Irish Stew: ACC men's basketball power rankings: (Jan. 30)

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Each Monday with conference play in full swing, NDI Notre Dame men’s basketball insider Tom Noie offers his power rankings of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 15 teams.

The rankings are based on the previous week each team experienced. Here are NDI’s ACC rankings for the week of Jan. 23-29. Teams are listed from strongest to weakest with overall and conference records as of Monday in parenthesis.

Coaches' quotes come from the Jan. 30 teleconference. Jeff Capel and Mike Brey did not participate in the call because it was a game day for their teams.

1. Virginia (16-4; 6-2 ACC)

Last week: 4

Noting: Coming off a 17-point win at Notre Dame, the No. 9 Cavaliers lost by two to Villanova on Sunday following a Donte DiVincenzo tip-in at the buzzer.

Quoting: "It's certainly a gauntlet in this league. You have a chance to get one or be gotten (but) we've played a good stretch of basketball."

• Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett

2. North Carolina (19-4; 7-2)

Last week: 2

Noting: The No. 12 Tar Heels lead the league in scoring (88.3 ppg.), scoring margin (+17.2), rebounds (45.3), rebounding margin (+13.7) and assists (18.5).

Quoting: “Sometimes you play better and sometimes you don’t. We’ve got to play better.”

• Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.

3. Louisville (18-4; 6-3)

Last week: 5

Noting: The No. 6 Cardinals have won six of their last seven league games and get much of this week off before Saturday’s game at Boston College.

Quoting: “They’re surprising me a little bit in that how well they’ve played together. We’re without our two point guards. It’s a little different. You fight a lot harder because you’re wounded. We’re passing the ball better, shooting the ball better. I can’t find a rhyme or reason for it.”

• Cardinals coach Rick Pitino

4. Florida State (18-4; 6-3)

Last week: 1

Noting: The No. 15 Seminoles jumped to No. 6 in the national rankings last week, then trailed by 29 points at Georgia Tech and by 18 at Syracuse, both losses.

Quoting: “We were not quite as sharp and those teams played exceptionally well. That’s a bad formula when you go on the road in the ACC. You need to be at your best. We have to step it up a little.”

• Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton

5. Notre Dame (17-5; 6-3)

Last week: 3

Noting: The No. 20 Irish opened the week ranked first in the nation in free throw percentage (81.5) but rank 316th for free throws attempted (356).

Quoting: “We played really good teams. Maybe we haven’t been able to get into the best of offensive rhythms.”

• Irish coach Mike Brey

6. Duke (16-5; 4-4)

Last week: 6

Noting: The No. 21 Blue Devils had fielded eight different starting lineup combinations heading into Monday’s game at Notre Dame.

Quoting: “We fought. We fought for 40 minutes. It wasn’t pretty the whole time, but the final result was pretty. We overcame adversity.”

• Blue Devils associate head coach Jeff Capel after Saturday’s win over Wake Forest

7. Georgia Tech (13-8; 5-4)

Last week: 8

Noting: Picked in preseason to finish 14th in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets ended the first half of conference play tied for sixth.

Quoting: “We had a good week last week, being able to get two good wins against two good teams. Nothing changes for us (but) we’ve become a good team.”

• Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner

8. Syracuse (13-9; 5-4)

Last week: 10

Noting: Down by one with just under nine minutes remaining in Saturday’s first half against Florida State, the Orange unleashed a 31-12 run to take an 18-point lead in a game they would win by 10.

Quoting: "We’ve not been a good defensive team on the road. Our defense has not been as good as it needs to be on the road. We just haven’t played well enough.”

• Orange coach Jim Boeheim

9. Miami (Fla.) (14-6; 4-4)

Last week: 11

Noting: Freshman guard Bruce Brown went for a career-high 30 points in Saturday’s win over North Carolina. It was the fifth win in the last seven games for the Hurricanes against the Tar Heels.

Quoting: “We had a good week last week at home after being on the road for three-straight games.”

• Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga

10. Virginia Tech (16-5; 5-4)

Last week: 9

Noting: The Hokies’ victory Sunday night over Boston College was coach Buzz Williams’ 200th of his career.

Quoting: “The more guys you can put on the floor that can pass, dribble and shoot, the more chance you have to be effective. That’s the way the game is morphing.”

• Hokies coach Buzz Williams

11. North Carolina State (14-8; 3-6)

Last week: 13

Noting: After winning at Duke for the first time since 1995, the Wolfpack lost by 25 points Sunday at Louisville.

Quoting: “We need to bounce back. This is a long league conference, a lot of good teams in this conference. We’ve just got to bounce back with great energy.”

• Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried

12. Clemson (12-8; 2-6)

Last week: 14

Noting: Forward Jaron Blossomgame has scored over 20 points in six of the Tigers’ last seven games.

Quoting: “We finally got a good win, a nice road win at Pitt. I hope it means we can string a couple (wins) together. We need to.”

• Tigers coach Brad Brownell

13. Wake Forest (12-9; 3-6)

Last week: 7

Noting: After winning on the road for the first time in nearly three seasons at North Carolina State, the Demon Deacons lost to Syracuse and Duke, where it had a 10-point lead at home with four minutes remaining.

Quoting: “You do the best you can until you can do better. That’s the situation that we’re in. We’re getting better and we’re learning and we’re not satisfied with not winning. We’re taking steps.”

• Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning

14. Boston College (9-13; 2-7)

Last week: 12

Noting: Having lost five league games in a row, the Eagles open a stretch of three-straight home games.

Quoting: “Every step is a challenge. It’s not easy.”

• Eagles coach Jim Christian

15. Pittsburgh (12-9; 1-7)

Last week: 15

Noting: The Panthers dropped a pair of league home games last week, including a 55-point loss to Louisville, its most lopsided defeat since 1906 when it lost to Westminster by 93.

Quoting: “We’re struggling and that’s obvious by what’s been going on with the outcomes of our games. Things don’t get any easier. It’s an unforgiving league.”

• Panthers coach Kevin Stallings