North Carolina-Duke Matchup Will Determine the Eventual Tournament Champion

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IMarch 3, 2012

Tyler Zeller's senior year is reminiscent to that of North Carolina's 2009 season, when Tyler Hansbrough took the Tar Heels to their second championship of the decade. 

Surrounded by elite talent, including future top five NBA draft pick Harrison Barnes, the Heels know how to pull together as a unit and win it all when their feature player is on the cusp of graduation. 

Carolina is an amazing second overall in points scored per game and has been the best rebounding team in the NCAA all season long. 

Unlike teams of past, these Tar Heels don't tend to put up 100 points on a nightly basis. These Tar Heels have defeated their opponents with a good mix of scoring and defense, followed by the signature Chapel Hill up-tempo offense in what can only be described as the fastest team for the past few years. 

Since its buzzer-beater loss against Duke on February 8, Carolina has come together to defeat its ACC rivals six games in a row all in convincing fashion, minus the great defensive effort that UVa put up in the Heels most recent struggle.

Coach Roy Williams and his squad can be satisfied with their December 3rd loss against Kentucky, which is No. 1 in the college rankings and is heavily favored to win the NCAA championship. The Tar Heels only lost by one point and have only lost two games since that time, including an ugly loss to FSU that saw the Heels revamp their game plan and tighten up defensively. 

Should Carolina defeat Duke in its home territory Saturday, the Heels should be the favorites to win the ACC championship, thus securing them the No. 1 seed in which they will avoid either Kentucky or Syracuse until the Final Four, and then NCAA championship.

Carolina has the players, it has the coaching and the experience to go all the way this year. Even though its record isn't nearly as intimidating as Kentucky or Syracuse, the talent of player that Carolina possesses is unmatched. Forward John Henson has one year left of his college career, but while he averages a double-double he might leave for the NBA along with Barnes. Led by Zeller, who is chock-full of tournament experience and who is at the end of his tenure with Carolina, the Heels will march on toward their sixth championship.