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Power Rankings: ACC Basketball’s Top 15 Players

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ACC's Top 15 Players

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before a loaded ACC schedule over the weekend that’ll see a showdown between the top two teams in the conference, it’s time to rank the top 15 players in the league.

The Duke Blue Devils will try to avenge a history making embarrassing loss to the Miami (FL) Hurricanes on Saturday night, in what could decide the balance of power in the conference.

The most surprising part of the weekend could be that Duke enters Monday tied with the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Cavaliers with identical conference records. Nobody would have predicted that at the beginning of league action as the Blue Devils appeared like a juggernaut while not many were sure what to make of the Tar Heels and Cavaliers

Virginia certainly made their presence known to the rest of the nation with a major upset victory over Duke this past Thursday. Meanwhile, North Carolina is coming off four straight victories and are looking as good as they have all season long.

Speaking of teams looking as good as they have all season long, if Miami (FL) can somehow escape Durham with a win, they’ll have done a marvelous job of setting themselves up for first seed in the NCAA Tournament.

At the other end of the spectrum, the North Carolina State Wolfpack are still trying to find themselves as they attempt to enter tournament time playing the best basketball of their season. The Wolfpack have been inconsistent all year long despite possessing quality talent at every position. If they are able to come together in the final games of the season, they could find themselves playing deep into March. If they remain at the same level they’ve shown all year, they’ll be enjoying March Madness from their couch cushions after an early exit.

With all that said, it is now time to rank the top 15 players in the ACC.

The rankings are based on player performance, strength of schedule, team success, and are designed to give an idea of where the player might finish if the conference player of the year was named today. Players who have performed at high levels against strong competition are weighed higher than those who might have higher numbers against considerably weaker competition.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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15. Akil Mitchell

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Akil Mitchell, Virginia Cavaliers

The 6-foot-8 junior has quietly put together a solid season playing behind his high scoring teammate, Joe Harris. The forward is the third best rebounder in the conference with 8.8 boards per contest, to go along with 12.8 points, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals while shooting 53.7% from the floor and 70% from the foul line. After the defense he played against Mason Plumlee, running into Mitchell and the Cavaliers is something the rest of the nation is hoping to avoid come tournament time.

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14. Alex Len

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Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

The 7-foot-1 center has put together a respectable sophomore year despite his team struggling as of late, and likely seeing their tournament bid go down the drain. Regardless of if the Terrapins find themselves playing come the middle of the March, it’s impossible to ignore the fear every opponent has driving the lane due to Len’s defensive presence. The center is a top five rebounder and shot blocker, averaging 12.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and two blocks while shooting 54.3% from the field.

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13. Reggie Bullock

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Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels have won four in a row and a big reason why has been the play of their 6-foot-7 junior, including his monstrous double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds in a win over the North Carolina State Wolfpack. It might be too early to say, but North Carolina is looking dangerous once again thanks to Bullock’s averages of 14 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals.

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12. Kenny Kadji

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Kenny Kadji, Miami (FL) Hurricanes

The 6-foot-11 senior is one of the nation’s top shooting big men with his ability to burn opponents inside the paint or step outside and drain a jumper from the perimeter. His averages of 13 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks prove he's not only a talented offensive weapon, but he’s also capable of being a solid defensive presence as well.

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11. C.J. Leslie

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State Wolfpack

One of college basketball’s most frustrating players due to a maturity level, but impossible to ignore because of a high talent level. His averages suggest he should be a lot higher in the rankings but due to inconsistency and his love for barking at officials instead of hustling on the floor, Leslie finds himself in his current slot. The 6-foot-9 junior is averaging 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 blocks while shooting 53.6% from the floor. The numbers prove he’s a top player in the conference and if he ever gets his head screwed on straight, the Wolfpack could be a scary team come tournament time.

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10. Quinn Cook

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Quinn Cook, Duke Blue Devils

Once the 6-foot-1 sophomore guard was inserted into the starting line-up, the Blue Devils had the best starting five unit in the nation. Injuries later changed that, however it hasn’t effected Cook’s play as he’s averaging 12.4 points, 5.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

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9. Durand Scott

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Durand Scott, Miami (FL) Hurricanes

The 6-foot-5 senior combines with teammate Shane Larkin to form what could be the best backcourt in the entire conference. Scott is averaging 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 steals. If he's not scoring, he can still impact a game with his hard nose defense, wearing down opposing guards.

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8. James Michael McAdoo

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James Michael McAdoo

A top five rebounder and stealer in the conference, the 6-foot-9 sophomore might not be scoring at the pace many thought he could but he is finding ways to contribute in other areas. That’s not to say McAdoo can’t score, as he’s still the eighth leading point producer in the conference, averaging 14.5 points, to go along with 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists.

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7. Lorenzo Brown

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Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State Wolfpack

College basketball’s closest version to Rajon Rondo currently leads the conference in assists. When the 6-foot-5 junior is on his game, he’s capable of shutting down opposing guards while being the quarterback on offense that leads his team to victory. Few players in the nation can effect games in numerous ways like Brown can, as he averages 12.6 points, seven assists, 4.2 rebounds, and two steals.

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6. Seth Curry

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Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils

Despite being plagued by injuries for the majority of the season, the senior guard is still tied for second in scoring in the conference. The 6-foot-2 guard is proving the Curry family will go down as some of the greatest shooters of all-time with his averages of 17.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists to go along with shooting 46.2% from the floor and 44% from three-point range.

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5. Richard Howell

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Richard Howell, North Carolina State Wolfpack

The heart and soul that kept the Wolfpack together before their disappointing season completely went off the rails is the definition of a glue guy. He’s not as flashy as teammate Lorenzo Brown or as offensively gifted as C.J. Leslie, but the 6-foot-8 senior is the best player on N.C. State due to his relentless hustle and never quit attitude. He’s the conference’s best rebounder, pulling down 11.1 per game, to go along with 12.8 points, 1.9 assists, 1.1 blocks, and one steal while holding the third best field goal percentage in the conference at 56.2%. Howell and Mason Plumlee are the only two players in the league to average double-doubles.

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4. Joe Harris

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Joe Harris, Virginia Cavaliers

The 6-foot-6 junior had his coming out party after dropping 36 points in an upset victory over the Duke Blue Devils. No team wants to run into Virginia and their high pressure defense come tournament time and the biggest reason why is due to their fear of being unable to stop Harris from scoring. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists while shooting 50.3% from the floor.

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3. Erick Green

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Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies

The nation’s leading scorer might play on a losing team but he’s more than capable of stepping up to steal games all on his own. The 6-foot-4 senior can do a lot more than just score the basketball as well, as he averages 24.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.4 steals while shooting 47.5% from the field.

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2. Shane Larkin

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Shane Larkin, Miami (FL) Hurricanes

The sophomore on a senior filled roster that looks more experienced than any of his teammates, continues to impress game after game. At only 5-foot-11, Larkin can impact games in multiple ways as he leads his team in scoring, sits first in the conference in steals and is the fourth leading playmaker. He’s averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals while shooting 48.6% from the floor.

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1. Mason Plumlee

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Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Tied second for scoring in the conference, along with being the second leading rebounder, second in field goal percentage and fifth in shot blocking. Few players have made an impact on the college basketball season like Plumlee has with his dominating force in the paint on both ends of the floor. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, two assists, 1.6 blocks and one steal while shooting 59.2% from the field. Double teaming Plumlee isn't an option, it's a must as leaving him in single coverage often results in an explosive outing from the senior