs Pitt 73-65, L @ Miami 65-80; Next Week: @ UVA 2/27, vs BC 3/3
End-of-season Storyline: From where can the Yellow Jackets find more offense? - GT’s leading scorer is Jose Alvarado, who is averaging 12.6 points per game. No other player is averaging in double figures, which explains why GT ranks last in the ACC in scoring.
13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (LW: 11) 13-15 (3-12)
Last Week: L vs Wake 68-75, L vs VT 59-67, L @ FSU 61-68; Next Week: @ Louisville 3/3
End-of-season Storyline: Can it get any worse in South Bend? - The Fighting Irish were a frequent tournament team before having their 2018 season derailed by an injury to star forward Bonzie Colson. Now, they’re below .500, and lost to an extremely inexperienced Wake Forest team.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (LW: 15) 10-16 (3-11)
Last Week: W @ ND 75-68, L @ NC State 74-94; Next Week: vs Miami 2/26, vs Syracuse 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Can the Demon Deacons build late season momentum for their young core? - Wake Forest has 5 freshman on it’s roster, including forward Jaylen Hoard, who appears to be a future star for the Deacs averaging 13.8 points and 8 rebounds this season. Experience could make worlds of difference for this team, so Wake will be hoping to make some progress in their final 4 games.
15. Pittsburgh Panthers (LW: 14) 12-15 (2-12)
Last Week: L @ GT 65-73; Next Week: vs Clemson 2/27, @ UVA 3/2
End-of-season Storyline: Where does Pitt go from here? - The Panthers are officially the bottom dwellers of the conference, and need to start figuring out what current players will contribute to Pitt moving back up the ladder.