Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski knows history is at stake, but he isn't making it a priority.
A win tonight against North Carolina State (7 p.m., ESPN) would tie the league record for most consecutive ACC victories (27). The Blue Devils won their last six regular-season games two years ago, went 16-0 last season and have won their first four ACC games to open the 1999-2000 season, including three on the road.
Krzyzewski remembers a three-win ACC campaign (1983) and isn't emphasizing the importance of tonight's contest.
"We've never mentioned it to the players," Krzyzewski said. "I'm not sure they even know. I can't believe we won that many in a row. Every ACC win is precious to me.
"It's not one of the things I've ever focused on. It's significant but it's not a big deal. I don't want them to think we're playing the streak and not N.C. State. When I first started here, winning one game was significant."
The Wolfpack and Blue Devils are co-holders of the record. Duke established the record in 1962-64. David Thompson helped N.C. State match it in 1972-75.
The No. 5 Blue Devils (13-2, 4-0) have adapted to three new starters which has enabled them to continue their ACC dominance.
"Anything Duke does anymore doesn't surprise me," Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins said. "They have proven they are great. That's an incredible accomplishment, but I'm not shocked."
Clemson (6-10, 0-4) has showed some progress during the past three games, but has not been rewarded with a victory since defeating Furman 74-70 on Dec. 29.
The Tigers enter today's 7 p.m. contest with Southern Conference leader Appalachian State (11-5, 5-0) on a four-game losing streak. Tigers coach Larry Shyatt said his players need the positive reinforcement a victory can generate.
"Improvement, yes," Shyatt said. "It's very important to get a win."
Shyatt is encouraged by the productivity from guard Will Solomon's supporting cast. Junior center Adam Allenspach has accepted responsibility for scoring in the paint and is averaging 11.5 points and 8.0 rebounds. Solomon leads the ACC in scoring at 22.3 points.
Freshman guard Pasha Bains scored 16 points in his first collegiate start last Saturday against Virginia.
Adjusting to the rigors and high quality competition of the ACC has proved more difficult for Georgia Tech junior Shaun Fein than Cremins envisioned.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound shooting guard transferred to Tech (8-7, 1-2) last year from Stonehill College, a Division II institution in North Easton, Mass. Fein averaged 19.7 points his sophomore season at Stonehill.
"Last year when Shaun transferred, he was great in practice," Cremins said. "Because he looked so good in practice I forgot what it takes for a freshman or a transfer to adjust to this league.
"He's like a freshman. He's hanging in there. His first two ACC games were not pretty. He's adjusted. He's fighting back."
Fein has started every game for the Yellow Jackets and is averaging 10.4 points. He stumbled in Tech's first two ACC contests, shooting 1-of-11 from the floor, including 0-for-6 in 3-pointers. Fein's 5-of-10 shooting against Maryland on helped the Jackets win 69-68.
Reach Jimmy DeButts at (706) 823-3221.