UNC-Louisville matchup headlines this weekend in the ACC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A look at the upcoming week around the Atlantic Coast Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
No. 9 North Carolina at No. 15 Louisville. Two of the four one-loss teams atop the ACC standings meet, and revenge figures to be on the minds of the Tar Heels (16-4, 6-1) after the Cardinals (16-5, 7-1) handed their only conference defeat — in historic fashion, no less. Louisville’s 83-62 thumping in Chapel Hill marked North Carolina’s worst home loss under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams. The Cardinals have the longest active winning streak in the league at six games and are beginning a run of games against four consecutive Top 25 opponents.
No. 23 North Carolina State is in the midst of a challenging stretch of its own, and also will have payback on its mind when it makes the short trip to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels. UNC won the first meeting 90-82 on Jan. 8 in Raleigh. The Wolfpack (16-5, 4-4) lost in overtime to No. 3 Virginia earlier this week and play host to No. 11 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jordan Nwora has been a big reason for Louisville’s best start to league play since joining the ACC five years ago. Nwora averages 18.2 points this season after scoring just 5.7 per game a year ago — making him the ACC’s most improved scorer. Most recently, he scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half of a rout at Wake Forest in which the Cardinals needed less than 15 minutes to build a 20-point lead.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Slow starts to ACC play have become an unwelcome trend for Wake Forest under coach Danny Manning. The Demon Deacons (8-12) have opened the conference schedule at 1-7 for the fourth time in Manning’s five seasons. Those poor starts stretched to 1-8 (2017-18) and 1-12 (2015-16) before they picked up their second league win. Even Manning’s best team — the John Collins-led 2016-17 team that reached the NCAA Tournament’s First Four — opened the ACC schedule at 1-4.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
The top of the women’s standings certainly appears strong, with three teams in the top 10 led by No. 3 Louisville, No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 7 N.C. State. Nine teams are in the top 40 of the RPI — the most of any league. All eyes this weekend will be on North Carolina, which faces N.C. State with a chance to take down another top-10 team after the Tar Heels stunned Notre Dame last week.