Why UNC-Duke Is the Best Rivalry in College Basketball

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMarch 8, 2013

Why UNC-Duke Is the Best Rivalry in College Basketball

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    North Carolina and Duke have the best and most heated rivalry in college basketball.

    The two schools that are literally located just miles apart can't stand each other.

    Both of these programs have been highly successful for a long, long time.

    When they face off against each other in their annual home-and-home series, records and line ups don't matter.

    This one is for pride and bragging rights along Tobacco Road.

    Lets take a lightning fast look at 10 reasons why this is the best rivalry in college basketball.

10. Memorable Moments...Meaningful Games

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    This is an unequaled rivalry because these two teams have played a total of 235 games against each other.

    UNC currently is winning the overall series, 132-103.

    More than just the sheer number of games, few opponents have faced each other this many times with conference title implications and national ranking consequences on the line.

9. Legendary Coaches: Dean Smith

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    For 36 years, Dean Smith led the North Carolina Tar Heels to extraordinary success.

    He won two NCAA championships (1982, 1993) and made eleven Final Four appearances.

    He finished his illustrious career winning a total of 879 games and 11 ACC Tournament championships.

8. Legendary Coaches: Mike Krzyzewski

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    Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in college basketball history.

    Earlier this week, Coach K won his 880th game at Duke, which puts him now ahead of Dean Smith for most wins at an individual school.

    In spite of his unparalleled success, Krzyzewski is 38-37 against North Carolina.

7. Legendary Coaches: Roy Williams

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    Roy Williams has had enormous success at both Kansas and at North Carolina.

    Williams was named the head coach at UNC in 2003.

    Since then, he has put up a record of 279-76 and won two NCAA championships.

    After UNC lost this year's first game, Williams looks to even up his series record, which currently stands at 11-12.

6. Outstanding Venues

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    The two present-day venues for this rivalry couldn't be any more different than they are.

    Cameron Indoor Stadium is Duke's intensely intimate home court.

    The Smith Center is UNC's cavernous arena.

    Each offers a unique context for these games to be played.

    At Cameron Indoor: Duke leads the series 41-35.

    At the Smith Center: UNC leads 15-12.

5. Remarkable Players: 1970s

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    When you think of these teams and this rivalry in the 1970s, it's easy to think of Tar Heel greats, such as Phil Ford, Robert McAdoo and Mitch Kupchak and Duke's stars like Mike Gminski, Gene Banks, and  Jim Spanarkel.

    The Tar Heels dominated in the '70s, winning 23 of the 31 games played.

4. Remarkable Players: 1980s

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    The 1980s was another decade that found both of these programs with great teams and great players.

    Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins led the Tar Heels to Dean Smith's first NCAA tournament title.

    This was also the decade when Duke hired a young coach from West Point to try to keep everything in order. His name was Mike Krzyzewski.

    Who's he? He's the young, aggressive sideline leader that will re-write the record books of college hoops.

    North Carolina had the edge 16-9 in the games played in the '80s.

3. Remarkable Players: 1990s

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    The 1990s saw Coach K win back-to-back NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992 with Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill leading the way.

    North Carolina had Antawn Jamison, Jerry Stackhouse and Vince Carter on hand to keep it real.

    The Tar Heels had control over the '90s with a 16-9 advantage in the series.

2. Remarkable Players: 2000s

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    Both programs had exceptional success in the 2000s.

    Coach K won his third and fourth NCAA titles in 2001 and 2010.

    Roy Williams finally cut down the nets for the first time in 2005, and then again in 2009.

    Duke has a commanding lead (20-11) in the 2000s.

1. Two Obsessively Devoted Fan Bases

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    What really makes the UNC-Duke rivalry the best in college basketball is the zealous fans from both schools.

    You could have legendary coaches and remarkable players on the court, but if the teams don’t have fanatical followers who live and die with the outcomes of these contests, do you really have much of a rivalry?

    As a college hoops diehard, I salute the fans from North Carolina and Duke...You make this the best!