Saturday at 6pm Duke and UNC will tip off in part two of one of the greatest rivalries in all sports. But despite the Tar Heels’ losing record there will be more than respect on the line in Cameron for both squads. Here’s everything you need to know about heavy weight matchup.
What’s On The Line?
Of course bragging rights and respect are always a huge factor in rivalry, but that’s not the only thing these squads will be playing for. Next week’s ACC Tournament will be important for both teams. For the Tar Heels it will be their only opportunity to make the big dance after a disappointing season. For Duke, a good showing will help their tournament seeding. Saturday’s game will help determine where both teams are positioned in the conference tourney. The Blue Devils could be seeded as high as 2nd and as low as 4th and the Tar Heels could be seeded a low as 14th and as high as 11th. While at first glance they may not seem like a huge difference, but which side either of the teams falls on the in bracket is huge. I don’t think either team wants to see each other a 3rd time outside of competing in the tournament championship game.
Players to Watch
After winning their 3rd game in a row Saturday, the Heels are playing with a level of togetherness and confidence that we haven’t seen all season – led by Cole Anthony who has not only improved his efficiency and facilitator skills, but has also been the guy who has had the most dip on his chip heading into this game.
The projected lottery pick scored a team high 24 points in the Heels overtime loss to the Blue Devils in early February, but I’m sure Tre Jones’ show stopping performance at the end of the game and overtime is something that has stuck with him. The question is, in a matchup of this magnitude can he keep up the efficiency and facilitating that has made Carolina a better team.
Duke’s Vernon Carey was unstoppable in the 1st half of these team’s last matchup – scoring all 18 of his points on 6-7 from the floor and free throw line. But the Naismith semifinalist disappeared in the 2nd, going 0-5 from the floor before fouling out with 4:16 remaining in regulation. There’s no question he’s one of the key players Roy Williams and company will have a plan in place to contain, but there are two things Carey can do when he faces inevitable double teams that will help the Blue Devils win – efficient passing out of the post and crashing the offensive boards.
During this year at Duke Carey’s passing has improved. When he’s able to find the open man, kick the ball out of the double team and that player make the shot, Duke is nearly unstoppable.
Rebounding will also be key for Duke and more specifically Carey. In their last outing UNC out-rebounded Duke 51-42. Vernon Carey had 6 of them. While we know the double and triple teams will come as soon as Carey touches the ball, when the shot is up it’s usually one-on-one for the rebound. Can Carey win just a few of those battles on the glass with Brooks and pick up garbage points around the rim or at the free throw line? If he’s able to, it’s going to be a long night for the Heels.
- 253rd meeting; North Carolina leads, 139-113
- Duke leads, 54-49 (45-37 at Cameron Indoor)
- UNC leads, 63-37 (19-16 at Smith Center)
- North Carolina leads, 27-22 (Neutral Sites)
- Current streak: Duke, W2
- This is the 153rd consecutive Carolina-Duke game in which at least one of the teams is ranked in the AP poll.
- Head coach Roy Williams is 16-21 against Duke as Carolina’s head coach.
- As a ranked team, Duke is 68-50 versus UNC.
- Carolina and Duke have won 39 of the ACC’s 65 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championships, including 21 by Duke and 18 by UNC.
- Carolina and Duke are No. 1 and 2 all-time in the ACC in wins, ACC regular-season wins, ACC Tournament wins and NCAA Tournament wins.
How to Watch
Saturday’s game will tip off at 6pm. It will be broadcast on ESPN or you can stream it on WatchESPN. Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Holly Rowe will be on the call.