Today is the day folks. The big match up we all get amped for and then depending on the result may or may not want to go to work or school the next day.
Duke's not a great match up on paper for North Carolina. The Blue Devils come into the game slumping and down after a second consecutive home ACC loss.
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Taking the show on the road, where Duke has done well in conference, is always a different story when North Carolina is involved.
Duke has to be able to try and neutralize Kendall Marshall. Marshall is the head of the snake and his play get the Tar Heels going. The problem lies in that Duke has not on-ball defender that can probably match him. I'd look for Tyler Thornton or Seth Curry to try and force him into a scorer rather than a penetrator and distributor.
The Blue Devils also don't match up well with Harrison Barnes, mainly because they have no one that is comparable in size. Duke has to force Barnes to put the ball on the floor as he is far less efficient when he does, though that doesn't mean he won't score his points. Even if he says he has sore ankle expect him to play lots of minutes.
The match up down low is critical. Tyler Zeller and John Henson run the floor like gazelles and are tough to score on as both are good shot blockers. Mason Plumlee and who ever else plays down low has to play strong and not back down even if they get a couple shots sent packing.
Duke has to hit the class hard and prevent run outs because if North Carolina gets into the open court with regularity it is going to be a long game.
This doesn't seem like the greatest of times to be playing the Tar Heels but I expect Mike Krzyzewski and his coaches to have the player amped for this game.
Predictions are pointless in this game but if Duke can execute most of these things then they have a good shot at stealing one in Chapel Hill. If they can't then obviously the game probably won't go in their favor.
There's almost never a Duke vs. UNC basketball game that comes up short on memories. Here are just a few of the many rivalry meetings that are worth noting:
• Mar. 1, 1957: Lennie Rosenbluth's final Duke-UNC game. He had 40 points and 12 rebounds to lead an 86-72 UNC win in Durham. The Heels went on to finish 32-0.
• Mar. 4, 1960: Duke's 71-69 win in the ACC Tournament semifinals at Raleigh keyed Harold Bradley's team to an unlikely league title. Duke beat Wake Forest in the title game after 6-6 center Carroll Youngkin's 30 points sank UNC.
• Feb. 4, 1961: The brawl in Cameron erupted when Duke's Art Heyman and UNC's Larry Brown swapped licks under the UNC basket late in the game. The Devils won 81-77 and Heyman finished with 36 points.
• Mar. 2, 1968: Fred Lind came off the Duke bench to score 16 points, grab nine rebounds and block three shots in the Blue Devils' 87-86 triple-overtime win.
UNC Duke Moments To Remember
CHAPEL HILL North Carolina sophomore forward Harrison Barnes told the audience listening to coach Roy Williams' weekly radio show Monday night that his ankle felt "great" and he'd "be ready to go against Duke."
On Tuesday, though, Barnes took a less definitive stance when discussing his status for the No. 5 Tar Heels' game against the No. 10 Blue Devils.
"(I'm) still just working through it, and I should be able to play against Duke," he said.
Barnes Ankle Not so Great After All