Duke-North Carolina: Another Clash of the Titans

Kaitlin DeanContributor IFebruary 6, 2008

Who could forget last season's matchup with the incident that left University of North Carolina men's basketball star Tyler Hansbrough looking like a masked phantom for the ACC tournament by Gerald Henderson?

Henderson (Duke's shooting guard) ended up taking his elbow to Hansbrough's nose trying to block a shot at the end of UNC's 86-72 victory.

The ultimate rivalry, the longest eight miles of these athletes' life.  Eight miles apart can make all the difference, especially for these two teams going into tonight's game.

There will always be built-up tension going into this rivalry.  With UNC coming into this game winning the last three years, Duke certainly has something to prove.

Rivalries do one thing and one thing best; they create uncertainty.  We will see exactly that coming into this game tonight: Major uncertainty.  With advantages and disadvantages for both teams, it is clear neither team can come into this game overconfident.  A major factor for both teams tonight is injuries.

Ty Lawson, UNC’s starting point guard, sprained his ankle Sunday night in a win at Florida State.  Let’s hope Tar Heels coach Roy Williams isn’t too concerned with the loss of his player, for it doesn’t look like he will be playing in Wednesday's game. 

Will the loss of its floor leader have an affect on this match-up tonight? 

Without the Tar Heels speedy guard, we may see this game develop into an unpredictable one between these two rivals.

The Blue Devils will be without 7-foot center Brian Zoubek tonight, who broke a bone in his left foot Monday and will be sidelined indefinitely.  There is definitely something to be said about the loss of this player.  Rebounding, defense, and overall court play will be significantly affected by the loss of Zoubek.

Both teams have had strong performances this season. 

The No. 2 Blue Devils (19-1) come into tonight's game with a 7-0 record in the conference and a nine-game winning streak.  They have only had one loss this season and that was to No. 11 Pittsburgh.

The Tar Heels (19-1) are on a three-game winning streak.  UNC has one loss in the conference to the Maryland Terrapins.

With a 9 p.m (E.S.T.) tip off, fans are sure to get their entertainment's worth tonight.  This matchup always lives up to people’s expectations. 

There is a reason why people call it the best college basketball rivalry.  It's a clash of titans.