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:
TOP 10 THROUGH 10
-- 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.
TOOK IT ON THE CHIN
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.
THE WEEK AHEAD
-- 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.
STANDINGS AND SCHEDULE
#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