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ACC Weekend Preview: Duke, UNC Renew Rivalry

It may not have the national implications of some past Duke-North Carolina showdowns, but with retiring coach Mike Krzyzewski taking his ninth-ranked Blue Devils into Chapel Hill for the final time, there figures to be just more buzz than normal in a series that is rarely lacking in pregame chatter.

Did we mention that first place in the ACC will be on the line as well? Notre Dame and Miami, who comes into the weekend tied with North Carolina for second place and just a half-game behind ACC-leading Duke, also have tricky games on Saturday.

Atlantic Coast Conference Conference Rundown
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images/AFP

Duke (-300) is distancing itself from the pack in the odds to win the ACC title while Notre Dame (+800), North Carolina (+900) and Miami (+900) are hoping to spoil the Blue Devils’ championship aspirations.

Duke freshman Paolo Banchero (+1000) has the sixth-best odds in the race for the national player of the year. Teammate Wendell Moore Jr. (+4500) and North Carolina’s Armando Bacot (+5000) are well back.

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

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Florida State Seminoles

Date, time, TV: Saturday, Noon ET, ACC NX

Wake Forest snapped a four-game losing streak to Florida State with a 22-point home win on Jan. 4. Now the Demon Deacons go for the season sweep of the Seminoles for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Wake Forest (18-5, 8-4 in the ACC) has covered in three of the last four games in the series.

The last five Wake Forest games have finished over the total. The Demon Deacons have won five of their last six and are 5-1 against the spread in those contests.

With the injuries piling up, Florida State (13-8, 6-5) has dropped its last three games and failed to cover in each of them

Wake Forest’s Alondes Williams, the leading scorer in the ACC, already posted one triple-double this season and just missed a second the last time out with 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a win over Pittsburgh.

Caleb Mills returned to play 31 minutes in Florida State’s last game after leaving after just three minutes in the previous contest.

Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orange

Date, time, TV: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Five of the last six games between Louisville and Syracuse have finished over the total.

Louisville (11-11, 5-7) has won four of the last six games against Syracuse (11-11, 5-6). The winning team has covered against the college basketball spreads in each of the last 11 meetings in this series.

A coaching change hasn’t altered the downward spiral for Louisville, which has lost four games in a row and seven of its last eight. The Cardinals are also 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games.

After dropping six of eight games, Syracuse is coming off back-to-back wins against Wake Forest and North Carolina State. Both games went over the total as the Orange averaged 91.5 points in those two contests.

Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse (19.3 points per game) is the third-leading scorer in the conference. Louisville will be without its top scorer and rebounder as Malik Williams continues to be suspended.

Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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

Georgia Tech has covered in each of the last four meetings with Clemson, even though the Tigers won the last meeting between the teams.

Four of the last six games in the series went under the total.

Although Clemson (12-9, 4-6) is 2-4 in its last six games, the Tigers have covered in each of the last three contests.

Last place Georgia Tech (9-12, 2-8) is on a lose two in a row, win two in a row and lose two in a row roller-coaster ride. If that trend holds, the Yellow Jackets are due for a win.

Six of the last eight Georgia Tech games have finished over the total.

Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe is fifth and Clemson’s Al-Amir Dawes sixth in the ACC in 3-pointers made per game

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at North Carolina State Wolfpack

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

Notre Dame snapped a four-game losing streak to North Carolina State with a 73-65 home win on Jan. 26. It was the first time in the last five meetings that the Fighting Irish covered against the Las Vegas odds.

Four of the last five games in the series have ended up under the total.

Notre Dame (15-7, 8-3) has won five of its last six games and covered in four of the last five. Three of the Fighting Irish’s last four games went under the total.

North Carolina State (10-13, 3-9) has dropped five of its last six games and failed to cover in each of the last three as the Wolfpack tumbled to 14th place in the standings.

Paul Atkinson of Notre Dame leads the ACC with a field goal percentage of 60.4 while North Carolina State’s Dereon Seabron is one of two players to rank in the top five in the ACC in both scoring and rebounding.

Miami Hurricanes at Virginia Cavaliers

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

Virginia has won the last four matchups with Miami although the Hurricanes covered in each of the last three.

The Cavaliers have been favored in the last six games in the series while each of the last five meetings went under the total.

Miami (16-6, 8-3) has covered in five of its last seven games with the total going under in six of those contests.

Virginia (13-9, 7-5) has alternated winning and losing in each of its last nine games while the Cavaliers’ last 13 games have seen them cover in the seven victories and fail to cover in the six losses. Four of Virginia’s last five games headed over the total.

The Hurricanes have the best road record (5-1) among ACC teams.

Miami is second in the conference with 8.3 steals per game while Virginia ranks second with 4.9 blocked shots per contest.

Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels

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

The last four matchups between Duke and North Carolina headed over the total.

North Carolina has won the last two meetings and is 3-1 against the spread in those contests.

Duke (18-3, 8-2) has won its last four games and is 3-1 against the spread during that stretch. The Blue Devils have played just five true road games while each of the their last four contests finished under the total.

North Carolina (16-6, 8-3) is the lone ACC team still undefeated at home with a 12-0 mark at the Dean E. Smith Center. The Tar Heels also take a four-game winning streak into the contest and covered in three of those games.

Bacot leads the ACC with an average of 12.6 points per game while Duke’s Banchero is fifth in both scoring (17.8) and rebounding (8.3).

Virginia Tech Hokies at Pittsburgh Panthers

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

Pittsburgh ended a five-game losing streak to Virginia Tech with an 83-72 win at home on Feb. 3, 2021.

Three of the last four games in the series headed over the total.

Virginia Tech (12-10, 4-7) has won its last two games and covered in the wins against Florida State and Georgia Tech. Each of the Hokies’ last five games finished over the total.

Five of the last seven games for Pittsburgh (8-14, 3-8) finished under the total. The Panthers have covered in only two of their last eight games.

How will Pittsburgh, the lowest-scoring team in the ACC, fare against a Virginia Tech team that is second in the conference in scoring defense?

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