When: Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. EST; Mar. 8 at 9 p.m. EST
Where: (Feb. 12) Chapel Hill, N.C.; (Mar. 8) Durham, N.C.
Broadcast: (Feb. 12) ESPN /ESPN3; (Mar. 8) ESPN/ESPN3
Opponent AP Rank: 18
Opponent RPI Rank: 16
What can you say about Duke vs. North Carolina? There is a reason it always seems to be played at 9 p.m. ET. It's the premier matchup everyone wants to see, whether they reside within these two passionate fanbases or not.
Even though both teams have had down seasons over the many years of the rivalry, the thrill of a national title game always seems to be present. These players may not actually hate each other, but it certainly seems like it on the hardwood.
That makes it a big game, no matter the implications.
It's even bigger for North Carolina, as it desperately needs a win over Duke on its resume, and it will be playing in Cameron Indoor for the final game of the regular season. Depending on how the rest of the ACC slate goes for the Tar Heels, that game could be the deciding factor in their bid for the tourney.
Picking up a victory won't be easy against this crew, though.
The Blue Devils tout one of the premier inside duos in freshman sensation Jabari Parker and transfer Rodney Hood, who currently combine for 36.5 points per game in their first season under Coach K. As usual, the Devils are shooting lights-out from the perimeter, too, burying 40.8 percent of their three-point attempts.
The Tar Heels will have to take advantage of a porous interior defense that has allowed opponents to shoot 49.4 percent inside the arc. That's easier said than done. But one thing we know about the Heels is that they are much better at shooting the two than the three-ball.
The question is: Who will step up to counter the scoring production of Parker and Hood? Scoring leaders James Michael McAdoo, Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson better bring their A-games for these matchups.
Rollin Yeatts is the lead columnist for North Carolina Tar Heels basketball on Bleacher Report. He also hosts a weekly all-sports video podcast at TSB Sports. Visit his B/R profile for more.