- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

A look at things to watch this week in the Atlantic Coast Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 13 Louisville at Notre Dame. The Cardinals (19-5, 8-3) won’t play in the ACC tournament due to their self-imposed postseason ban, so the best they can do is finish atop the regular-season standings. The Fighting Irish (17-7, 8-4) are a week removed from their upset of then-No. 2 North Carolina and are in the mix for a top-four seed and a double bye in the league tournament.

LOOKING AHEAD: Duke at No. 9 North Carolina. The fiercest rivalry in college basketball is renewed with both sides feeling a sense of urgency. The short-handed Blue Devils (18-6, 7-4) are in the middle of a stretch of four straight games against top 25 conference opponents while the first-place Tar Heels (20-4, 9-2) ended a two-game losing streak with a subpar victory over winless-in-the-ACC Boston College.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Ten of the league’s 15 teams are at .500 or better in conference play - perhaps an indication of imbalance and just how badly the teams at the bottom are struggling. The bottom four - Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Boston College - have combined for six ACC wins with three of those coming against each other.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Wake Forest is slumping but forward Devin Thomas keeps putting up big numbers. The high-emotion big man recently became just the 16th player in league history with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 125 blocked shots. He’s reached double figures in scoring in 22 of 24 games and ranks fourth in the league, averaging 9.9 rebounds.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Keep an eye on No. 19 Miami. The Hurricanes (20-4, 8-4) are back in the Top 25 after a home win over Duke in which they forced the Blue Devils to miss 24 consecutive shots. Miami - the only ACC team to beat Notre Dame since the Fighting Irish began league play in 2013-14 - gets another crack at them Sunday.

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Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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