Week 1 ACC Power Rankings
Week 1 ACC Power Rankings
I know it’s hardly been a week since the 2012-13 college basketball season tipped-off, but wow what a week it’s been for the ACC! With the three top dogs looking very good - some more than others cough Duke cough – the top of these rankings won’t look overly different from my preseason power rankings. However, with gritty performances from some unexpected teams, I can’t quite decide who to drop and who to start hyping up.
I mean, I know Maryland’s sitting at 1-1 after the first week, one of only four ACC teams with a loss, but losing by three points to number-3 Kentucky is almost as good as a win for a team who didn’t have lofty expectations placed on them heading into this season. With the same respect, the defending conference tournament champion and 25-ranked Florida State lost their season opener to South Alabama, which is beyond a bad look for Leonard Hamilton’s crew.
Either way, the first week of the season really can’t be regarded as anything more than a tune-up for the following weeks, where non-conference schedules tend to pick up, and the real talented teams tend to show how good they really can be. With only Duke and Maryland really facing challenges among their first couple of games, this next week will see North Carolina State take on Penn State, Boston College take on Baylor, and Wake Forest take on Connecticut, not to mention more early season tournaments getting underway.
I present to you, the ACC Power Rankings: Week 1.
No. 12 – Virginia
Expectations weren't overly high for Virginia heading into the season, but losing to both Delaware and George Mason probably isn't a good sign for how they’ll fair in ACC competition. Joe Harris might be this season’s version of Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, where he does a whole lot and the rest of his team doesn’t do much. Shooting 39 percent from the floor through the first three games isn't anything to be proud of either. Hopefully Jontel Evans return from foot surgery will turn things around for the Cavs.
No. 11 - Florida State
How do you explain losing to South Alabama? This was the first home opener that Florida State lost under Leonard Hamilton in 11 seasons, and they lost pretty bad. Not to take away credit from a fired up South Alabama team, but shooting 36 percent from the field in the second half and committing almost twice as many turnovers (17) as assists (9) against a Sun Belt team is unacceptable at any point of the season. Get it together ‘Noles.
No. 10 – Miami
I don’t expect Miami to be this low for much of the season, so a double-digit loss to Florida Gulf Coast leaves them amongst the bottom of the ACC at this point in time. Not to only harp on losses, but shooting under 30 percent from the field against FGCU is unacceptable for a team that's aiming to make the tournament. The Hurricanes looked great in their win against Stetson, and an impressive start from sophomore guard Shane Larkin is encouraging for this experienced team.
No. 9 – Virginia Tech
If I ranked Florida State and Miami so low for their losses, I probably shouldn’t rank Virginia Tech this low sitting at 2-0, but I think this team is straight-up bad. Having won their first two games by an average of 18.5 points per game however, is very impressive, and as I’ve mentioned over and over, Erick Green is a legit stud in the ACC. Through their first two games, Green’s averaging 23 points, 5 assists and 2 steals a game, and with VMI and UNC Greensboro coming up, it’s feasible the Hokies could continue to climb up this list…for the time being at least.
No. 8 – Boston College
If you don’t know by now, Ryan Anderson went for 29 points and 17 boards in Boston College’s season opener against Florida International. As impressive as Anderson was, it’ll be even more impressive to see if he can carry that momentum into the Charleston Classic, where BC is slated to take on number-16 Baylor today.
No. 7 – Wake Forest
If you’ve paid attention to my ACC coverage over the past couple of months, you’d notice that I’m sort of buying into this Wake Forest team. Although they’re not expected to really make much of a run this season, I think they have three very good players in C.J. Harris, Travis McKie, and the freshman Codi Miller-McIntyre, and what do you know, those were the three leading scorers in the Demon Deacons opening win over Radford. Wake turned the ball over a bit too much in their first game, but as they get more familiar with each other, I expect Jeff Bzdelik's bunch to really become one of the better teams in the middle of the conference.
No. 6 – Clemson
Clemson absolutely drubbed Presbyterian in their home-opener, and showed that they could be tougher, literally, than a lot of teams expected. Clemson clearly overmatched their opponents, forcing them to shoot 30% from the field for just a measly 44 points. They’ll have their first challenge of the season when they take on Gonzaga in the Old Spice Classic next week.
No. 5 – Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech is another team that I’m hesitant to rank too high this season, but unlike Virginia Tech, I’ll give them a little love after Week 1. GT had the good fortune of also facing Presbyterian in the opening week of the season, who they beat by 14, but also laid a double-digit beating on Tulane behind stellar all-around play from big man Daniel Miller. It’s been a true team effort for the Yellow Jackets, and if they can continue to rebound at this rate, they should be competing night-in and night-out.
No. 4 – Maryland
And the award for the most impressive loss of the early season most definitely goes to the Maryland Terrapins ONLY losing by three on the road against Kentucky. As inexperienced as Kentucky may or may not be, Maryland looked like a new team to kick off the season, led by sophomore international big Alex Len. Going up against potential number-1 overall pick in this upcoming NBA Draft in freshman Nerlens Noel, Len put up 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and looked more impressive against stiff competition than he did at any point last year. After the loss, Maryland really pounded Morehead State, and proved they could be a tough out in the ACC this season.
No. 3 – North Carolina
Oh the joy of being a program like North Carolina. You have four players from your team taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, and just so happen to have players waiting in the wings to step up and take their spots the next season. Anyone who saw James Michael McAdoo play last season could see he was capable of more if given the opportunity, and now we know how much of a monster he truly is. Combining for 45 points and 25 rebounds in the Tar Heels first two games, McAdoo wants to take UNC as far as his supporting guards will allow him to…which is still yet to be determined.
No. 2 – North Carolina State
What North Carolina State did against Miami (OH) is just a glimpse into what we should expect to see this coming season. All five starters finished in double-figures, Rodney Purvis “oohed” and “aahed” with his offensive skill-set, Scott Wood was effective from long-range, C.J. Leslie did his thing while Richard Howell took care of the dirty work, and Lorenzo Brown put in a 15 points, 7 assist, 6 rebound effort. This was confirmation that these guys are good, really, really good.
No. 1 – Duke
Not sure what else needs to be said for a team that went into Wildcats country and won a very contested game against Number 3 Kentucky. Seth Curry made a handful of HUGE plays down the stretch and Duke looked like a team that had experience playing together. As tough of an early season test as Coach K could’ve hoped for, he should be relieved to see his team showed up for that game better than they did last season’s NCAA Tournament.