Are we there yet? ACC play will finally begin in less than two weeks, which could lead to some shake-ups in the rankings after a slow holiday push. As it is, there’s little question about who the top three teams in the league are right now (although the order, of course, is always up for debate). But the fourth? Fifth? Sixth?
1. North Carolina: The Tar Heels’ dismantling of Texas was impressive, even if it was a younger, shorter Longhorns team than seasons past. Against Nicholls, UNC pulled down 72 rebounds, the most in program history since 1956.
2. Duke: Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t pleased with the way his team lollygagged early against UNC Greensboro last week, but the Devils got the job done as they should have, winning by 27 points. Friday’s matchup against Western Michigan will mark only their second game in a 21-day span, so it will be interesting to see whether they repeat their slow start.
3. Virginia: The Cavaliers' depth may have been hurt by the announcements that guard KT Harrell and forward James Johnson will transfer, but they’re still on a roll. At 10-1, the Cavs are off to their best start since 2000. They have an eight-game winning streak, have won their last four road games, and forward Mike Scott scored a career-high 33 at Seattle last week.
4. Florida State: Leonard Hamilton said after his team’s 18-point loss to No. 12 Florida that he worries his Seminoles have lost their competitive edge since last season. Perhaps the return of guard Ian Miller who made his season debut in the game after sitting out the first semester because of academics will help. After all, Hamilton is pondering going to a smaller lineup.
5. NC State: Funny, I was just discussing with a colleague a couple weeks back who State’s best “go-to” option would be, and then sophomore C.J. Leslie hits the game-winner at St. Bonaventure with 0.8 seconds left. These guys could make things interesting all season.
6. Virginia Tech: The hardest part of the Hokies’ blowout win over Eastern Michigan was apparently trying to get coach Seth Greenberg to give more details about senior Dorenzo Hudson, who started despite his involvement in altercations that led several felony arrests that included the football team’s kicker. Hudson hasn’t been charged with anything, and the team should get a good on-the-court test at Oklahoma State on New Year’s Eve.
7. Miami: First the Hurricanes got Reggie Johnson back. Now DeQuan Jones, too. The forward, who had been held out because of an ongoing NCAA inquiry, played 18 minutes at Charlotte, recording seven points, six rebounds and a block. UM has two more games to tune up before opening ACC play with two road games.
8. Maryland: Guard Pe’Shon Howard is back from his foot injury, but Maryland continues to struggle against mid-major opponents. Last week, the Terps beat Radford by only five points.
9. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons did let an 11-point lead slip away vs. UNC Wilmington, but battled back to win by nine points. That shows growth from last season. The Deacs have now won five of their last seven games.
10. Georgia Tech: Coach Brian Gregory said he wants to see better practice habits after his team lost to Mercer. The Jackets are still last in the league in 3-point percentage (.278) and turnover margin (minus-3.25).
11. Clemson: The Tigers went 1-2 in Hawaii, needing overtime and a career-high 26 points from Tanner Smith to get their one win (against struggling Southern Illinois) in the Diamond Head Classic.
12. Boston College: The freshmen-laden Eagles have won three in a row, but keep in mind that it was against Stony Brook, Bryant and Sacred Heart.
Robbi Pickeral can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @bylinerp.