Steve Moore is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.
A few interesting games in the last week (mostly by those wearing Carolina blue), and the debut of conference play. And yes, I know the ACC lost the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but that has a lot to do with the matchups, and a weak lower tier of the ACC. More on that below. Let’s get right to the rankings:
ACC POWER RANKINGS (record as of Monday, Dec. 7)
1. North Carolina (7-2, 0-0)
PAST: The Tar Heels slide just past Duke this week (barely), despite a tough loss at Kentucky on Saturday. Deon Thompson and Will Graves led a valiant second-half rally for UNC, but a loss in Lexington is nothing to be ashamed of right now. Oh, and there was that up-and-down, 89-82 shootout win over Michigan State. So there’s that.
FUTURE: After a double-dip week like that, UNC deserves a week off, and they’ll get it. The Heels host Presbyterian on Saturday. But another test awaits at Texas on Dec. 19.
2. Duke (7-1, 0-0)
PAST: Don’t go crazy there, Dookies. I know you were No. 1 last week, and losing on the road to a Bo Ryan-coached Wisconsin team isn’t anything to worry about. Heck, just getting back safely from Madison in December is a victory. But you did let St. John’s back in the game on Saturday, and have shown a few chinks in the armor – like the inability to shoot? Duke ranks 10th in the ACC in shooting percentage, shooting just 45%.
FUTURE: Duke does not play at all this week, before facing Gardner-Webb and Gonzaga (at MSG).
3. Georgia Tech (6-1)
PAST: Wins over Siena and USC came by an average of 19.5 points, and the Jackets’ defense continues to impress. With Derrick Favors (2.1 blocks per game), Gani Lawal (10.3 rebounds/game), Tech controls the middle. The perimeter defense ain’t bad either, as teams are shooting less than 25% from beyond the arc against the Wreck.
FUTURE: No games this week for the Jackets, with two cupcakes the week after.
4. Wake Forest (5-2, 0-0)
PAST: The Deacons lost at Purdue, while last week’s No. 4, Clemson, lost at Illinois. No shame in either loss, but Wake’s big win at Gonzaga on Saturday earns the rankings bump. There are not many trips in America tougher than one to Spokane, especially when going cross-country and coming off that loss to Purdue. Wake is holding opponents to just 36% shooting, and Al-Farouq Aminu is averaging more than 10 boards per game.
FUTURE: No games this week, and – in all honesty – no real challenges until 2010.
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