Duke vs. UNC: Who Has the Better Starting 5?

Trevor LowryContributor IJuly 27, 2012

Duke vs. UNC: Who Has the Better Starting 5?

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    Duke and North Carolina is one of the most heated rivalries in the history of sports. Year after year, these two teams battle it out in college basketball, but who has the advantage this year?

    Both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils will have completely different looking teams than they did last year, so this year could be very interesting for both teams.

    Read on to see who has the better starting five between Duke and North Carolina. 

Point Guard

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    The Blue Devils will most likely be rotating between Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton at the point guard position to start the season. Both players got some minutes last year, however, Thornton got a lot more playing time and will probably start the season as the starting PG for Duke. 

    As for North Carolina, Marcus Paige will be the field general for the Tar Heels despite his injury last year. Unlike Kendall Marshall, Paige is a much better scorer than Marshall, who can knock down threes and create his own shot.

    Expect Paige to score quite a bit of points next season, but don't expect him to lead the ACC in assists, like Marshall did.

    If Paige can have a full recovery by the time the 2012-2013 season tips off, the Tar Heels will have the advantage over Duke in the point guard position. Paige is good enough to lead North Carolina in points, but he can also get his teammates involved when he needs to. 

    Advantage North Carolina 

Shooting Guard

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    Seth Curry will easily be the starting shooting guard for Duke next season. Not to mention, he will shine at this position. Curry will be able to play at his natural position next year, thanks to Austin Rivers leaving the team for the NBA.

    Curry was the second leading scorer for the Blue Devils last season, with 13.2 points per game, but he will get a lot more looks this season, which will result in a lot more points. Pretty easy concept.

    The Tar Heels will have two very good shooting guards to choose from in Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland. However, both are coming off of the same knee injury. 

    McDonald should start for North Carolina in the beginning of the season, and he is good enough to keep that position throughout the year. However, Strickland is very capable of taking over at the SG position. 

    Curry gets the nod though, since he is one of the best shooting guards in the ACC and isn't coming off of a blown out knee or anything like that.

    Advantage Duke

Small Forward

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    Amile Jefferson will be a great addition to the Blue Devils next season. Although Jefferson is better suited as a power forward, he is capable of playing both forward positions. Rebound and shot-block, that is what Jefferson does. 

    Reggie Bullock averaged 25.4 minutes per game last season. He may have only put up 8.8 points per game during these minutes, but there were so many other talented scorers who got the green light before him. Keep in mind that Bullock did manage to grab 5.1 rebounds per game last season. 

    Bullock will get the green light next season, which will make him much more effective on the court. 

    Advantage Duke

Power Forward

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    Ryan Kelly should be the starting power forward for Duke next season. Kelly may stand at 6'11'', but he is lethal from behind the arc and will throw off opponents because of this. If Kelly can develop some sort of a driving game by the time next season starts, he could very well be unstoppable next season.

    James Michael McAdoo will most likely be the star for the Tar Heels in the upcoming season. In just 15.6 minutes last season, McAdoo was able to put up 6.1 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game. These numbers are going to skyrocket this season, since he will be a starter and all.

    Kelly and McAdoo have two very different playing styles, which makes it hard two compare these two players. However, McAdoo will be much more valuable to his team, which gives him the edge.

    Advantage North Carolina 

Center

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    Mason Plumlee almost averaged a double-double last season, with 11.1 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. Plumlee could have very easily entered the 2012 NBA Draft, but he chose to come back for his senior season, and expect it to be a very good one for him.

    As for the Tar Heels, they will have to find a way to replace Tyler Zeller. Incoming freshman Joel James will have to be Zeller's replacement. James has great size and strength, which is a blessing on both sides of the court. 

    However, for the time being, Mr. Plumlee is the easy pick in this one.

    Advantage Duke 

Overall

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    It's hard to say how good North Carolina will be next season, since it will have to replace a player at just about every single position. If Stickland and McDonald can come back and perform like they know how to, the rest of the nation better watch out. However, players like McAdoo and Paige really need to step up for this team.

    Besides losing as a No. 2 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, we all know what the Blue Devils are capable of. 

    Kelly and Curry are lights out from anywhere on the court and both players will play huge roles for Duke this season. Curry must step up as the leader for this team though. Like I stated earlier in the article, Amile Jefferson is a great addition to the team, but as the season progresses another great addition will be Rasheed Sulaimon. If no one steps up at the point guard position, Sulaimon will take over.

    Both of these teams will have good seasons, but Duke's starting five gets the nod entering the 2012-2012 college basketball season.

    Advantage Duke's starting five

     

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