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Race for the ACC: Men's basketball

Each week The Chronicle will take a look at the ACC Men's Basketball standings and update you on who is in position to win the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season crown. Here are the ACC standings as of today:

1. Miami (22-4, 13-1); 2. Duke (24-3, 11-3); 3. North Carolina (19-8, 9-5); 4. Virginia (19-8, 8-5); 5. North Carolina State (19-8, 8-6); 6. Maryland (19-8, 7-7); 7. Florida State (15-13, 7-8); 8. Clemson (13-13, 5-9); 9. Wake Forest (12-15, 5-10); 10. Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-10); 11. Boston College (12-15, 4-10); 12. Virginia Tech (12-15, 3-11).

The race for third...Virginia

The Cavaliers have the perfect opportunity to stake a claim to the third spot in the ACC when they host No. 3 Duke this Thursday. Led by Joe Harris, Virginia has played very good basketball of late. The Cavaliers have lost two of their last three, but single-digit losses at North Carolina and at Miami are nothing to be looked down at. Against lesser competition in Georgia Tech, Virginia sailed to a 28 point victory. With three games against non-tournament teams remaining on the schedule after Duke, Thursday is the Cavaliers' last chance to show just how good they are before the conference tournament season gets underway.

The race for third...North Carolina

Before the Tar Heels get a chance for revenge against Duke in the final game of the regular season, they will have to win road games against a pair of second-tier ACC foes: Clemson and Maryland. While neither team is tournament-bound as of today, both have performed admirably at home this season and could easily hand North Carolina its sixth ACC loss. Since employing a small-ball lineup against Duke two weeks ago, the Tar Heels have rattled off three consecutive wins, including victories over Virginia and N.C. State. Carolina is playing some of its best ball this season and it would be no surprise if they were to give the No. 3 Blue Devils a run for their money when Duke travels to the Dean Dome next week.

Will Miami's loss to Wake Forest start a trend?

No. Just no. The Hurricanes could very well lose when they travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium this Saturday, but even that loss wouldn't knock Miami's confidence or knock them from the top spot in the ACC. Aside from the Duke game, the Hurricanes play only at home against three teams that have fewer combined ACC wins—12—than Miami does alone—13. With Duke the favorite to win Saturday's head-to-head, there is already buzz generating about a potential "rubber game" between the two teams in the ACC tournament finals.

Upset Special: Wake Forest over Maryland

I went out on a limb by taking Clemson on the road over Maryland last week and got burned, so naturally I'm going right back after Maryland this week. The Terps won at home despite another single-digit offensive performance by Alex Len, who had nine points on 4-10 shooting. Nobody is going to confuse the Demon Deacons with Duke or Miami, but after defeating the Hurricanes last week, Maryland's confidence at home should be sky high, despite falling to Florida State on the road between the two home contests. Ultimately, the Terrapins are as good as Len will let them be any given day, and of late, that means they just aren't all that impressive.


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