Carolina-Dook. The ugliest of all of the 4-letter words. The Greatest Rivalry in NCAA hoops. There are a ton of "great football rivalries"....but only one in basketball truly makes the sports world stop. Here is the breakdown.
WHO: North Carolina vs Duke
WHAT: Greatest rivalry in college basketball
WHEN: Wednesday, 9 pm
WHERE: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
The top two teams in the ACC will battle for first place in Durham. North Carolina (19-2, 8-1 ACC) vs Duke (17-2, 7-2 ACC). Carolina brings with it the nation's highest scoring offense [92.2 ppg] against a Duke program that prides itself on being able to defend like rabid dogs...and also have a high scoring team themselves [82.5 ppg]. No team has shot over 50% against them all season.
You have JJ Reddick and Rashad McCants....both can score from anywhere on the court. Sean Dockery and Jackie Manuel will both have their hands full guarding these guys. You have Sean May and Sheldon Williams battling on the inside. Williams is more of a shot-blocking/rebounding bruiser while May is more of a finesse player who has great hands and finishes well around the basket. Daniel Ewing has got to keep in step with Raymond Felton...the Heels go as Felton goes. An interesting contrast will be with Shav Randolph and Jawad Williams. Both are power forwards....but Jawad wonders around all over the place...and Randolph, who has struggled at times, must be able to keep up with him [and a certain freshman I mention in a bit].
How about depth? Lee Melchionni brings some solid shooting and play off of Duke's bench. But, does Duke have any way to deal with Marvin Williams? The freaky freshman has been on a tear of late. He dumped 20 on NC State, then made some great individual plays against Florida State.
If you think this game will be good...imagine what it SHOULD be! Remember, Luol Deng defected the NBA and Shaun Livingston skipped out on Duke and went straight to the NBA. Both would be starting right now for the Blue Devils. As for Carolina...JR Smith jumped [litterally] to the NBA and JamesOn Curry [who just dumped in 22 pts for Okie State], who was released from his scholarship due to a drug scandal, could both be wearing Carolina blue. Even without them....you have Raymond Felton, JJ Reddick, Rashad McCants, Marvin Williams, Sheldon Williams, Sean May, Daniel Ewing, Roy Williams and Coach K out there.
Some major NBA talent out there! And some major NBA talent of the sidelines as well. Both UNC coach Roy Williams and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski were wooed to be Phil Jackson's replacement as coach of the LA Lakers. Williams declined while Coach K thought hard about heading out west before ultimately staying put [good choice K].
Most people who don't live in the Carolinas don't realize that while Dookie V....errrrr....Dick Vitale is jumping and screaming on ESPN.....on Jefferson/Pilot sports [WBTV -3 in Charlotte] Billy Packer will be gleaming about these two programs....and the fact that his Wake Forest has beaten both of them this year.
Anyways...enjoy the game!
North Carolina. Duke. ACC rivals. Eight miles of road. Two shades of blue.
Let?s throw the stats out there.
*This will be the 218th time that these two proud programs will meet [UNC leads 123-94]. Duke is 46-42 at home...including winning 7 of the last 8.
*Duke has won 14 of 16 against North Carolina.
*North Carolina is favored in this game. The last time UNC was favored going into Duke was back in 1995 when Stackhouse, McInnis and Sheed went in to play a Coach K-less Heels team....and that may have been the best game played between the two. Jeff Capel's half court shot and the double-overtime thriller.
*Only once has the rivalry been played on February 9. The Heels won that game way back in 1957....and they also went on to win the National Championship that season.
*This will be the 37th time they?ve met when both were ranked in the Top 10.
*North Carolina brings in the nation's top scoring offense [92.2 ppg] while Duke brings in the ACC's top scoring defense [63.8].
*Both of these two have the biggest margins of victory in the ACC [UNC #1 - +22.8; Duke #2 - +18.7].
*Who is the better shooting team? Of the ACC teams, UNC is #1 in FG%, FT% and 3pt%. While Duke is noted for their ability to hit the three....Carolinahas actually hit FOUR more 3-pters than Duke this season while taking 28 less attempts. Duke is 3rd in the ACC in all of those categories.
*Three of the top five 3-pt shooters will be in this game. Raymond Felton [46.8%], Rashad McCants [42.6%] and JJ Reddick [42.4%] are 2nd, 4th and 5th in the ACC respectively.
*Six of the top 13 scorers in the ACC will be in this game. JJ Reddick leads the conference in scoring [22.8]. Sheldon Williams, Rashad McCants, Daniel Ewing, Sean May and Jawad Williams [all average between 15.2 and 16.2 ppg] are the others in the top 13 of scorers.
*JJ Reddick has only averaged 13.2 pts on 32% shooting in five career games against Carolina.
*The game featues the ACC's top two rebounders, Sheldon Williams and Sean May.
*Sea May on Duke's depth at center....
"They have a big white kid that they bring in. I don't know his name."
*Sean Dockery on Raymond Felton's speed...
"(He's) like a horse or a cheetah or a Corvette or something. Something like that. He's pretty fast."
*Roy Williams on Cameron Indoor Sweatbox...
"I do not believe that Mike turns the heat up over there. I don't think he's any more competent than coach Smith, and coach Smith never could have found the thermostat to turn it up. I just don't think that happens. I think if it gets hot in there, it's because it's 65 degrees outside"
*Sean Dockery on if he wants to get the heat and scrutiny that JJ Reddick and Rashad McCants constantly gets...
"Of course. J.J. ... he gets all the girls, and Rashad gets all the girls."
BENCH-Marvin Williams, Melvin Scott, David Noel, Quentin Thomas.
BENCH-Lee Melchionni, Demarcus Nelson