This Week in the ACC

Our weekly Monday review of what lies ahead in the Athletic Coast Conference.

The second half of the ACC season has begun with Mike Brey's Fighting Irish firmly entrenched in second place -- a game behind, and a game ahead -- of their nearest competitors Virginia and North Carolina, respectively. (Should the Irish tie with Virginia, they'd lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. The same is true of the Tar Heels should they pull even with Notre Dame at season's end.)

Below is a look at the week ahead, but first, a look back at the all-stars of the conference's first 10 outings:

-- Jerian Grant (Notre Dame): The best perimeter player in the nation to date...
-- Emeka Okafor (Duke): The best pivot player in the nation to date...
-- Justin Anderson (Virginia): Would be the league's most improved if not for Grant...
-- Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse): An absolute rock, just with less pub than past Syracuse stars…
-- Terry Rozier (Louisville):
Next in the uninterrupted assembly line of Pitino-era guards in the Bluegrass State...
-- Montrezl Harrell (Louisville): No longer a team captain, but can be an absolute force inside…
-- Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame): The best shooter and defensive rebounder in the league. Unreal…
-- Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia): Does it on both ends and is the top team's glue…
-- Tyus Jones (Duke): Coming on, and I can't leave the freshman off the list in good conscience. Look out for Jones in the NCAAs…
-- Brice Johnson (North Carolina): Undervalued, efficient, versatile, and improving member of the Tar Heels top five…

Also considered: Trevor Lacy, Michael Young, Quinn Cook, Kennedy Meeks, Marcus Paige, Jaron Blossomgame, Chris Jones, Demetrius Jackson, Cody McIntyre-Miller, Angel Rodriguez, and Sheldon McClellan.

TEAM OF THE WEEK (Jan. 26-31)
Louisville -- The Cardinals won at Boston College, then handled North Carolina in overtime, 78-68, to improve from a three-way fifth-place tie on Jan. 26 into sole possession of fourth by week's end.

Louisville, Clemson (vs. NC State/Boston College) and Florida State (vs. Wake Forest/Miami) finished 2-0.

Miami -- Was hammered by hapless Georgia Tech in Atlanta, then returned home to suffer an upset at the hands of arch-rival Florida State. The Hurricanes entered the week ranked 23rd. The 'Canes joined Boston College as the only ACC team to lose twice last week (Syracuse and Virginia were 0-1).

Virginia Tech's upset over Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech's surprising blowout of Miami means no ACC squad is winless entering the final eight contests.

-- Toughest Stretch: No rest for No. 3 Virginia -- the Cavaliers travel to North Carolina tonight, then host No. 10 Louisville Saturday in Charlottesville (that's Duke, North Carolina, Louisville in succession).

-- Toughest Week Ahead, Part II: Boston College doesn't have it much easier, traveling to snowy South Bend for a Wednesday night tip-off, then hosting North Carolina in Chestnut Hill Saturday afternoon.

-- On upset alert: Louisville at Miami

-- Prediction for the Irish: 1-1. Saturday's trip to Duke ranked as our toughest contest prior to ACC play and it got a little worse following Notre Dame's win over the Blue Devils last week.

#2 Virginia (19-1; 7-1) -- At North Carolina tonight; host #10 Louisville Saturday
#8 Notre Dame (20-3; 8-2) -- Home vs. Boston College Wednesday; at #4 Duke Saturday
#13 North Carolina (17-5; 7-2) -- Hosts #3 Virginia tonight; travel to Boston College Saturday
#10 Louisville (18-3; 6-2) -- At Miami Tuesday; at #3 Virginia Saturday
#4 Duke (18-3; 5-3) -- Hosts Ga. Tech Wednesday; host #8 Notre Dame Saturday
Syracuse (14-7; 5-3) -- Hosts Virginia Tech Tuesday; travel to Pittsburgh Saturday
Clemson (13-8; 5-4) -- At Florida State Wednesday; at Miami Sunday
NC State (14-9; 5-5) -- Host Wake Forest Tuesday and are off unit Feb. 11 (Virginia)
#23 Miami, FL (14-7; 4-4) -- Hosts #10 Louisville Tuesday and Clemson Sunday
Pittsburgh (14-8; 4-5) -- Hosts Bryant College out of conference tonight; host Syracuse Saturday
Florida State (12-10; 4-5) -- Hosts Clemson Wednesday; at Virginia Tech Saturday
Wake Forest (10-12; 2-7) -- Hosts NC State Tuesday; at Georgia Tech Saturday
Boston College (9-11; 1-7) -- At #8 Notre Dame Wednesday; host North Carolina Saturday
Virginia Tech (9-12; 1-7) -- At Syracuse Tuesday; host Florida State Saturday
Georgia Tech (10-11; 1-8) -- At #4 Duke Wednesday; host Wake Forest Saturday Top Stories