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ACC Conference Weekend Preview: Coaches in Spotlight

ACC Conference Weekend

Things are starting to come into focus at the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Within a week, the ACC went from having six teams within 2½ games of first place to just four within two games of the conference lead.

None of those four squads are set to play each other this weekend so perhaps things will stay the same heading into next week.

ACC Conference Weekend Preview
Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

The final regular-season meeting between retiring Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim will take place on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.

Duke (+1400) has the sixth-best national championship odds according to the latest March Madness odds. The rest of the ACC is well back, led by North Carolina and Virginia at +10000.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s games in the ACC with some information for those who bet online.

North Carolina Tar Heels at North Carolina State Wolfpack

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network

North Carolina has won seven of the last eight matchups with North Carolina State and covered against the spread in each of the victories. Only two of the last six meetings have been decided by single digits while five of the last six finished over the total.

North Carolina’s most recent win came in its last home games in the series, although the Tar Heels have won three of the last four on NC State’s home floor.

North Carolina (20-8, 12-5) has won four of its last five but the only win over a team with a winning ACC record came against Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels are 2-2-1 against the Las Vegas odds in those games. Five of North Carolina’s last seven games have gone over the total.

North Carolina State (11-17, 4-13) has dropped seven of its last eight games to fall into a tie for last place in the ACC standings. The Wolfpack are also 1-7 against the spread in those games while four of the last five contests went under the total.

Terquavion Smith has set a North Carolina State program record for freshmen with 82 3-pointers. North Carolina’s Armando Bacot continues to lead the ACC in both offensive and defensive rebounds per game.

Virginia Tech Hokies at Miami Hurricanes

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ACC NX

This is a game featuring two teams headed in the right direction.

Virginia Tech has been coming on strong as the Hokies have won seven of their last eight games,with the lone loss coming at home to North Carolina.

Virginia Tech (17-11, 9-8) has covered in five of those games. Five of its ACC losses have come by single digits, including one to Miami.

Each of the Hokies’ last five games went under the total.

Miami (20-8, 12-5) has won four of its last five games and the Hurricanes are just two games behind first-place Duke. Miami is one of three ACC teams to win at least twice as many games both at home and on the road.

The Hurricanes have covered against the college basketball spreads in the last five meetings with Virginia Tech, although the Hokies have won five of the last eight matchups, including two of the last hosted by Miami.

Each of the last three games in the series has been decided by four points or less while the last meetings have gone over the total.

In Virginia Tech’s last outing, Darius Maddox scored 10 straight points to lift the Hokies past Georgia Tech. Miami’s Kameron McGusty and Jordan Miller rank fourth and fifth in the ACC in steals per game.

Clemson Tigers at Boston College Eagles

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ACC Network

Clemson won its first game since Feb. 2 with an 11-point win against Wake Forest on Wednesday as a four-point underdog at home. The win snapped a six-game losing streak. It was just the fourth home win in the ACC for the Tigers (13-15, 5-12).

Boston College (11-16, 6-11) won its last two games and has covered in four of its last five. Five of the Eagles’ last six games went under the total.

Boston College snapped a nine-game losing streak to Clemson with a two-point win on Jan. 15 when listed by the Las Vegas odds as a 10½-point road underdog.

The Eagles haven’t won back-to-back games in the series since 2013 and have lost the last four times Clemson came to town. The most recent matchup was the first one-possession final between the Tigers and the Eagles since 2014. Each of the last six games in the series have gone over the total.

Quinten Post, playing with a broken nose, had 18 points to lead four starters scoring in double figures in Boston College’s win at North Carolina State on Wednesday. Clemson, without the services of leading scorer P.J. Hall due to a foot injury, got 40 points from Chase Hunter and Al-Amir Dawes in a win over Wake Forest on Wednesday.

Florida State Seminoles at Virginia Cavaliers

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET

Florida State has failed to cover in its last nine games and has only won once during that stretch.

Florida State (14-13, 7-10) was supposed to challenge Duke for ACC supremacy but the Seminoles would settle for finishing the regular season at .500 in conference play.

