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College Basketball Week 5: ACC Power Rankings

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Power Rankings of the Highly Competitive ACC

Bob Donnan-USA Today Sports

The ACC is tight in 2012-13. The powerhouse of the conference up to this point is obvious but the remaining teams, excluding the bottom three, are closely matched.

Two teams, Duke and Virginia Tech, are still undefeated but Duke has had tougher opponents overall which is why the Blue Devils are ranked in the AP top 25 and the Hokies are not. Virginia Tech has only met one top 25 team up to this point, but still a 7-and-0 start is nothing to scoff at. Where should Virginia Tech be ranked given that they are undefeated with 3 top 25 teams in the ACC?

There are also two teams with just 1 loss, and 5 teams with 2 losses through week 4 of the season. Even though the records are close, there are clearly 3 teams worse then the rest. The 4-9 teams are very close, and one could argue that 2-4 are too close to call this early. Well, I’m calling it here.

Duke and UNC are usually the top teams without question in the conference, but this year the power is distributed well throughout.

Maryland is improving on the shoulders of Dezmine Wells and Alex Len. Miami has big-time performers in the post and on the perimeter. N.C. State is slipping, but still has great depth.

This year is exciting for ACC basketball fanatics, and we won’t be disappointed. As the season progresses and we reach inter-conference play, games will be ultra-intense on the road to the ACC tournament. Come tournament time ACC disciples’ heads may explode.

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No. 12 Boston College

Joshua S. Kelly-USA Today Sports

Steve Donahue’s BC team has been terrible, which may be a partial result of Ryan Anderson’s bum ankle. He came back as a scoring presence in their last game against Harvard on Dec. 4, but they still lost by 16 points…to an Ivy League team.

Freshmen Joe Rahon and Oliver Hanlan have been terrific, but the team as a whole can’t pull it together.

Mostly the failure of this team is due to their lack of rebounding. Ryan Anderson is the only consistent rebounder, and starting center Dennis Clifford is only grabbing 5 boards a game as a 7-footer.

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No. 11 Clemson

Joshua S. Kelly-USA Today Sports

Although the Tigers have a 5-and-2 record, they are still at the bottom of the ACC. They managed to beat South Carolina in their last game on Dec. 2, but lost by double digits to Purdue on Nov. 28.

It has been the surprise production of sophomore K.J. McDaniels that has really boosted this squad on both ends of the court. McDaniels is getting 12 points, 5 boards, 1.4 steals, and 2.3 blocks per contest.

Clemson does have some young talent on the wing, even with the loss of T.J. Sapp. . They have also helped add depth to what was a questionable company at guard.

Moving forward Clemson could rise in these rankings, but as of now they are still in the same conversation with BC as bottom feeders.

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No. 10 Wake Forest

Jeremy Brevard-USA Today Sports

Junior forward Travis McKie has done his part for the Demon Decons, but senior leader C.J. Harris has been a lack luster performer. Harris has slipped in every major statistical category, besides free throw percentage, from a season ago. He isn’t looking to set-up his teammates, or hitting shots with consistently.

Harris can’t be all to blame however, this is a Wake Forest team full of freshmen, and although some are performing well for their first season none have stood-out. McKie and freshman forward Devin Thomas are the only able rebounders on this team.

Their most recent game, a loss to Richmond on Nov. 27, shows ACC followers why the Demon Decons are 3-and-4.

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No. 9 Florida State

Phil Sears-USA Today Sports

FSU lost their last two games to Minnesota on Nov. 27 and Mercer on Dec. 2. Nobody expected them to beat Minnesota, and they hung in there late, but Mercer should have been an easy win for a team ranked No.25 in the preseason AP Poll

Senior guard Michael Snaer has performed well, along with junior forwards Okaro White and Terrance Shannon. All three are scoring double digits and pulling down over 5 rebounds a game.

The rest of the team hasn’t really done anything for head coach Leonard Hamilton, and if they can’t spark something soon, the Seminoles will find themselves lost in the shuffle of sub-par teams in the ACC.

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No. 8 Georgia Tech

Kevin Liles-USA Today Sports

The Yellow Jackets find themselves performing better than predicted with a 5-and-2 record. They did lose to Illinois on Nov. 28, but the Illini are currently ranked No. 14 overall. On Dec. 4 the Jackets bounced back with a convincing 8-point victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Freshman guard/forward Marcus Georges-Hunt has led Georgia Tech in scoring putting in 12 points a game. Also, the performance of freshman forward Robert Carter has given them depth at forward, along with juniors Kammeon Hunt and Daniel Miller.

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No. 7 University of Virginia

Mary Langenfeld-USA Today Sports

Virginia is 6-and-2 through their first 8 games and could rise up the power rankings if they continue their performance.

