Friday, March 21 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-03-21 11:28:45 GMT
RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) - This week, Coastal Carolina joins Duke, Virginia, Tennessee and several other big name schools at PNC Arena for a weekend of games as the NCAA Tournament is off and running. TomorrowMore >>
Chants take the floor for a practice in Raleigh before taking on top-seeded Virginia Friday night.More >>
It's not surprising that the ACC men's basketball race is going down to the wire this season.
Teams in the conference have had slumps to overcome and surges to run with.
In college basketball, it is better to soar later than peak too early.
Take Miami (23-6, 14-3 ACC) as an example of slumping. Losing a 13-point lead to scrappy Georgia Tech (16-13, 6-11 ACC) and losing 71-69 on Wednesday shows how improbable losses can happen.
Take surging North Carolina (22-8, 12-5 ACC) as another example. The Tarheels meet rival Duke (26-4, 13-4 ACC) on Saturday, riding a six-game winning streak.
Not to be ignored is dangerous N.C. State (22-8, 11-8 ACC), lurking in the league weeds with a three-game winning streak after beating Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
In this league, you show your worth on the court and in the numbers.
This week's one big question
Who will continue to surge or slump in the conference tourney?
Falling - Miami. The Hurricanes won't make it to the tourney finals if they get dominated in the paint like they were against Georgia Tech on Wednesday (22 points in the paint to Tech's 32).
UM's undefeated roll in the conference and 13-game winning streak seem like a distant memory now - the Hurricanes have lost three of their last four since the loss to Wake Forest on Feb. 23.
Surging - North Carolina. The streaking Tar Heels lead the ACC in assists (17.6 per game) and steals (8.4 per game) and are second in turnover margin, making them a versatile team on each end of the court.
Stat of the week
Duke - the cream rises to the top: Duke needs another Miami mishap and a victory against the Tar Heels on Saturday to claim a share of the ACC regular-season championship.
The Blue Devils' statistically dominant role in the conference indicates they are poised for much more than just a piece of the pie.
The Blue Devils lead in scoring offense (78.7), scoring margin (+13.5), three-point field goal percentage (.419), three-point field goal percentage defense (.295), three-point field goals made (8.0) and turnover margin (+3.77).
Duke also isn't too far behind in every other statistical area, either.
It suffices to say Coach K has a formidable team that controls most games and will continue to do so throughout postseason play.
ACC in the AP Top 25
ACC Play of the Week
Georgia Tech's last-minute tip to defeat a quickly slumping Miami is just the icing on the fail cake.
Georgia Tech defeated a Top 25 team for the first time since 2010. The Ramblin' Wreck kept Miami's championship T-shirt in boxes as Miami suffered its first conference loss at home this season.
Miami shot 36 percent from the floor in the second half and completely fell apart at home.
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