This past week's action did little to clear up the logjam towards the top of the ACC standings, as the race for the regular season title and for the final double-bye for the ACC Tournament have never been more heated.
North Carolina finds itself a half game up in the standings on Miami with four others within two games in the loss column, while Notre Dame and Duke are nodded up in the standings for the 4 seed in the ACC Tournament, with the Irish holding the tiebreaker advantage. Clemson is only a half-game back should they be able to right the ship these last two weeks.
So here are the updated ACC standings through Monday's games, with plenty of drama yet to come in the remaining two weeks of the regular season:
|ACC Standings (2/23/2016)
North Carolina Tar Heels
||Notre Dame Fighting Irish*||9-5||Down
||Duke Blue Devils*||9-5||Even
||Virginia Tech Hokies||6-8
||Florida State Seminoles||6-9||Down|
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Boston College Eagles
*Notre Dame holds tiebreaker over Duke (head-to-head record)
North Carolina (This week: 2/24 @ NC State, 2/27 @ Virginia) had everyone in the world questioning them after their shocking loss at home to Duke, then responded with a total annihilation of Miami on Saturday. They are in great position to take home the regular season crown, with fewer teams directly on their heels, but need a strong week on the road.
Miami (This week: 2/27 vs. Louisville) bounced back nicely from their undressing from UNC with a thrilling home victory over Virginia last night to remain in 2nd place. The Hurricanes are a much different team at home than on the road, so they might need to take Saturday's game against Louisville before leaving Coral Gables for their last two regular season games.
I am genuinely shocked by Louisville (This week: 2/24 @ Pitt, 2/27 @ Miami) this past week. With every excuse to mail it in the rest of the way, they defended their home turf with a dominant win over suddenly-hot Syracuse and ground another one out over Duke. Now they head on the road with some tough tests. Can they stay in contention for a regular season crown?
Virginia (This week: 2/27 vs. UNC) has nearly come away with road victories at Duke and Miami in the last week and a half only to come up just short, and now find themselves unlikely to make it a three-peat without some help. It doesn't really get easier for them the rest of the way either, hosting UNC, going to desperate Clemson, and home against Louisville in the finale.
Notre Dame (This week: 2/24 @ Wake, 2/27 @ FSU) needs a strong week after coming up just short in Atlanta in order to stay in the driver's seat for the ACC Tournament's 4th seed and all-important double-bye. They have two winnable road games, but as they reminded everyone on Saturday, every road game is very lose-able as well.
A bit up-and-down for Duke (This week: 2/25 vs. FSU, 2/28 @ Pitt), who obviously won a huge road game against hated rival North Carolina but then wore down and lost their cool down the stretch in Louisville in a game they had controlled most of the way. They take on some teams desperate for resume-boosting wins this week.
Clemson (This week: 2/23 @ GT) nearly scored a come-from-behind victory over NC State but came up short, leaving them in likely a must-win scenario at suddenly-hot Georgia Tech and next week against Virginia this week to have much of a chance come Selection Sunday.
Pittsburgh (This week: 2/24 vs. Louisville, 2/28 vs. Duke) escaped near disaster at home to Wake Forest, in a game they had no business forcing to double-overtime in order to pick up the win. Then they bounced back and crushed Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Go figure. A much tougher week awaits to stay above .500 in ACC play.
Syracuse (This week: 2/27 vs. NC State, 2/29 @ UNC) had a terrible 0-2 week getting blown out at Louisville and at home against a struggling Pitt team, just when it looked like they were firing on all cylinders since Boeheim returned to the bench. They might still have work to do in Greensboro to feel safe on Selection Sunday. Also...jeez Boeheim. Really?
Buzz has Virginia Tech (This week: 2/23 @ BC, 2/28 @ Wake) at freakin' 6-8 in conference play with BC and Wake this week. A .500 ACC record is not remotely out of the question for the Hokies. Every week, I'm impressed by what this team has been able to accomplish.
A disastrous week for Florida State (This week: 2/25 @ Duke, 2/27 vs. ND) and their increasingly precarious tournament resume. They will be desperate this week for quality wins after a nightmare four-game losing streak that likely has them out of the tournament for now.
Georgia Tech (This week: 2/23 vs. Clemson, 2/27 @ BC) had themselves a great week with a fairly decisive win in Tallahassee and Saturday night's thrilling finish against Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets might be gearing up for a possible run in the NIT.
NC State (This week: 2/24 vs. UNC, 2/27 @ Syracuse) hung on against Clemson in their lone game this week to gear up for their in-state rivalry game on Wednesday night against the ACC-leading Tar Heels.
Wake Forest (This week: 2/24 vs. ND, 2/28 vs. VT) suspended their best big man as well as their sixth man and promptly went out and destroyed Boston College to soften the blow of a heartbreaking double-OT loss at Pitt and the suspensions.
Boston College (This week: 2/23 vs. VT, 2/27 vs. GT) lost all of its games this week (including an conference-low 14-point half against Wake).