LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If I gave you one word to describe Atlantic Coast Conference basketball this season, which word would you choose?

A.) Muddled.

B). Underwhelming.

C.) Balanced.

D.) Yucky.

While you consider the choices, it's time for another look at ACC hoops. Conference play roars into focus with three games Tuesday night (including Miami's visit to Louisville) and four more Wednesday.

Typically the league is considered at least the nation's second-best. There's nothing typical about this season. One analytics site (Ken Pomeroy) ranks the ACC the nation's fourth-best while another (Jeff Sagarin) puts the ACC No. 5.

I checked the evaluation system created by the NCAA, the one called NETS. Duke is No. 4. Louisville is 18th with Florida State 19th.

Those are the only ACC teams ranked in the Top 45 -- and the NETS formula puts Georgia, Liberty and Rutgers in its Top 45.

In his latest NCAA Tournament bracket at ESPN.com, Joe Lunardi has five ACC teams in the 68-team field, half the total Lunardi projects for the Big Ten.

So my answer has to be B -- underwhelming.

To celebrate the acceleration of league play, it's time to re-rank the teams from the way they were ranked in a media ballot at ACC Operation Basketball in October.

The rankings are mine, based on games I have watched, computer analytics, injuries and cranky sportswriter vision.


1. Duke (No. 1 preseason) -- The Blue Devils rank in the top five nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency, have an elite rim protector in Vernon Carey and have won their last seven by a dozen or more. I can't explain what happened against Stephen F. Austin but it seems irrelevant today.

2. Florida State (No. 5) -- You saw what the Seminoles were capable of Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. They're long, deep and capable of getting easy offense off turnovers.

3. Louisville (No. 3) -- The Cardinals need to figure out their most effective backcourt combinations and get more productivity from Malik Williams and Samuel Williamson. The pieces are there.

4. Virginia (No. 4) -- Considering what the Cavaliers lost from their national championship team, this is a solid spot for this group. But Tony Bennett's squad ranked 337th nationally in three-point shooting percentage and 231st in turnover percentage, two major flashing lights.

5. North Carolina State (No. 6) -- Very good offense and very ordinary defense has led to the Wolfpack losing ACC games to Georgia Tech and Clemson. Tough to compete for the top of the league when you do that.

6. Virginia Tech (No. 14) -- Former Wofford coach Mike Young has to be in the discussion for ACC coach of the year, although I must warn you that the Hokies have only two wins against teams ranked in Pomeroy's Top 150.

7. Notre Dame (No. 7) -- Just when I was ready to bury the Irish because of their lack of dynamic playmakers and depth, they toppled Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.

8. Syracuse (No. 8) -- With five losses in their last nine games, the Orange are looking like a team that won't make the NCAA Tournament because Georgia Tech is the only Top 100 team they have beaten.

9. North Carolina (No. 2) -- I'll keep this simple: If freshman point guard Cole Anthony does not return, it's Wait 'til Next Year in Chapel Hill.

10. Pitt (No. 10) -- The Panthers have nice wins over Florida State and Rutgers but they just lost to Wake Forest at home. Make up your mind.

11. Clemson (No. 11) -- Considering the Tigers had lost six of seven, including home games to South Carolina and Yale, before they beat North Carolina State on Saturday, this is probably too high.

12. Miami (No. 9) -- When they have been bad the Hurricanes have been very bad. Their four losses have been by an average of nearly 23 points.

13. Georgia Tech (No. 12) -- There's an 18-point loss to Ball State tucked in the middle of that 7-7 resume. I'm simply not feeling a Yellow Jackets' revival.

14. Wake Forest (No. 15) -- The Demon Deacons have talent. They defeated Xavier and Pittsburgh while building their current three-game winning streak. Maybe they're figuring it out. Maybe. Or maybe not because they're 8-5 with losses to Charlotte and Boston College.

15. Boston College (No. 13) -- The Eagles are ranked No. 15 in the league in all five analytics sites that I checked. Who am I to argue?

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