North Carolina Basketball: Keys for Tar Heels Toppling Duke Blue Devils

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 8, 2013

This team needs a big win, and they can do that against Duke.
This team needs a big win, and they can do that against Duke.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The North Carolina Tar Heels can finish the season on a positive note by beating the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday night. 

Even though the Tar Heels haven’t had their best season, they can end it with a sweet victory against their hated rivals at the Dean Smith Center.  If they want to pull out this major upset, then there are a few things that they will need to focus on.


Contain Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly is officially back for the Blue Devils, and it doesn’t even look like he missed a game.

In the first two games back for Kelly, he’s torn it up.  He scored 36 points against the Miami Hurricanes and came right back with 18 against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

If the Tar Heels want to keep this game close, then they will need to keep Kelly from exploding.  He is a dangerous scorer from everywhere on the court, and the entire team will need to keep him in check. 

The Blue Devils have not lost with Kelly in the lineup, so the Tar Heels will definitely need to do whatever they can to make sure he isn’t a factor in the game.


Get James Michael McAdoo Involved Early

The leading scorer for the Tar Heels will need to have another big game to pull off this upset. 

In the previous matchup against the Blue Devils, McAdoo struggled to make a big impact on the game.  He scored only nine points, going 4-of-12 from the floor and only 1-of-5 from the free-throw line. 

McAdoo is an explosive player, and he needs to show that off early in the game.  If he can get some points early in the game, then he will settle down and likely break out. 

Look for a big game for the sophomore in the national spotlight.


Don’t Let the Blue Devils Pull Away

The biggest key for the Tar Heels to upset the Blue Devils is to simply keep the game close. 

The Blue Devils love to pull away in games, and they can do so in a hurry.  Players like Seth Curry and Quinn Cook can score in bunches, especially from behind the arc. 

The fans will be vital to the Tar Heels’ success, and keeping the game close will keep them loud.  If the Blue Devils can pull away, then the crowd will quiet down and kill momentum for home team.

The Tar Heels must keep it close, or else there is no way they will be storming the court in Chapel Hill.