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ACC men's basketball power rankings: Duke stays at No. 1, North Carolina returns to top five

<p>A 2-0 week kept Duke men's basketball atop these power rankings as the team to beat in the ACC.</p>

A 2-0 week kept Duke men's basketball atop these power rankings as the team to beat in the ACC.

After another week of fierce conference play, our beats are here with another installment of The Chronicle's Power Rankings of each team vying for the ACC crown:

1. Duke (17-3, 7-2)

Previous ranking: T-1 // Average ranking: 1.0

Forgive the analogy, but the past two games for the Blue Devils are reminiscent of a new-look pitching staff figuring things out on the fly during spring training. Duke relied on clutch playmaking from Jeremy Roach, Joey Baker and Paolo Banchero to lift it to a home win over Clemson, proving that this group can win a close one in conference play without its best stuff. Then, AJ Griffin—you know, the guy who now shoots a measly 50% from long range—hit two huge triples to spur a late rally in the Blue Devils’ 74-65 victory at Louisville Saturday. I’m not ready to put Duke in the Auburn-Gonzaga-UCLA class just yet, but the resume is strong enough to warrant a No. 2-seed right now. -Max Rego

2. Miami (16-5, 8-2)

Previous ranking: 3 // Average ranking: 2.4

Since beating Duke, Miami has not lived up to expectations. The Hurricanes lost to Florida State twice in two weeks. Last week, they barely held off Virginia Tech. Miami has the best record in the ACC at 8-2, but its season will only get harder as young teams like Duke and North Carolina get not-so-young. At this point, it looks like head coach Jim Larrañaga’s squad of veterans (four Hurricanes are in their sixth year) will play more of a spoiler role. The Hurricanes may not hang onto this spot in the power rankings for much longer. -Glen Morgenstern

3. Notre Dame (14-6, 7-2)

Previous ranking: 5 // Average ranking: 3.0

What a difference a month can make. When the ball dropped some four weeks ago along with our New Year’s Day power rankings, the Fighting Irish were 7-5 and stood all the way down at 11th on this list. But that Notre Dame team feels like a distant memory now with senior guard Dane Goodwin shooting the lights out, freshman Blake Wesley looking more impressive by the day and the rest of head coach Mike Brey’s supporting cast playing improved ball. The famed sons of Notre Dame—winners in 10 of their last 11—are the hands-down hottest team in the ACC, making Monday’s matchup against Duke in South Bend, Ind., a must-see event. -Jonathan Levitan

4. North Carolina (15-6, 7-3)

Previous ranking: 6 // Average ranking: 4.5

Welcome back to the top five, North Carolina. A week ago, the Tar Heels dropped four spots and out of that select group entirely after a pair of horrid losses at Miami and Wake Forest by an average of 25 points per defeat. But in the wake of that disastrous stretch, head coach Hubert Davis’ group has recovered nicely, earning wins against Virginia Tech, Boston College and N.C. State to give North Carolina its first three-game winning streak of conference play. The bottom line is, though, that the Tar Heels are fortunate to be this high considering how inconsistent they have seemed. Whether they can keep up this recent success through Saturday’s home matchup against Duke is unclear, but this team continues to hang around in the conversation with the ACC’s best teams. -Levitan

5. Florida State (13-7, 6-4)

Previous ranking: T-1 // Average ranking: 5.1

My blurb from last week aged like milk, but really, how could I have predicted a hot team immediately dropping games to two of the worst teams in the conference? I guess I should’ve known that this is ACC basketball, and anything can happen. The loss of Malik Osborne for the season hurts badly, and it’ll be hard if not impossible to replace his leadership and output of 10 points and nearly seven rebounds per game. Then, it didn't help matters when team scoring leader Caleb Mills went cold and had tonsillitis, and starter RayQuan Evans being unavailable against Virginia Tech was really the icing on the cake of a no good, very bad week for the Seminoles. Given its present state of disarray, I’m willing to give Florida State the benefit of the doubt this week, but only time will tell if there are just too many barriers for the once-promising team to hurdle. -Sasha Richie 

Complete rankings:

1. Duke (PR: T-1 // AR: 1.0)

2. Miami (PR: 3 // AR: 2.4)

3. Notre Dame (PR: 5 // AR: 3.0)

4. North Carolina (PR: 6 // AR: 4.5)

5. Florida State (PR: T-1 // AR: 5.1)

6. Wake Forest (PR: 4 // AR: 5.3)

7. Virginia (PR: 8 // AR: 8.1)

8. Syracuse (PR: 9 // AR: 9.4)

T-9. Louisville (PR: 7 // AR: 9.6)

T-9. Virginia Tech (PR: 12 // AR: 9.6)

11. Clemson (PR: 11 // AR: 10.3)

12. N.C. State (PR: 10 // AR: 11.5)

13. Boston College (PR: 13 // AR: 12.9)

14. Georgia Tech (PR: 14 // AR: 13.1)

15. Pittsburgh (PR: 15 // AR: 14.3)

Take a look at last week's Power Rankings here.

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