Irish Stew: ACC power rankings (Jan. 16)

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Each Monday with 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. 9-15. Teams are listed from strongest to weakest with overall and conference records as of Monday in parenthesis.

Coaches' quotes come from the Jan. 16 teleconference. Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams did not participate in Monday’s call because it was a game day for their teams.

1. Notre Dame (16-2; 5-0 ACC)

Last week: 2

Noting: Power forward Bonzie Colson leads the league in rebounding (10.9) and is third in free throw shooting (87.3).

Quoting: “I’m really proud of our group to get two road wins against teams that play really well at home in less than a 48-hour period. Close games, we’ve been really good. I kind of like our frame of mind right now.”

• Irish coach Mike Brey

2. North Carolina (16-3; 4-1)

Last week: 4

Noting: North Carolina entered the week leading the league in scoring offense (89.6 ppg.), scoring margin (+19.4) and rebounding margin (+14.1).

Quoting: “It maybe reminded me of myself, No, it really did. I thought this is going to be good. Only thing I was mad about, all the daggum waving. Get your butt back and down in a defensive stance.”

• Tar Heels coach Roy Williams on guard Theo Pinson’s big dunk in Saturday’s win over Florida State.

3. Florida State (16-2; 4-1)

Last week: 1

Noting: Florida State is in the middle of a stretch where it plays six consecutive games against ranked teams.

Quoting: “Notre Dame has to be the most intellectual team I’ve seen in a long, long time. You think about what they’ve done to finish game, but in reality, it’s what they’ve done over their whole body of work that kills you.”

• Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton

4. Virginia (13-3; 3-2)

Last week: 6

Noting: Virginia is in a stretch of four of five road games, which also includes a non-conference trip to Villanova.

Quoting: “Gotta keep working in all areas to improve. It's being part of a great league that you've got to be ready."

• Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett

5. Louisville (15-3; 3-2)

Last week: 7

Noting: Louisville has won three in a row after opening league play 0-2.

Quoting: “We’ve had a just a very difficult schedule this season and we’re weathering it the right way. We make mistakes, more mistakes than (UofL) teams in the last four years, but we make up for it by playing hard.”

• Cardinals coach Rick Pitino

6. Syracuse (11-7; 3-2)

Last week: 5

Noting: The Orange entered Monday’s game at North Carolina having won three of their last four after losing the league opener at Boston College.

Quoting: “I think our defense is getting a little better.”

• Orange coach Jim Boeheim following Saturday’s home win over Boston College.

7. Miami (Fla.) (12-4; 2-2)

Last week: 9

Noting: Saturday’s win at Pittsburgh was career win No. 600 for Miami coach Jim Larranaga, one of five league coaches with 600 career wins.

Quoting: "Last week was an interesting week. We had a very tough loss at home against Notre Dame where we put ourselves in position to win the game but just didn’t finish.”

• Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga

8. Duke (14-4; 2-3)

Last week: 3

Noting: The Blue Devils are 0-3 on the road in league play.

Quoting: “We’ve done some things to get better; it hasn’t equated in wins, but it’s part of the process of growing as a team. We have to do a lot more.”

• Blue Devils associate head coach Jeff Capel

9. Georgia Tech (11-6; 3-2)

Last week: 15

Noting: Georgia Tech connected on 10 3-pointers overall and scored 44 points in Sunday’s win at North Carolina State.

Quoting: “We’ve continued to get better. Nothing’s changed for who we are. Our margin for error is zero. We are so far from (being) out of the woods.”

• Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner

10. Virginia Tech (13-4; 2-3)

Last week: 10

Noting: Since beating then-No. 5 Duke and climbing into the Associated Press for one week at No. 21, Virginia Tech has lost three of its last four.

Quoting: “Every coach would want a string of (league) wins but I’d say that every coach in the league, we’re just trying to figure out how to win the next one. It takes such a monumental effort.”

• Hokies coach Buzz Williams

11. Boston College (9-9; 2-3)

Last week: 13

Noting: Boston College has two league home games this week, but no school in the conference has as many overall home losses (three).

Quoting: “If you play poorly in a half, it’s tough to come back from that. We just have to continue to grow.”

• Eagles coach Jim Christian

12. Wake Forest (10-7; 1-4)

Last week: 14

Noting: Wake Forest ranks second in the league in foul shooting at 75.3 percent.

Quoting: “We’ve got to be a team that puts together two really good halves of basketball to be competitive night in and night out. That’s what we’re striving to do right now.”

• Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning

13. Clemson (11-6; 1-4)

Last week: 8

Noting: Senior forward Jaron Blossomgame has scored at least 20 points in each of his last four league games. He opened the week ranked sixth in scoring at 18.4 per game.

Quoting: “We just haven’t played as well defensively as we need to play to finish off some close games. Life in the ACC.”

• Tigers coach Brad Brownell

14. North Carolina State (12-6; 1-4)

Last week: 12

Noting: The Wolfpack ranks last in the league – 15th – in scoring defense (76.4) and have allowed 107, 74 and 86 points in their last three games, all league losses.

Quoting: “We’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got to defend better; we obviously have to play better. We’re going to stay together as a team and make sure we understand it’s a long year.”

• Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried

15. Pittsburgh (12-6; 1-4)

Last week: 11

Noting: Pittsburgh has lost three in a row in league play and has trailed by 28, 26 and 28 points in losses to Syracuse, Louisville and Miami (Fla.).

Quoting: “We are coming off a tough week and really in the midst of a tough stretch. We have to do a better job of reacting to adversity.”

• Panthers coach Kevin Stallings

Bonzie Colson has helped Notre Dame to its best start in conference play in school history. The Irish are 5-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference heading into Wednesday's game at Florida State (AP Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)