The inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge delivered plenty of thrills last week, from  Clemson’s demolition at Alabama and North Carolina’s impressive win over then No. 10 Tennessee to Wake Forest’s rally to upend Florida and Georgia Tech’s stunning victory over No. 21 Mississippi State. Heavily favored to win the ACC-SEC Challenge, the SEC needed a furious rally by Georgia in Tallahassee late Wednesday to secure a 7-7 split.

Between the ACC’s impressive midweek performance and an exciting open to league play over the weekend, it was a tremendous week for hoops in the nation’s richest basketball conference.

Here are Saturday Road’s Power Rankings with conference play underway.

15. Notre Dame (3-4, 0-1)

Last Week: 14

The Fighting Irish can’t score.

Micah Shrewberry’s team mustered just 102 points in 2 games this week, losing at South Carolina and at No. 8 Miami. The Fighting Irish shot just 32.7% against the Gamecocks and were even worse (28.6%) against the Hurricanes.

Shrewsberry is a tremendous offensive coach and his Penn State teams ran great stuff, aiding their NCAA Tournament run a season ago. But there’s not much talent on this team, and their 269th KenPom Adjusted Offensive Efficiency rating reflects that issue, no matter how good the actions are on the floor.

14. Louisville (4-4 , 0-1)

LW: 14

The Cardinals weren’t a part of the ACC-SEC Challenge, but they did avenge last season’s loss to Bellarmine midweek, defeating the visiting Knights by 5. It’s still unclear what to make of Kenny Payne’s second Louisville team. For 40 minutes against Texas and 30 against Indiana, they looked like a team that could surprise in the ACC this season. Then, they struggled against a mediocre New Mexico State and limped to the finish line against Bellarmine.

Sunday’s ACC opening loss to Virginia Tech was another case in point: The Cards stormed to a nice first-half lead, but they couldn’t get stops down the stretch and fell short of a quality road win.

13. Boston College (5-3, 0-1)

LW: 10

The Eagles have dropped 6 spots in these rankings in the past 2 weeks, with an 18-point win at Vanderbilt their lone win since Feast Week. A conference opening overtime loss to NC State, which saw the Eagles squander a monster game (20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) from Jaeden Zackery at home was especially heartbreaking. The Wolfpack shot 44.8% from deep on the afternoon — 12 percentage points above their season average.

12. Florida State (4-3, 0-1)

LW: 7

The Seminoles built huge second-half leads against both of last week’s foes. First, they led Georgia at home by 17 before the Dawgs closed the game on a 27-5 run to steal a win. Second, they led North Carolina by 15 before Hubert Davis switched to a pressing defense, sparking a 29-1 Carolina run that led to an 8-point Tar Heels win at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Inconsistency is usually a sign of a young team, but this Seminoles team isn’t particularly young. They just struggle to score consistently, as evidenced by an offense that ranks outside the top 100 in KenPom Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. That is holding down the ceiling for a group that appears to be capable of defending at a truly elite level (37th in national defensive efficiency, per Evan Miya).

11. Syracuse (5-3, 0-1)

LW: 12

The Orange routed LSU in an impressive ACC-SEC Challenge performance, buoyed by 33 from Judah Mintz, who has looked every bit the part of an ACC Player of the Year candidate early in his sophomore campaign.

The Orange continue to struggle away from home, though, and painfully no-showed for their ACC opener at Virginia on Saturday, falling to the Hoos by 22 in a game that felt less close. With Reece Beekman guarding him all night, Mintz went 2-for-8 from the floor and scored just 5 points against the Cavaliers.

10. Virginia Tech (6-3, 1-0 )

LW: 8

The Hokies were soundly beaten at Auburn, 74-57, in the ACC-SEC Challenge. After struggling to contain Vlad Goldin of FAU, Auburn’s All-SEC big Johni Broome feasted inside, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. The Hokies did handle Louisville on Sunday, but Mike Young’s team feels like a bubble team at best through the season’s opening month.

9. Wake Forest (4-3)

LW: 11

The Demon Deacons rallied from down 9 in the second half to upend Florida in Winston-Salem in ACC-SEC Challenge play on Wednesday night. Steve Forbes, a wonderful offensive coach, simply outcoached Todd Golden, a talented young defensive coach, down the stretch, dialing up a host of set plays the Gators couldn’t guard.

Andrew Carr’s 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks paced the way for the Deacs, who will likely cherish this win on their NCAA Tournament résumé come March.

8. NC State (5-2, 1-0)

LW: 9

NC State was blitzed by Ole Miss, 72-52, in the ACC-SEC Challenge but recovered to open league play with a huge win over the weekend. It’s hard to shoot 12% from deep and win, and the Pack were 3-for-25 from long distance against Ole Miss. Rallying to hit 8-of-18 and force overtime and then get a conference road win, however, should do wonders for this team’s confidence. A top 75 team on both offense and defense, Kevin Keatts has to hope the emergence of transfer big man Ben Middlebrooks (13 points, 12 rebounds against Ole Miss) improves this team’s balance on both ends of the floor.

7. Pittsburgh (5-3, 0-1 )

LW: 6

The Panthers’ home loss to Missouri was one of the league’s most disappointing moments of the ACC-SEC Challenge. The Panthers shot poorly and struggled to contain Missouri’s guards, surrendering 48 points in the 71-64 loss. For the second time in 3 matchups against Power 6 opposition, Carlton Carrington, Pitt’s marvelous freshman guard, struggled, connecting on just 4-of-14 shots in defeat and committing 3 turnovers. But it was veteran Ishmael Leggett’s 6 turnovers that were the true eye sore — and he’ll have to clean that up for Pitt to return to the NCAA Tournament. Carrington’s struggles continued against Clemson on Sunday, and while growing pains were expected, Jeff Capel needs answers beyond his freshman guard in the backcourt.

6. Duke (5-3, 0-1)

LW: 2

The Blue Devils had their worst week of the Jon Scheyer era last week, losing at Arkansas and then falling to Georgia Tech over the weekend in Atlanta. The loss at Bud Walton Arena, while coming against an Arkansas team that had struggled early in the season, was understandable — Arkansas is one of the toughest places to play in the sport and the Hogs were desperate. The loss to Georgia Tech? That’s the kind of loss that forces you to take a hard look in the mirror.

Losing star guard Tyrese Proctor early in the game at Tech didn’t help, but for the second consecutive game, Duke didn’t share the ball well as a team. In 2 losses last week, the Blue Devils managed just 21 assists (10.5 per game), surprisingly low numbers for a team that finished 20th nationally a season ago in assists per game (15). Duke also continues to miss shots at an alarming rate, shooting just 33.3% from beyond the arc and doing little to help themselves with those misses on the offensive glass (ranking 191st in offensive rebound rate).

There’s too much talent here to panic, but it isn’t going well right now in Durham.

5. Georgia Tech (4-2, 1-0)

LW: 15

The Yellow Jackets jump 10 spots thanks to a week with 2 quad 1 victories.

First, Damon Stoudamire’s team grinded its way to a 67-59 win over No. 21 Mississippi State. Miles Kelly had 22 points and 12 rebounds in a game where the Yellow Jackets showcased their new head coach’s desired grit for 40 minutes.

“We want to be a gritty group, OK?” Stoudamire told Saturday Road at ACC Media Days. “That means we compete on the glass, we guard you at the logo, we make hand checks matter, we cut like we care about winning, and we fight to execute when we’re tired. We will do that, even if we don’t win all the time, Year 1.”

Kelly had 16 and 7 in the win over Duke, but it was role players like Florida transfer Kowacie Reeves (14 points, 4 rebounds, game-high + 11) and freshman Baye Ndongo (21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks) that helped Tech get their biggest win since the ACC Tournament title game in 2021.

4. Virginia (7-1, 1-0)

LW: 5

The Hoos picked up a marvelous win midweek in outpowering Texas A&M 59-47 in the ACC-SEC Challenge.

Reece Beekman’s national defensive player of the year chops were the story of that game — as well as Virginia’s weekend rout of Syracuse to open league play.

Facing 2 of the nation’s best guards back-to-back in Texas A&M’s Wade Taylor IV and Syracuse’s Judah Mintz, Beekman held the duo to 14 collective points on 4-18 shooting. Wade Taylor IV, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, had 5 turnovers against Beekman, just the 5th time in 3 years as a starter he’s produced that many turnovers in a game.

3. North Carolina (7-1, 1-0)

LW: 4

The Tar Heels posted their best win since Hubert Davis’ rookie season when they lit up Tennessee 100-92 at the Dean Dome on Wednesday night. Harrison Ingram’s star turn continued, with the former 5-star piling up 20 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the win.

RJ Davis is playing beautiful basketball in his Chapel Hill swan song as well, scoring 27 points in both the Heels’ win over the Volunteers and in Saturday’s thrilling come from behind win over Florida State.

But perhaps the best news for the Tar Heels? Armando Bacot posted back-to-back double-doubles last week after a sluggish Battle 4 Atlantis. The super senior All-American added 4 blocks in the comeback win over FSU as well.

2. Miami (6-1, 1-0)

LW: 1

The Hurricanes were humbled at Rupp Arena, falling 95-73 to Kentucky on Tuesday.

While there’s no shame in a bad loss at historic Rupp, it was the way Miami looked outgunned from a talent standpoint that felt concerning when discussing Miami’s ceiling. Yes, Wooga Poplar is a likely first-round NBA Draft pick. But on the same floor as a Kentucky team with as many as 3 lottery picks —  Poplar (19 points, 8 rebounds) seemed by himself. The Canes need more than they are currently getting from Nijel Pack (2 points, 3 turnovers at Kentucky) if they hope to attain their lofty goals.

Performances like the 13 points and 11 rebounds from Norchad Omier or the 14 points, 5 rebound, 4 steal game Matthew Cleveland offered in Saturday’s win over Notre Dame to open league play are also needed in abundance.

1. Clemson (7-0,  1-0 )

LW: 3

Brad Brownell smiled, shook his fist and delivered a confident reply when I asked him just how good PJ Hall could be as a senior.

“Wooden Award good?” the Clemson coach deadpanned.

After Clemson’s demolition of No. 23 Alabama in Tuscaloosa midweek, where Hall led the Tigers with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks, is it time to start taking Brownell’s response seriously? Hall’s efficiency numbers rank at the top of the country through a month of action, comparing well with returning Wooden Award winner Zach Edey of Purdue.

There’s a ton of basketball to be played, of course, but a healthy Hall’s numbers are up universally. He’s averaging over 20 points a game (a 5 point improvement), 7 rebounds (a full rebound improvement), and 2.2 blocks per game (a full block better).

It’s enough right now to have Clemson as an early ACC favorite — with its sights set on much more.