Men's Basketball: Atlantic Coast Conference power rankings (Week of Jan. 31)

Tom Noie
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND – Another week, another shake-up at the top. And another week of Notre Dame holding steady. Can the Irish sustain that?

We may find out early in the week with games against Duke (home) and Miami (Fla.) in a quick three-day window. But for now, as of Monday morning, Notre Dame was among the hottest teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference having won four straight and 10 of 11.

Following are NDI’s ACC power rankings for the week of Jan. 31. Quotes from the league’s 15 head coaches are from the Jan. 31 league Zoom conference call unless otherwise noted. 

Jan 26, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Miami Hurricanes forward Sam Waardenburg (21) and guard Charlie Moore (3) celebrate after a win against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

1. Miami (Fla.) (16-5 overall; 8-2 ACC) 

Last week:

Worth noting: Saturday's win at Georgia Tech was Miami's second league road win in four days (after a Charlie Moore buzzer beater dumped Virginia Tech). The Hurricanes are 5-1 on the road this season.

Worth quoting:  "Notre Dame is an absolutely terrific team. They've got some terrific wins. Most impressively was beating Kentucky. You know offensively, they're a juggernaut. They really take advantage of any mismatch They're just a very skillful group. They're for real."

-Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga on Notre Dame

Jan 29, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Blake Wesley (0) celebrates with the Notre Dame student section after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

2. Notre Dame (14-6; 7-2) 

Last week: 3 

Worth noting: Notre Dame’s 7-2 start heading into Monday’s game against Duke was its best ACC beginning since opening 8-1 in 2014-15. 

Worth quoting: “One of my themes with them is, no one’s played more hard games than us and we love hard games. We’ve been in them more than anybody else. I think it has been an advantage.” 

-Irish coach Mike Brey after Saturday's 69-65 win over Virginia 

Jan 29, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA;  Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski signals a play during the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Duke (17-3; 7-2) 

Last week:

Worth noting:  Now in his 42nd year, Mike Krzyzewski is a career 1,114-305 with an ACC record 194 league road wins heading into Monday's game at Notre Dame.

Worth quoting:  "I know we won by nine points, but it was a one possession game really, and we're aware of that."

-Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski after Saturday's 74-65 victory at Louisville.

Jan 15, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels forward Justin McKoy (22) reaches for the ball in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

4. North Carolina (15-6; 7-3) 

Last week:

Worth noting:  North Carolina scored a season high 56 points in the first half of Saturday's 20-point home win over North Carolina State. The Tar Heels never trailed and led for a ridiculous 39:06.

Worth quoting: "I haven't thought about that. The experience of having played in that rivalry and now being a part of it for the first time as head coach is really special. Coach K is one of the best coaches of any sport of all time."

-Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis on Saturday's game against Duke and Mike Krzyzewski's in his final visit to Chapel Hill. 

FILE - Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams (31) goes up for a dunk during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 29, 2021. There are a lot of old newcomers making big impacts in college basketball. ACC top scorer Williams for Wake Forest and Pac-12 leader Terrell Brown Jr. at Washington are both senior transfers who joined their new teams this season. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

5. Wake Forest (17-5; 7-4) 

Last week: 5 

Worth noting:  Prior to Saturday's loss at Syracuse, where it allowed 55 points in the second half, Wake Forest had won four straight league games for the first time since 2009-10. The Demon Deacons already have won more than twice as many ACC games this season as they did last (3-15).

Worth quoting:  "Tricky players trump tricky plays."

-Demon Deacons coach Steve Forbes 

Florida State Seminoles guard Cam'Ron Fletcher (21) dunks the ball. The Florida State Seminoles lost to the Virginia Tech Hokies 85-72 at the Tucker Civic Center on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

Fsu V Vt325

6. Florida State (13-7; 6-4) 

Last week:

Worth noting:  The Seminoles lost two straight league games – to Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech – after several members of the team were diagnosed with tonsilitis.

Worth quoting:  "It's hard to shoot 18-for-25 in the gym by yourself with no defense. But we were short basically three starters. We started three freshmen. We've never done that at Florida State. I thought we ran out of gas."

-Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton on losing to Virginia Tech, which made 18 3-pointers.

Jan 29, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett talks to his players in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

7. Virginia (12-9; 6-5) 

Last week:

Worth noting:  The Cavaliers lost at Purcell Pavilion for the first time as an ACC colleague to Notre Dame on Saturday despite scoring 38 points in the paint and a (+13) rebounding advantage.

Worth quoting: "Everybody played hard. A few guys played well."  

-Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett on Saturday's loss in South Bend

Louisville's Sydney Curry held up the ball after two Duke players tried to wrestle it away during a brief scuffle on January 29, 2022. At right holding him is teammate Dre Davis. January 29, 2022

Louisville Vs Duke January 29 2022

8. Louisville (11-10; 5-6) 

Last week:

Worth noting:  Louisville finished with only nine turnovers in Saturday's home loss to Duke. It marked the third straight game that the Cardinals had fewer than 10 turnovers, but also their third straight loss – Notre Dame, Virginia, Duke.

