ACC Games of the Week Preview
Be part of the new conference bundle Games of the Week. The ACC gets into hyper drive with three games on slate for Wednesday’s action. Here’s a look at what’s up before jump ball (Enter Contest).
No 11 Duke Blue Devils (22-5) vs Syracuse Orange (16-12)
Two of the most successful coaches in college basketball history will go head-to-head. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski holds a slim 4-3 edge against Jim Boeheim and the Orange. Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils have won seven straight to climb within one game of conference-leading North Carolina, but none of the victories have come by more than 10 points, which has provided an opportunity for Krzyzewski. Syracuse has dropped three in a row since posting a five-game winning streak, putting it on the dreaded bubble in the NCAA Tournament conversation. The Orange don’t have any easy wins left on the schedule, either, with a trip to No. 6 Louisville on Saturday coming before they close the regular season against a Georgia Tech team that defeated them 71-65 on Sunday in Atlanta.
Pittsburgh Panthers (15-12) vs Wake Forrest Demon Deacons (15-12)
Pittsburgh has featured the most prolific scoring duo in the ACC this season, and are finally stringing victories together. The Panthers have won three of their past four, including an upset of No. 20 Florida State on Saturday, and features the top scorer in the league in Michael Young and the third-highest scorer in Jamel Artis. Young’s 20.2 points per game and Artis’ 19.6 average account for 52.3 percent of the Panthers’ offensive output this season.
While Pittsburgh’s recent surge has moved it from the bottom of the league into a tie for 12th, the Demon Deacons have lost two in a row and five out of eight to drop to 11th in the standings. A victory Wednesday would give Wake Forest a seventh win in league play for the first time since 2009-10. John Collins nearly lifted the Demon Deacons to a massive upset of No. 11 Duke Saturday, scoring a career-high 31 points with 15 rebounds in a five-point loss to the Blue Devils.
No 6 Louisville Cardinals (22-5) vs No 8 North Carolina Tar Heels (23-5)
This ACC showdown that will likely be decided at the defensive end. The first-place Tar Heels, who lead Louisville by one game, are coming off their best defensive performance statistically in the Roy Williams era while the Cardinals must face the highest scoring team in the league after uncharacteristically surrendering 90 points last time out. Solid work at that end of the court will be key if the Tar Heels are going to make another run at a national championship with an offense that averages 86.9 points and the best rebounding margin in the country (plus-13.4). Louisville has won three straight contests and six of seven, including Saturday’s 94-90 victory over Virginia Tech at home despite allowing the Hokies to shoot almost 60 percent from the field. It’s way above its average of 39.4, which was 14th in the nation entering Tuesday.
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