UNC vs. Duke: Why Tar Heels Are Ready to Upset No. 2 Blue Devils

Max MeyerCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2013

James McAdoo will have to outplay Mason Plumlee in order for the Tar Heels to win.
James McAdoo will have to outplay Mason Plumlee in order for the Tar Heels to win.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke versus North Carolina is arguably the biggest college basketball rivalry game. North Carolina has struggled on the road this season, and now have to travel to the home of the Cameron Crazies.

Yet, they still are primed to pull off the upset. 

Coming off a 26-point shellacking against Miami, the Tar Heels will come into this game even more motivated than usual. If North Carolina can gain the early momentum on the road, it will be a pivotal ingredient to their upset recipe. 

North Carolina is ninth in the NCAA and tops in the ACC at scoring, averaging 78.3 points per game. The only way the Tar Heels can win on Wednesday night is if they win a shootout, because it'll be extremely tough stopping Duke on offense at Cameron. 

The Tar Heels also have a lot of depth on the team. They have 10 players that average double-digit minutes per game. The fact that they have so many scorers that play consistently is why North Carolina is the top offensive team in the ACC. 

The key player for North Carolina in this game is James McAdoo. He's their top scorer and rebounder, averaging 14.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. The biggest advantage the Tar Heels have over the Blue Devils is rebounding, as they average seven more rebounds per game. However, one of the most important tasks for North Carolina to do is to stop Mason Plumlee. 

Plumlee is a double-double machine, and he makes a huge impact on both ends of the floor. North Carolina will have to neutralize him by double-teaming him and getting him frustrated. If the Tar Heels can force Plumlee into foul trouble, they will have a great chance of winning this game. 

Even though Duke is ranked No. 2 in the nation and North Carolina is unranked, anything can happen in this rivalry game. North Carolina has the personnel and coaching to pull off the upset on the road.