Junior forwards Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell are carrying a team compiled mostly of underclassmen. The only seniors on the roster are non-factors. Harris is a prolific scorer with 3-point range, and Mitchell handles the post recording nearly 10 rebounds each game to go with his 12.6 points

Freshman guard Justin Anderson should see steady minutes as a great young defender. Fellow freshman Evan Nolte is a 6’8” forward who has been shooting the lights out. He is shooting 48.7% from the field and has made 11 out of 22 from behind the arc.

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No. 6 Miami

Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

The Hurricanes have looked solid through 4 weeks of basketball. Miami started the season a little shaky with a double-digit loss to Florida Gulf Coat, but have since turned it around. That was Miami’s only loss of the season and they stand at 5-and-1.

Big men Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji have kept control of the paint rebounding well, and rejecting opposing shooters. On the perimeter the Hurricane’s feature up and comer Shane Larkin who is lights out from anywhere on the court, and Durand Scott who can create his own shot as well as set up his teammates. Both guards work well with the ball in their hand and can find open shooters

With consistent inside-and-out play the Hurricane’s could really shake things up late in the season.

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No. 5 Maryland

David Banks-USA Today Sports

The Terps have been the best rebounding team in the country up until now, while also being a top ten team in assist. Their only loss was to Kentucky in the season opener. On Nov. 27 they defeated Northwestern by 20 points, and followed that up by squeaking past George Mason on Dec. 2.

Alex Len has been a force as a 7-foot center. He is scoring 14.7 points and 9 rebounds per game, and also recording 2.6 blocks.

Dezmine Wells has also picked up his game scoring over 20 points in their last two games.

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No. 4 North Carolina State

N.C. State
Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

According to the AP N.C. State is a top 25 team, but they have 2 losses early in the season. They gave up a fight against Michigan on Nov. 27 losing 79-to-72, and then put in a nice performance defeating Connecticut on Dec. 4.

With outstanding depth one would expect the Wolfpack to have a great year, but they’ve shown early inconsistency. Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie are doing their thing at forward with freshman T.J. Warren contributing some great scoring.

Lorenzo Brown does it all as a 6’5” point guard who scores, rebounds, racks up the assists, and swipes 2 steals a game. Also freshman guard Rodney Purvis contributes some valuable minutes playing 30 of them a game.

Somehow though it feels there is something missing from this team, they just don’t seem to mesh on a regular basis.

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No. 3 Virginia Tech

Peter Casey-USA Today Sports

The Hokies are the surprise of the ACC thus far. They are undefeated at 7-and-0 and most recently defeated an Oklahoma State team that was ranked No. 15 at the time. That’s the same Oklahoma State team that embarrassed N.C. State.

Erick Green is one of the best true scorers in the country, and the senior guard can also move the ball. With fellow perimeter man Robert Brown they combine for nearly 8 assists per game while both scoring in double figures. Green is scorching the nets with 25 points a game, and he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Jarelle Eddie might be the most impressive 3-point shooting forward in a long time. He has shot 36 of them so far and is currently 52.8%.

Role-playing forwards Cadarian Raines, Marshall Wood, and C.J. Barksdale are providing the complimentary scoring and rebounding to help propel this team. If things continue this way Virginia Tech will remain undefeated into inter-conference play.

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No. 2 University of North Carolina

Jeff Curry-USA Today Sports

UNC has all the tools to be a great team this year, but they were upset by Butler on Nov. 20, and brutally humiliated by No. 1 Indiana on Nov. 27. Since the Indiana game, they defeated the University of Alabama Birmingham on Saturday Dec. 1.

James McAdoo has been huge for Roy Williams’ squad scoring 16 points and 9 rebounds per match. This Tar Heels team also features three guys who light it up from deep or drive hard a create a play. Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston, and Leslie McDonald are all thriving as go-to shooters.

Freshmen forwards Brice Johnson and Joel James are doing well for freshman, but really need to rebound better in their minutes.

Guards Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige are doing their job scoring a bit and distributing the ball well. They are both active on the defensive end getting more than 1 steal each per game.

North Carolina will settle in and go through a string of wins, and maybe find themselves atop this list before season’s end.

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No. 1 Duke

Mark Dolejs-USA Today Sports

Surprise, surprise. The top team in the ACC through week 4 is also one of the most dominant teams in all of college hoops. Although Mike Krzyzewski’s team isn’t impressing at any one statistical category, they are playing fantastic team basketball.

Mason Plumlee is the leader of this team, and is in the conversation with Cody Zeller as top big man in the NCAA. He is scoring 19.6 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots per game. His 65% field goal percentage makes him a supremely consistent big man.

Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly are shooting very well, and both make it rain from 3-point land.

Sophomore guard Quinn Cook has really stepped up as the point guard for the Blue Devils. He is recording 20 more minutes per game than his freshman season, and making the best of them. His 6 assists each game is crucial for the team's success.

Also, freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon has been a significant supporting cast member playing 32 minutes a game, and scoring very well.

Duke is coming off of victories against then No. 4 Ohio State on Nov. 28, and Delaware on Dec. 1. Coming up they will face Temple on Dec. 8, and shouldn’t lose their place in the power rankings.