Irish Stew: ACC men's basketball power rankings (Jan. 9)

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Welcome to NDI’s newest weekly feature during the college basketball season. Each Monday now that conference play is 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 weeks each team experienced. Here are NDI’s ACC power rankings for the week of Jan. 2-8. Teams are listed from strongest to weakest with overall and conference records as of Monday in parenthesis. Coaches' quotes come from the Jan. 9 teleconference:

1. Florida State (15-1 overall; 3-0 ACC)

Noting: The ninth-ranked Seminoles are 2-0 in current ACC stretch of six straight against ranked teams heading into Tuesday’s home game against Duke.

Quoting: “We’ve gotten off to a pretty good start. I like the direction our team is moving. Our best basketball is ahead of us.”

• Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton

2. Notre Dame (14-2; 3-0)

Noting: Don’t put the No. 20 Irish into game situations and expect them to fold. Odds are, they won’t. Notre Dame has won its first three league games by a combined 13 points.

Quoting: “We’re thrilled to be 3-0 in this league and 3-0 probably by the skin of our teeth. We’ve had to make some big plays and defensive stops to get to where we’re at.”

• Irish coach Mike Brey

3. Duke (14-2; 2-1)

Noting: Indefinite at No. 5 Duke apparently means one game, the number missed by guard Grayson Allen after being suspended by coach Mike Krzyzewski for the third tripping incident of his career.

Quoting: “It was a very long week for us, an emotional week. We look forward to the challenges of this week.”

• Blue Devils associate head coach Jeff Capel.

4. North Carolina (14-3; 2-1)

Noting: Guard Joel Berry II ranks in the top 10 of four different conference statistical categories for the No. 11 Tar Heels

Quoting: “We had a great game against North Carolina State. As poorly as we played against Georgia Tech, we played in the opposite direction.”

• Tar Heels coach Roy Williams

5. Syracuse (10-6; 2-1)

Noting: Orange have bounced back from an 0-1 league start with double-digit home wins over Miami and Pittsburgh.

Quoting: “We’re better in every area the last two games. We’ve played better the last couple games at home. We’ll see if we can take that out on the road.”

• Orange coach Jim Boeheim

6. Virginia (12-3; 2-1)

Noting: Despite allowing a season-high 88 points in an overtime loss to Pittsburgh last week, No. 19 Virginia still leads the nation in scoring defense at 51.4 ppg.

Quoting: “We’re just trying to improve, nothing new there. We’ve been in most of these games, continue to adjust, find ways to try and be successful.”

• Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett

7. Louisville (13-3; 1-2)

Noting: The No. 14 Cardinals rebounded from 0-2 league start with road win at Georgia Tech, a game where the Louisville traveling party arrived in Atlanta some five hours before Saturday’s opening tip.

Quoting: "On any given night in this conference, the talent is so strong that anything can happen to anyone. I wouldn't say we're inconsistent; I'd say we're the model of consistency."

• Cardinals coach Rick Pitino

8. Clemson (11-4; 1-2)

Noting: Tigers let potential wins over North Carolina (home) and Notre Dame (road) slip away in the closing minutes.

Quoting: “We’re off to a little bit of a rough start here, but I like my team. We’re playing pretty well offensively. We need to tighten some things up defensively.”

• Tigers coach Brad Brownell

9. Miami (Fla.) (11-3; 1-1)

Noting: Hurricanes rank second in the league in scoring defense at 59.7 ppg.

Quoting: “We play a great Notre Dame team on Thursday at home.”

• Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga

10. Virginia Tech (12-3; 1-2)

Noting: Hokies opened league play with a home victory over then-No. 5 Duke, then lost next two on the road.

Quoting: “I would say I failed miserable in that. I don’t think that we’ve improved. I think maybe we’ve gotten worse.”

• Hokies coach Buzz Williams on getting his team to guard better.

11. Pittsburgh (12-4; 1-2)

Noting: Panthers went on road in league play for first time Saturday, then trailed 36-8 at Syracuse before an 11-point loss.

Quoting: “It’s a hell of a league and the teams are really good the coaches are awesome. It’s what I thought it was when I signed up to be the coach here. It’s the ultimate in the 18-game grind.”

• Panthers coach Kevin Stallings

12. North Carolina State (12-4; 1-2)

Noting: Wolfpack had key rivalry game against North Carolina pushed back one day because of bad weather, then played really bad basketball with a 51-point loss Sunday.

Quoting: “It’s hard to go on the road, and an inexperienced group has to learn how to win on the road. Our league is really good and there’s a lot of good teams.”

• Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried

13. Boston College (8-8; 1-2)

Noting: After going 0-18 in league play last season, the Eagles opened ACC play with a home win over Syracuse before double-digit losses at Wake Forest and at Duke.

Quoting: “We’re just trying to find consistency. Different guys are emerging and our team is definitely growing.”

• Eagles coach Jim Christian

14. Wake Forest (10-6; 1-3)

Noting: Demon Deacons just cannot win away from Winston-Salem. Sunday’s loss at Virginia was their 20th-conseutive ACC road loss.

Quoting: “We’re got to continue to go out and find ways to mimic some of the success we’re having in the first half in the second half. We just have to finish better.”

• Wake Forest coach Danny Manning

15. Georgia Tech (9-6; 1-2)

Noting: Yellow Jackets followed home win over North Carolina with a blowout loss at Duke and home loss to Louisville.

Quoting: “Right now, Georgia Tech is not cool. It’s our job to make it cool again for these kids.”

• Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner

Clemson's Gabe DeVoe, right, passes the ball to teammate Jaron Blossomgame (5) as Notre Dame's Rex Pflueger (0) defends during the second half of Saturday's game. Notre Dame won 75-70. (AP Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)