This rivalry never fails to entertain, and this game should go down to the wire between two of the best teams in the country.
The Tar Heels have been an effective team from the perimeter.
Experience is another area in which North Carolina arguably holds an advantage. However, both teams feature plenty of veteran faces such as RJ Davis and Armando Bacot who give North Carolina an advantage.
Davis is on his way to becoming an All-American, and his superior shooting abilities can put his team ahead on any given night.
Bacot can be unpredictable sometimes, but I like his matchup here – his presence alone gives the Tar Heels an advantage in defensive stoppage inside.
Duke-North Carolina should provide for an exciting matchup, yet I find it very hard to pick against them, given all of the variables mentioned earlier.
Guard Jeremy Roach has been unstoppable from 3-point land lately. He is shooting 48% from deep this year and serving as an integral component of Duke’s offense.
Both teams must focus on controlling the perimeter.
The Blue Devils had a slow start but have quickly moved up the ACC conference, becoming one of the premier teams. Entering this matchup, they rank among the top 30 in offensive and defensive efficiency rankings.
Duke excels at protecting the basketball and defensive rebounding, which is essential when grabbing second-chance opportunities. Their transition defense makes up for that lack of second chances though.
Kyle Filipowski must come through big in the low post to provide some stability; Roach can no longer count on remaining unresponsive from beyond the three-point arc.
Duke may have won three games consecutively, but Clemson made things close on Saturday.
Overall, talent-wise, Duke stands toe-to-toe with North Carolina in terms of talent. However, its situational circumstances work against them, making it hard for Duke to shut down the Tar Heels 3-point shooters consistently; currently ranking 180th in 3-point defense rankings.
The variables all point towards a Tar Heels victory. The Heels are a little better at most everything against Duke and should cover and win this game. North Carolina 77 Duke 71.
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