Men's Basketball: NDI's ACC power rankings for week of Feb. 7
SOUTH BEND – It's February and Duke sits atop the latest NDI Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball power rankings.
All seemingly is right in the college basketball world. The ACC world. But hey, the Blue Devils deserve it. They’ve been really good of late, as Notre Dame will attest. The Irish aren’t going away just yet. They may have something to say about how this all shakes out.
Following are NDI’s ACC power rankings for the week of Feb. 7. Records are as of Monday morning. Quotes from the league’s 15 head coaches are from the Feb. 7 league Zoom conference call unless otherwise noted.
► 1. Duke (19-3 overall; 9-2 ACC)
Last week: 3
Worth noting: Duke looked Final Four worthy last week in road wins against Notre Dame and North Carolina. In South Bend, the Blue Devils led for 37:09 and by as many as 22 before winning by 14. On Saturday against its rival, Duke led for a staggering 39:49, by as many as 28 and won by 20. That’s some serious flex there.
Worth quoting: “There are no magical talks. I just told them that we won the first 12 (minutes of the first half) and they won the next eight. If they start out the first four like the last eight, they’re going to beat us. But if we start out the first four like we did the first 12 then we’re going to win. In our really good games, we’ve come out well in the second half. Tonight, we came out great.”
-Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski on what he told his team at halftime during Saturday’s win in Chapel Hill.
► 2. Notre Dame (16-7; 9-3)
Last week: 2
Worth noting: Staring at a three-game-in-seven-day stretch, Notre Dame went 2-1 with both wins on the road – Miami and North Carolina State. No league team has more league road wins than the Irish (five).
Worth quoting: "The one thing we hang our hat on, we have the No. 1 (non-conference) strength of schedule in the league. We went and played people. That we played those people and picked off one or two, we've been in the (NCAA) mix. There's probably too much math in this right now. We can over-math this thing a little bit."
-Irish coach Mike Brey
► 3. Wake Forest (19-5; 9-4)
Last week: 5
Worth noting: Wake Forest swept the season series with Florida State following a 68-60 victory Saturday in Tallahassee, but the Demon Deacons have had it with playing the Seminoles. In two games, Wake has turned it over a combined 48 times – 22 the first meeting, 26 on Saturday. The Deacons rank 13th in the league in turnover margin (-1.08).
Worth quoting: "Turnovers obviously are an issue. We can't continue to do that. We need to have a little bit better ball security. The halfcourt is where most of our problems are. When we play at our pace, we're really good."
-Demon Deacons coach Steve Forbes
► 4. North Carolina (16-7; 8-4)
Last week: 4
Worth noting: North Carolina’s loss Saturday was its first at home this season. The Tar Heels were the last league team to lose a home game.
Worth quoting: "My checklist was the first thing to look at something mechanical. The second thing I would do would look at my shot selection. If I was taking tough shots, my percentages were going to go down. I would take my mind off shooting. I focused on other things, just a heightened awareness to become better defensively, just trying to find ways to help the team and I can stay out there on the floor."
-Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis on shaking shooting slumps
► 5. Virginia (14-9; 8-5)
Last week: 7
Worth noting: Virginia played arguably its best game Saturday in a 71-56 home victory over Miami. The Cavaliers finished with season highs in field goal percentage (.600), assists (23) and steals (11) while also holding the Hurricanes to a season low for points.
Worth quoting: “I think when you're hydrated, and you're nourished you can go a little harder and yell a little more. I think that the concession stands opening allowed the sugar rush, the caffeine burst, all that stuff, the crowd was great tonight. It was good to see that.”
-Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett after Saturday’s home win over Miami, which featured the re-opening of arena concession stands.
► 6. Miami (Fla.) (16-7; 8-4)
Last week: 1
Worth noting: Miami’s loss Saturday at Virginia, coupled with Wednesday’s home loss to Notre Dame, marks the first time this season that the Hurricanes have lost consecutive games.
Worth quoting: "This past week, I didn't feel we had the necessary energy, the juice, to play the best defense that we can play. Sometimes, the game is very simple. Every game is a major challenge. You need to play consistently well. Right now, our team has drained itself of a lot of energy. Fatigue has become a factor."
-Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga
► 7. Syracuse (12-11; 6-6)
Last week: 11
Worth noting: After tying its season low for points in a 64-53 loss at Pittsburgh on Jan. 25, Syracuse has run off victories over Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Saturday over Louisville in which it has scored 94, 89 and 92 points. Syracuse ranks third in the league in scoring offense at 76.5 in conference games.