Worth quoting:  "The most important thing is making sure the guys are constantly reminded of the Louisville basketball standard and not allowing what we've been through the last week or so to diminish that. The ACC won't feel sorry for us. We have to continue to find a way to get better and win a game here sooner than later."

-Cardinals interim coach Mike Pegues 

Jan 26, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Nahiem Alleyne (4) drives past Miami Hurricanes center Sam Waardenburg (21) during the second half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

9. Virginia Tech (11-10; 3-7) 

Last week: 10 

Worth noting:  The Hokies set a program record with 18 3-pointers (on 72 percent shooting) in Saturday's victory at Florida State. Virginia Tech was outscored 42-20 in the paint, but outscored Florida State from behind the 3-point arc, 54-15.

Worth quoting:  "Bench production is critical to any of us. I've never cared a bit who starts. Who finishes? Who gets you out of there with a win?"

-Hokies coach Mike Young 

Jan 26, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  Boston College Eagles head coach Earl Grant reacts in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

10. Boston College (9-11; 4-6) 

Last week:

Worth noting:  Eagles guard Makai Ashton-Langford loves playing against Pittsburgh. On Jan. 8, Ashton-Langford scored a career high 23 points in a Boston College win. On Sunday, Ashton-Langford scored 21 as the Eagles swept the season series.

Worth quoting:  "We had a shorter bench earlier. I wasn't playing a lot of guys. We're starting to use those (bench) guys more. Certainly, we need them. Hopefully we can continue to grow our bench."

-Eagles coach Earl Grant

Jan 22, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim reacts during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

11. Syracuse (10-11; 4-6) 

Last week: 13 

Worth noting:  Syracuse beat Wake Forest at the Carrier Dome on Saturday in front of the largest crowd to see a college basketball game anywhere this season (23.194). Prior to that game, the Orange had averaged 17,382 in their previous 10 home games.

Worth quoting:  "Nothing different. Exactly the same practices we had all year. They work hard. They do the things they're supposed to do. Really nothing different. In fact, we've probably had better practices before games this year. We just haven't had the results we'd like and that happens sometimes."

-Orange coach Jim Boeheim on what changed before Saturday's win over Wake Forest 

Jan 25, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell  (right) reacts during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

12. Clemson (11-9; 3-6) 

Last week: 12 

Worth noting:  Idle since a two-point loss at Duke on Jan. 25, Clemson returns to ACC action this week with three games in seven days starting Wednesday at home against Florida State.

Worth quoting:  "Great day. Great day (Sunday). Had 'em right where we wanted 'em. We're a road team. We've got three Clemson Tigers on the team."

-Tigers coach Brad Brownell, a longtime Cincinnati Bengals fan.

Jan 29, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts with forward Jericole Hellems (4) and guard Breon Pass (10) in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

13.  North Carolina State (10-12; 3-8) 

Last week: 11 

Worth noting:  After laboring to four points on 1-of-9 from the field against Notre Dame, freshman guard Terquavion Smith erupted for a career high 34 points in Saturday's loss at North Carolina. Smith was 9-of-19 from the field, 11-of-13 from the free throw line.  

Worth quoting:  "It's important that we get a chance to be at home a little bit. Last week was a challenging road trip for us (Notre Dame, North Carolina). It's always good to sleep in your own bed. It's good for our guys to go to class and have a normal day."

-Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts 

Jan 19, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers guard Jamarius Burton (11) shoots against Virginia Cavaliers forward Jayden Gardner (1) during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Virginia won 66-61.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

14. Pittsburgh (8-13; 3-7) 

Last week: 14 

Worth noting:  Pittsburgh played Sunday at Boston College, a game pushed back one day because of the blizzard in New England, without head coach Jeff Capel and assistant coach Jason Capel. The brothers did not make the trip because of COVID health/safety protocols. Associate head coach Milan Brown served as interim head coach. The Pittsburgh traveling party also did not land in Boston until two and a half hours before game time.

Worth quoting:  "We continue to show up. We continue to stay together. Hopefully, that's a good sign as we move forward."

-Panthers coach Jeff Capel

Jan 15, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leaky Black (1) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Jordan Usher (4) fight for the ball in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

15. Georgia Tech (9-11; 2-7) 

Last week: 15 

Worth noting:  When Georgia Tech visits Virginia Tech on Wednesday, it will be the first road game for the Yellow Jackets in 18 days – since the Jan. 15 loss at North Carolina. Georgia Tech plays five of its next seven on the road, where the Jackets are all of 1-2 in league play.

Worth quoting:  "It's the one league where you can play really good basketball, and still lose. Yes, I'm the eternal optimist, but I'm telling you."

-Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner on the ACC. 

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI