Two of the ACC’s 4 ranked teams (Clemson, North Carolina) lost over the weekend, and the other 2 (Virginia, Duke) struggled.

The continued struggles of the league’s best teams raises the question: Is there an elite team in the ACC this season?

KenPom ranks the league last among the Power 6 conferences, and only 3 ACC teams appear in the KenPom Top 25 (No. 12 Duke, No. 20 North Carolina and No. 25 Clemson).

The NET rankings suggest, as we did last week, that Clemson is elite, as the Tigers have 3 Quad 1 wins in 4 tries. No other ACC team has more than 1. In a college basketball nonconference slate increasingly defined by made for television, neutral court résumé opportunities, the league’s lack of quality wins is deeply concerning, especially if the ACC hopes to avoid another disappointing, 5-bid Selection Sunday.

There are signs the league can be better.

UNC has come close to beating 2 other outstanding teams, falling by 5 points or less to Kentucky and Villanova. Duke should get Tyrese Proctor back from an ankle injury in the next 2 weeks. Virginia might be the best defensive version of Virginia ever, providing Tony Bennett’s team time to figure it offensively. Miami hasn’t played its best basketball yet — but you know that the defending league champions will figure it out.

It just hasn’t happened quite yet. A disappointing weekend leaves the top end of these rankings largely undisturbed, but there’s still some movement in what was a busy and fun week of college hoops.

Here’s the latest batch of Saturday Road power rankings. Last week’s list is here. 

15. Louisville (5-6, 0-1)

Last Week (LW): 15

The Cardinals routed Pepperdine over the weekend, but the loss to Arkansas State midweek was an eyesore. It wasn’t that the Cardinals lost to a mid-major opponent. That’s happened plenty since the ill-fated Chris Mack era. It’s that the Cardinals lost by 12 in a game that never felt that close to a Red Wolves team that entered the game 3-7 and had lost its 2 prior road games at Power 6 competition by 29 (at Wisconsin) and 24 (at Alabama), respectively. The Cards trailed by 20 at the under 4 media timeout and the KFC Yum! Center looked like a factory of sadness. Louisville fans deserve better.

14. Notre Dame (4-6, 0-1)

LW: 14

Micah Shrewsberry’s team led Georgetown by 8 in the opening half and fought hard to come back from a second-half deficit to force overtime at Purcell Pavilion on Saturday, but ultimately Georgetown’s ability to make timely shots (10-22 from deep) was the difference. Notre Dame is defending at a high level in Year 1 under Shrewsberry, having entered the top 100 in KenPom Adjusted Defensive Efficiency after struggling mightily in that area in the late years of the Mike Brey area. Its offense remains among the worst in college hoops (274th in Offensive Efficiency), however, and that is holding the Fighting Irish back.

13. Florida State (4-5, 0-1)

LW: 13

The Seminoles continue their freefall. After beating Colorado to win the Sunshine Slam, the vibes around Leonard Hamilton’s team were upbeat and encouraging. Now, thanks largely to a 43% team field-goal percentage and too many turnovers (13 per game), the Seminoles have lost 4 straight. An 11-point loss at home to SMU, where the Noles managed just 18 points in the opening half, was the worst performance yet for Florida State.

12. Boston College (8-3, 0-1)

LW: 11

The Eagles had the week off for exams. Their last game of the nonconference slate looms this week when lowly Lehigh visits Chestnut Hill.

11. Georgia Tech (6-3, 1-0)

LW: 9

The Yellow Jackets’ dip is mostly about the “eye test.” Georgia Tech beat Penn State 82-81 in overtime this weekend, paced by the continued emergence of freshman Baye Ndongo, who had 12 points and 19 rebounds in the win. Ndongo flipped to Tech when Damon Stoudamire took the job, and he’s been beast-moding of late which, coupled with the fine play of Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves on the perimeter, has boosted Tech’s ceiling.

Still, the Jackets struggled to get stops late, and probably lose but for a controversial call that sent Kelly to the line with 12 seconds to play. A small dip, given the play of Virginia Tech and Syracuse, results.

10. NC State (7-3, 1-0)

LW: 8

The Wolfpack competed with top 20 Tennessee on Saturday night in San Antonio, but were held to just 10 points over the game’s final 7 minutes and fell by 9 points. It was a sloppy game, with 22 turnovers and 36 personal fouls between the teams, but the Pack’s real problem was finding a scorer down the stretch. With no Terquavion Smith this season, NC State doesn’t have that answer yet — though it might be DJ Horne, who had 16 points on 4-7 from deep only to be let down by veteran backcourt mate Casey Morsell (6 points, 2-7 FG). Horne’s nice night against Tennessee polished off a great week: He had 22 in the Wolfpack’s win over UT-Martin last Tuesday.

9. Syracuse (8-3, 0-1)

LW: 11

The Orange routed Oregon on a neutral floor in South Dakota on Sunday, led by Judah Mintz, who had 18 points, 5 assists, 4 steals and a hellacious alley-oop finish in the win.

Syracuse finished 185th in the 2-3 zone a season ago. This year, Adrian Autry’s group plays zone on only 14% of possessions, and they are the nation’s most improved defensive team as a result — defending at 52nd nationally, per KenPom. 

8. Virginia Tech (8-3, 1-0)

LW: 10

The Hokies decimated mid-major darling Vermont 73-51 over the weekend, a quality win that the committee will notice come Selection Sunday, especially if the Catamounts roll through the America East, as expected. Mike Young’s team outrebounded the Catamounts 42-26, which is how you win on a night you shoot 10-for-29 from distance. After 2 straight seasons of slow starts, the Hokies have a Quad 1 win and multiple Quad 2 wins in the nonconference slate, with 0 bad losses. Another NCAA Tournament berth could be the reward come March.

7. Wake Forest (6-3, 0-0)

LW: 7

The Demon Deacons also had the week off for exams. They likely won’t be challenged again until their ACC opener against Virginia Tech on Dec. 30.

6. Pittsburgh (8-3, 0-1)

LW: 6

The Panthers manhandled South Carolina State over the weekend, behind 19 points from Blake Hinson. The win was the third straight for Jeff Capel’s group, who appear to be rounding into form just in time for a tough 2 game ACC stretch over New Year’s when they visit Syracuse on Dec. 30 and host North Carolina on Jan. 2. For a team in need of quality wins, those 2 games are nice opportunities.

5. Miami (8-2, 1-0)

LW: 4

The Hurricanes fall a spot after a pedestrian home win over LaSalle, where the Canes stormed to an 18 point lead early in the second half but let the Explorers hang around too long for comfort. Wooga Poplar, who struggled in early December, played great again, pouring in 25 points for Miami in the victory and showing off the athleticism that has him in the lottery in some mock drafts.

Norchad Omier was dominant, too, with 23 and 8, but the Canes leave nonconference play short of an elite win. They’ll need a great performance against Clemson on Jan. 3 to pick up their first signature win of the season.

4. Duke (7-3, 0-1)

LW: 5

The Blue Devils inch up after rallying to defeat pesky Hofstra. Duke trailed by as many as 7 points late in the first half before Kyle Filipowski took over — nearly posting his first career triple double with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists.

It’s Filipowski’s passing that makes him such a unique professional prospect, and that’s what raises the ceiling for this Duke group, which has more shooters than last year’s team, once they attain full health and Tyrese Proctor returns to the fold.

3. Virginia (9-1, 1-0)

LW: 2

Tony Bennett’s team falls a spot after a last-second home win over (checks notes) … Northeastern. On the bright side, Reece Beekman is elite.

On the “glass half empty” side, Virginia scored just 56 points against a porous Northeastern defense (277th in KenPom defense) at home. Yikes. The Hoos have been held to under a point per possession 4 times in their past 6 games, a trend that can’t be encouraging Tony Bennett with league play imminent.

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

LW: 2

The Tar Heels move up a slot despite their loss to Kentucky on Saturday in Atlanta. The game was a thriller, with the Heels fighting back from 12 points down in the second half to take a lead with just 5 minutes to go, but ultimately, Kentucky’s versatile talent won the day over what Saturday Road anticipated would be a more balanced North Carolina team. RJ Davis’s heater continues: The senior has scored 25 points or more in 5 consecutive games. That’s All-American stuff. Unfortunately, Carolina’s preseason All-American, Armando Bacot, is struggling. He had 6 turnovers and multiple costly fouls against the Cats, and is averaging just 12.8 points over the past 6 games. The Heels must get Bacot going to be “Final Four good,” as John Calipari called them after Kentucky’s big win.

1. Clemson (9-1, 1-0)

LW: 1 

Saturday Road won’t punish Brad Brownell’s team for challenging itself. That’s all that happened Saturday, when Clemson fell by 2 at a desperate Memphis team. Clemson is an excellent offensive team, averaging 1 point per possession in their halfcourt sets, the best number in the ACC, per Synergy.

The question long-term will be whether the defense can hold up its end of the bargain. It gave the Tigers a chance at Memphis on Saturday, limiting Memphis to just 4-26 on 3-point shots. As long as the Tigers guard, they’ll continue to have a chance to beat anyone, even on days when they turn the ball over 15 times and lose the rebounding battle, which they did Saturday. This is still one of the best teams in America.