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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Duke-North Carolina Rematch: Preview and Prediction

Duke-North Carolina Rematch: Preview and Prediction

Duke-North Carolina Preview!
Publish Date: 03/02/2018
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

 

UNC 22-8 (11-6 ACC) at Duke 24-6 (12-5 ACC)
Saturday, March 3rd
Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina
ESPN
All-Time series UNC leads 136-110

One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports will resume again this weekend as Duke and North Carolina will face off with huge implications for the upcoming ACC Tournament. With a win, the Tar Heels will not only sweep the season series but they will also clinch the all-important double-bye for the ACC Tourney. A loss and the Tar Heels could slip all the way to 5th. Duke, with a win, would put themselves into position for the highly-coveted number two seed.

The other thing that makes this game more important is that both teams are coming off losses. Duke lost at Virginia Tech and the Tar Heels fell at home on senior night to the Miami Hurricanes.

Keys to the Game

Theo Pinson vs. Marvin Bagley III

Bagley was injured in the first game after dominating the first half, helping the Blue Devils build a solid lead. Can Pinson at least slow down Bagley? That will be the biggest factor in who wins this game because if Bagley can dominate inside, the Devils will win this game.

Pinson, when he is on his game, is fully capable of leading the Tar Heels to a win at Duke, but since he is facing Bagley, it’s hard to see him being able to play good enough for the Heels to win this game. But again, he is capable of doing it.

Tar Heels Defensively

The Heels have not been consistent on the defensive end of the floor which is why they have been up and down this season. When they are on and playing defense, they look like a team that could make a deep run in March.

In their first matchup, the Tar Heels played defense as good as any team in the country in the second half, only allowing the Devils 29 points, which spurred the come from behind win. If they can play that kind of defense the entire game they will complete the season sweep of the Blue Devils.

Prediction: This game should go down to the wire and I think that Duke will just have a little too much at home for North Carolina. I think Bagley will have a huge game and that will spur Duke to a narrow win.

Duke 77  North Carolina 73

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