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ACC men's basketball power rankings: Duke stays at the top heading into new year

Duke topped Virginia Tech 76-65 to open its ACC slate with a win.
Duke topped Virginia Tech 76-65 to open its ACC slate with a win.

New year, same old college basketball season. With 2022 officially here and ACC play in full swing, our beats are here with another installment of The Chronicle's Power Rankings of each team vying for the ACC crown:

1. Duke (11-1, 1-0)

Previous ranking: 1 // Average ranking: 1.0

 Another week, another easy choice to put Duke at the top of the ACC. The Blue Devils had a brief scare after trailing at halftime in their first conference game of the season thanks to a tough Keve Aluma-led Virginia Tech team, but thanks to the trio of Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin and Wendell Moore Jr., Duke came out with a win. At a glance through the ACC, it’s tough to see a team taking the Blue Devils down head to head. A conference loss is likely inevitable, but the depth of star power on this year’s squad will keep Duke in the driver’s seat for a regular-season championship. -Jake Piazza

2. North Carolina (9-3, 1-0)

Previous ranking: 3 // Average ranking: 2.8

Not much has changed for the Tar Heels since our last rankings, with head coach Hubert Davis’ team winning its sole matchup against Appalachian State in less-than-thrilling fashion 70-50. It sure isn’t enough to erase the defensive concerns behind North Carolina’s losses to Purdue, Tennessee and Kentucky, but with the rest of the ACC’s elite still struggling to string together wins, it stands as enough to boost North Carolina into the coveted second spot behind Duke. The Tar Heels showed flashes in the waning moments of 2021, but should resolve to achieve a greater level of consistency in 2022. -Jonathan Levitan

3. Louisville (8-4, 2-0)

Previous ranking: 6 // Average ranking: 4.0

Despite a 73-69 win against Wake Forest this past Wednesday, do we really know much about these Cardinals? Only two players on the roster—transfer guard Noah Locke and dynamic forward Malik Williams—average double-figure scoring, and Louisville is shooting just 31.5% from outside on the season. ESPN's Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology has the Cardinals penciled in as a No. 11-seed, but if the early portion of ACC play goes sideways, Louisville will find itself on the outside looking in. Redshirt sophomore Jae’Lyn Withers needs to step up if head coach Chris Mack and company expect to get through next week’s contests against Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Florida State. -Max Rego

4. Miami (10-3, 2-0)

Previous ranking: 5 // Average ranking: 4.3

The Hurricanes have continued to do what few other teams on this list have been able to: win games. They have stretched a four-game win streak to six with wins against Stetson and N.C. State, putting themselves in prime position to make a run against some of the ACC’s best over the next couple of weeks. In those two games, Miami shot 24-for-48 from beyond the arc and controlled the ball well. The trio of Kameron McGusty, Charlie Moore and Isaiah Wong has combined to create one of the conference’s most potent offenses as of late, giving Saturday’s game against Wake Forest the chance to become one of the conference’s most unexpected great games of the season. -Micah Hurewitz

5. Wake Forest (11-2, 1-1)

Previous ranking: 2 // Average ranking: 5.3

At first glance, it would appear that our anointment of Wake Forest as the second-best team in the conference was a bit preemptive. The Demon Deacons couldn’t get past Louisville in their first competitive ACC game of the season Wednesday, falling 73-69 to snap a five-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 30. But for this young, up-and-coming team that has suddenly found itself in the conversation alongside the ACC’s giants, that ultra-competitive loss to Louisville might only reinforce what seemed clear a week ago: Wake Forest is for real. It doesn’t get much easier for head coach Steve Forbes’ team in January, though, with the Demon Deacons set to take on surging Miami on the road Saturday before a tricky three-game homestand against Florida State, Syracuse and Duke. -Levitan

Complete rankings:

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

2. North Carolina (PR: 3 // AR: 2.8)

3. Louisville (PR: 6 // AR: 4.0)

4. Miami (PR: 5 // AR: 4.3)

5. Wake Forest (PR: 2 // AR: 5.3)

6. Virginia Tech (PR: 4 // AR: 5.6)

7. Clemson (PR: 7 // AR: 7.0)

8. Syracuse (PR: 11 // AR: 8.0)

9. Florida State (PR: 10 // AR: 8.6)

10. Virginia (PR: 9 // AR: 10.1)

11. Notre Dame (PR: 12 // AR: 10.9)

12. N.C. State (PR: 8 // AR: 11.5)

13. Georgia Tech (PR: 13 // AR: 12.8)

14. Boston College (PR: 14 // AR: 13.4)

15. Pittsburgh (PR: 15 // AR: 14.9)

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

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