ACC men's basketball power rankings: Duke remains at No. 1, North Carolina reaches top five as regular season winds down

Duke earned road wins against Virginia and Syracuse to strengthen its hold on the top spot in the ACC standings.
Duke earned road wins against Virginia and Syracuse to strengthen its hold on the top spot in the ACC standings.

With just one week left in the regular season, our beats are here with another installment of The Chronicle's Power Rankings of each team vying for the ACC crown.

1. Duke (25-4, 15-3)

Previous ranking: 1 // Average ranking: 1.0

Hey, did anything interesting happen in college basketball this week? As the sun sets on a historic week for the top of the AP Poll, Duke somehow escaped as one of two top-10 teams not to get upset. While a stalwart at the top of these rankings, the Blue Devils should also move up in the national rankings, and at the right time, as a one-seed in the NCAA tournament remains a hope for the team. As for the ACC, they only have two more regular-season contests, first against Pittsburgh, then against North Carolina. Pittsburgh should be a lock, and though anything can happen in such a huge rivalry game, Duke beat North Carolina by 20 in the first meeting, so if it can close out this last week, it could secure its first regular-season title in 12 years. -Sasha Richie

2. Notre Dame (21-8, 14-4)

Previous ranking: 3 // Average ranking: 2.4

Head coach Mike Brey’s team did all it could this week to keep within striking distance of the Blue Devils at the top of the conference standings, getting past Syracuse 79-69 before thumping Georgia Tech 90-56 Saturday for its largest ACC win ever. The Fighting Irish have won 11 times in their last 13 tries, with the only losses in that stretch coming at home to Duke and to a very good Wake Forest team on the road. It won’t get another chance to redeem itself against either of those squads before the postseason, but regular-season conference title or not, this Notre Dame squad will not be an easy out at next week’s conference tournament. -Jonathan Levitan

3. Wake Forest (22-8, 12-7)

Previous ranking: 2 // Average ranking: 3.3

The Demon Deacons head into the final week of the regular season fifth in the ACC standings with a 12-7 conference record. Regardless of what happens in their final game against N.C. State Wednesday—given the Wolfpack’s 4-14 mark in the ACC, Wake Forest should coast by them—this season will go down as a surprising success. The Demon Deacons were picked to finish 13th in the preseason, and now they finish their season with favorites for both ACC Player and Coach of the Year in Alondes Williams and Steve Forbes, respectively. This past week, they dropped an 80-69 game to Clemson—the Tigers are better than their record suggests—hence the slight drop in these rankings, but they rebounded 99-77 against Louisville. Come the ACC tournament, its opponents will certainly have Wake Forest circled in red ink as a tough obstacle to get through. -Richie

4. North Carolina (21-8, 13-5)

Previous ranking: 6 // Average ranking: 4.0

Guess who’s back. North Carolina is still not out of the woods when it comes to the NCAA tournament bubble, but the Tar Heels are 9-2 over their last 11. The problem is that those two losses were against Duke and Pittsburgh. The Tar Heels squandered their best chance at a quality home win when the Blue Devils came to town and their bout with the Panthers revealed how vulnerable North Carolina is when its starting backcourt of Caleb Love and RJ Davis only shoots 40% from the field and hits a single triple. Brady Manek, on the other hand, continues to be a revelation for head coach Hubert Davis, as the stretch big averaged 16.5 points on 57.1% shooting from the floor and 35.7% from downtown this week. Expect the Tar Heels to take care of business Monday against Syracuse, but they will likely head into Saturday’s trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium as substantial underdogs according to oddsmakers. -Max Rego

5. Miami (20-9, 12-6)

Previous ranking: 5 // Average ranking: 4.6

Just when it looked like Miami might be able to string together consecutive wins to follow up a disappointing loss to Virginia and an encouraging midweek road win against Pittsburgh, it faltered against red-hot Virginia Tech. It’s a frustrating loss for head coach Jim Larrañaga’s squad—which is struggling to find its late-season stride—but the team showed fight in the 71-70 loss, hanging with the Hokies down the stretch before ultimately ending up on the wrong side of the seesaw. Still, these Hurricanes remain in position for a double-bye at the conference tournament and can secure that standing with two final road wins against Boston College and Syracuse. -Levitan

Complete rankings:

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

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

3. Wake Forest (PR: 2 // AR: 3.3)

4. North Carolina (PR: 6 // AR: 4.0)

5. Miami (PR: 5 // AR: 4.6)

6. Virginia Tech (PR: 7 // AR: 6.3)

7. Virginia (PR: 4 // AR: 6.5)

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

9. Syracuse (PR: 8 // AR: 9.6)

10. Clemson (PR: 12 // AR: 9.9)

11. Louisville (PR: 9 // AR: 10.1)

12. Pittsburgh (PR: 11 // AR: 12.5)

13. Boston College (PR: 15 // AR: 13.0)

14. N.C. State (PR: 13 // AR: 13.8)

15. Georgia Tech (PR: 14 // AR: 14.5)

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


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