A look at five things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Clemson at North Carolina. Brad Brownell’s Tigers were off to their best start in ACC play since 1997 before a 33-point loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Still, Clemson (13-5, 4-2) heads to North Carolina on Sunday with a chance at the program’s first win in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels (11-7, 1-4) are struggling but have always won this one — including during an 8-20 season a dozen years ago — in a streak that stands at 56 games to set an NCAA record for the most consecutive home wins over one opponent.
LOOKING AHEAD: No. 18 Duke travels to No. 20 Pitt on Monday night in a matchup of teams fighting for position behind league-leading and No. 2-ranked Syracuse.
Both teams will have a quick turnaround following Saturday games with Duke taking on Florida State and Pitt traveling to Maryland.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Codi Miller-McIntyre is maturing as a floor leader for Wake Forest.
The sophomore point guard hit the last-second shot to beat North Carolina State on Jan. 15, then had 20 points and 10 assists in Wednesday’s win at Virginia Tech.
He ranks among the league leaders in scoring (15.5 points), assists (4.1), field-goal percentage (45.3 percent). “You’re seeing the fruits of his labor,” coach Jeff Bzdelik said after Miller-McIntyre scored 26 against Kansas in November, “from the spring, summer and fall.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The league has six players averaging at least two blocks per game, the highest total for the league since at least the 1996-97 season, according to STATS LLC.
There had been only three to do that in each of the past two seasons. Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels, who averaged a league-best 2.1 blocks last year, is again on top at 2.7 per game.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Notre Dame is living up to preseason expectations as a first-year ACC contender.
The Fighting Irish (18-0, 5-0 ACC) will get their first major league test Sunday at No. 6 Maryland. “It’s hard to say we’re underrated ranked No. 2, but you know, I really don’t look at the rankings,” coach Muffet McGraw said after Monday’s win at No. 11 Tennessee. “I don’t care about the rankings. We just want to get better every game and get ready for March.SDRq