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This week in the ACC: Louisville, NC State and Virginia Tech remain undefeated toward the Christmas holiday

The Cardinals were expected to be among the nation’s best, but the Wolfpack and Hokies have also overachieved early in the season. Can it continue past the weekend?

NCAA Womens Basketball: Final Four-Louisville vs Mississippi State
Louisville guard Asia Durr remains one of the top WNBA Draft prospects for 2019.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After a month and a half of early non-conference play, the ACC is doing very well, with five teams in the Top 25: No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Louisville, No. 10 NC State, No. 15 Syracuse, and No. 24 Miami. Meanwhile, three teams remain undefeated: Louisville, NC State and unranked Virginia Tech. Most of the ACC’s teams haven’t played much in the last week because of exams, while the ranked teams haven’t moved drastically. But let’s take a look at how the conference’s three undefeated teams remained that way.

Louisville Cardinals (11-0)

Louisville has so far remained hot with an 11-0 record. The Cardinals won every game by double digits except for a 58-56 win on Nov. 23 against then-No. 19 Arizona State and an 80-75 win over No. 19 Kentucky. Senior guard and 2019 WNBA Draft prospect Asia Durr has remained spectacular all season, averaging 21.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

NC State Wolfpack (11-0)

The NC State Wolfpack, also at 11-0, has regained their standing as one of the ACC’s powers. With the exception of a 78-74 win over Michigan State on Nov. 22 and a 69-61 win over George Washington the following day, the Wolfpack won all of their games by double digits. In their most recent victory on Saturday against Maine, the Wolfpack cruised to an 84-46 victory. Redshirt junior guard Grace Hunter (averaging 14.9 points per game) and graduate student Kiara Leslie (averaging 14.2 points per game) lead the team’s scoring.

Virginia Tech Hokies (10-0)

The Virginia Tech Hokies have yet to crack to the Top 25 despite their 10-0 record. But they are in the Top 30 in both the AP and the ESPN Coaches polls. The Hokies haven’t played a Top-25 opponent this season, but they have won all but one of their games by double digits. Virginia Tech’s lone close victory was against Villanova on Nov. 24, which they won 61-59. Senior guard Taylor Emery leads Virginia Tech in scoring with 17.6 points per game; she has also scored 20 or more points in five of their last six games.

Elsewhere in the ACC

The rest of the conference remains above .500 in the regular season except for the 4-6 Virginia Cavaliers who are coming off a 57-44 loss to the Radford Highlanders. Given UVA’s rough start, it’s difficult to see them finishing this season with a winning record.


Games of the week

With final exams now in the rear view mirror, there are many games on the schedule this weekend before the Christmas holiday. Here are three ACC non-conference games to watch later this weekend!

No. 3 Louisville Cardinals (11-0) at Central Michigan Chippewas (8-1)

When: Thursday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: McGuirk Arena, Mount Pleasant, Mich. | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN Plus

Notes: Asia Durr and the Cardinals will go on the road to play one of the top mid-major teams in the country. The Chippewas made the Sweet Sixteen last season and haven’t slowed down so far in conference play this season. In fact, Central Michigan has victories over major conference teams like Virginia (on Nov. 24) and Vanderbilt (on Saturday). Still, the Chippewas haven’t played a ranked team until now. Fortunately, they will have home-court advantage so there is a chance Central Michigan could come out with the win.

Duke Blue Devils (6-3) at No. 11 Oregon State Beavers (8-2)

When: Thursday, Dec. 20, at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Gill Coliseum, Beaverton, Ore. | TICKETS

How to watch: Pac-12 Network

Notes: Duke heads into Thursday’s game after not playing a game in two weeks. They will travel to play Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon State, who they are coming off a 76-70 loss to Texas A&M on Sunday. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, are on a three-game win streak and hope fresh legs will help them get a quality win before the holiday weekend.

No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1) at No. 19 Marquette Golden Eagles (9-2)

When: Saturday, Dec. 22, at 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisc. | TICKETS

How to watch: Pac-12 Network

Notes: This is the marquee match for the ACC and the Big East conferences. The Irish have defeated every opponent by double digits (except for UConn, their sole loss of the season). Though they are on the road, Notre Dame is the favorite to win. As for Marquette, the Golden Eagles are ranked in the Top 25 but they have yet to defeat another Top-25 team. In their matches against ranked teams, they lost 63-55 to No. 24 Miami (on Nov. 15) and 87-82 to then-No. 6 Mississippi State (on Dec. 6).

Full schedule for the ACC.