That escalated quickly. The ACC action this past Saturday really ratcheted up the intensity of the conference's title race (and battle for the 4 double-byes) for these last few weeks of the season.
Notre Dame and Duke won home games against Louisville and Virginia, respectively, to create a logjam of those four teams at four losses each. North Carolina and Miami were able to hold serve on Sunday and keep the chaos at bay, for now, at least.
But with the exception of the Irish, each of the other five teams seemingly in contention have at least one game this week against another contender, which is likely to throw the top of the ACC standings into further disarray in time for next week's standings update.
So here are the updated ACC standings through Monday's games, but I'm warning you, don't get too used to them:
|ACC Standings (2/16/2016)
North Carolina Tar Heels
||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||9-4||Up
||Duke Blue Devils||8-4||Up
||Florida State Seminoles||6-7
Virginia Tech Hokies
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Boston College Eagles
Is North Carolina (This week: 2/17 vs. Duke, 2/20 vs. Miami) back? An emphatic win over embattled Pitt would certainly indicate as much. A tough week ahead should give us the answer, as the Tar Heels have a great chance to pretty much sew up the regular season title if they can sweep home games over Duke and Miami this week. A split may even be enough. Drop them both and the race is on.
Miami (This week: 2/17 vs. VT, 2/20 @ UNC, 2/22 vs. UVA) has escaped in back-to-back games with home victories against desperate Pitt and FSU teams. It's just about go-time for the Hurricanes with a ridiculous four-game stretch against UNC, UVA, Louisville, and ND capped on either side with games against a feisty Virginia Tech squad. If it doesn't go right, Miami could slip right out of a double-bye.
Virginia (This week: 2/22 @ Miami) lost a heart-breaker at Duke, as they were a travel call that never came away from emerging with a victory. Karma for that Wake Forest game a few weeks ago? Perhaps. Big Monday at Miami next week has enormous implications for what should be a tight finish in the ACC race.
Notre Dame (This week: 2/20 @ GT) did it again with a come-from-behind victory over Louisville and emerged from the toughest four-game stretch of their season with a stellar 3-1. A bubble team just one month ago suddenly finds itself in reasonable contention for a regular season title with a manageable, if road-heavy, schedule coming up.
Watch out for Duke (This week: 2/17 @ UNC, 2/20 @ Louisville). Their four-game win streak suddenly has them in contention for a double-bye, and a rivalry win at North Carolina this week could make some serious noise. Allen's travel-then-buzzer-beater might end up being a major factor affecting ACC Tournament seeding.
Louisville (This week: 2/17 vs. Syracuse, 2/20 vs. Duke) is really just in a tough spot right now. They have perhaps the toughest schedule remaining and only a very slim chance at achieving their lone possible goal of a regular season ACC title. With some eye-opening comments from players and Rick Pitino after the ND game, it wouldn't be too surprising to see the Cardinals fold in these last few weeks.
Clemson (This week: 2/17 vs. BC, 2/20 @ NC State) has possibly the easiest schedule remaining in the ACC, but that actually might work against them, as they need some more quality to really get back on the right side of the bubble. Their margin for error is basically zero this week given their opponents.
Syracuse (This week: 2/17 @ Louisville, 2/20 vs. Pitt) is rolling right now with five straight victories and 8 in their last 9 games. They aren't even a bubble team anymore and are officially a "team no one wants to play" come tournament time.
Pittsburgh (This week: 2/16 vs. Wake, 2/20 @ Syracuse) is in free-fall mode, having lost three straight and 6 out of 9 since they were able to hold on and win in South Bend. They are inching towards the bubble conversation and will likely have a very unimpressive resume without making some noise in Greensboro.
Can anyone figure out this Florida State (This week: 2/17 vs. GT, 2/20 @ VT) team? After a decent week last week, they got pretty much blown out at Syracuse (we know how that goes) then lost a close one at home to Miami. For a team with so much talent, the Seminoles are very short on quality wins and are running out of chances for anymore for what's increasingly a precarious tournament bid. A home game coming up against Notre Dame might be their last, best chance for a signature win.
If Virginia Tech (This week: 2/17 @ Miami, 2/20 vs. FSU) can pick up a win this week, they have a great chance at 8 ACC wins with BC and Wake still on the schedule, which would just be an incredible job by Buzz. They might even get themselves into single-bye territory before season's end.
Georgia Tech (This week: 2/17 @ FSU, 2/20 vs. ND) hung tough for awhile against Clemson but ultimately fell by double-digits. That's ultimately going to be the legacy of the Brian Gregory era. They have two good chances to make some noise this week, however, going to a wobbly Florida State team on the bubble and hosting a Notre Dame team that suddenly has league title aspirations.
NC State (This week: 2/20 vs. Clemson) has been quite respectable in recent weeks, piling up a few wins and a number of close losses against quality opponents. They could be a spoiler down the stretch against UNC, Syracuse, and Notre Dame.
Wake Forest (This week: 2/16 @ Pitt, 2/21 vs. BC) now sports a ten-game losing streak that has the Deacon faithful starting to really question their 2nd year head coach. Their two losses this week were against very beatable Georgia Tech and NC State teams. This is a team that beat Indiana, UCLA, and LSU in their non-conference schedule. Quite the free-fall for Danny Manning's squad.
Boston College (This week: 2/17 @ Clemson, 2/21 @ Wake) lost all of its games this week (close against UNC, though!).