Worth quoting: "We're not playing a lot of guys, so if anyone should be wearing down, it's these guys. These guys seem to thrive on the games they're playing. I like the way they're playing. We train for our players to play big minutes. Players want to play big minutes. Trust me."
-Orange coach Jim Boeheim.
► 8. Florida State (13-9; 6-9)
Last week: 6
Worth noting: The Seminoles are on a serious slide, going from No. 1 two weeks ago to No. 6 last week to now No. 8 in the NDI rankings. With seven first-year players, they're just not playing very good basketball in searching for combinations that haven’t clicked. Injuries and inconsistencies have taken a toll as the Seminoles have lost four straight.
Worth quoting: "This happens to everybody, every coach, every program at some point in time during their career. We've had more injuries in the last two weeks than the last eight years put together. It's how you handle adversity. It can't do anything but helps us grow. We can't have a pity party, because nobody cares."
-Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton on his team's struggles.
► 9. Virginia Tech (13-10; 5-7)
Last week: 9
Worth noting: Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh are in an NBA-like home-and-home swing. The Hokies beat the Panthers (76-71) on Saturday, at Petersen Events Center before the teams played Monday at Cassell Coliseum, a game that originally was scheduled Jan. 1 but was postponed because of COVID health/safety protocols within the Virginia Tech program.
Worth quoting: “I’ve said a couple times now, the last time I checked, the only thing that matters is that final ledger that goes in the scorebook, as a Hokie win and that is all that matters.”
-Hokies coach Mike Young after his team won its third straight game Saturday at Pittsburgh
► 10. Clemson (12-10; 4-7)
Last week: 13
Worth noting: Following a 69-64 road loss Saturday against Georgia Tech, Clemson starts a stretch of three home games in five days Tuesday at home against North Carolina. That run ends Saturday with a game against Notre Dame and also includes a game against Duke.
Worth quoting: "It's mostly trying to have enough energy so you can empty your tank on gameday. Just trying to keep guys as fresh as you can. We're down a little bit in numbers so we've really got to be careful. This is obviously very challenging."
-Tigers coach Brad Brownell on navigating three games in five days.
► 11. Louisville (11-12; 5-8)
Last week: 8
Worth noting: Louisville has lost three straight – to Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse – since mutually deciding to part ways with former coach Chris Mack. The Cardinals started 4-0 in the league but have lost five straight and eight of nine.
Worth quoting: "I would hope, man, that people don't write this group off just because we had a rough outing. Our defense was at its worst and has been the last 10 games. At the end of the day, our effort has to be a lot better."
-Cardinals interim coach Mike Pegues
► 12. Boston College (9-12; 4-7)
Last week: 10
Worth noting: Boston College was the only league team not to play over the weekend and will go a week between games after a loss Feb. 1 to Virginia before playing Tuesday against Syracuse. The Eagles have lost three of four.
Worth quoting: "We're trying to reach our full maturity. I want to be one of those teams that gets better, reach our full maturity. We've seen a lot of growth the last 40 days. If we can reach our full maturity in March and be playing our best basketball, that will be a good thing for us going into the offseason."
-Eagles coach Earl Grant
► 13. Georgia Tech (10-12; 3-8)
Last week: 15
Worth noting: Georgia Tech’s 33-20 lead at halftime Saturday at home against Clemson marked only the second time in 11 league games that it has led at half. It won Saturday. It lost Jan. 8 to Notre Dame after leading by six.
Worth quoting: "It could be raining outside and I can tell you in the next five minutes the sun's coming out. It doesn't matter what it is, I'm going to look at the positive on everything. We've gotten better. I know we've gotten better. I really feel that and I can see that."
-Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner
► 14. Pittsburgh (8-15; 3-9)
Last week: 14
Worth noting: The Panthers are the league’s only winless team on the road (0-6), where they play two straight and three of their next four.
Worth quoting: “We have to understand who we are and what’s required to have a chance to beat someone. We have to understand that’s what’s required for 40 minutes in order to have some semblance of a decent team.”
-Panthers coach Jeff Capel following Saturday’s loss to Virginia Tech.
► 15. North Carolina State (10-14; 3-10)
Last week: 12
Worth noting: Why do the Wolfpack find themselves in the league basement this week? Part of the issue is North Carolina State cannot win a league home game. Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame dropped the ‘Pack to 1-6 at home in ACC games. North Carolina State is 2-4 on the road in ACC play.
Worth quoting: "When you get into February, some of the offensive plays that you've been running may not go. A lot of teams would have tired legs. At the end of the day, you've got to kind of rely on your defense to get you out of games. Some of our guys, I'd like a better buy-in on the defensive end."
-Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI