One thing we have learned over the years is that it does not matter how well Duke or North Carolina plays all season. When they face each other, it is certain to be a great game.
Fans of the Tar Heels will hope that is the case because the team has been up and down all season long. Most recently, they lost to Miami by 26 points on the road.
Of course, since Duke lost by 27 points to the Hurricanes it has won five games in a row and is now No. 1 in the Coaches Poll.
It will be difficult for these teams to top last year's battle when Austin Rivers hit a game-winning three over Tyler Zeller to win.
However, the new crop of players should make this one fun to watch.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Injury Report (via USA Today)
F Ryan Kelly (Foot) Out
No injuries to report.
What They're Saying
Few people will deny this battle as one of the top rivalry games in sports. Simply look at what people are paying for tickets to this game, according to the Duke Basketball Twitter account:
Average ticket price to attend Duke/UNC on Wednesday is over $1100 on secondary ticket market... Toughest reg. season ticket in sports.— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) February 12, 2013
As of Feb. 12, the cheapest ticket on Stubhub.com is just under $600.
Keep in mind, North Carolina is not even ranked coming into this game. Still, the atmosphere should still be incredible.
Duke Player to Watch: Quinn Cook
Quinn Cook barely got on the floor last year for the Blue Devils, but this season he is the driving force of the offense. He is currently averaging 11.8 points, six assists and only 2.3 turnovers.
When he plays well, which means not only hitting his shots but taking care of the ball, Duke cruises to victory. In the 13-point win over North Carolina State, Cook had 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
However, in the narrow win over Boston College, the offense struggled to only 62 points. The point guard had only nine points on 11 shots and had more turnovers than assists.
The offense will only go as far as Cook takes them.
North Carolina Player to Watch: Reggie Bullock
Although North Carolina is a young team without much senior leadership, junior Reggie Bullock is close. The wing is the person that is needed to step up when things go bad.
Unfortunately, that has not happened often enough for the Tar Heels this season.
Bullock is currently third in the ACC in three-point shooting percentage at 43.9 percent, but he needs to be more aggressive with the ball in his hands. In this game, he will probably need at least 20 points to help his team.
Otherwise, the supporting case might not be able to do enough to get the win.
Matchup to Watch: Mason Plumlee vs. James Michael McAdoo
This will be a fun battle to watch for college basketball fans and NBA scouts alike.
Although Mason Plumlee has a size advantage, James Michael McAdoo is one of the more athletic players in the country. Both men will like to score very close to the basket, and it will be up to other to stop it.
In addition, the rebounding battle will come down to who can win between these two. McAdoo has to make sure he does not get outworked on the glass by the veteran Plumlee.
Prediction: Duke 77, North Carolina 72
North Carolina has the talent and the drive to keep this game close. However, the Blue Devils love to play at home and will simply hit too many shots to fall victim to an upset.
This is the youngest Tar Heels team to come into Cameron Indoor Stadium in a few years, and the lack of experience will get to players. Duke will be able to pull away late for its 22nd victory of the year.
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