Irish Stew: ACC men's basketball power rankings (Feb. 13)

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 Feb. 5-12. Teams are listed from strongest to weakest with overall and conference records as of Monday in parenthesis.

Coaches' quotes come from the Feb. 13 teleconference. Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim were not on the call because it was a game day for both teams.

1. North Carolina (21-5; 9-3)

Last week: 1

Noting: Idle since the Feb. 9 loss to Duke, the No. 10 Tar Heels close the regular season with three of six on the road with home games against Duke, Louisville and Virginia.

Quoting: “You have to do a better job of guarding the ball so you don't have to help. We've worked on it more than we've ever worked on it as a team. Sometimes you're making some head-way and sometimes you're not."

• Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.

2. Duke (20-5; 8-4)

Last week: 5

Noting: The No. 12 Blue Devils are the hottest team in the league having won five straight after losing three of four.

Quoting: “It’s difficult to prepare for outstanding teams because outstanding teams have more than one or two options.”

• Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski

3. Louisville (20-5; 8-4)

Last week: 2

Noting: The No. 8 Cardinals played a conference road game on ESPN’s Big Monday for the second-straight week Feb. 13 at Syracuse. Louisville lost the previous week at Virginia.

Quoting: “This was a great lesson. You don't win this game because they totally outplayed us. They were the better basketball team, but we showed incredible character to win this game. We're real proud of that, probably our best game of the season in terms of character because we didn't have it in any phase of the game.”

• Cardinals coach Rick Pitino following the Feb. 11 victory over Miami (Fla.).

4. Virginia (18-6; 8-4)

Last week: 3

Noting: The No. 14 Cavaliers start a stretch Feb. 15 of three games in six days against Duke, North Carolina and Miami (Fla.), which are a combined 57-18.

Quoting: "You've got to be real good in all areas, home or away, to come away with wins in this league."

• Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett

5. Florida State (21-5; 9-4)

Last week: 4

Noting: The No. 17 Seminoles get a week off after the loss to Notre Dame before a visit Saturday to Pittsburgh.

Quoting: “We lost to a very well-prepared Notre Dame team. We just didn’t seem to have an answer for their spread offense. Notre Dame played exceptionally well against us.”

• Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton

6. Notre Dame (19-7; 8-5)

Last week: 7

Noting: Junior power forward Bonzie Colson is the only player in the ACC averaging a double double with 16.7 points and a league-best 10.8 rebounds.

Quoting: “We got back on the winning track here a little bit. We may have played our best game for 40 minutes against (Florida State). You like your position as you head back on the road.”

• Irish coach Mike Brey

7. Syracuse (16-10; 8-5)

Last week: 6

Noting: Guard John Gillon entered the Feb. 13 game against Louisville having made 34-straight free throws, three shy of tying the school record.

Quoting: "These guys fight hard. They (keep) coming back at it.”

• Orange coach Jim Boeheim following the Feb. 11 loss at Pittsburgh.

8. Virginia Tech (17-7; 6-6)

Last week: 9

Noting: The Hokies trailed Virginia by 14 points at halftime Feb. 12 before winning 80-78 in double overtime.

Quoting: “We don’t necessarily talk about (an NCAA tournament) resume. I think it’s too early. If you’re talking about a resume on Valentine’s Day, you probably haven’t done enough work, and there’s more work to be done.”

• Hokies coach Buzz Williams

9. Wake Forest (15-10; 6-6)

Last week: 10

Noting: The Demon Deacons beat North Carolina State by 30 points on Saturday to complete a season sweep, its first over the Wolfpack since 2004-05.

Quoting: “We feel we’re playing pretty well. We feel really good about where we are right now.”

• Demon Deacons assistant coach Randolph Childress

10. Georgia Tech (15-10; 6-6)

Last week: 11

Noting: Guard Tadric Jackson scored a career-high 29 points in the Feb. 11 win over Boston College. Jackson’s previous career best was 25 in the Jan. 28 win over Notre Dame.

Quoting: “We’re a little bit banged up. We’re just trying to keep it together. This time of the year, you’ve got to try and stay healthy.”

• Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner

11. Miami (Fla.) (16-8; 6-6)

Last week: 8

Noting: The Hurricanes led by as many as 14 points at Louisville on Feb. 11 before losing 71-66.

Quoting: “The most important thing is your players feel good about the way they play (in a close loss).”

• Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga

12. Pittsburgh (14-11; 3-9)

Last week: 15

Noting: The Panthers had 25 assists on 26 baskets in their Feb. 11 victory over Syracuse.

Quoting: “We’ve played a little better the last couple weeks, and that’s been encouraging. We’re playing with more urgency.”

• Panthers coach Kevin Stallings

13. Clemson (13-11; 3-9)

Last week: 12

Noting: The Tigers have lost nine of their last 11 with six of those by five or fewer points.

Quoting: “I don’t know that we needed a loss to motivate our guys. I think our guys are still competing hard. We’ve been in games where we’ve been down to the wire, but just haven’t pulled them out.”

• Tigers coach Brad Brownell

14. North Carolina State (14-12; 3-10)

Last week: 13

Noting: After winning at Duke for the first time since 1995, the Wolfpack have lost five in a row, including three by at least 15 points.

Quoting: “We’ve lost our zip. This team has to get some energy back. They have to have fun playing.””

• Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried

15. Boston College (9-17; 2-11)

Last week: 14

Noting: The Eagles forced Georgia Tech to miss 22 of its first 24 shots while scoring 15 first-half points in the Feb. 11 loss.

Quoting: “We’re still struggling to find a little bit of consistency for 40 minutes. We kind of break down at pivotal times of games. We’ve got to get better at that.”

• Eagles coach Jim Christian