Irish Stew: ACC men's basketball power rankings (Feb. 20)

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. 12-19. Teams are listed from strongest to weakest with overall and conference records as of Monday in parenthesis.

Coaches' quotes come from the Feb. 20 teleconference. Four coaches – Miami’s Jim Larranaga and Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Boston College’s Jim Christian and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton – did not participate on the call because it was a game day for all four teams.

1. North Carolina (23-5; 11-3)

Last week: 1

Noting: The No. 8 Tar Heels held Virginia to 41 points in Saturday’s 24-point win. It was the lowest point total for an opponent in coach Roy Williams’ tenure in Chapel Hill.

Quoting: “Fifteen teams of the caliber that we have makes it just an unbelievable league. When I came here to the ACC as an assistant, we had seven teams. The teams that we got from the Big East have been fantastic. It’s a basketball league that has tremendous history and tradition in the schools.”

• Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.

2. Duke (22-5; 10-4)

Last week: 2

Noting: The No. 10 Blue Devils have won seven-straight league games by an average of 6.4 points.

Quoting: “The 3-point shot has been a huge, huge plus. We have to continue to look at things that will better the game.”

• Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski

3. Louisville (22-5; 10-4)

Last week: 3

Noting: The No. 7 Cardinals’ victory at home Saturday over Virginia Tech was No. 1,800 in program history.

Quoting: “Defensively, we’ve struggled all season. It’s been nowhere near where it’s been the last four years.”

• Cardinals coach Rick Pitino

4. Notre Dame (21-7; 10-5)

Last week: 6

Noting: The No. 21 Irish are 4-0 since switching to their mustard-gold jerseys prior to the Feb. 7 game against Wake Forest.

Quoting: “We’re pleased with an offensive rhythm that we’ve kind of gotten back into the last four games.”

• Irish coach Mike Brey

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

Last week: 4

Noting: The No. 18 Cavaliers have lost four of their last five, including all three last week.

Quoting: "It’s no mystery we don’t score a ton inside, so when we’re missing some perimeter shots – some were pretty good shots – that puts a lot of pressure on us defensively.”

• Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett following Saturday’s loss at North Carolina.

6. Florida State (21-6; 9-5)

Last week: 5

Noting: The No. 19 Seminoles are 2-5 on the road in league play, including losses in four of their last five.

Quoting: “It’s late in the year. Hopefully we’ll be who we are and it will be enough for us to be successful.”

• Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton

7. Miami (Fla.) (18-8; 8-6)

Last week: 11

Noting: The Hurricanes have quietly won four of the last five, including two in a row after the suspension of guard Ja’Quan Newton, who was suspended for three games for a violation of team rules.

Quoting: “Part of the key for us is being able to hold people under 70 (points). If we can do that and do some good things offensively, then we have a good chance.”

• Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga following Saturday’s victory over Clemson.

8. Virginia Tech (18-8; 7-7)

Last week: 8

Noting: Three of the Hokies’ final four games are at home, where they’re 5-1 in league play with the loss to Notre Dame.

Quoting: “Like many coaches this time of year, we’re trying manage the emotional gas tank, the physical gas tank. I don’t have enough data right now to know what are our best strategy at both ends of the floor.”

• Hokies coach Buzz Williams

9. Georgia Tech (16-11; 7-7)

Last week: 10

Noting: The Yellow Jackets are 6-1 at home in league play following Sunday’s win over Syracuse.

Quoting: “Every win for us is a great win. This league is so good that you can play really well and still lose.”

• Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner

10. Syracuse (16-12; 8-7)

Last week: 7

Noting: Freshman Taurean Thompson recorded his first career double double with 18 points and 12 rebounds in Sunday’s loss at Georgia Tech.

Quoting: "We don’t think about yesterday or last week.”

• Orange coach Jim Boeheim

11. Wake Forest (15-12; 6-9)

Last week: 9

Noting: On the cusp of challenging for a possible NCAAS Tournament bid two weeks ago, the Demon Deacons have lost three of their last four.

Quoting: “John (Collins) is just scratching the surface. We’re certainly happy with the path that he’s on.”

• Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning

12. Pittsburgh (15-12; 4-10)

Last week: 12

Noting: After eight-straight losses, the Panthers have won three of four, including Saturday’s victory over Florida State.

Quoting: “We’re playing a little bit better. A lot of things need to go right for us to beat some of the talented teams in this league.”

• Panthers coach Kevin Stallings

13. Clemson (14-12; 4-10)

Last week: 13

Noting: The Tigers have lost four of five and finish their road schedule Tuesday at Virginia Tech before three-straight home games to end the season.

Quoting: “We’re just talking about trying to finish off games better. Finishing plays, understanding how to win games … we talk more about those things.”

• Tigers coach Brad Brownell

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

Last week: 14

Noting: Guard Markell Johnson scored a career-high 12 points in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame.

Quoting: “We want to win. Our players want to win. We’ve got to find a way to get over the hump and do the things we need to do better. We’ve got to make sure we keep getting better.”

• Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried

15. Boston College (9-18; 2-12)

Last week: 15

Noting: Heading into Monday’s game at Florida State, the Eagles were 0-6 on the road in league play and 0-15 the last two seasons.

Quoting: “There are guys out there playing the right way (but) at some point, you’ve got to play to win. The game’s biggest possessions, you’ve got to rise up and make a play, and that’s the hardest part.”

• Eagles coach Jim Christian following last week’s loss to Notre Dame.

It was a good run last week in the Atlantic Coast Conference with two road wins for guard Matt Farrell and Notre Dame. (AP Photo/KARL B. DEBLAKER)