Virginia had a five-point lead on first-place Duke on Wednesday but couldn’t hold it. The four-point loss dropped the Cavaliers into a tie for fifth place in the ACC standings. That would put the Cavaliers in the same half of the ACC tournament bracket as Duke so perhaps the teams will meet again.

The Cavaliers (17-11, 11-7) have covered in six of its last seven games while three of their last four games went under the total.

Kihei Clark had 25 points and hit six 3-pointers in Virginia’s near-upset of Duke on Wednesday.

Florida State is third in the ACC with an average of 4.37 blocked shots per game.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Notre Dame Irish

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, ACC Network

Notre Dame keeps putting the pressure on first-place Duke in the race for the ACC regular-season title.

Notre Dame (20-8, 13-4) topped Syracuse 79-69 on Wednesday when listed as the five-point favorite at home.

The Fighting Irish haven’t lost back-to-back games since early December and are only a game out of first place in the ACC. They go for their lucky 13th home win of the season. It would help Notre Dame’s chances in the eyes of those who come up with the March Madness predictions.

The good news for Georgia Tech is that the Yellow Jackets covered for the third straight game. The bad news is that Georgia Tech (11-17, 4-13) squandered a chance to get out of last place in the ACC standings, falling by four to Virginia Tech after leading by eight points on Wednesday. It was the Yellow Jackets’ fifth loss in the last six games.

Notre Dame has won five of the last six matchups with Georgia Tech and covered in each of the last six. Each of the last five games in the series went over the total.

The Fighting Irish have won the last seven games when playing host to Georgia Tech but are just 2-4-1 against the spread.

Paul Atkinson had 20 points and 17 rebounds to lift Notre Dame to a 10-point win over Syracuse on Wednesday. Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe continued his impressive season with 18 points in a loss to Virginia Tech the last time out.

Duke Blue Devils at Syracuse Orange

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

This could be the final meeting between the two winningest men’s college basketball coaches at the Division I level as Krzyzewski is retiring at the end of the season.

Duke has won the last five games against Syracuse and covered in four of those contests, including a 79-59 win on Jan. 22 as an 11½-point favorite at home. Five of the last seven games in the series have gone over the total.

The Blue Devils have won the last two games at Syracuse and taken three of the last four.

It wasn’t easy, but Duke remained in first place in the ACC standings with a four-point win at Virginia as a 5½-point favorite. While Duke failed to cover for the third time in the last four outings, it was the Blue Devils’ fifth straight win.

No. 7 Duke (24-4, 7-3) has won four of its last five games decided by single digits.

Veteran coach Boeheim guided the Orange to six wins in seven games before Wednesday’s 10-point loss at Notre Dame.

Syracuse (15-13, 9-8) has failed to cover in three of its last four games. If the season ended right now, Syracuse would be the No. 8 seed in the ACC tournament, which could mean another showdown between the coaching legends.

A.J. Griffin had eight late points to lift Duke to a 65-61 win over Virginia on Wednesday, while Buddy Boeheim and his brother Jimmy combined for 47 points for Syracuse in a loss to Notre Dame the last time out.

When the NCAA selection committee recently gave a glimpse into the results of their number-crunching by revealing the Top 16 seeds about a month before the start of the tournament, Duke was a No. 2 seed in the March Madness bracket.

Louisville Cardinals at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network

Louisville’s bid to win back-to-back games for the first time since early January ended with a seven-point loss at North Carolina, although the Cardinals did cover as 9½-point underdogs.

The last four games went under the total for Louisville (12-15, 6-11) and the Cardinals covered in three of its last four.

Wake Forest (21-8, 11-7) continues to have its issues away from home. The Demon Deacons dropped to 5-5 in road games with an 11-point loss to a Clemson team that started Wednesday tied for last place in the ACC.

Four of Wake Forest’s last six games went under the total.

Louisville has won the last five games against the Demon Deacons and three of the last four on Wake Forest’s court. Louisville is 3-1-1 against the spread in the last five games in the series. Four of the last six games between the teams have gone over the total.

Wake Forest’s Alondes Williams continues to lead the ACC in scoring at 19.9 points per game while Louisville’s Jarod West is fourth with a 2.4 assist/turnover ratio.

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