With unc’s woodshed-beating of fsu on Sunday, the weekend’s action is complete. Every team has played at least eight ACC games, meaning the league’s regular season slate is halfway complete (or more). There are exactly four weeks left in the regular season. The men are starting to separate themselves from the boys and four classes of teams have emerged:
- The Evil Empire (duke and unc… who else would you expect)
- The Contenders (fsu, bc, VT, maryland, and clemson)
- The Pretenders (miami, uva, georgia tech, and nc state)
- The Ship Sunk a Long Time Ago (wake forest)
For this Power Poll I’m just going to list teams as they are in the standings today, with tiebreakers included. I wouldn’t call bc the fourth best team in the ACC, but they would be the #4 seed if the season ended today thanks to wins over maryland and VT. But they have a big week with games against fellow 5-4 clubs, clemson and maryland.
Without further ado, here’s the standings (Current Place, Team, Record, Where I Think They’ll Finish):
- duke (8-1) (1) – The blue devils responded from the embarrassing spanking they received in MSG with an 18-point win at maryland (breaking VT’s record for biggest win at maryland) and a 24-point bombing of nc state. They will face a red hot carolina team on Wednesday night.
- unc (7-1) (2) – Larry Who? I finally believe in the heels, and who wouldn’t. They’ve won five in a row, and their last three by 20+. They are so athletic, no one other than duke can match up with them. Wednesday will be interesting, but the game is at duke so I’m picking duke. But I think they’ll beat duke at home at the end of the year once the young heels get used to a big game like that and figure out the devils. unc will be tough to catch – they have a big lead over fsu and the rest of the field, and have the tiebreaker over fsu, clemson, VT, and bc — all the teams chasing them but maryland.
- florida state (6-3) (4) – It was not a good 10 days for the noles. They got crushed at clemson, then killed wake (whoop-dee-doo), and then waxed by unc. This is not a good road team. They are 5-0 at home but just 1-3 away. They have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way, so I think they’ll be able to stay in top four. They are 2-2 against the four teams at 5-4.
- boston college (5-4) (7) – The eagles had lost three games in a row by a combined 64 points going into their game against VT. Luckily, they faced the Hokies on a day where they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Now they sit at 2-0 against md, clemson, VT. But they play both clemson (away) and md (home) this week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose both. And they have to go to VT. I think they’ll fade in the final seven games.
- VIRGINIA TECH (5-4) (3) - Can the Hokies go 5-2 the rest of the way? Maybe. And they’ll have to in order to finish third as I think fsu will cruise to 10-6. Tech would have the tiebreaker. The Hokies have four winnable games coming up, facing the jackets (0-7 on the road this year) and maryland at home, then at uva and wake. Some people want 4-0 here. I’d be happy with 3-1. If VT then lost to duke, they’d then have to beat bc at home and then pull off a win at clemson. It won’t be easy, but if Tech wants to make the Big Dance, they need to close the second half at 5-2, just like they closed the first half.
- maryland (5-4) (5) – The terps are 1-1 against bc/VT/clemson. They need to go 5-2 the rest of the way to get a bye AND beat VT (road) and fsu (home). I don’t think it will happen. They are playing great basketball and are done with duke, but they have a fairly tough slate the rest of the way. I think they go 4-3 and finish at 9-7 just outside the top four.
- clemson (5-4) (6) – The tigers just don’t seem that good to me. They only play maryland (lost), bc, and VT once. They need to win against bc and VT to get some tiebreakers. But with unc, duke, VT, and bc left on their slate, I think they go 3-4 the rest of the way and finish tied with bc, but get the tiebreaker assuming they beat bc on Tuesday night at home.
- miami (3-6) (8) – The canes have won two in a row and had fsu, state, unc, and VT dead to rights in the four losses before that. But it is too little too late and they have a tough road to go. They’ll be dangerous in the ACC Tournament again this year, and should be very good next year. But they aren’t a challenger this year in the regular season. They are 2-0 against uva and georgia tech and have the tiebreakers.
- uva (3-6) (11) – The nc state at uva game will be for 10th place. Big deal.
- georgia tech (3-6) (9) – The jackets managed to lose a game in which miami committed 28 turnovers in and basically couldn’t get the ball over half court for the final 10 minutes. How? Paul Hewitt is their coach (at least for another month) and it was on the road. Seriously, if VT loses to these guys at home, I’m going to be very, very upset.
- nc state (2-7) (10) – I wonder how many coaches have already sent their resume to the state AD requesting to be considered for the Head Coaching job.
- wake forest (1-7) (12) – Hey, they beat uva! They can’t go winless!