There were a lot of exciting ACC matchups this week, with every team besides Duke having a chance at a conference rival. The results included a shakeup in the middle of the rankings, but the top and bottom of the conference held steady.
The Championship Hopefuls
1. Louisville: 2-0 last week
Louisville had a good week with a good conference win at Miami. Jordan Nwora has been as advertised so far, scoring 23 against Miami and 21 against Youngstown State. The Cardinals likely won’t have a real challenge until they face off against Texas Tech on Dec. 10. Until then, their spot at the top is safe.
This week: vs. Indiana St., vs. North Carolina Central
2. Duke: 2-0 last week
The young Blue Devils got a big win over No. 3 Kansas on opening night, with Cassius Stanley strutting his stuff in the matchup. Tre Jones has been on point, leading the team in both rebounds and assists. This young, athletic Blue Devils team looks like it has a chance to make a deep run in March.
This week: vs. Central Arkansas, vs. Georgia Southern
3. North Carolina: 2-0 last week
Cole Anthony is doing his job, averaging 27 points a game so far. Anthony scored a freshman school record 43 points in the Tarheels’ opening game against Notre Dame. The young freshman is going to fight to be the number one pick in the NBA Draft if he continues to impress as he has thus far. An early conference win over the Fighting Irish doesn’t hurt either.
This week: vs. Gardner-Webb
4. Virginia: 2-0 last week
Defensive UVA is back. The Cavaliers held both Syracuse and James Madison to a tepid 34 points apiece. This is Tony Bennett’s coaching philosophy and it has proven successful in years past. The question is: Is the offense good enough? Sixteen points per game from Mamadi Diakite seems to say yes, but we’ll see.
This week: vs. Columbia
Good, not Great
5. Notre Dame (+2): 1-1 last week
There’s no shame in losing to a fantastic UNC team in the season opener. The way to bounce back from that is to handle your non-conference opponent, which is what the Fighting Irish did next. Freshman Prentiss Hubb seems to be a star, averaging 18 points per game through two games and allowing the offense to find its footing.
This week: vs. Howard, vs. Marshall
6. Syracuse (+2): 0-1 last week
Elijah Hughes scored 14 in Syracuse’s only game of the week against UVA. The defense is still as stifling as ever. The Orange won’t drop just because they lost to a top 10 team in the country, but if they take another loss before ACC play, they’ll take a tumble.
This week: vs. Colgate, vs. Seattle
7. Georgia Tech (+3): 1-0 last week
What a win. Georgia Tech played up to high scoring NC State and pulled out a win in overtime. It seems James Banks III found some offense. If the Yellow Jackets can continue their grittiness through likely the toughest non-conference schedule in the ACC, they’ll be in good shape.
This week: vs. Elon
8. Florida State (-2): 1-1 last week
Who loses to an unranked Pitt team and then turns around and smacks top 10 Florida on the weekend? Florida State does. The first week of the season may define a year of unbelievable highs and lows for the Seminoles. Florida State has to be consistent if they want to meet expectations this year, though.
This week: vs. Western Carolina
Teams with Real Upside
9. Pittsburgh (+2): 1-1 last week
A win over Florida State is probably more important than a loss to Nicholls State, even though the loss is not good. If Pitt loses more non-conference games it will be in trouble, but they’re given the benefit of the doubt here.
This week: at Robert Morris, vs. West Virginia
10. NC State: 1-1 last week
NC State takes a fall this week after a loss to Georgia Tech. C.J. Bryce can score, but if the defense can’t do anything, the Wolfpack won’t win a lot of games. Giving up 65 points to Detroit Mercy is not a good sign.
This week: vs. Florida International, vs. Saint Francis
11. Miami (-2): 1-1 last week
Most teams are going to get burnt by Louisville this season. Miami still has a chance to prove its stuff and make the tournament again. Its offense needs to play a little bit better, though.
This week: at Central Florida, vs. Quinnipiac
12. Virginia Tech (+1): 2-0 last week
A win over Clemson always helps, but the Virginia Tech offense has to figure out a way to score when Landers Nolley isn’t hitting. The defense is there for sure. The Hokies have three games to figure it out before they face off against Michigan State and Duke in back-to-back games where the offense will have to show up.
This week: vs. South Carolina Upstate, vs. Lehigh
The Bad Teams
13. Wake Forest (-1): 1-1 last week
Wake Forest drops and is in danger of finding themselves at the bottom of the ACC soon. Brandon Childress has the volume, but 39% from the field isn’t going to cut it. Only beating Columbia by two isn’t going to cut it either.
This week: vs. UNC Asheville, at Charlotte
14. Boston College: 2-0 last week
The Eagles’ offense seems to be there with Derryck Thornton leading the way. This team has some upside if they can figure it out. They don’t move up this week, but watch out.
This week: vs. High Point, vs. Belmont
15. Clemson: 2-1 last week
Clemson has some upside, but it seems there is no true scorer. A conference loss to Virginia Tech is never good, so Clemson finds itself at the bottom of the barrell for the second week in a row.
This week: vs. Detroit