ACC PPP: Syracuse's Ennis back on top - WFSB 3 Connecticut

ACC Player Power Poll: American gladiators

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Talib Zanna and the Pitt Panthers were nearly perfect in their follow-up game to the Syracuse loss. (Source: Pitt Athletics) Talib Zanna and the Pitt Panthers were nearly perfect in their follow-up game to the Syracuse loss. (Source: Pitt Athletics)
Jabari Parker was in top form during Duke's win Saturday over NC State. (Source: Duke Photography/ Jabari Parker was in top form during Duke's win Saturday over NC State. (Source: Duke Photography/
Tyler Ennis and coach Jim Boeheim have led Syracuse to an 18-0 record, 5-0 in the ACC. (Source: Syracuse University Athletic Communications) Tyler Ennis and coach Jim Boeheim have led Syracuse to an 18-0 record, 5-0 in the ACC. (Source: Syracuse University Athletic Communications)

(RNN) - Richard Sherman. We're glad we got that out of the way, let's get to some ACC hoops.

Much the way Syracuse and Pitt have come in and dominated the conference, the Seahawks cornerback - more specifically his postgame interview - has dominated the world of sport.

We only have one hard-hitting question: Where does the Nutty Professor mom stand on Sherman?

Seriously, someone needs to do a video mashup. Get on it, internets.

The 'Cuse got the win over their fellow Big East runaway, but the game only proved the two were pretty much even. The next best team in the conference at the moment is anyone's guess.

The PPPollsters figure it will be Duke, Florida State and Virginia rounding out the top five in some order. But there's always the chance someone will have a late season turnaround.

Turn around … Every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming 'round …

Do we have to do that every time? Yes, we do.

Player Power Poll: Jan. 16 - 23

1. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse Orange

16 points, three assists, Saturday vs. Pitt (W 59-54)

The freshman makes it back to the top of the heap again by dropping in some clutch baskets down the stretch in last week's game for first place in the conference. The only knock anyone has on Tyler is his lack of "elite athleticism," but if he's fast/shifty enough to get to the rim against the Panthers' defense, he can do it to anybody.

His lack of turnovers is uncanny for someone in their first year of college hoops, as is his sense of The Moment. He defers to his teammates most of the time but seems to know when it's time to take over a game, and he hasn't let the Orange down yet.

2. Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse Orange

10 points, four rebounds, three blocks, two steals Saturday vs. Pitt (59-54)

The big man displayed a smooth jump hook that he hasn't broken out too often this season, going a perfect 4-4 in the big game. We get the feeling Rakeem could score double digits on the regular if he wanted to, but he elects to play within the framework of the team - a group of guys who complement each other so well.

That's what makes the Orange work; everyone has a role to play and doesn't alleviate from the overall gameplan. Jim Boeheim, a coach with no shortage of great efforts under his belt, may be putting together one of his masterpieces in year 38.

3. Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia Cavaliers

16 points, six rebounds, four rebounds, four steals Saturday vs. Florida State (W 78-66)

Virginia's return to prominence is surprising; they looked terrible in their last nonconference game against Tennessee. Equally surprising is why they turned it around; they realized their "best players" were not their best players.

Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell have stepped nicely into roles as really, really good second and third options for the Cavaliers while Malcolm has taken the wheel. He missed all of last season with a foot injury but has developed into a scorer who can get to the rim by speed or strength - being built like an outside linebacker is helpful, as it turns out. He can also serve as the primary ball handler and is playing excellent defense.

4. London Perrantes, Virginia Cavaliers

Eight points, nine assists, two steals Monday vs. North Carolina (W 76-61)

The freshman doesn't have a lot of flash to his game, but he is effective at setting the pace of the game for the Wahoos. He is another part of the equation that has the team humming on offense right now.

5. Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils

23 points, seven rebounds, three steals Saturday vs. NC State (W 95-60)

It looks like he's back.

There were worries that Jabari hit the freshman wall or teams had him figured out. But he came back in a big way after five performances of below-40 percent shooting with his outburst against the Wolfpack. He followed it with 17 points and 15 rebounds (a career best) in a decisive win Wednesday at Miami.

6. Codi Miller-McIntyre, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

20 points, 10 assists, four rebounds at Virginia Tech (W 83-77)

Hey, a road win for Wake Forest (1-27 record in conference road games under coach Jeff Bzdelik coming in)! Sure, Virginia Tech is tied for last in the ACC … and sure, the Hokies were missing two of their top players … but … road win!

7. Ralston Turner, NC State Wolfpack

23 points, seven rebounds, five 3-pointers Monday vs. Maryland (W 65-56)

If there's a memo that teams are supposed to play worse without their star player, ACC teams didn't get it. Following in the footsteps of Virginia and Notre Dame, the 'Pack pulled off an upset without their leading scorer, T.J. Warren.

8. Ian Miller, Florida State Seminoles

11 points, two 3-pointers, one steal Tuesday vs. Notre Dame (W 76-74)

The combo guard hit the shot of the night with four seconds left to give his team the two-point lead and the win. Ian struggled through his junior season with a foot injury but entered this year 25 pounds lighter and determined to be a leader. His offensive contributions (13.3 points, 3.6 assist, 88 percent free throws) are a big factor in FSU success.

9. James Robinson, Pittsburgh Panthers

Nine points, eight assists, three rebounds Tuesday vs. Clemson (76-43)

10. Talib Zanna, Pittsburgh Panthers

22 points, 9-10 shooting, two blocks, two steals Tuesday vs. Clemson (76-43)

We're sticking the last two together because we want to limit our gushing.

So Pitt lost a late lead on the road to the 'Cuse, getting its first conference loss and only second on the year. Did they sulk? Did they complain? Nope. They came home two days later and put a beatdown on one of the country's best defenses. It was close to a perfect (24 assists on 27 field goals!) performance.

Keep in mind they lost one of their top bench players, Durand Johnson, less than two weeks ago. So not only are the Panthers tough, efficient and talented, they're also extremely resilient. We feel safe saying they won't get too many scrapes from the gauntlet that is the ACC schedule.

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