ACC men's basketball rankings (Week of Jan. 29)

IRISH STEW

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

With most teams having hit the midway point of league play – Notre Dame arrived there with Monday’s game at Duke – the story at the top and bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference stays status quo.

Virginia is better than anyone – OK, everyone - and took a 9-0 record into the week. Fourteen spots down, nobody’s been as bad as winless Pittsburgh, which is halfway toward becoming the second team in three seasons (Boston College) to go 0-18. Louisville and Duke and Clemson have been good but after that, there are a lot of teams either treading water or struggling to stay afloat. That includes Notre Dame, which started league play 3-0 but has since fallen on tough times.

Following are the ACC power rankings from NDI’s Tom Noie for the week of Jan. 29. Records do not include Monday’s game. Quotes are from the Jan. 29 coaches’ teleconference. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey did not participate in the conference call since their teams played on ESPN’s Big Monday.

1. VIRGINIA (20-1 overall; 9-0 ACC)

Last week: 1

Noting: Following 17-straight losses at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Virginia won at Duke on Saturday, 65-63, for the first time since 1995.

Quoting: “Guys understand to take care of the ball. We do work at it. To get a chance at a clean look is so important and you can’t do that if you’re loose with the ball. That’s always the battle that it comes down to.”

-Virginia coach Tony Bennett.

2. LOUISVILLE (16-6; 6-2)

Last week: 2

Noting: Following Sunday’s 96-77 victory over Wake Forest, Louisville is 9-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points.

Quoting: “It helps to erase a lot of mistakes, getting beat off the bounce or a situation where we allow the ball to get into the lane. We just try to make it tough to score around the rim.”

-Louisville interim coach David Padgett on his team’s interior defense.

3. DUKE (18-3; 6-3)

Last week: 3

Noting: Duke saw its streak of scoring at least 80 points in 16-straight games snapped in Saturday’s 65-63 home loss to Virginia.

Quoting: “It’s January 27th. We’re a hell of a lot better than we were on December 27th, and the league is going to make us even better, as long as we stay healthy. On February 27th, we hope to be even better.”

-Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski following Saturday’s loss to Virginia.

4. CLEMSON (17-4; 6-3)

Last week: 4

Noting: The Tigers are 5-1 in games decided by five points or fewer or in overtime. Clemson battled back from 12 down in the first half for Sunday’s 72-70 victory at Georgia Tech.

Quoting: “Last year we had an older team but lost all those games. We didn’t win many games down the stretch and this year we’ve won a few. I don’t know if I got smarter. That’s just basketball.”

-Clemson coach Brad Brownell on winning close games this season

5. NORTH CAROLINA STATE (15-7; 5-4)

Last week: 10

Noting: Saturday’s overtime victory (95-91) at North Carolina marked the first time since 1987 that State has won consecutive league games and the first time since 1974-75 that it’s opened 3-0 against Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest. The Wolfpack is off this week before Saturday’s home game against Notre Dame.

Quoting: “We had a really, really good week with two road wins. In college basketball, when you can win on the road, it’s golden, especially in the ACC.”

-North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts

6. FLORIDA STATE (16-5; 5-4)

Last week: 7

Noting: The Seminoles scored on all 12 of their possessions in overtime to outscore Miami 20-11 in a 103-94 victory.

Quoting: “Our team seems to be recovering from the not-so-good start. We’re understanding the importance of and urgency of getting back to over .500.”

-Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton

7. VIRGINIA TECH (15-6; 4-4)

Last week: 13

Noting: Saturday was Virginia Tech’s first win over Notre Dame since the 1973 postseason National Invitation Tournament. The Hokies hit 14 3-pointers, a record for a Notre Dame opponent in ACC play.

Quoting: "Last week, we were much better defensively than we had been the previous six games. We're next to last in the league as of today in field-goal percentage defense, so I'm not sure that's in the category of improving. Hopefully last week will inspire us to improve along that track."

-Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams.

8. NORTH CAROLINA (16-4; 5-4)

Last week: 5

Noting: The Tar Heels had three streak snapped in Saturday’s overtime loss – 15-straight wins at home in ACC play, 16-straight games of winning when scoring at least 90 points and 20-straight games of winning when leading at halftime.

Quoting: "Last week was a tough week for us. Didn't play very well. The other teams dominated us both games. It's not a good feeling. But that's the ACC. Gotta bounce back."

-North Carolina coach Roy Williams

9. MIAMI (Fla.) (15-5; 4-4)

Last week: 6

Noting: The Hurricanes shot 50 percent and made a school record 17 3-pointers during Saturday’s overtime loss to Florida State.

Quoting: "We clearly have some things we've got to shore up as the second round of games begin. We've got to improve our performance. Preparation is the whole key to success."

-Miami coach Jim Larranaga

10. SYRACUSE (15-6; 4-4)

Last week: 12

Noting: Freshman power forward Bourama Sidibe registered career highs for points (18), rebounds (16) and blocks (three) in Saturday’s 60-55 win at Pittsburgh. It was Syracuse’s first league road win.

Quoting: "People who think that are full of (it). It's like, we don't work on defense? We work just as hard or harder as some teams that play man-to-man. Players can play big minutes. Some teams just don't play guys big minutes."

-Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on playing his guys longer minutes because of the Orange play a 2-3 zone defense.

11. NOTRE DAME (13-8; 3-5)

Last week: 8

Noting: Heading into Monday’s game at Duke, Notre Dame had outrebounded nine of its last 10 opponents, six by double figures.

Quoting: “This groups is figuring out how to score it a little more. It sure does help when you can get the score into the 70s. It gives you a chance.”

-Notre Dame coach Mike Brey following Saturday’s loss to Virginia Tech

12. BOSTON COLLEGE (13-8; 3-5)

Last week: 9

Noting: Following a week off, Boston College will play three of its next four games at home starting Wednesday against Virginia Tech.

Quoting: “We’ve got to get better defensively. We just have to play well and weather storms. That’s what happens in this league. We have to play better.”

-Boston College coach Jim Christian

13. GEORGIA TECH (10-11; 3-5)

Last week: 11

Noting: The Yellow Jackets trailed by eight points with three minutes left in Sunday’s 72-70 loss to Clemson before Josh Okogie scored all 10 points in a 10-2 run to tie it in the final minute.

Quoting: “It’s been a tough stretch for us. These last two weeks haven’t gone our way. The ball just hasn’t bounced our way this year.”

-Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner

14. WAKE FOREST (8-13; 1-8)

Last week: 14

Noting: Doral Moore extended his consecutive field-goal streak to 14 during Sunday’s loss to Louisville before a miss. It’s the second-longest streak in school history behind his 16 straight earlier this season. Moore finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Quoting: “We have to do a better job of walling off the ball and not letting it get to the paint and taking care of the basketball.”

-Wake Forest coach Danny Manning.

15. PITTSBURGH (8-14; 0-9)

Last week: 15

Noting: The Panthers attempted a season-high 65 shots in Saturday’s home loss to Syracuse. They also allowed a season-high 48 rebounds.

Quoting: “We are getting better. We’re hopeful that we get better enough to knock off a win here soon. At times, everything’s an issue.”

-Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings