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ACC men's basketball power rankings: Duke sticks at No. 1, Wake Forest and Notre Dame rise

Duke beat North Carolina 87-67 in Chapel Hill Saturday night.
Duke beat North Carolina 87-67 in Chapel Hill Saturday night.

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

1. Duke (19-3, 9-2)

Previous ranking: 1 // Average ranking: 1.0

This Blue Devil team showed both sides of its recent dominance this past week, first delivering a massive bruise to the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind., as the Paolo Banchero-led Duke team held Notre Dame to under 30% shooting in its 57-43 win. If the defensive performance was not enough, the Blue Devils rolled into their rivals’ home and completely ignored the noise en route to one of the biggest beatdowns of North Carolina in recent memory. In head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last ride down to Chapel Hill, the boos rained down on the Blue Devils as they promptly managed a 23-point first-half lead. AJ Griffin—who scored 27 points—is on fire, and the team is showing strong chemistry now with freshman guard Trevor Keels back. With Virginia on the docket for Monday, a tough matchup comes to Durham, but this team—now on a five-game win streak and atop the conference standings in earnest—looks nearly invincible. -Micah Hurewitz

2. Notre Dame (16-7, 9-3)

Previous ranking: 3 // Average ranking: 2.4

Notre Dame came into this week riding a bit of a hot streak thanks to some efficient shooting. Monday's beatdown from Duke quickly changed that. The Fighting Irish could not buy a 3-pointer, nor could they stop Banchero, who scored 21 points. Head coach Mike Brey’s team bounced back Wednesday night against Miami, as forward Paul Atkinson Jr. poured in 23 points and 11 rebounds in the tightly-fought contest. The ACC has been unusually turbulent and weak this year, so don’t take this high ranking too seriously; Notre Dame probably won’t be this high on the list next week. But if the Fighting Irish manage to maintain it, they have a good shot at securing their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2017 (ESPN’s Bracketology has Notre Dame at “First Four Out” status). - Glen Morgenstern

3. Wake Forest (19-5, 9-4)

Previous ranking: 6 // Average ranking: 3.8

19-5. Four road wins in conference play. One of the most dynamic guards in the league in Alondes Williams. To the naked eye, the Demon Deacons look like the obvious second-best group in the ACC and a contender for a top-six tourney seed, but there’s a catch—Wake Forest did not pick up a single elite win in the nonconference slate and has a couple of head-scratchers against Louisville and Syracuse. Since a Jan. 12 loss to Duke, Steve Forbes’ bunch has snagged six of seven while averaging nearly 80 a night in that span. N.C. State Wednesday should not be too much of a problem, but a home duel with Miami Saturday is a biggie. -Max Rego

4. Miami (16-7, 8-4)

Previous ranking: 2 // Average ranking: 5.0

After taking down Duke, Miami looked like a top-three team in the conference, and not the third. Since then, however, it has sort of lost its stride. Going 3-4 in their last seven, the Hurricanes especially had a tough week last week, dropping a close one to Notre Dame before getting trounced by Virginia. Don’t get me wrong, the Hurricanes are still a really good team, anchored by the trio of Kameron McGusty, Isaiah Wong and Charlie Moore, but they’ve been shaky lately, with McGusty and Wong each putting up single-digit points in one of the Hurricanes’ two recent losses. While Miami can still finish the season as a top ACC team, it remains to be seen what, if any, other potential it has. -Sasha Richie

5. Virginia (14-9, 8-5)

Previous ranking: 7 // Average ranking: 5.1

Virginia looks pretty legit these days, picking up a solid win against Boston College this week and earning a huge 71-58 win against Miami. The Hurricanes have contended in the upper echelon of the ACC all season, so handily defeating them spells good things for head coach Tony Bennett’s squad. Jayden Gardner and Armaan Franklin have been the most consistent forces for the Cavaliers, and if they can keep up their recent paces, Virginia could begin to climb these rankings. This is its first appearance in these blurbs, and with continued chaos in the usual top-five, it could sneak up as one of the better teams in the conference. -Richie

Complete rankings:

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

2. Notre Dame (PR: 3 // AR: 2.4)

3. Wake Forest (PR: 6 // AR: 3.8)

4. Miami (PR: 2 // AR: 5.0)

5. Virginia (PR: 7 // AR: 5.1)

6. North Carolina (PR: 4 // AR: 5.4)

7. Florida State (PR: 5 // AR: 7.3)

8. Syracuse (PR: 8 // AR: 7.8)

9. Virginia Tech (PR: T-9 // AR: 7.9)

10. Clemson (PR: 11 // AR: 10.6)

11. Louisville (PR: T-9 // AR: 11.8)

12. Georgia Tech (PR: 14 // AR: 12.1)

T-13.  N.C. State (PR: 12 // AR: 12.9)

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

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

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

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