2017-18 ACC Basketball Power Rankings: Holiday Edition

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Teams 1-3

It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Virginia is a top three team once again this season. I mean that’s just what Tony Bennett does.

The Cavaliers as usual lead the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 50.6 points a game as they slow things down and limit possessions. This doesn’t work for everyone, but sure does work for Virginia.

The Cavaliers as usual also don’t have a ton of big scoring performances, but are getting a good season from sophomore Kyle Guy who leads the team with 16.6 points per game. The team’s next contest will be their biggest of the season, on the road against West Virginia.


UNC is better than most expected this season. Many wondered how the Tar Heels would overcome the losses of Justin Jackson and their entire frontcourt, but Roy Williams’ squad has been nothing short of one of the best this season.

This is all because of the play of a 2015 class, that most rated as underwhelming according to North Carolina standards. Kenny Williams and Luke Maye have been key players this season for UNC.

Williams is averaging 13.4 points per game while hitting 52.8 percent of his shots behind the arc. That percentage ranks fourth in the ACC and is nearly 20 percentage points higher than he shot last season.

Maye meanwhile is one of two ACC players averaging a double-double this season. He is second in the ACC in both scoring and rebounds and would be the first Tar Heel to average 20 and 10 since Tyler Hansbrough did it during his 2007-08 Player of the Year season.

That clearly would help make up for the losses of Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and Tony Bradley and keep UNC in the top ten nationally in rebounds per game. Not bad for a guy barely rated as an ESPN top 100 prospect.

On top of all that UNC has played three games against the RPI top 25 and has two wins in those games, both tops in the ACC. The Tar Heels next game is against Western Carolina on Wednesday.

DURHAM, NC – DECEMBER 02: Matt Mooney
DURHAM, NC – DECEMBER 02: Matt Mooney /

In my initial rankings, I asked Duke to prove they deserved to be ranked number one. Well, they did. Not only are they 10-0 but are evoking memories of some past Kentucky teams that were nearly unbeatable.

The Blue Devils are led by freshman phenom Marvin Bagley III. Bagley entered the season inciting comparisons to both Anthony Davis and Tim Duncan. He has not disappointed. Bagley leads the ACC in points and rebounds and is clearly the best freshman, if not the best player in the nation.

Duke’s entire starting five is averaging double digits in scoring and the team ranks in the top ten nationally in points, assists, and rebounds per game.

The only negative for Duke this season is they have not been dominant. In multiple games, this season Duke has trailed late and needed and a big run to end things against far lesser opponents.

If this doesn’t change the Blue Devils could suffer a loss at the wrong time to the right team that can take advantage, ala Wisconsin against Kentucky in 2015. Duke’s next game should be an easy one as they take on St Francis who is 3-4 this season.

If you wondering how I ranked the top 10 teams nationally, have no fear they are right here:

  1. Duke Blue Devils
  2. Michigan State Spartans
  3. Kansas Jayhawks
  4. Villanova Wildcats
  5. North Carolina Tar Heels
  6. Wichita State Shockers
  7. Texas A&M Aggies
  8. Florida Gators
  9. Virginia Cavaliers
  10. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Well that does it for this round of rankings. I will be back in January for conference play and a weekly edition of these rankings. Until then enjoy, because college basketball is rounding itself out before conference season begins and you can better believe things are about to get real.

What did you think of this round of rankings? Let us know in the comments below.