No. 11 Florida State’s trip to North Carolina tops ACC slate

NCAA

A look at the upcoming week around the Atlantic Coast Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND

No. 11 Florida State at North Carolina. The Seminoles (14-3, 10-2) have moved to the top of the ACC standings and have an impressive win against No. 15 Virginia. They’ll go on the road Saturday to face the Tar Heels (14-8, 8-5), who are coming off a 45-point win against Louisville followed by a nonconference loss against Marquette. UNC has won nine of 13 since the start of 2021, with one of those losses coming on the road against the Seminoles. The Tar Heels are battling for position to claim a top-four seed in the ACC Tournament.

LOOKING AHEAD

Duke has gone from losing six of eight to winning four straight, including one against then-No. 7 Virginia. The Blue Devils host Louisville on Saturday then visit Georgia Tech onTuesday in what will be a critical game for two teams on the bubble to make the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Keve Aluma has thrived at No. 16 Virginia Tech since transferring in from Wofford, where he played under current Hokies coach Mike Young. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 15.5 points and 7.9 rebounds on the year after going for 12 points and 14 rebounds in this week’s loss to Georgia Tech. That game marked the Hokies’ first in more than two weeks due to postponements, and he was averaging 25 points and 8.7 rebounds in the three games before that stoppage. Aluma and the Hokies return to action Saturday against Wake Forest.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Entering Tuesday, the league had played 180 of 223 scheduled games, a rate of nearly 81%. … FSU is two wins shy of tying the ACC record for most consecutive home wins in league play at 24. Duke holds the record of 26 set from 1997-2000. … The league has only one team – Clemson – ranking in the top 20 of KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metrics as of Thursday’s games. The league has never had fewer than three in a season since going to 15 teams and had six two seasons ago. … Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie continues to lead the league in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (11.4) while having four games with at least 20 points and 14 rebounds.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE

No. 2 North Carolina State and No. 6 Louisville have been the headliners all year in the women’s race. And the Wolfpack took the only meeting with the Cardinals. But the Cardinals (20-2, 13-2) are set to claim the ACC regular-season title with a win at Notre Dame on Sunday even if the Wolfpack (16-2, 11-2) follows Thursday’s win against Pittsburgh in its home finale with Sunday’s win at Syracuse. That’s because the Cardinals would have the higher win percentage by playing two more games than the Wolfpack amid postponements as well as canceled games against Duke and Virginia after those programs stopped play. That would give Louisville the top seed for next week’s tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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