ACC preview: Duke Blue Devils against North Carolina Tar Heels

This is the best rivalry in all of sports.  No other game comes close to this one.

The Duke Blue Devils will get to play North Carolina twice this season, and the last game of the season will be in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  These two teams have been the biggest matchup in sports for years now, and no matter if one team is having a down year, or if they are both among the top teams in the country, you never know what is going to happen in this game.

North Carolina might have a down season compared to their expectations, due in part to the players they lost, a bad offseason, and also a recruiting class unlike they are accustomed to.  No one knows when P.J. Hairston will come back from being suspended from the team, but he will certainly be back for both of the Duke games.  The big question is how will the team handle all of the off court problems and questions.  Even if North Carolina has a down year, they will be ready to play Duke.Andre Dawkins

North Carolina has an immense amount of talent starting with James Michael McAdoo.  This team won’t have much of a size advantage over Duke, but will have a great talent down low in McAdoo.  North Carolina is always a team that looks to get out on the break and get easy baskets.  Duke will look to exploit McAdoo in the post when they can, but they should have more of an advantage out on the perimeter.

On defense, this team will look to create turnovers and look to make Duke a jump shooting team, as will so many other teams the Blue Devils face this season.  North Carolina has the athleticism to compete with Duke this season, and could make things difficult for them.

Duke will look to run on North Carolina, which could make this a high scoring game.  They will look to attack the rim, because North Carolina only really has one rim protector, and Duke will look to draw him out of the lane.  The Blue Devils will also look to their defense to help create their offense.

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On the defensive side, Duke will look to pressure the Tar Heel guards, and try to rattle them.  For this matchup, it will be interesting to see how well Marcus Paige plays.  He could be a critical piece to this North Carolina team.  If the Tar Heels are struggling to find a point guard look for Duke to have Quinn Cook apply pressure at half court most of the game.

This should be another great season for the rivalry, where both teams should be looking to position themselves for the NCAA tournament and win the ACC.  Duke is better than North Carolina this season, and could win both games, but North Carolina is always a great opponent.  In these games it doesn’t matter which team is better because both of them have pride, and know what it means to beat the other.  I predict this season series will be a split, with both home teams winning, and Duke finishing the season strong.

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